The History of New York State
Book II, Chapter V
Part II

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

Charles R. Miller was editor from 1883 till his death, in 1922. In 1894 a complete change was made in the policy o the paper. It had been Republican, but supported Cleveland in preference to Blaine. It did not again definitely become a Republican organ. In 1896, after some tears if decline the paper passed under the control of Adolph S. Ochs, an editor from Chattanooga, Tennessee. From that date it gradually grew in strength. Politically, its policy remained as before, an independent, conservative newspaper, but with a Democratic tone. In the historical presidential election of 1896 it supported the Gold Democrats; in 1900 it gave its support to President McKinley; in 1904 to Alton B. Parker, the Democratic candidate; in 1912 and 1916 to Wilson; and in 1920 advocated the League of Nations and supported James M. Cox, the Democratic candidate for President. Though the paper is conservative in public affairs, there has in recent years been no lack of progressiveness shown in its management. New features, such as a full daily court calendar to recommend it to lawyers, and a department of business to recommend it to business men, but this was later transferred to the Sunday issue. In 1897 a weekly financial review was issued as a Monday supplement and continued till 1913. Foreign news had always received more attention in the "Times" than in the average New York newspaper of pre-war days, but this department was further strengthened, especially after the introduction of wireless telegraphy, in the use of which the "Times" was a pioneer. A subsidiary paper to the "Times" is the "Annalist," a financial review of great merit, which in 1913 took the place of the weekly financial review supplement, and is regularly published as a separate review.

In recent years, Frank A. Munsey has played a great and not always a constructive part in the New York newspaper world. He had made ventures into daily journalism at an early date in his business career both in New York and in other cities, and in 1912 he purchased the "New York Press," a Republican paper, which he made Progressive, but it declined with the decline of the Third party. This was followed by his purchase of the "Sun," which had been published continuously from 1833, and which from March, 1887, had issued both morning and evening editions. The name of the "Press" was combined with the "Sun." then, in 1920, Mr. Munsey bought the New York "Herald" and the "Evening Telegram" from the estate of the second James Gordon Bennett, and a further merger was made of the "New York Sun and Herald," with the expressed intention of retaining the best features of each. The result was that the general outline of the "Sun: remained, although in the autumn of 1920 the name of the "Sun" was dropped and that of the "New York Herald" alone retained. The "Evening Sun" was continued and when, in 1923, Mr. Munsey bought the "Globe and Commercial Advertiser," the old paper which had survived since its foundation by Noah Webster, the "Globe" was merged with the "Sun" under the name of "Globe and Sun." During the year that followed the name of the "Globe" was dropped and the paper was continued as the "Sun." the next paper to come under the Munsey control was the "Evening Mail,' which Mr. Munsey bought early in 1824 and merged with the "Evening Telegram." In January, 1924, however, he sold the "New York Herald" to Ogden M. Reid, the proprietor of the "New York Tribune." This left Mr. Munsey with his two group papers, the "Evening sun" and the "Evening telegram," which he declared was as many as one man could satisfactorily control.

The "New York Sun" was first published on September 3, 1833, at 222 William Street, as a one-cent paper, and Benjamin H. Day, the publishers, announced his intention to lay before the public, at a price within the means of everyone, all the news of the day, and at the same time afford an advantageous means of advertising. The subscription price, if paid in advance, was $3 a year. At first Day was news gatherer, editor, printer and publisher, all in one. For capital he had a small printing press and a job lot of paper. The success of the paper was immediate, especially among the poorly paid working classes of the period, who could not afford and had little inclination for reading the pretentious six-penny papers of the period. The paper soon became a recognized medium for "want-ads,' which not only brought increased income, but a larger list of subscribers. The first number, of which some thousands were issued, was of four pages. A circulation of 27,000 was claimed in August, 1836, and in 1838 the paper was sold for $40,000 to Moses Yale Beach. After 1868 Charles A. Dana became the moving power on the paper. In 1880 Chester B. Lord succeeded and successfully managed the paper till l912.

