The Philadelphia Broadcasting Pioneers (2023)

The Philadelphia Broadcasting Pioneers (2)

The Philadelphia Broadcasting Pioneers (3)

The Philadelphia Inquirer was incorporated on Monday June 1, 1829. It was then called the Pennsylvania Inquirer and is now the third oldest independent daily newspaper in the United States. However, through various mergers, the Inquirer can rightly claim to be the oldest daily newspaper in America.

When the Inquirer started, the newspaper became the city's 8th daily newspaper. Eleven years later, in 1840, the editor of the newspaper, Jesper Harding, pulled off a coup. The newspaper was the first American newspaper to receive serial rights for the exclusive publication of several Charles Dickens novels. At that time the newspaper was published in a small printing shop on Bank Alley between Front Street and Second Street. It also published "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe (a resident of Philadelphia) on February 15, 1845 under the heading "A Beautiful Poem". By 1851, the Jesper Harding firm had moved to 57 South Third Street in Center City.

Jesper Harding was a native Philadelphian who was born on Tuesday November 5, 1799 in the free (non-colonial) United States. He died here in the city he loved so much on Monday August 21, 1865. After serving as an apprentice for the area as publisher Enos Bronson, he went into business for himself in 1818 at the age of 18. Eleven years later, in 1829, he bought the Pennsylvania Inquirer, which had only appeared a few months. At the same time he began printing Bibles. Harding later became the largest printer and publisher of The Word of God in the country. In 1825 he printed The Italian Husband, a dramatic poem. It is one of his earliest known published works.

While Andrew Jackson, as President of the United States, was at odds with the directors of the Bank of the United States, Harding sought to defend the bank while supporting the nation's chief executive. It was a difficult endeavor at best. Jesper eventually supported the anti-Jackson factions and during the 1836 election supported William Henry Harrison, the Whig party candidate. Democratic nominee Martin Van Buren would win that election, but four years later Harrison would defeat incumbent Van Buren in a rematch. The Inquirer became known for his political beliefs and support for Whig candidates. Harding also owned a paper mill in Trenton, New Jersey.

When Harding merged the Inquirer with the Daily Courier, it was known, at least for a while (1839), as "The Pennsylvania Inquirer and Daily Courier." Later (1845) it was called "The Pennsylvania Inquirer and National Gazette".

William White Harding (born 1 November 1830 in Philadelphia), Jesper's son, joined his father's printing and publishing business in 1855. William assumed responsibility as editor of the newspaper in 1859. It was he who changed the name of the publication to the Philadelphia Inquirer the next year (April 1860). However, Jesper did not go to the pasture. President Abraham Lincoln appointed him Collector of Internal Revenue. The Hardings, by the way, were not directly related to 20th-century President Warren G. Harding.

William set up routes for paper delivery, where the news outlets delivered the newspaper and collected the subscription price directly from the public. The newspaper faced intense competition, but its extensive coverage and modernization of equipment policies saw it rise to the top. In 1863 it was one of the first in the US to use a web-fed rotary press. This allowed the Inquirer to print on both sides of the paper at the same time. The physical size of the newspaper was also increased from what was referred to in the 19th century as "a folio to a quarto".

In 1863, William Harding had a paper mill in Manayunk, then a suburb of Philadelphia. He operated it until 1878. It was at this location that he introduced many new inventions and systems to the paper business. In 1876 Harding was awarded a Medal for Papermaking, Binding and Printing at our national centenary celebrations in the city's Fairmount Park. The Harding Company was the only exhibitor to manufacture the paper, print it, and incorporate it into the finished work.

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During the War Between the States, the Philadelphia Inquirer was circulated among Union troops throughout the field and fighting front lines. The newspaper has been reported to have provided some of the most objective coverage of the conflict. It was definitely pro-union, but was read by Confederate officers to find out where the northern troops were.

