Notable Newsies Series – No. 3

Adolph Ochs

Today – March 12 – is the anniversary of Adolph Ochs’ birth in 1858.

Adolph Ochs (1858-1935). Painting by Philip de László (1869-1937)  National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

Adolph Ochs (1858-1935). Painting by Philip de László (1869-1937)
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

Before becoming the renowned publisher of the New York Times, Ochs’ newspapering journey began right here in Tennessee. I came across this (recently acquired) portrait of Mr Ochs on a visit to the National Portrait Gallery in DC last year. I was thrilled that they chose to mention his start as a newsboy in Knoxville. Here is the portrait’s caption:

Adolph Ochs caption
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

The story goes that, later, when Ochs worked as a printer’s devil for the Knoxville Chronicle, he gained invaluable printing experience by putting in extra hours after his shift ended at 11:30pm. It was not just his enthusiasm for the job that kept the young Ochs from leaving, but a morbid fear of passing the graveyard of the First Presbyterian Church at midnight.* The extra work paid off and, at the age of just 19, Ochs purchased a majority share of the Chattanooga Times, and in 1896, purchased the New York Times.

Note about the portrait: a portrait–by the same artist–of “Effie” Ochs, Adolph’s wife, was also acquired by the NPG and hangs on the wall alongside Mr Ochs. See it on the NPG website here.

* Faber, D. (1996). Printer’s devil to publisher : Adolph S. Ochs of the New York Times. Hensonville, N.Y. : Black Dome.

“12 Years a Slave” in Chronicling America

Our friends at the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project shared this link to today’s blog post:

“Fresh from Oscar fever & “12 Years a Slave” winning Best Film 2014, Pruedence Doherty (our Special Collections Librarian) dug into our digitized content and found accounts of Solomon Northup kidnapping, subsequent rescue, and persecutions of his kidnappers. Read more about it!”
Vermont Watchman and State Journal. February 10, 1853.

Further references to Solomon Northup’s narrative can be found by using Chronicling America’s Advanced Search option. However, note that his last name is spelled both as Northup and Northrop.

Thanks to Erenst, Prudence, and all at VDNP for sharing this.