A leading paper is also at the present tine the "New York Herald-Tribune," an amalgamation of the "New York Herald" and the "New York Tribune." The "Tribune" was long noted as the mouthpiece of Horace Greeley. It was first published on April 10, 1841, as a small folio sheet, at the price of one cent a copy. Its aim, as announced by the publisher, was "to print the information daily required by all those who aim to keep posted on every important occurrence, so that the lawyer, the merchant, the banker, the forwarder, the economist, the author, the politician etc., may find whatever he need to see." In Politics it was Whig. The paper increased in importance and its influence and Greeley's were spread all over the country by the "Weekly Tribune," which is credit with having had at one time a circulation of 200,000. In 1845 the building at Nassau and Spruce Streets,, to which the "Tribune" had moved from 30 Ann Streets, was burned down, but was immediately rebuilt, and the paper was published at this address until 1923, when it moved to new quarters on West fortieth Street. When Greeley died following the failure of his candidate for President, in 1872, he was succeeded by the then managing editor, Whitelaw Reid, later United States Ambassador to England who had been connected with the paper for four year previously, and he continued at the head of the paper till 1913, when his son, Ogden M. Reid, succeeded, purchased in 924 the :Herald" from Mr. Munsey and amalgamating the two papers.

The "Herald" had been first published as a penny paper in 1835 by James Gordon Bennett, declaring a non-partisan policy. "We have had," he said in his first editorial, "an experience of nearly fifteen years in conducting newspapers. In debuts if this kind many talk of principle, party principle, as a sort of steel trap to catch the public. We mean to be perfectly understood on this point, and, therefore, openly disclaim steel traps; all principle, as it is called, all party, all politics. Our only guide shall be good sound practical commonsense, applicable to business and bosoms of men engaged in every-day life. We shall support no party; be the organ of no faction or coterie, and care nothing for any election." Bennett, in spite of the small cost of hi paper, entered into competition with the higher priced dailies and his innovations brought him conspicuous success. On his paper Bennett said: "It is my passion, my delight, my thought by day, and my dream by night, to conduct the 'Herald,' and to show posterity that a newspaper an be made the greatest, most fascinating, most powerful organization of civilization ever dreamed of." The "Herald" methods proved a strong factor in making the newspaper of today what it is. In 1871, when the world had not yet learned to think in millions, the profits of the "Herald" were estimated at half a million dollars yearly. In 1868 an unsuccessful attempt was made to establish a London edition of the "Herald." Whilst the London paper failed, the Paris edition, which was founded in 1887 by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., was very successful and soon became the organ of the American colony in Paris. In 1871 the "Herald" achieved world-wide fame by the expedition, under Henry M. Stanley, it send to search for David Livingstone, the explorer, who had been three years lot in the wilds of Africa. The elder Bennett died in 1872, and was succeed in the control of the paper by his son, James Gordon Bennett. In 1899 wireless was used to report the America cup races, and in October, 1906, wireless was used to broadcast news of the worlds series of baseball games, and around the world wireless ship news was established from the "Herald" office on January 17, 1917.

