William Edwards Annin was a journalist closely associated with Nebraska from 1879, when he joined the staff of the Omaha Bee as associate editor, to 1899, when he left newspaper work. Trained by the Bee‘s feisty editor, Edward Rosewater, Annin’s sharp, incisive writing style reflected that of his mentor. During much of the 1890s Annin served as Washington correspondent for several Western papers, including the Nebraska State Journal in Lincoln. His pungent political commentary, especially that relating to local politics, gave him a national reputation.
Annin was graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) in 1877 and came West that summer with a geological expedition from the school. He settled in Omaha, planning to become a lawyer, but by 1879 had been hired by Edward Rosewater as associate editor of the Omaha Bee. Under Rosewater’s tutelage, Annin developed a sharp, distinctive writing style; Victor Rosewater later recalled that Annin “was soon dashing off editorials that could not be distinguished from Rosewater’s own.” Annin was also an enthusiastic booster of the West and for a time was the Bee‘s chief representative in western Nebraska.
In 1887 Annin left the Bee and became the private secretary to U.S. Senator Algernon S. Paddock of Beatrice. That fall he accompanied Paddock to Washington. Annin’s marriage to the daughter of Joseph W. Paddock, a cousin of his employer, no doubt further recommended him to the senator from Nebraska and helped Annin to mingle in Washington society.
In 1891 Annin left Paddock’s employ and returned to journalism. He was the Washington correspondent of the Nebraska State Journal at Lincoln, the Salt Lake Tribune, and other Western papers, and served as president of the prestigious Gridiron Club in Washington. In 1899 declining health prompted him to take a job with the U.S. postal service. His last newspaper assignment was with the Philadelphia Ledger.
Annin spent the last several years of his life in Denver working in the newly formed rural free delivery division of the postal service. However, he is best remembered for his work on the Omaha Bee and for his political commentary as a Washington correspondent, especially for the Nebraska State Journal.