Who Sends Lee and Rosemary the Letter? Is When Calls the Heart’s William Randolph Hearst a Real Person?

The drama TV series ‘When Calls the Heart’ focuses on the lives of the residents of Hope Valley, a former coal-mining town. This includes Rosemary and Lee Coulter, who take the Valley Voice newspaper to new heights. As they aspire to expand the circulation beyond Hope Valley, their hard work bears fruit when they receive a mysterious letter in season 9. While Rosemary and Lee try to find out who the sender is, they are surprised to discover the letter’s connection to a renowned name in the print industry. Let’s find out more about this person and what this incident means for Hope Valley’s future, shall we? SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who Sends Lee and Rosemary the Letter?

Rosemary Coulter tries her hand at a variety of vocations before finding her true calling in journalism while investigating the foundrymen who come to Hope Valley in season 8. To bring her passion to life, she starts the Valley Voice newspaper to address the current affairs in town as well as advertise for the local businesses. Later, when Lee loses the mayoral election in season 9, Rosemary suggests that he work with her as the managing editor of Valley Voice. Though hesitant at first, he agrees and even writes his own column.

Image Credit: David Dolsen/Crown Media

Soon, Lee’s involvement proves beneficial, making their sales and readership go up exponentially. As the couple plans how to expand the newspaper, they receive an unexpected letter in season 9 episode 7. Upon opening it, they find that it has been sent by an employee of William Randolph Hearst, a prominent newspaper magnate. The letter states that Mr. Hearst wishes to acquire Valley Voice and place it in his newspaper chain.

Though Rosemary is a bit taken aback as she had not written to anyone for the same, she gets highly excited as this opportunity may lead to the Valley Voice getting circulated in regions beyond Hope Valley. It would not just materialize her dream of getting her newspaper on the national map but also bring pride and recognition to the town. Thus, Rosemary and Lee happily begin planning how to respond to the letter, anticipating a potential meeting with Mr. Hearst ahead.

Is William Randolph Hearst a Real Person?

Yes, the William Randolph Hearst mentioned in ‘When Calls the Heart’ is based on an actual person. Born on April 29, 1863, William Randolph Hearst Sr. was a newspaper magnate and politician, who started Hearst Communications, the nation’s biggest newspaper chain and media company. With his methods of yellow journalism, Hearst brought sensationalism and eye-catching headlines to the forefront of his publications. Furthermore, he acquired the New York Journal and then went on to acquire almost 30 newspapers in major cities.

Image Credit: American Experience | PBS

The stories in Hearst’s newspapers mostly consisted of human interest stories, as well as bold pieces on corruption, crime, scandal, and sex. This caught the public’s attention and the publication then expanded to magazines, becoming the biggest newspaper and magazine business worldwide. Toward the end of World War I, Hearst’s ideologies became more political and he started promoting anti-communism and nationalism in his publications. In the mid-1930s, Hearst Communications reached the highest pinnacle of success, with a circulation of 20 million readers daily.

Unfortunately, Hearst fell into serious debt during the Great Depression and lost most of his assets by the late 30s. However, he retained the newspapers and magazines. Since he died in 1951, Hearst Communications has been partly managed by his family and continues to be a prominent media conglomerate, with even TV channels under its acquisition. ‘When Calls the Heart’ is set in the 1910s, a time when William Randolph Hearst Sr. was a known name in the newspaper industry. Hence, he has been mentioned in the show to depict the era it is set in.

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