Lord Northcliffe (Alfred Charles William Harmsworth)

Northcliffe, Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, Viscount

Alfred Charles William Harmsworth Northcliffe, Viscount, 1865–1922, British journalist, b. Ireland. He was one of the most spectacular of popular journalists and newspaper publishers in the history of the British press. Beginning his career as a free-lance contributor to popular periodicals, he launched in 1888 his first independent effort, Answers to Correspondents, a weekly of informative tidbits. With his brother Harold (later Viscount Rothermere) as his financial administrator, he increased the circulation of his magazine in five years to more than a million copies a week. Other publications were gradually acquired that formed the basis for what became the world's largest periodical combine, the Amalgamated Press.

In 1894, Northcliffe bought the London Evening News, launching his career in newspaper publishing. Continuing to popularize, he inaugurated such specialties as woman's columns, serials, and social gossip in this and in later papers that he founded—the Daily Mail in 1896 and the Daily Mirror in 1903. He gained control of the dying Times in 1908, putting it back on its feet with changes in makeup and editorial policy; The Times was sold to John Jacob Astor (1886–1971) after Northcliffe's death.

Northcliffe's newspaper campaigns during World War I, particularly those concerning faulty munitions, national conscription, and food rationing, were determining factors in England's conduct of the war, and his support of Lloyd George in 1916 was instrumental in bringing the downfall of the Asquith government. He was made a viscount in 1917.

See biographies by R. Pound and G. Harmsworth (1960) and H. H. Fyfe (1930, repr. 1969); P. Ferris, The House of Northcliffe (1972).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Lord Northcliffe (Alfred Charles William Harmsworth): Selected full-text books and articles

Northcliffe By Reginald Pound; Geoffrey Harmsworth Praeger, 1960
FREE! Lord Northcliffe's War Book: With Chapters on America at War By Alfred Harmsworth Northcliffe George H. Doran Company, 1917
The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain By Stephen Koss University of North Carolina Press, vol.2, 1984
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Lord Northcliffe in multiple chapters
British Policy and the Weimar Republic, 1918-1919 By Douglas Newton Oxford University, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "The Popular Press, 'The Huns' Counterfeit Revolution, and the Northcliffe Factor" begins on p. 272
The Observer and J. L. Garvin, 1908-1914: A Study in a Great Editorship By Alfred M. Gollin Oxford University Press 1960., 1960
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Lord Northcliffe in multiple chapters
Dictionary of National Biography: [Fourth Supplement] 1922-1930 By J. R. H. Weaver Oxford University Press, 1937
Librarian’s tip: "Harmsworth, Alfred Charles William, Viscount Northcliffe" begins on p. 397
The March of Journalism: The Story of the British Press from 1622 to the Present Day By Harold Herd George Allen & Unwin, 1952
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Lord Northcliffe begins on p. 234
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