Chandler (family of American real estate developers and publishers)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Chandler (family of American real estate developers and publishers)

Chandler, family of American real estate developers and publishers. Harry Chandler, 1864–1944, b. Landaff, N.H., moved to Los Angeles and during the early 20th cent. was very largely responsible for transforming it from a town of 12,000 into a metropolis of nearly 2 million. Investing in property throughout the area, he became Los Angeles's largest landowner and developed such areas as the San Fernando Valley and the Hollywood Hills, in the process amassing a fortune. In 1917 he succeeded his father-in-law, Harrison Gray Otis (1837–1917), as publisher of the Los Angeles Times, which continued under his stewardship as a politically very conservative and relatively minor paper.

His son Norman Chandler, 1899–1973, b. Los Angeles, joined the Times as his father's secretary and became general manager (1936) and publisher (1945). Under his leadership the paper changed and expanded; it became one of the leading newspapers in the region, led the city in circulation beginning in the late 1940s, and also achieved national stature. Norman Chandler also moderated the paper's conservatism some. He also headed the Times Mirror Company, the newpaper's parent company, which became the publisher of reference books, bibles, and other books as well as additional newspapers. Dorothy Buffum Chandler, 1901–97, b. Lafayette, Ill., married Norman Chandler in 1922 and became one of Los Angeles's civic and cultural leaders. She spearheaded the fundraising that led to the building of a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a general rejuvenation of the city's performing arts.

Their son, Otis Chandler, 1927–2006, b. Los Angeles, began at the Times as an assistant pressman on the late-night shift, worked as a reporter and an executive, and became the publisher in 1960. Hiring the best available reporters and editors, increasing the paper's coverage, and greatly moderating its generally conservative stance, he made the Times a journalistic force on par with the New York Times and the Washington Post. Chandler retired as publisher in 1980, but his influence on the family media empire remained strong until the Times Mirror Co. was sold in 2000.

See D. Halberstam, The Powers That Be (1979, repr. 2000); D. Alef, Harry Chandler: Man with the Midas Touch (2009); D. McDougal, Privileged Son: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L. A. Times Dynasty (2001).

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