In 1896 William Randolph Hearst became a prominent figure in New York journalism. He founded the "New York Evening Journal" in 1896, after having, in 1895, purchased the "Morning Journal," which he made into the "New York American." After achieving success in the newspaper field on the Pacific coast, Mr. Hearst, then thirty-two years of age, made his debut in New York journalism. In 1924 the "New York American" had become the only widely circulating paper in the city selling regularly at three cents and ten cents for the Sunday edition, which had a declared circulation of 1,100,000 copies. Mr. Hearst, who is the owner of twenty-two other daily newspapers, in various cities of the United States, besides six nationally read magazines, left Harvard in his graduating year, 1877, to take charge of the "San Francisco Examiner," owned by his father, and was being published at a loss. In 1923 the paper had a circulation of 334,000, and its income was stated to be more then $6,000,000. The "Journal" and the "American" made successful campaign issues of the building and operation of the city's subways under municipal control instead of private ownership. The Hearst papers in New York and other cities have asserted independence of party machines and party bosses. Highly capable writers, correspondents and artist have been constantly employed at high salaries, but Mr. Hearst has remained the sole editor and controller of his papers. He has taken care not to be hampered by partners. Mr. Hearst also controls the "Cosmopolitan," "Hearst's International," "Harper's Bazaar," "Motor Magazine," and "Good Housekeeping," this last monthly being published in England also. The Hearst paper and magazines are said to consume nearly one-seventh of the print paper used by newspapers and periodicals in the United States, and the gross earnings of the business he has created in thirty-six years are reported to exceed $100,000,000 per annum.

There are a great many other papers in the city that play a considerable part in its life. The first Sunday paper published in New York was the "Sunday Courier," in 1835, at the Tontine Coffee House. Then there were the "Telegraph," the "Sunday Morning News," and other papers though there was a feeling for a long time against any secular publication on Sunday at all. The New York dailies were driven to the issue of Sunday editions by the demand for news during the civil War and they have continued with them ever since. Among the other papers of note are the "Wall Street Journal," founded in 1882 by two newspaper men from Providence, Charles H. Dow and Edward D. Jones. They had received their training in the pioneer financial news agency of New York which had been established by John J. Kiernan. From an office located in a basement at 24 Broad Street, they issued their daily bulletin of the latest news of "The Street," in competition with a dozen or more other financial new agencies, soon taking the lead in the field because of the regularity and reliability of their reports. In 1902 Clarence W. Barron, who had made a reputation as financial editor of the "Boston Transcript,' and who had originated the "Boston news Bureau," in 1887, purchases the entire organization of the Dow, Jones & Company, thus bringing to the "Journal" organization his knowledge of corporation and railroad finance and the force of his long years of personal service in the collection and distribution of financial news. The "Journal" is located within a block of the Stock Exchange. It has a staff of sixty people who gather news in the financial district. A hundred reporters represent the "Journal" in the large American cities and twenty foreign correspondents communicate with the paper in different part of the world. Another financial journal is the "Wall Street News," which had been originally named first the "Wall Street Summary" and then "Financial America." The "Journal of Commerce" is an old paper and began as a six-penny daily. In 1833, it established a pony express between New York and Philadelphia and it was David Hale who got it from David Maxwell, its founder, who began the negotiations with James Gordon Bennett, which resulted in the organization of the Associated Press. Fifty years ago it was said of it that it depended "for its revenue on the commercial classes" and this has remained true of it from the beginning. In 1923 the "Journal of commerce" was the one important city paper which was not affected by the pressmen's strike. Many people then learned for the first time of the existence of this paper, which has been read by three generations of the merchants of New York.

The Clothing Industries--It is rather a leap from the making of newspapers to the making of clothes, but the leap is justified in New York, for this latter is the major industry of the city. New York sets the fashion for the United States. It picks its motifs from Paris models of the preceding season and to these the New York designers add ideas of their own. The great French designers, the couturiers, usually show their designs in Paris in February. When the Riviera season opens dresses based on these models are worn by all the ladies of fashionable Europe. By the end of spring these fashions have become known and copied. The American buyers usually go over in the spring to see which have "taken" and they bring these models back with them. They are usually made in New York for the season that follows. In Europe the racing season, which is in July and august, determines what is to be worn in the autumn and the winter.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the wholesale manufacture of clothing in New York had passed into the hands of the Jewish part of the population, who raised it to first place in values of products among the industries of New York. Skill in design and workmanship, the use of select materials, and standardization of measurements made the ready-to wear garments turned out in the metropolis the best in the world. Practically all the domestic silk sold in New York is woven in mills located within Port Authority District, chiefly in Paterson and West Hoboken, New Jersey. Brooklyn also has a large silk mill. Many of the silk companies have their headquarters in New York, as, for instance, H. R. Mallinson & Company, who have one mill in Astoria, in New York City, and others in Paterson, Trenton, and West Hoboken, new Jersey, and in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Considerable quantities of ribbon are made in New York. Very little cotton piece goods is woven in the city, though cotton mills in other parts of the country are owned by New York corporations or are controlled by them. The same may be said of woolen piece goods,. In the last twenty years hundred of establishments, large and small, have sprung up for the manufacture of knitted fabrics. These include Jersey cloth, in silk, wood, and cotton, glove and sweater fabrics, and materials for underclothing in silk, wood, cotton and artificial silk. The greater part of this material is partly or entirely shaped in the knitting machines and is for the most part made up on the premises. Woven trimmings of all sorts and materials required for garment finishing, such as tapes and silk labels, are also made.

