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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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1999 photograph courtesy of the Telegraph Herald

THIMMESCH, Nicholas. (Dubuque, IA, Nov. 13, 1927--Chevy Chase, MD, July 11, 1985). Thimmesch, a graduate of DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL and one-time newspaper carrier for the TELEGRAPH HERALD, served in many responsible positions on the way to becoming one of the nation's most respected syndicated columnists.

Thimmesch began his career as a reporter for the Davenport Times. In 1952 he joined the Des Moines Register. He became a staff writer for Time magazine in 1955 and later served as chief of its New York bureau. From 1967 to 1969 Thimmesch held the position of Newsday Washington, D.C. bureau chief. During 1977 and 1978 he was the contributing editor of New Yorker magazine. From 1981 until March 1983, Thimmwesch served as a commentator for the Cable News Network.

In 1981 Thimmesch became a resident journalist at the American Enterprise Institute of Public Policy Research. He was also a member of the President's Commission on World Population (1974); Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1980-81); member of the H. L. Mencken Society; and member of the National Advisory Council, St. John's University (Minnesota). (1) As he continued to write his syndicated column, Thimmesch worked on Communication for a Free Society, an institute project through which he moderated more than twenty public seminars on various news media issues.

As one of the nation's top syndicated columnists, his commentaries appeared in over one hundred newspapers across the United States. "The Lessons of Iowa," "Life on the Mississippi," or "The Upper Mississippi" suggested themes of his essays were often related to his Midwestern background in Iowa. Thimmesch wrote three books-Robert Kennedy at 40, The Bobby Kennedy Nobody Knows, and The Condition of Republicanism. (2)

The papers of Nicholas Thimmesch including his life's work from 1956 to 1985 were archived and donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1986.



1. Tigges, John ed., Nash, Marilyn K. "Nicholas Timmesch," They Came From Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1983, p. 30

2. Ibid., p. 30-31

Nicholas P. Thimmesch. http://www.nytimes.com/1985/07/12/us/nicholas-p-thimmesch-57-national-political-columnist.html

Nick Thimmesch. http://www.iop.harvard.edu/nick-thimmesch

Papers of Nicholas Thimmesch. http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/msc/tomsc750/msc709/thimmesch.html