Adolph Ochs

Adolph Ochs


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Adolph Ochs, the son of Jewish immigrants from Germany, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 12th March, 1858. He worked as a compositor on the Louisville Courier-Journal before buying a controlling interest in the Chattanooga Times in July, 1878. This became one of the most successful newspapers in the South and by 1892 was making a profit of $25,000 a year from the venture.

In 1996 Ochs purchased the New York Times in 1896. It was no longer the force it was and now had the smallest circulation of the city's eight morning daily newspapers. Ochs announced to his readers that: "It will be my earnest aim that the New York Times give the news, all the news, in concise and attractive form".

Ochs also cut the price of the New York Times from three cents to one cent, and attracted readers from the tabloid press. However, he made it clear he had no intention of competing with the unscrupulous newspapers by declaring on his front-page: "All the News That's Fit to Print". The strategy was successful and circulation jumped from 25,000 in 1898 to 100,000 in 1901.

The newspaper continued to prosper under Ochs control and by 1921 circulation had reached 330,000 during the week and 500,000 on Sunday. Adolph Ochs died on 8th April, 1935.


Adolph Simon Ochs

Adolph S. Ochs, along with Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, helped lay the foundation of modern American journalism. He was born March 12, 1858, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Bavarian immigrants. His father, an abolitionist, and his mother, a secessionist, differed greatly on the issues of the day, and from his earliest years Ochs learned the importance of tolerance and conciliation. Driven from the North by his mother’s Southern sympathies during the Civil War, the Ochs family settled in Knoxville. There, at age eleven, Adolph Ochs began his newspaper career delivering the Knoxville Chronicle to help support his impoverished family. Three years later, when he was promoted to office boy, Ochs decided to make newspapers his life’s work.

At the Chronicle Ochs mastered the skills of newspaper composition and was soon much sought after as a printer and typesetter. In 1877, after working briefly in Louisville, Ochs took a position with the Chattanooga Dispatch. The paper soon failed, but Ochs remained in Chattanooga and a year later, at the age of twenty, he bought another failing local publication, the Chattanooga Times. Starting with just $12.50 in working capital, Ochs transformed the ragged daily into one of the South’s leading newspapers. A technical perfectionist and a political moderate, Ochs produced a paper that was attractive, accurate, and fair. Though an ardent Democrat, Ochs resisted the extremism of Tennessee’s Bourbon leaders and instead urged cooperation with the North and moderation towards blacks. Locally he pressed for reform, and the Times became an outspoken advocate of honest, efficient government.

Ochs contributed to the community in other ways as well. He helped establish the town’s first public library, assisted in the effort to establish the Chickamauga-Chattanooga Military Park, and led a movement to preserve much of Lookout Mountain. Ochs was also an important figure in Chattanooga’s Jewish community and contributed heavily to the town’s Reform congregation.

Soon after acquiring the Times, Adolph Ochs emerged as Chattanooga’s greatest booster, and he tirelessly pursued the city’s economic development. Ochs’s efforts helped create a local economic boom in the 1880s, and Chattanooga’s rapid growth brought the young publisher considerable wealth and prestige. Emboldened by his sudden success, Ochs invested heavily in area real estate and organized vast syndicates to develop nearby lands. His plans were soon dashed, however, when land values crashed in 1887, leaving the publisher with huge financial losses.

The Panic of 1893 dealt Ochs another severe economic blow, and by 1896 his modest empire was on the verge of collapse. Desperate for income to pay his mounting debts, he drew on his remaining credit and set out to buy another failing newspaper. Equipped with “$70,000 and a letter from Grover Cleveland,” Ochs acquired the nearly bankrupt New York Times on July 1, 1896. Applying lessons learned in Chattanooga, Ochs turned the metropolitan daily into one of the nation’s great publishing dynasties, and the Ochs-Sulzberger family played a leading role in twentieth-century American journalism.

Adolph Ochs left Chattanooga shortly after his purchase of the New York Times, yet he continued to have an active interest in the community and its development. He died there April 8, 1935, during a final visit to the city he loved and helped to create.


The Sulzberger family: A complicated Jewish legacy at The New York Times

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Thursday, The New York Times announced that its publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 66, is stepping down at the end of the year and will be succeeded by his son, 37-year-old Arthur Gregg (A.G.) Sulzberger.

The familial exchange of power wasn’t unexpected. The younger Sulzberger is the sixth member of the Ochs Sulzberger clan to serve as publisher of the prominent New York newspaper. He is a fifth-generation descendant of Adolph S. Ochs, who bought the newspaper in 1896 as it was facing bankruptcy.