In 1889, the news journal came into the possession of James Elverson, a well-known Philadelphia publisher. One of his first duties as owner was to cut the newspaper's price in half; from two cents to a penny. He also began taking classified ads. It was he who launched huge, big promotions to increase the publication's circulation.

James Elverson was born in England in 1838, moved to America in 1847 and attended the Newark, New Jersey public school system. He became a telegraph messenger, telegraph operator and later a manager. He consolidated offices in Newark and also at the Associated Press. During the Civil War he was head of the American Telegraph bureau in the country's capital. From 1865 to 1879 he was the owner of the publication The Philadelphia Saturday Night. Elverson started Golden Days, a weekly newspaper for boys and girls, in 1880.

This publication contained series and articles by Oliver Optic, Harry Castleman and Horatio Alger, Jr. It also contained works by other popular authors for America's youth and was a highly successful financial venture. "Correspondence circles" were formed among the subscribers with clubs in all parts of the country.

Elverson lived in Philly until his death in 1911. The town of Elverson, Pennsylvania was named for him in 1899. He was a delegate to the 1900 Republican Convention held at the Exposition Auditorium in West Philadelphia, 34th & Spruce. It was McKinley himself who had dedicated the building three years earlier in 1897. It was a temporary building, however, and was replaced in 1931 by the Civic Center's Convention Hall, home of the 1940 GOP convention.

At the 1900 convention, Elverson voted to re-elect President William McKinley. The city was besieged by delegates and onlookers. Elverson's newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, had a sign that stretched across Broad Street and consisted of 2,000 electric lightbulbs. It read "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - WORLD'S LARGEST REPUBLIC PRINT EDITION". According to the newspaper, when the sign was switched on, "an involuntary exclamation of admiration rose from the spectators."

Philadelphia newspapers in 1900 included the Public Ledger, which merged with the Inquirer on April 16, 1934. There was also the Philadelphia Tribune, founded in 1884, and The Bulletin, founded in 1815 as "The American Sentinel." There were also others such as the Philadelphia Record, established in 1870. It was around this time that Elverson decided to add a Sunday edition to his newspaper, the Inquirer, improved the publication's content, and circulation skyrocketed.

In the early 1900s, James Jr. began managing the newspaper. He was widely called "Colonel Elverson," and by the 1920s the Philadelphia Inquirer was called "The Republican Bible of Pennsylvania." Like his father, he was heavily involved in GOP politics. He was a national delegate to both the 1920 and 1924 party congresses.

In 1925, the Inquirer moved to its current location, spanning the Reading Railroad tracks at Broad and Callowhill in Center City Philadelphia, just one block north of Vine Street. The Inquirer is still in the same building, an eighteen story white building commonly referred to as "The Inquirer Building". It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Quaker City skyline.

The building was originally named "The Elverson Building" in honor of James Sr. and is said to have cost tens of millions of dollars to construct. On the 12th and 13th floors the Colonel had a maisonette for himself and his wife. They had a collection of paintings on the walls including five Corots. A work of art, "Les Baigneuses des Iles Borromes," cost the Colonel $50,000. There were also sculptures and numerous antique and modern clocks. It was like a giant mom and pop business where the owners lived above the store.

On January 21, 1929, ownership of the newspaper went in a different direction. No, it wasn't the stock market crash, it was the death of Colonel Elverson. Two Pennsylvania governors bestowed his "rank" on him, and he is said to be a "fun-loving scoundrel with a high regard for beautiful women and fine whiskey."

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The Elversons had no children, so ownership of the newspaper passed to the Colonel's sister, Eleanor, who had married Jules Patenotre in 1894. He was the French ambassador to the United States. When the Colonel died, his sister was a widow and living in Paris with their son Raymond, a small French publisher.

Absent owner Eleanor ordered cuts throughout the paper and directed the executive to wire her $100,000 a month out of the paper's profits. A year later, Eleanor Elverson Patenotre sold the Philadelphia Inquirer to Cyrus Curtis, editor of the Public Ledger, for $10.5 million. Curtis was 82 at the time and dead a year and a half later.

