Looking for sources on the history of the New York Times
August 29, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently working on a project that involves figuring out the editorial policy of the New York times historically (specifically in the first 50 years or so of its existance as a newspaper). Any thoughts on where to start?

Books dealing with other papers in the period of 1850-1900 would also be welcome, if you know of any.
posted by rainbowbrite to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "The Kingdom and the Power" by Gay Talese has bits and pieces about the early days of The New York Times, though the main focus of the book is post World War II.

"The Paper" by Richard Kluger covers the history of the New York Herald Tribune, which of course started out as two separate papers. Again, the early years are a minor part of the book. Also look for biographical works on the two driving forces behind those papers, Horace Greeley and James Gordon Bennett.

"Inside the Wall Street Journal" by Jerry M. Rosenberg has a couple of chapters about that paper in the 19th century.

About two-thirds of "Pulitzer" by W.A. Swanberg is about Joseph Pulitzer's efforts in the 19th century.

William Randolph Hearst was primarily a 20th century force, but he got his start at the very end of the period you are looking at. "The Chief" by David Nasaw gives some insight into the journalistic world at that time, and how Hearst shook it up.
posted by Longtime Listener at 8:36 AM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This timeline on the paper's own website mentions some turning points in editorial policy, for example the 1876 switch away from the Republican party because of Grant administration scandals. Looking into these turning points should give you more insights into the editorial policy during that period. If I were you I'd go the primary source (the actual newspapers of the period) to see how they expressed their opinions and how they shifted. Most libraries have the Times on microfilm or you can access their searchable archive online for a fee.

See also the 1921 History of the New York Times which covers 1851-1921. The chapters on the Tweed Ring and national politics look like they are up your alley.
posted by beagle at 8:54 AM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times has a lot of the early history of the newspaper and the editorial process.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:28 AM on August 29, 2014

Best answer: A few more specialized book titles:

Editorializing "the Indian problem" : the New York Times on Native Americans, 1860-1900. Robert G Hays. Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, 2007.

The New York Times on the presidency, 1853-2008. Meenekshi Bose. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 2009.

The New York times on critical elections, 1854-2008. Gerald M Pomper; David J Anderson. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 2010.

Doomed by cartoon : how cartoonist Thomas Nast and the New-York times brought down Boss Tweed and his ring of thieves. John Adler; Draper Hill; Thomas Nast. New York : Morgan James, 2008.

The magnificent Medills : America's royal family of journalism during a century of turbulent splendor. Megan McKinney. New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.

The lion and the journalist : the unlikely friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and Joseph Bucklin Bishop. Charles O Bishop. Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, 2012.

And three journal articles that may be a challenge to track to down:

Campbell, W. (2004). 1897. Journalism History, 29(4), 190-200.
This article directs attention to the remarkable developments of 1897 and argues that year merits recognition as a pivotal moment in the trajectory of American journalism

Guber, D. (2010). "Make of Them Grand Parks, Owned in Common": The Role of Newspaper Editorials in Promoting the Adirondack Park, 1864-1894. Journal Of Policy History, 22(4), 423-449.

Cortada, J. W. (1975). THE 'NEW YORK TIMES,' SPAIN AND CUBA, 1851-1869. Revista De Historia De América, (77/78), 61-75.
posted by woodman at 7:32 PM on August 29, 2014

Oh, and another brand new book on another narrow topic:

Holzer, Harold. Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion. S. & S. Oct. 2014. 832p.

The bibliography will most likely have a huge number of relevant sources.
posted by woodman at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you guys -- these are all super helpful!
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:07 AM on September 3, 2014

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