The family’s Jewish history — Adolph Ochs was the child of German Jewish immigrants — has often been the subject of fascination and scrutiny, especially during and after World War II, when the paper was accused of turning a blind eye to atrocities against Jews.

Today the family’s Jewish ties are less apparent than they were in the past. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. was raised in his mother’s Episcopalian faith and later stopped practicing religion. He and his wife, Gail Gregg, were married by a Presbyterian minister. However, he has said that people still tend to regard him as Jewish due to his last name.

A look back into the family’s history shows why. Adolph Ochs, the original member of the Ochs Sulzberger clan, married Effie Wise, the daughter of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, a leading American Reform Jewish scholar who founded the movement’s rabbinical school, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

After Ochs’ death, his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, took over the reins at The Times. Sulzberger, a Reform Jew, was an outspoken anti-Zionist at a time when the Reform movement was still debating the issue. He and his family “were closely knit into the Jewish philanthropic world as befitted their social and economic standing,” wrote Neil Lewis, a former longtime reporter at The Times.

The owners drew criticism for the way the paper covered Jewish affairs, particularly the Holocaust. Critics said the newspaper failed to give adequate coverage to Nazi atrocities committed against Jews, a charge that The Times later owned up to. Arthur Hays Sulzberger had experienced anti-Semitism, and he was worried about his paper being perceived as too Jewish, Laurel Leff wrote in her 2005 book “Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper.”

“There would be no special attention, no special sensitivity, no special pleading,” Leff wrote.

In a 2001 article for The Times, former Executive Editor Max Frankel wrote that the paper, like many other media outlets at the time, fell in line with U.S. government policy that downplayed the plight of Jewish victims and refugees, but that the views of the publisher also played a significant role.

“He believed strongly and publicly that Judaism was a religion, not a race or nationality — that Jews should be separate only in the way they worshiped,” Frankel wrote. “He thought they needed no state or political and social institutions of their own. He went to great lengths to avoid having The Times branded a ‘Jewish newspaper.'”

As a result, wrote Frankel, Sulzberger’s editorial page “was cool to all measures that might have singled [Jews] out for rescue or even special attention.”

Though The Times wasn’t the only paper to provide scant coverage of Nazi persecution of Jews, the fact that it did so had large implications, Alex Jones and Susan Tifft wrote in their 1999 book “ The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times.”

“Had The Times’ highlighted Nazi atrocities against Jews, or simply not buried certain stories, the nation might have awakened to the horror far sooner than it did,” Jones and Tifft wrote.

In 1961, Arthur Hays Sulzberger stepped down as publisher, three years after having suffered a stroke, giving the position to his son-in-law Orvil Dryfoos. Dryfoos died two years later from heart failure, so his brother-in-law Arthur “Punch” Ochs Sulzberger took over. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who died in 2012, identified as “nominally Jewish, although not at all religious.” He was “much more comfortable with his Judaism” than his father, wrote former Times religion reporter Ari Goldman. Still, stories related to Jewish topics were carefully edited, said Goldman, who worked at the Times in 1973-93.

“Those stories got a little more editorial attention, and I’m not saying they were leaning one way or another, but the paper was conscious that it had this reputation and had this background and wanted to make sure that the stories were told fairly and wouldn’t lead to charges of favoritism or of bending over backwards,” ” he told JTA on Monday.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger raised his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., in his wife’s Episcopalian faith. But Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. still had some connections to his Jewish background. In high school he went on a trip to Israel that left him slightly intrigued by his background, Jones and Tifft wrote. While criticism from the Jewish community under his tenure was less harsh than during his grandfather’s time, many, particularly on the right, still saw the newspaper as being biased against Israel.

Nevertheless, given its owners’ family history, its disproportionately large Jewish readership and its frequent coverage of Jewish preoccupations, The Times is often regarded as a “Jewish newspaper” — often disparagingly so by anti-Semites.

That perception is “largely because of the family and because of the family’s Jewish name and Jewish roots,” Goldman said, “so whether they’re Jewish or not today, there’s a feeling that this is still a newspaper with a heavy Jewish influence.”

And that family history lives on. A.G. Sulzberger is part of a generation at the paper that includes his cousins Sam Dolnick, who oversees digital and mobile initiatives, and David Perpich, a senior executive who heads its Wirecutter product review site. Dolnick’s mother, Lynn Golden, is the great-great-granddaughter of Julius and Bertha Ochs, the parents of Adolph S. Ochs, and was married in a Chattanooga, Tennessee, synagogue named in their memory. Perpich, a grandson of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, was married by a rabbi in 2008.