His son-in-law, John Martin, took over and merged Ledger and Inquirer into "one big newspaper." However, it did not work and ownership of the Inquirer (along with the Ledger) reverted to the Patenotres in Paris. On July 31, 1936, Moses Annenberg (Walter's father) announced that he had purchased the Inquirer for $4 million and assumption of $6.8 million in debt. Many sources had estimated the purchase price at $15,000,000. Some even said Moses paid in cash with the money in two suitcases. The Annenbergs have always disputed the $15 million price tag and the cash payment. Moses added a slogan to the newspaper's masthead: "An independent newspaper for all people."

Moses Annenberg wrote the Inquirer's "new platform," which read:

To print the news accurately and fearlessly, but never to be content with just printing the news; always striving to uphold the principles of our American democracy, to fight relentlessly against foreign "isms", to fight intolerance, to be the friend and defender of the persecuted and oppressed; to demand equal justice for employers and workers; to work for the promotion of industry in the Delaware Valley and Pennsylvania; to oppose political hypocrisy and corruption; to fight and never stop fighting to uphold the sanctity of personal liberty and the inviolability of human rights.

Moses, supported by his only son Walter, already had a printing empire with the Daily Racing Form and the Miami Tribune newspaper. The Annenbergs had no problem spending money. They hired new staff and reporters and added features while buying their own printing shop.

Daily circulation of the Philadelphia Inquirer increased from about 280,000 in July 1936 to 345,000 two years later. The number of Sunday readers rose from almost 670,000 to over a million copies. During the same period, the Philadelphia Record (its main morning competitor) declined by 40%.

Moses Annenberg was charged with tax evasion in 1939 with income of more than $3.2 million. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison, paying $10 million in penalties and interest.

Released in June 1942, Moses Annenberg died a month later and Walter inherited the business. Walter became a catalyst in local politics and eventually a national icon. President Richard Nixon appointed him Ambassador to Great Britain in 1969. He was sworn in on April 14, 1969. At this point, Walter Annenberg thought he should sell the paper along with the Daily News (launched March 31, 1925 and purchased by Annenberg in 1957 for $3 million from Philadelphia contractor Matt McCloskey). ). He also decided to sell the WFIL stations owned by Triangle Publications, Walter's company. The same company also owned TV Guide, Seventeen magazine, and other holdings.

The two newspapers were sold to John S. Knight's company Knight Newspapers, Inc. for $55 million shortly after the United States Senate approved Annenberg's ambassadorship. Newspapers had lost advertising money and circulation to the Evening Bulletin, a major player in the newspaper business, for most of the century. The newspaper became part of the Knight chain on December 31, 1969. Shortly after the New Year, Knight formed a subsidy, Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., to operate the two Philly newspapers. In 1974, Knight merged with Ridder Publishing to form one of America's largest newspaper publishers, Knight-Ridder.

However, the sale of the Inquirer and the Daily News was not the only time Annenberg sold a newspaper to Knight. In late 1933, Moses Annenberg and a small group of investors purchased the Miami Beach Tribune. They ran it for a quarter of a year and then shut it down. In the summer of '34, Moses acquired the company's assets as a sole bidder in the company's bankruptcy proceedings. He renamed it the Miami Tribune and began publishing again. In late 1937, the Miami Herald (Annenberg's main competitor) was sold to John Knight, an Ohio publisher, for $2.5 million. Less than a month after purchasing the newspaper, Knight went to Moses Annenberg to see if the Tribune was for sale. On December 1, 1937, Knight Moses paid $600,000 for the Tribune, which hadn't seen much black ink in years. Later that day, Knight padlocked the building, locking it forever.

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In January 1982, the Evening Bulletin went out of business and left the Quaker City with only two dailies, the Inquirer and Daily News. By the mid-1980s, the Inquirer was one of the country's leading daily newspapers. This was in part due to Eugene L. Roberts Jr., who was previously the National Editor of the New York Times. He became Executive Editor here in Philadelphia.

