History of the New York Times, 1851-1921

By Elmer Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
Conservatism, Independence, Democracy: 1900-1914

ON September 18, 1901, The Times celebrated its golden jubilee, which was commemorated on September 25 in a special historical supplement whose publication was deferred for a week on account of the funeral of President McKinley. The advertisements published in that supplement, 224 in number, were all representative of firms which had been doing business in New York City on September 18, 1851, and ever since, a convincing demonstration that even in this city of rapid and enormous changes there was still a commercial substratum of old traditions with prospects of something like permanence. In the editorial comment on the anniversary there was of course some discussion of the changes in the character of journalism between 1851 and 1901, the chief of which was the extensive publication by papers at the beginning of the twentieth century of what may be called "personal news," the chronicle of happenings in the lives of individuals themselves of no great importance. The reading public had become interested not only in the big news, in public affairs and events of great importance, but in the reporting of things on which the reader could make the comment, "That might have happened to me."

It might have been supposed in 1901 that the

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