A.G. Sulzberger is best known for heading a team that in 2014 put together a 96-page “innovation report” that meant to prod The Times into moving more rapidly in catching up with the new digital media landscape. Asked recently about his working relationship with Dolnick and Perpich, A.G. Sulzberger spoke of their strong journalism backgrounds and invoked the family ethos.

“If they weren’t members of the Ochs/Sulzberger family, our competitors would be bombarding them with job offers,” he said. “But they are deeply devoted to this place, and the three of us are committed to continuing to work as a team.”


Confederate Flags in Times Square?

On a recent trip to NYC, a Civil War Times editor noticed they had been covered up with stickers of a less controversial design that were meant to mimic new tiling.

Although the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had long contested that the mosaics appeared to be the Confederate battle flag, in August 2017, amid growing tensions surrounding Confederate monuments and symbols, the MTA announced it would modify the design, regardless. The MTA has not returned requests from Civil War Times for comment on the updated design.

In New York City, on the walls of the sprawling subway station beneath Times Square, small mosaics bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Confederate battle flag form part of a decorative border. Can it be that the Southern Cross, an icon that still stirs controversy 150 years after the war, is prominently displayed at one of the world’s busiest intersections? According to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, the emblem—a blue X edged in white and set against a red background—stands for nothing more than the convergence of subway lines. But my research suggests a more interesting ancestry. Distinctive symbols are featured in stations throughout the system. For example, the Astor Place station is decorated with beavers, a reference to fur trader John Jacob Astor the Grand Central Station has locomotives on its walls. So what can be inferred from the Times Square decor? ° Designed by architect Squire J. Vickers, the mosaic was installed in the station below the former New York Times building in 1917.

In a 1919 Architectural Record article Vickers, a somewhat eccentric figure, explained how designing with tile placed him in a position “conceived in strength and power, standing forth like a prophet of old, proclaiming calmly from a lofty height great and universal truths.” He recognized the power of symbols, and his mosaics were loaded with them, many speaking to New York’s history. ° Several notable Confederates are part of that past. Four Rebel generals are buried in the Bronx’s Wood­lawn Cemetery, including Archibald Gracie III, whose home, Gracie Mansion, now serves as the official mayoral resi­dence. Both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson lived in Brooklyn as young U.S. Army officers, and Stonewall was baptized in the city and spent his honeymoon there. Varina Howell Davis lived on Central Park West for the last 16 years of her life, working for the New York World.

Yet outside of calling New York home at some point in life—or death—those famous Rebels have no particular connection to Times Square. In fact, Times Square did not even exist prior to 1904 the neighborhood was then called Long Acre. For much of the 19th century, Long Acre Square was relatively undeveloped, known for its livery stables, grazing pastures and brothels. But in the early 20th century, the area between 7th Avenue and Broad­way underwent a transformation, evolving into the “Crossroads of the World.” Rather than Lee or Jackson, a more likely candidate for the Times Square Confederate is perhaps the man who cata­lyzed that transformation. If the mosaic represents a convergence of subway lines, Vickers also unmistakably references the symbol of the South to highlight the station’s proximity to a publisher with strong ties to the South: New York Times owner Adolph S. Ochs.

Adolph S. Ochs (Library of Congress)

In 1904 Ochs finished building his new headquarters at Long Acre Square, a skyscraper that would have its own subway station in its basement. To commemorate the new structure, the Board of Aldermen renamed the neighborhood Times Square. The Times building quickly became the cultural and artistic nucleus of Manhattan. Upscale hotels were built. New res­taurants opened. And of course, there were the theaters. Times Square became the city’s meeting place, where New Yorkers came to grab a late edition, and where the world unofficially entered the New Year. By the time Vickers began building the subway station in 1917, Times Square was on the cusp of its legendary heyday in the Roaring ’20s. The Great White Way was born courtesy of Ochs and his “Old Gray Lady.”

The Confederacy was a significant part of Adolph Ochs’ family history, thanks to his mother. As a teenager in Ba­varia, Bertha Levi Ochs was so outspoken in her sympathy for revolutionaries involved in the upheaval in 1848 that her family sent her to relatives in Mississippi. In America Ber­tha married Ju­lius Ochs, also a German immigrant, and the couple soon moved to Ohio, where Adolph was born in 1858. When the Civil War broke out, Bertha decided that she couldn’t bear the Union’s despotism, and after her brother was commissioned a Rebel officer, she decided to go to Memphis. But her husband Julius re­mained loyal to the Union, and fought with an Ohio regiment.