In November 1995 they launched a website making their content available to the world, and 23 months later in October 1997 Knight-Ridder launched The Real Cities network. It is the site for the company's newspaper websites, city resource sites and other local organizations. Today, Real Cities includes non-Knight Ridder groups such as Belo Corporation and Central Newspapers.

By itself, the Inquirer is the third-oldest surviving daily in America, but if you consider other earlier newspapers that have merged and re-merged over the years, the Philadelphia Inquirer can claim to be America's oldest daily. Not the oldest surviving daily newspaper, but the oldest in the entire United States.

Its earliest incarnation was the Pennsylvania Packet, with its first issue dated Monday, October 28, 1771. No, not the sailing liner of the time (called The Pennsylvania Packet), which called at our town quite often, but the newspaper. In 1790, according to that year's census, Philadelphia was the second largest city in the United States with a population of 28,522. The newspaper was 11" x 18" and folded in half to give the reader four reading pages of 9x11.

The package was the work of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. He was probably best known for his printing of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Colonial and Revolutionary Periods Newspapers were not normally transported in the mail, but rather by the postmen as a favour. Remember that one state's money was of questionable value in another. The circulation of the newspapers was small, a thousand subscribers were huge. They were slow to pay and the advertisers were not very numerous. It wasn't an easy business.

John Dunlap was born in Ireland and came to Philadelphia in 1757. He was an apprentice with his uncle and learned the printing business. In 1768 John bought his uncle's shop and on Monday October 28, 1771 he began publishing a weekly newspaper, The Pennsylvania Packet, sometimes called The General Advertiser. The newspaper soon became a reliable source of news on the proceedings of the Continental Congress and the progress of the Revolutionary War. On Tuesday, September 21, 1784, Dunlap began publishing the package as a daily newspaper, the first in the United States, according to the Library of Congress.

Although Dunlap did not become the official printer of the Continental Congress until 1778, the first copies of the Declaration of Independence were printed in Dunlap's shop in July 1776. Continuing to serve the ever-changing needs of government, Dunlap and his partner David Claypoole officially printed the United States Constitution for use by the Constitutional Convention and later published it for the first time, according to the Library of Congress in the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser (a name , which it used since it became a daily newspaper) on Wednesday September 19, 1787.

Each issue was packed with articles and interesting stories from the period. It contained local and national as well as international news. Back then, it might have taken months for “news” to get out to the public. The stories were brought in by the latest sailing ships to call at Philadelphia. Newspapers were often delivered from other cities and the news events were taken from these sources.

The Pennsylvania Packet sometimes contained items written byPhilanthrop, which was a pseudonym for Philly's own Benjamin Franklin. Dunlap and Claypoole were soldiers under the command of General Washington. In the years following the Revolutionary War, the Pennsylvania Packet was considered "one of the most important and influential publications in America". After a series of name changes including Dunlap's Pennsylvania Packet, The General Advertiser, Dunlap's American Daily Advertiser, Dunlap and Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser, and Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser, the newspaper was sold to Zachariah Poulson in 1800. The new publisher was born in Philadelphia in 1761 and died in 1844 and was a librarian with Philadelphia's Library Company until 1806. The newspaper continued to be published under a variety of names, including Poulson's American Daily Advertiser.

In 1839 it was sold to North American Publishing and continued to be printed as a separate publication until 1850. At that time it was taken over by "The North American," a Philadelphia-based newspaper that began publication in 1829 (the same year as the questioner). By 1926, the North American had merged with the Philadelphia Public Ledger and was published as The Public Ledger and North American. Cyrus Curtis, a Philadelphia-based publisher, bought the Ledger (which began as a penny newspaper on March 25, 1836 to compete with the Daily Transcript that had started the previous year) in 1913 from Adolph S. Ochs, a fellow Quaker City printer legend in the business.