An accompaniment to the great garment making industry is the making of thread. There are at least two large silk, yarn and thread factories in the city, one of which has 8,000 spindles, and the other 2,000. This latter company, however, does its spinning in New Jersey. Cotton thread and artificial silk yearns are also made, and coarse machine lace, netting and veilings in small quantities. The carpet industry is also well represented.

The carpet industry was given a great impetus through the inventions of Bigelow in the eighteenth century. The Bigelow Company, though not a New York institution, soon established a large selling organization in the city, and is at the present time supplying some of the largest houses and hotels. There are now eleven manufacturers of carpets in New York and these manufacture only rag carpets.

These are representative industries. There are others that have an output in keeping with the magnitude of the city. But the time may come when the actual work of manufacturing will be accomplished outside Manhattan island, and only the trade and distribution attended to here. Space in the city is becoming too valuable for the wide elbow room which the actual work of material production requires. New York is big in almost everything compared with other places, but merchandising is the process that outranks all others. The city had its origin in the need for commerce, and its traffic in fur, in grand and flour in slaves , in articles of luxury, and finally in all the things represented in a modern department store has been an index to its steadily developing prosperity. Fur was an important staple from the beginning, and the trade that was formerly in the hands of the red men is at present in New York City largely in the hands of the Jews. The value of the fur trade of New York is rated at over $126,000,000. Fur cutting is a difficult art and requires experience and skill, for the skin has to be in small pieces so as to give the greatest possible length. There is a good market for the cheaper grades of fur in the summer time, when people are induced to purchase coats on the installment plan. Some of the department stores now hold summer fur sales and promise to hold the goods in storage free of cost till winter. During the World War the price of furs rose to exorbitant figures, and when the war was over the high prices continued.

Miscellaneous Industries--A large trade is naturally done in the city in the products of the farm, garden and mill beverages and meats, in fish and oysters and dairy products, but it is only in quantity that these differ from the trade in other cities. The drug store, likewise, is rather an American than a New York growth, though doubtless New York has played a major roll in the creation. During the nineteenth century the Germans captured practically the drug trade of the world, and New York, like other centers, imported mainly from German ports. Very few people realized the extent to which the country was dependent on German drugs until the supply was withdrawn and new sources had to be found. Chemists and agriculturists set to work to discover American sources for their basic drugs and chemicals and they met with good success, but following the end of the war many of the new sources were abandoned when it was possible again to get products from the old. Formerly the pharmacist's or chemist's store was devoted almost exclusively to materia medica and the properly qualified pharmaceutical chemist was consulted almost as much as the doctor. The assistants were all apprenticed and, therefore, all learnt to be dispensers of medicines. Later druggists found it profitable to put up special remedies and to advertise them, and others began to sell patent remedies of all kinds for all sorts of diseases. The sale of patent and proprietary medicines has become one of the most important parts of the drug store trade. Then the drug store proprietors began to branch out and sell all sorts of things and even to open refreshment counters. It has become, in short, a miniature department store, to the exclusion largely of dry goods. The drug store of New York are of the kind with those in the rest of the country , with, of course, a larger and more varied trade. The stores do not make their own drugs. They sell patent and proprietary medicines among the host of other things.