(Photo by Robin Holland)

This “house divided” stood just fine. Bertha helped the Confederates by smuggling spies and quinine across the lines. When she was caught, it was Julius, by that time a well-respected Union officer, who saved her from prison. In a 1930 speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier at Mount Hope Cemetery, George Ochs, Adolph’s younger brother and the historian of the New York Chapter of the Sons of Confed­erate Veterans, spoke of his parents, saying the “beautiful bonds of affection and devotion to each other had happily withstood the crucial strain of civil strife, [and they] returned to their home in Tennessee, yet to the day of their death, the convictions of each remained unaltered, and both gave unflattering devotion to the respective causes, which each had so firmly upheld.” For Bertha this meant serving as a charter member of the United Daugh­ters of the Confederacy. When she died, UDC members shrouded her coffin with the Con­federate battle flag. In 1924 Adolph donated $1,000 to have his mother’s name engraved on the founders’ roll of the Stone Mountain Con­fed­erate Memorial. Enclosed with his check was a letter in which he sum­med up his mother’s views: “Robert E. Lee was her idol.”


(Photo by Robin Holland)

Although he spent the second half of his life in New York City, Adolph Ochs never forgot his Southern roots. Raised in Knoxville, Tenn., he had cut his teeth as a publisher of the Chattanooga Times, which he acquired when he was only 20 years old. It was not until 1896, following his purchase of the foundering New York Times, that he moved to New York. Years later, he would be honored by the New York Southern Society for a lifetime of “unu­sual achievements in the perpetuation of the history and traditions of the South” and for having “striven on the side of the angels for supporting with unique zeal and power the highest ideals and traditions of the Southern States.” He donated to establish Confederate cem­eteries in Tennessee to fund the United Con­federate Veterans’ reunions and to establish the Chickamauga & Chat­ta­nooga Na­tional Mili­tary Park. He ran editorials and com­memorative and pictorial editions dedicated to Confed­erate veterans’ activities. But Ochs’ reverence for the South is best captured in his response to a 1927 controversy. Falsely accused by a Georgia newspaper of trying to thwart Stone Mountain from acquiring adjacent parkland, Ochs pro­tested in an editorial citing his longstand­ing dedication to Dixie: “I concede to no newspaper pub­lisher in the South a more loyal, sincere, enthusiastic and industrious ad­vo­cacy of the best interests, welfare and prosperity of the South than I have shown in the Chat­tanooga Times and The New York Times. I am confident that all to whom I am known will attest that the South, its interests and its welfare have been and are part of my religion and profession and hobby.” When Ochs died in 1935, the UDC sent a pillow em­broidered with the Con­federate flag to be placed in his coffin.

In 1998, the Times Square subway station underwent a substantial renovation and expansion that included re­-creations of Vickers’ mosaic tribute to Adolph Ochs. Even today, throughout the station’s cavernous, rumbling corridors, the Southern heritage of one of the city’s most influential figures is hiding in plain sight.

New Yorker Dr. David J. Jackowe, a lifelong student of the Civil War, writes about history, art, and medicine. This article was originally published in the August 2012 issue of Civil War Times magazine.


1878 | Adolph Ochs’s First Times (The One in Chattanooga)

Image

In rescuing the failing New York Times 120 years ago, Adolph S. Ochs did not just spring forth, fully formed, from nowhere.

He sprang forth, fully formed, from Chattanooga, Tenn., where he published another newspaper called The Times.

The Ochs-Sulzberger family’s involvement with The Chattanooga Times began in 1878, when Mr. Ochs bought an interest in and full control of the newspaper, and ended in 1999.

As a reminder of that era, Ruth Sulzberger Holmberg, the former publisher and chairwoman of The Chattanooga Times, celebrated her 95th birthday recently.

Other reminders can be found in The New York Times’s headquarters. A stately grandfather clock, presented to Mr. Ochs by the citizens of Chattanooga, stands against the wall outside the company board room on the 16th floor. And in the “Timeseum,” off the third-floor newsroom, is an ornately etched window panel from the door of his Chattanooga office.

It cost Mr. Ochs $250 — down payment on a $1,500 purchase price — to take over the troubled Chattanooga Times. He didn’t put his signature on the papers, however. In July 1878, he was only 20 years old, and his father, Julius, had to sign for him. Once he reached his 21st birthday, and obviously in no mood for modesty, Mr. Ochs told readers in an editorial:

“We take this occasion to state that notwithstanding a boy has published The Times since last July The Times has under his administration steadily increased in circulation and patronage, so that today we can boast that The Times has as large, if not a larger circulation than any paper in East Tennessee.”

The course that Mr. Ochs charted for The Chattanooga Times seemed almost like a blueprint for what he was about to do in New York.