Ochs was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1858. He started in the industry as a "newsboy" in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he quickly worked his way up to printer's apprentice and then composer. In 1878, at the age of 20, he was editor of the Chattanooga Times. In 1896 he took over the leadership of the faltering New York Times and through his efforts built it into one of the largest newspapers in the world. He also acquired the Philadelphia Times and the city's Public Ledger. It was his decision that merged the two newspapers into one. Ochs was different from the sensational publishers of the time. He stressed impartiality in every aspect of his papers. Many have referred to his approach as "clinical reporting." For 35 years, from 1900 until his death in 1935, Ochs served on the board of directors of the Associated Press and served on its executive committee.

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Cyrus Hermann Kotzschmar Curtis was born in Portland, Maine in 1850. He died in Philly in 1933. His newspaper empire, which never really took off, traded under the name Curtis-Martin Newspapers, Inc. His first venture was in Boston as publisher and owner of The People's Ledger. He moved to Philadelphia, where he founded The Tribune and Farmer in 1879. His wife, formerly Louisa Knapp, wrote the women's column for that publication. It became so successful that it became the basis for Curtis' first magazine, The Ladies' Home Journal, which he founded in 1883 as The Ladies Journal.

In just seven years, through 1890, the year he founded the Curtis Publishing Company, the magazine was the advertising choice of makers of housewares, fashion, and other items purchased primarily by women. He was looking for the same success for a men's magazine. Curtis decided to buy the former Pennsylvania Gazette, once owned by Benjamin Franklin. It was 1897 and he renamed the publication The Saturday Evening Post. In 1911 he acquired "Country Gentleman".

In 1920, seven years after gaining control of The Ledger, Curtis also purchased The Philadelphia Press, a newspaper founded in 1857. By 1924, Curtis had added the New York Evening Post to his holdings. In 1928, Edward Filene, a Boston merchant who introduced "Filene's Basement" to William Filene and Sons, the firm his father founded, tried to persuade Curtis to buy the Vienna-based newspaper Neue Freie Presse, but Cyrus refused. He told Filene he had no interest in new activities. Three years later he changed his mind and bought The Philadelphia Inquirer. It eventually ended up with the Annenberg family, who published the newspaper for a third of a century.

In recent years, the daily circulation of the Inquirer has fallen to just under 345,000 copies, partly due to access to news on the Internet. It had a daily circulation of 515,000 copies at one time. It is no longer among the top 15 US daily newspapers. The Sunday edition, on the other hand, keeps its circulation at a high level with over 762,000 readers. It ranks fifth among all American publications. The Philadelphia Inquirer serves five counties in Pennsylvania and three in southern New Jersey. Investigator reports are distributed to 155 daily newspapers through the Knight Ridder-Tribune international wire service, which reaches newspapers with 19.3 million daily subscribers and 24.1 million on Sundays.

The newspaper's publisher estimates that over two million people read the newspaper in its various print forms and online in an average week. They have received many awards for outstanding reporting, including Pulitzer Prizes and dozens from the Philadelphia Press Association.

On Saturday November 2, 2002, The Philadelphia Inquirer announced:

The Philadelphia Inquirer posted the fifth-highest daily circulation growth among the nation's 75 largest newspapers and the third-highest Sunday growth, according to figures released yesterday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. For the six months ended September 30, circulation of the Inquirer increased daily by 8,739 to 373,892. On Sundays, circulation increased by 15,550 to 747,969.

The Philadelphia Broadcasting Pioneers (4)

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written, researched and compiled by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2005, all rights reserved

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia email address

(Video) Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting Gene Crane


1. Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting Harvey Clark
(Broadcast Pioneers)
2. Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting Bill Vargus
(Broadcast Pioneers)
3. Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting Peggy King
(Broadcast Pioneers)
4. Lew Klein Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting
(Broadcast Pioneers)
5. Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting Marciarose
(Broadcast Pioneers)
6. Pioneers Of Philadelphia Broadcasting Marc Howard
(Broadcast Pioneers)
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