The jewelry trade in New York City has long been centered in Maiden Lane. With so much that is valuable in this district special police protection is necessary and no character known to the police for previous burglary is allowed to move in the district without arrest. There have been suggestions that the jewelry interests should move farther up town, as the district around Forty-second Street would be easier of access to the buyers from other towns; but the majority of the trade as decided against the change. New York vies with the position of New Amsterdam as the greatest diamond market in the world and skilled diamond cutters and polishers are attracted to the city in large numbers. The jewelry trade relies to a large extent on fashion for its sales. In the nineteenth century ladies wore large diamond ornaments and pearl collars. These are now unsaleable and the stones have to be used in other ways. diamond wedding rings and diamond-studded write watches have become recent fashions. Watches were not made in New York City before 1853. English levers and Swiss watches had been imported and all a watchmaker did was to men and regulate them. New York City is noted for the making of gold cases for watches, rather then the making of the works. With the introduction of brass clock in 1840 the export trade became an important one. Practically all American clockmakers and many foreign establishments also use New York as a distributing center. In New York State there are, according to the census of 1920, fifty-nine establishments devoted to the making of statuary and art goods. The brass, copper and bronze establishments increased moreover 177.8 per cent over the number in 1914.

Trade and Commerce--Trade and commerce in New York continually develop in method as well as in the products for which they provide the channels. Whilst the "Goods at Wholesale" sign still appears on the windows of many New York establishments, there are, nevertheless, comparatively sew wholesale merchants. With the dawn of the present century the wholesaler of earlier period revised his form of merchandising and became the factor, distributor, commission agent and broker. The change was the logical result of commercial development and the new order of procedure appeared to meet every requirement of the big business constantly coming from the city from every quarter. Both to John Wanamaker and R. H. Macy has been given the title of Father of the Department Store. But in reality its growth has been the development of an old idea. The department store would seem to be a return to the old market system, where the buyer could walk about as he pleased, viewing the goods for sales, without being under any obligation to buy. In other ways it is an adaptation of the Bon Marche, in Paris. Buying for these stores is done in such huge quantities that the goods do not always appeal to the person who likes exclusive novelties. Thus, there will always be the need for the exclusive specialty store. The easy payment system is also a modern method of sales promotion used successfully by the piano and phonograph companies and still more by furniture dealers, who make a practice of selling on the instalment plan. It has also been applied extensively to the sale of books, particularly those published in a number of volumes at high price. Periodicals are also sold in this way. This provides work for organized armies of salesmen and sales women, who comb large districts under the directions of captains.

Chain stores are another modern development. Their success is largely due to the fact that the companies that own them place the stores in the best position for trade and buy out any opposition. They act from the opposite point of view of the department stores, which expect customers to come to them from long distances. One of the first groups of chain stores to come into existence was the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, which began in 1858. Grocery stores, tea and coffee chain stores were the first, and then came novelty stores. Since the beginning of the twentieth century the idea has been successfully worked out by tobacco stores, confectionery stores, drugs, harberdasher, restaurants, bakeries, barbers, boot and shoe stores, and hat stores. The newest development of the idea is the sale of women's clothing in chain stores. The New York Waist Company has seventy-five branches, the Lerner Blouse Company has forty branches, while Kaufman waists and Mentor Company are also among the chain store organizations.