“Unlike most of his fellow publishers, Adolph sought to make his newspaper impartial rather than a party organ or a shill for business interests,” Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones wrote in “The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times.” “To modern readers, the paper’s prose seems flowery and overheated, but for its era The Chattanooga Times was remarkably even-handed, at various times offending and pleasing both Democrats and Republicans.”

That’s not to say that all went well. Mr. Ochs was caught up in the local real-estate bubble of the 1880s, losing almost $500,000. Chastened, but not entirely educated, he then borrowed heavily to construct the six-story Ochs Building in Chattanooga, at Georgia Avenue and East Eighth Street, as the new headquarters of The Times. It was a modern marvel, all the way up to its gold dome. (It is now known as the Dome Building.) It was also heavily mortgaged.

An eight-foot grandfather clock was smuggled secretly into the Ochs Building by the publisher’s admirers to be presented on Dec. 8, 1892, the day the headquarters officially opened.

Mr. Ochs’s public response to the gift was to promise that he would “endeavor not to go too fast or too slow.”

His private thoughts were far darker. “He hated the hypocrisy he felt,” Doris Faber wrote in “Printer’s Devil to Publisher: Adolph S. Ochs of The New York Times.” “Would he have heard all these fine tributes if the true state of his finances had been known?”

During the many trips Mr. Ochs made to New York in the 1890s to borrow money, he resolved — pretty audaciously, when you think about it — to buy a New York newspaper that could generate much-needed income.

Though he acquired The New York Times in 1896, however, he never left Tennessee entirely.

Mr. Ochs remained the publisher of The Chattanooga Times for the rest of his life. On April 8, 1935, after paying a visit to the Ochs Building, he went to lunch at the nearby Coffee Shoppe. His brother, Col. Milton Ochs, didn’t even look up from the menu as he asked, “What do you think you’ll order, Adolph?”

Mr. Ochs had just suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He was slumped unconscious in his chair. He never recovered.

His granddaughter Ruth was named publisher in 1964, succeeding her first husband, Ben Hale Golden, from whom she was seeking a divorce. “I was born into the Sulzberger-Ochs family,” she wrote on the editorial page, “and am deeply committed to the quality of journalism that these two names have come to exemplify.” She then borrowed her grandfather’s words, pledging that The Times would continue to “give the news impartially, without fear or favor.”

No woman had ever occupied such a powerful position at any of her family’s newspapers. The New York Times, which then denied equal pay and job opportunities to many of the women on its staff, implicitly conceded as much by noting that Mrs. Holmberg had joined a rarefied circle of newspaper executives that included Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, Dorothy Schiff of The New York Post and Oveta Culp Hobby of The Houston Post.

Under Mrs. Holmberg, The Chattanooga Times — at least in the estimation of its New York cousin — “attained a reputation for aggressive reporting and sometimes unpopular editorial opinion, urging support for civil rights legislation during the years of segregation and supporting tightened environmental controls that have been unpopular among many in Chattanooga, a city of heavy industry.”

She relinquished the job to Paul Neely in 1992 and became chairwoman of the company. Five years later, she and her siblings of the third generation — Marian S. Heiskell, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger and Dr. Judith P. Sulzberger — transferred ownership of The Chattanooga Times to their children. (The New York Times Company itself was never an owner of the Chattanooga paper.) Members of the fourth generation sold the property in 1999 to Walter E. Hussman Jr., the owner of the competing Free Press, into which The Times was merged.

“It doesn’t make economic good sense to have two newspapers in this city, especially two that were in full-fledged battle,” Mrs. Holmberg said.

She conceded, however, that surrendering The Chattanooga Times had not been easy. So did Michael Golden, one of her sons, who had been a vice president and treasurer at the newspaper. “It was a very emotional decision,” he said. “This is where our roots came from. This is where Adolph Ochs developed his instincts and his feelings about journalism.”

But the past has not been severed entirely.

Mr. Ochs’s motto, “To give the news impartially, without fear or favor,” continues to be displayed prominently by The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

And 16 floors above turbid Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, his grandfather clock still tells the time of day.


Founding Fathers: Adolph Ochs

The businesses that employ members of your family. The scenic spots where you bring your out of town relatives. The route you ride your bike on Saturdays. The hospital that helped your kids get well. What these aspects of our daily lives have in common is that they were all made possible by people who founded not only some of Chattanooga’s most enduring businesses, but a large part of the makeup of our city as we know it today.

