Mr. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, publisher of New York Times, died today. It is fascinating to read the short history of the New York Times, Adolph Ochs and Mr. Sulzberger-former publishers and family owners.
The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 108 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. Its website is the most popular American newspaper website, receiving more than 30 million unique visitors per month.
The New York Times was founded on September 18, 1851, by journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond, who was then a Whig and who would later be the second chairman of the Republican National Committee, and former banker George Jones as the New-York Daily Times. Sold at an original price of one cent per copy, the inaugural edition attempted to address the various speculations on its purpose and positions that preceded its release:
The New York Times was acquired by Adolph Ochs, publisher of the Chattanooga Times, in 1896. The following year, he coined the paper’s slogan, “All The News That’s Fit To Print”; this was a jab at competing papers such as Joseph Pulitzer‘s New York World and William Randolph Hearst‘s New York Journal which were known for lurid yellow journalism. Under his guidance, The New York Times achieved international scope, circulation, and reputation. In 1904, The New York Times received the first on-the-spot wireless transmission from a naval battle, a report of the destruction of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Port Arthur in the Yellow Sea from the press-boat Haimun during the Russo-Japanese war.
Ochs was born to German-Jewish immigrants, Julius and Bertha Levy Ochs, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father had left Bavaria for the United States in 1846. He was a highly educated man and fluent in six languages which he gave instruction in at schools in the South. He sided with the Union during the war. Bertha, who had come to the United States in 1848, a refugee from Rhenish Bavaria and the revolution there, had lived in the South before her 1853 marriage with Julius, and during the war sympathized with the South, though their differing sympathies didn’t separate their household.
After the war, the family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. In Knoxville, Adolph studied in the public schools and during his spare time delivered newspapers. At 11, he went to work at the Knoxville Chronicle as office boy to William Rule, the editor, who became a mentor. In 1871 he was a grocer’s clerk at Providence, Rhode Island, attending a night school meanwhile. He then returned to Knoxville, where he was a druggist’s apprentice for some time. In 1872, he returned to the Chronicle as a “printer’s devil,” who looked after various details in the composing room of the paper.
His siblings also worked at the newspaper to supplement the income of their father, a lay rabbi for Knoxville’s small Jewish community. The Chronicle was the only Republican, pro-Reconstruction, newspaper in the city, but Ochs counted Father Ryan, the Poet-Priest of the Confederacy, among his customers.
At the age of 19, he borrowed $250 to purchase a controlling interest in The Chattanooga Times, becoming its publisher. The following year he founded a commercial paper called The Tradesman. He was one of the founders of the Southern Associated Press and served as president. In 1896, at the age of 38, he again borrowed money to purchase The New York Times, a money-losing newspaper that had a wide range of competitors in New York City. He formed the New York Times Co., placed the paper on a strong financial foundation, and became the majority stockholder. In 1904, he hired Carr Van Anda as his managing editor. Their focus on objective news reporting, in a time when newspapers were openly and highly partisan, and a well-timed price decrease (from 3¢ per issue to 1¢) led to its rescue from near oblivion. The paper’s readership increased from 9,000 at the time of his purchase to 780,000 by the 1920s.
His only daughter, Iphigene Bertha Ochs, married Arthur Hays Sulzberger, who became publisher of the Times after Adolph died.(source Wikipedia)
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who guided The New York Times and its parent company through a long, sometimes turbulent period of expansion and change on a scale not seen since the newspaper’s founding in 1851, died early Saturday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 86.
The paper he took over as publisher in 1963 was the paper it had been for decades: respected and influential, often setting the national agenda. But it was also in precarious financial condition and somewhat insular, having been a tightly held family operation since 1896, when it was bought by his grandfather Adolph S. Ochs.
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