In January 1903, "McClure's Magazine" carried an exposé by Lincoln Steffens, a young journalist, of the corrupt reign of Minneapolis Mayor Albert Alonzo ("Doc") Ames. Steffens described how theft, gambling and prostitution flourished during the Ames administration in 1901-2. In a scoop, he published pages from an account book kept by swindlers called the "Big Mitt Ledger," which listed payoffs to public officials.
Steffens opened his article with a startling assertion: "Whenever anything extraordinary is done in American municipal politics, whether for good or for evil, you can trace it almost invariably to one man." On one hand he referred to "Doc" Ames, but on the other he had in mind Hovey C. Clarke, a local businessman, who became the fearless foreman of a grand jury that investigated the corruption, and led to prosecutions and convictions of several officials and gangsters.
Dr. Mark Neuzil has written an Introduction to "The Shame of Minneapolis" in which he describes the backgrounds of Steffens, S. S. McClure and his influential magazine. Steffens' sensational article, he explains, helped create a new style of reform-minded investigative reporting known as "muckraking." The author or co-author of several books, Dr. Neuzil is on the faculty of the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of St. Thomas, where he teaches Advanced Reporting, Communication History and Environmental Communication.