The men and women featured here didn’t just create profitable, lasting companies and institutions. They shaped the history, infrastructure, and culture of our city, overcoming challenges such as the Great Depression, personal illness, and shifting economies, to make a positive impact on the lives around them. They might not have known in the early years and the lean years if their businesses would survive, much less change the fate of the little boom town on the river. But by daring to start new business ventures, creating charitable organizations, opening tourist attractions, preserving land, and building iconic buildings, they became not just a part of Chattanooga’s history, but integral to its future.

Adolph Ochs and his daughter, Iphigene
(Ruth Holmberg’s mother), circa 1902

Adolph Ochs truly understood the newspaper business from bottom to top. A first-generation American born to Bavarian immigrants, he began delivering newspapers at age 8 to help support his parents and five younger siblings. Then at 14, he started work as a “printer’s devil” at the Knoxville Chronicle where his regular hours ended at nine o’clock at night.

Ochs came to Chattanooga when he was 17 to help start an entirely new paper, the Chattanooga Dispatch. When the Dispatch folded after only a few months, he created a much-needed city directory that paid off all of its debts, dollar for dollar.

When he was 20, Ochs decided to buy an interest in the nine-year-old Chattanooga Times. “At the time he didn’t have the money to buy it so he went to the bank to borrow,” says Ochs’s granddaughter Ruth Holmberg, former publisher of the Chattanooga Times and a celebrated civic leader in Chattanooga. But in return for a loan, the banker wanted collateral – and Adolph had nothing.

“So then the banker asked if he could have someone sign on, but my grandfather didn’t know anyone. So he said to him, ‘Well, no one knows me better than you.’ And he got that banker to sign his own note!”

Four years later, the Chattanooga Times was returning a nice profit and Ochs had earned enough capital to become the paper’s sole owner. Eventually he recruited his entire immediate family to the city: His father Julius became the newspaper’s treasurer, his brother George become a managing editor and later a successful reform mayor in Chattanooga and his brother Milton worked for the Chattanooga Times in various executive positions.

Ochs not only promoted Chattanooga’s growth through the newspaper, but contributed to the young city’s economic development in many ways. “He was pretty much a jack of all trades,” Holmberg says. Even after he had left Chattanooga for the New York Times, he showed his devotion to the Scenic City by founding the Julius and Bertha Ochs Memorial Temple on McCallie Avenue and working alongside his brother Milton in expanding and developing the area’s national parks.

To Read About More of Chattanooga’s Founding Fathers, click the following links:


Times Square Ball Drop

It's no secret that one of the most popular destinations in the world for the most highly anticipated night out of the year – New Year's Eve – is New York City. It's all about the sights, sounds, and unique entertainment that this city has to offer—centered, of course, on the Times Square Ball. When you gather in Midtown to watch the Ball Drop, you’re part of a long, rich history of partying!

In 1903, The New York Times newspaper was about to open their new headquarters, the city's second tallest building, in what was then known as Longacre Square. The paper's owner, Adolph Ochs, decided to commemorate their opening with a midnight fireworks show on the roof of the building on December 31, 1903. After four years of New Year's Eve fireworks celebrations, Ochs wanted a bigger spectacle at the building to draw more attention to the newly-renamed Times Square. An electrician was hired to construct a lighted Ball to be lowered from the flagpole on the roof of One Times Square. The iron Ball was only 5 feet in diameter! The very first drop was on New Year's Eve 1907, one second after midnight. Though the Times would later move its headquarters, the New Year's Eve celebration at One Times Square remains a focal celebration for the world.

The Ball has gone through some major transformations in its 100-plus years of partying. The original Ball was replaced in 1920 with a 5-foot, 400-pound iron Ball. This Ball lasted to 1995, when a third Ball debuted, adding rhinestones and a computerized lighting system featuring strobe lights. For the arrival of the new millennium, an entirely new Ball was constructed. Weighing 1,070 pounds and measuring 6 feet in diameter, the fourth ball was covered with 504 Waterford Crystal triangles illuminated with 168 halogen bulbs outside. Internally, 432 bulbs of clear, red, blue, green and yellow colors along with strobe lights and spinning mirrors lit up the night. It was retired on December 31, 2006 newly rigged with light-emitting diodes.

In honor of the Ball Drop's 100th anniversary, a fifth design debuted New Year's Eve 2008. Manufactured again by Waterford Crystal with a diameter of 6 feet, weighing 1,212 pounds, it used LEDs, computerized lighting pattern, and can produce over 16.7 million colors, but only consumes the electricity of 10 toasters! The 2008 Ball was only used once— a sixth new Ball debuted on New Year's Eve 2009 and is still in use.