Before the last few decades of the nineteenth century New York had acquired its modern characteristic methods of doing business. The streets were filled with all kinds of vehicles, not only carriages, but light and heavy wagons engaged in delivering merchandise. The old merchant had rarely possessed his own wagons, but had relied on public porters, who were licensed to carry goods in hand carts or wheelbarrows. The increase in trade called for the introduction of horsedrawn vehicles. The development of canals, railways, electricity and the telephone brought about the vast volume of business which characterizes the epoch. Sales promotion thus become a business in itself and men of great ability are employed by firms as experts in providing wider markets. Numerous different lines contribute their services in the work of sales promotion. Printers produce beautiful books and booklets. Photographers are employed to make photographs of men and commodities, of processes of manufacture, or of customers using products. Artists are paid well to produce posters and pictures. Motion pictures are pressed into service. A new method in selling was inaugurated by the Siegel Cooper Company,, which was the first to adopt the Sperry system of trading stamps. There are firms who have requisitioned the study of psychology in the work of sales promotion, instructing their salesmen on methods of approaching the customer and closing the deal. Classes in system and salesmanship are held by the large retail stores in order to teach new employees how to interest customers in the articles and material for sale. Press agents and advertising agents decide for their clients what newspaper or magazine s shall receive the press advertisements and are able to gauge what benefit to the firm the various papers are likely to give. They decide the sort of advertisements it would be advisable to use. Bill boards, electric signs, samples, competitions are employed according to the results they produce.

The mail order business originated in the dry goods trade. A. T. Stewart fostered it and John Wanamaker increased it. The introduction of manila clasp envelopes held to make it a success and the new kinds of cardboard boxes of every shape and size were also an element which aided it. Booksellers are not very successful in gaining large markets for their books by means of mail orders and entire debarments are given over to the writing of attractive advertisement and letters to solicit the trade. There are firms that do nothing but compile names and addresses suitable for mail order houses and others. Some firms compile addresses of people of certain incomes, some compile by professions, some by interests, and there are still other lists which include the names of those who are eager to invest in any proposition that promises quick returns. Directories and telephone books are also used to get names and addresses. There are modern addressing, multigraphing and electrotyping firms which are prepared to undertake to send out large quantities of circular letters. To minimize the work of stamping, special electric stamping machines are used by various firms having permits from the post office.

Port Authority District--New York City may be looked upon as a product of the sea and the encircling waters what wash her foundation. The waterways which she commands have made her the gateway of commerce that reaches her from the four corners of the world and of commerce that flows through her on the outward voyage from the continent of which she is the metropolis. Gradual as has been her development as a port, in comparison with the growth of other cities in other lands, her emergence has been so vast and fairylike that it might be compared to the phantom cities that are said to mock travelers in the desert, so grandiose are they and so apt to rise upon the eye. The New York of today, the marvel among the cities of the earth, the fantastic and fretted image that from some vantage points would seem to fill the space between the earth and the sky--this New York has not 300 years of life behind it. The New York of that older time has been buried almost completely our of sight by the vast splendor that stands as concept to the name when it is uttered today. The New York of today is a creation that has come into being in the lifetime of many still living: The first skeleton steel skyscraper had not been built when the central year of the last century was reached. The population of New York had not passed the figures of the population of Philadelphia in the year 1830. New York had not yet reached the million mark till the census of 1870. Looking at the city at that time from the steeple of St. Paul's it was still a city of low roofs over which the harbor could be seen from almost any high point in the upper part of the island. Over the greater part of the island the rocky elevations still remained unhewn and uncarved. The meadows and the forests and the lovers' lanes still crossed and recrossed more than half of it. It is only in recent decades that it has rolled northward and westward and eastward its tide of masonry and has mounted to dizzier heights, the limit of which no man can quite clearly appraise. All this is the product of the continent to which it is the gateway, and it is the gateway by virtue of its position at the mouth of a great river midway in the north Atlantic.

During the course of the nineteenth century the south filled-in shore of the island grew into an extensive line of wharves crowded with sailing vessels from the ports of the world. The North River offered docking facilities to the rapidly developing ship lines. Dock building on the island gradually extended northward. On the west side a continuous line now extends for a distance of about four miles with many piers still further north. On the eastern shore piers are also numerous, whilst the Brooklyn docks occupy the greater part of the shore opposite the lower end of Manhattan and further south in Gowanus Bay.

 

The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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