Hugh Stephens was born on December 4, 1877, in Columbia, Missouri. His grandfather, James L. Stephens, donated $20,000 to the Columbia Baptist Female College, which was renamed Stephens College in his honor. Hugh’s father, Edwin W. Stephens, owned the Tribune Printing Company in Jefferson City. He was also president of the Missouri Press Association, and advocated for the establishment of a School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Additionally, Edwin was instrumental in the creation of the State Historical Society of Missouri.
When Edwin became suddenly ill in 1897, Hugh left his studies at the University of Missouri and took over the Tribune Printing Company. In 1905, he built a new office in downtown Jefferson City, and renamed the business the Hugh Stephens Printing Company.
Stephens was elected president of the Jefferson City Commercial Club in 1911. During his eight terms, he was responsible for expanding St. Mary’s Hospital, building the Governor’s Hotel, creating an industrial fund, and leading the $3,500,000 bond issue to rebuild the Capitol.
On June 19, 1901, Stephens married Bessie Miller, daughter of Nick T. Miller. The couple had one daughter, Louisa Miller Stephens.← Zeisberg, Franz J.