Today's Ball is 12 feet in diameter, weighing 11,875 pounds. While retaining the 2008 design, this Ball was rebuilt double its previous size. To accommodate this new Ball, the flagpole was also enlarged, now rising 475 feet above the street. It remains atop One Times Square year-round, reminding the people below of the most exciting night of the year, and building the anticipation. Where will you be this New Year's Eve? How will you become a part of the Ball's history?


It’s Complicated: The Sulzberger Family And The Jewish Legacy At The New York Times

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Thursday, The New York Times announced that its publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 66, is stepping down at the end of the year and will be succeeded by his son, 37-year-old Arthur Gregg (A.G.) Sulzberger.

The familial exchange of power wasn’t unexpected. The younger Sulzberger is the sixth member of the Ochs Sulzberger clan to serve as publisher of the prominent New York newspaper. He is a fifth-generation descendant of Adolph S. Ochs, who bought the newspaper in 1896 as it was facing bankruptcy.

The family’s Jewish history — Adolph Ochs was the child of German Jewish immigrants — has often been the subject of fascination and scrutiny, especially during and after World War II, when the paper was accused of turning a blind eye to atrocities against Jews.

Today the family’s Jewish ties are less apparent than they were in the past. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. was raised in his mother’s Episcopalian faith and later stopped practicing religion. He and his wife, Gail Gregg, were married by a Presbyterian minister. However, he has said that people still tend to regard him as Jewish due to his last name.

A look back into the family’s history shows why. Adolph Ochs, the original member of the Ochs Sulzberger clan, married Effie Wise, the daughter of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, a leading American Reform Jewish scholar who founded the movement’s rabbinical school, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

After Ochs’ death, his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, took over the reins at The Times. Sulzberger, a Reform Jew, was an outspoken anti-Zionist at a time when the Reform movement was still debating the issue. He and his family “were closely knit into the Jewish philanthropic world as befitted their social and economic standing,” wrote Neil Lewis, a former longtime reporter at The Times.

The owners drew criticism for the way the paper covered Jewish affairs, particularly the Holocaust. Critics said the newspaper failed to give adequate coverage to Nazi atrocities committed against Jews, a charge that The Times later owned up to. Arthur Hays Sulzberger had experienced anti-Semitism, and he was worried about his paper being perceived as too Jewish, Laurel Leff wrote in her 2005 book “Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper.”

“There would be no special attention, no special sensitivity, no special pleading,” Leff wrote.

“He believed strongly and publicly that Judaism was a religion, not a race or nationality — that Jews should be separate only in the way they worshiped.”

In a 2001 article for The Times, former Executive Editor Max Frankel wrote that the paper, like many other media outlets at the time, fell in line with U.S. government policy that downplayed the plight of Jewish victims and refugees, but that the views of the publisher also played a significant role.

“He believed strongly and publicly that Judaism was a religion, not a race or nationality — that Jews should be separate only in the way they worshiped,” Frankel wrote. “He thought they needed no state or political and social institutions of their own. He went to great lengths to avoid having The Times branded a ‘Jewish newspaper.’”

As a result, wrote Frankel, Sulzberger’s editorial page “was cool to all measures that might have singled [Jews] out for rescue or even special attention.”

Though The Times wasn’t the only paper to provide scant coverage of Nazi persecution of Jews, the fact that it did so had large implications, Alex Jones and Susan Tifft wrote in their 1999 book “ The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times.”

“Had The Times’ highlighted Nazi atrocities against Jews, or simply not buried certain stories, the nation might have awakened to the horror far sooner than it did,” Jones and Tifft wrote.

In 1961, Arthur Hays Sulzberger stepped down as publisher, three years after having suffered a stroke, giving the position to his son-in-law Orvil Dryfoos. Dryfoos died two years later from heart failure, so his brother-in-law Arthur “Punch” Ochs Sulzberger took over. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who died in 2012, identified as “nominally Jewish, although not at all religious.” He was “much more comfortable with his Judaism” than his father, wrote former Times religion reporter Ari Goldman. Still, stories related to Jewish topics were carefully edited, said Goldman, who worked at the Times in 1973-93.

“Those stories got a little more editorial attention, and I’m not saying they were leaning one way or another, but the paper was conscious that it had this reputation and had this background and wanted to make sure that the stories were told fairly and wouldn’t lead to charges of favoritism or of bending over backwards,” ” he told JTA on Monday.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger raised his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., in his wife’s Episcopalian faith. But Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. still had some connections to his Jewish background. In high school he went on a trip to Israel that left him slightly intrigued by his background, Jones and Tifft wrote. While criticism from the Jewish community under his tenure was less harsh than during his grandfather’s time, many, particularly on the right, still saw the newspaper as being biased against Israel.

“He went to great lengths to avoid having The Times branded a ‘Jewish newspaper.”

Nevertheless, given its owners’ family history, its disproportionately large Jewish readership and its frequent coverage of Jewish preoccupations, The Times is often regarded as a “Jewish newspaper” — often disparagingly so by anti-Semites.

That perception is “largely because of the family and because of the family’s Jewish name and Jewish roots,” Goldman said, “so whether they’re Jewish or not today, there’s a feeling that this is still a newspaper with a heavy Jewish influence.”

And that family history lives on. A.G. Sulzberger is part of a generation at the paper that includes his cousins Sam Dolnick, who oversees digital and mobile initiatives, and David Perpich, a senior executive who heads its Wirecutter product review site. Dolnick’s mother, Lynn Golden, is the great-great-granddaughter of Julius and Bertha Ochs, the parents of Adolph S. Ochs, and was married in a Chattanooga, Tennessee, synagogue named in their memory. Perpich, a grandson of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, was married by a rabbi in 2008.

A.G. Sulzberger is best known for heading a team that in 2014 put together a 96-page “innovation report” that meant to prod The Times into moving more rapidly in catching up with the new digital media landscape. Asked recently about his working relationship with Dolnick and Perpich, A.G. Sulzberger spoke of their strong journalism backgrounds and invoked the family ethos.

“If they weren’t members of the Ochs/Sulzberger family, our competitors would be bombarding them with job offers,” he said. “But they are deeply devoted to this place, and the three of us are committed to continuing to work as a team.”


Chattanooga Times and New York Times

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.

In 1904, Ochs moved the New York Times to a newly-built building on Longacre Square in Manhattan, which the City of New York then renamed as Times Square. On New Year's Eve 1904, he had pyrotechnists illuminate his new building at One Times Square with a fireworks show from street level.

On August 18, 1921, the 25th anniversary of reorganization, the staff of The New York Times numbered 1,885. It was classed as an independent Democratic publication, and consistently opposed William Jennings Bryan in his presidential campaigns. By its fairness in the presentation of news, editorial moderation and ample foreign service, it secured a high place in American journalism, becoming widely read and influential throughout the United States.

Beginning with 1896, there was issued weekly a supplement, eventually called The New York Times Book Review and Magazine. Gradually other auxiliary publications were added: The Annalist, a financial review appearing on Mondays The Times Mid-Week Pictorial on Thursdays Current History Magazine, a monthly, started during World War I. The New York Times Index started in 1913 and was published quarterly it compared only with the similar Index to The Times.

In 1901, Ochs became proprietor and editor of the Philadelphia Times, later merged in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, of which he was sole owner from 1902-12, when he sold it to Cyrus H. K. Curtis.


Bible Encyclopedias

" ADOLPH OCHS S. (1858-), American newspaper proprietor, was born in Cincinnati March 12 1858, of Jewish parentage. His father, who had left Bavaria for the United States in 1846, settled in 1865 with his family in Knoxville, Tenn., where the son studied in the public schools and during his spare time delivered newspapers. At the age of 15 he became a printer's devil on a Knoxville paper, and advanced so rapidly that in 1878 he gained control of the reorganized Chattanooga Times, which soon assumed a high position among the papers of the South. 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 he obtained control of The New York Times, then in financial difficulties and with circulation greatly diminished. He formed the New York Times Co., placed the paper on a strong financial foundation, and became the majority stockholder. With a daily issue on Aug. 18 1896 of 18,900 (of which over half was returned unsold), the circulation increased rapidly, reaching an average of 352,500 in 1921. Annual receipts exceeded $15,000,000, probably equalling those of any other American paper. On Aug. 18 1921, the 25th anniversary of reorganization, the staff of The New York Times numbered 1,885. It was classed as an independent Democratic publication, and consistently opposed William Jennings Bryan in his presidential campaigns. By its fairness in the presentation of news, editorial moderation and ample foreign service, it secured a high place in American journalism, becoming widely read and influential throughout the country. Beginning with 1896 there was issued weekly a supplement eventually called The New York Times Book Review and Magazine. Gradually other auxiliary publications were added: The Annalist, a financial review appearing on Mondays The Times Mid-Week Pictorial on Thursdays Current History Magazine, a monthly, started during the World War. The New York Times Index, started in 1913 and published quarterly, forms an invaluable guide to contemporary events, to be compared only with the similar Index to The Times of London. In 1901 Mr. Ochs became proprietor and editor of the Philadelphia Times, later merged in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, of which he was sole owner from 1902-12, when he sold it to Cyrus. W. K. Curtis.


Watch the video: All the News Thats Fit to Print - The Adolph Ochs Story


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