New York Journal-American

New York Journal-American

The front page of the June 26, 1906 issue of the New York American, prior to merger. The murder of Stanford White is its headline.
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst, Jr. (1951–1966)
Publisher Hearst Corporation
Founded 1895
1937 (merger)
Headquarters New York

The New York Journal-American was a daily newspaper published in New York City from 1937 to 1966. The Journal-American was the product of a merger between two New York newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst: The New York American (originally the New York Journal, renamed American in 1901), a morning paper, and the New York Evening Journal, an afternoon paper. Both were published by Hearst from 1895 to 1937. The American and Evening Journal merged in 1937. The Journal-American was an afternoon publication.

Circulation war

Joseph Pulitzer's younger brother Albert founded the New York Morning Journal in 1882. John R. McLean briefly acquired the paper in 1895, but quickly sold it to Hearst.[1] Hearst founded the Evening Journal about a year later.

Hearst entered into a circulation war with the New York World, the newspaper run by his former mentor Joseph Pulitzer and from whom he stole the cartoonists George McManus and Richard F. Outcault. In October 1896, Outcault defected to Hearst's New York Journal. Because Outcault had failed in his effort to copyright the Yellow Kid both newspapers published versions of the comic feature with George Luks providing the New York World with their version after Outcault left.[2] The Yellow Kid was one of the first comic strips to be printed in color and gave rise to the phrase yellow journalism, used to describe the sensationalist and often dishonest articles, which helped, along with a one-cent price tag, to greatly increase circulation of the newspaper. Many believed that as part of this, aside from any nationalistic sentiment, Hearst may have helped to initiate the Spanish–American War of 1898 to increase sales.


In the early 1900s, Hearst weekday morning and afternoon papers around the country featured scattered black-and-white comic strips, and on January 31, 1912, Hearst introduced the nation's first full daily comics page in the Evening Journal.[3] A year later, on January 12, 1913, McManus launched his Bringing Up Father comic strip. The comics expanded into two full pages daily and a 12-page Sunday color section with leading King Features Syndicate strips. By the mid-1940s, the newspaper's Sunday comics included Bringing Up Father, Blondie, a full-page Prince Valiant, Flash Gordon, The Little King, Buz Sawyer, Feg Murray's Seein' Stars, Tim Tyler's Luck, Gene Ahern's Room and Board and The Squirrel Cage, The Phantom, Jungle Jim, Tillie the Toiler, Little Annie Rooney, Little Iodine, Bob Green's The Lone Ranger, Believe It or Not!, Uncle Remus, Dinglehoofer and His Dog, Donald Duck, Tippie, Right Around Home, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith and The Katzenjammer Kids.[4]

Tad Dorgan, known for his boxing and dog cartoons as well as the comic character Judge Rummy, joined the Journal's staff in 1905.

In 1922, the Evening Journal introduced a Saturday color comics tabloid with strips not seen on Sunday, and this 12-page tabloid continued for decades, offering Popeye, Grandma, Don Tobin's The Little Woman, Mandrake the Magician, Don Flowers' Glamor Girls, Grin and Bear It and Buck Rogers and other strips.[5]

Rube Goldberg also became a cartoonist with the Journal-American.


The Evening Journal was home to famed investigative reporter Nellie Bly, who began writing for the paper in 1914 as a war correspondent from the battlefields of World War I. Bly eventually returned to the United States and was given her own column that she wrote right up until her death in 1922.

One of the New York Journal's most infamous cartoons, depicting Philippine–American War General Jacob H. Smith's order "Kill Everyone over Ten," from the front page on May 5, 1902.


Popular columnists included Westbrook Pegler, O. O. McIntyre, Benjamin De Casseres and Dorothy Kilgallen. Kilgallen also wrote articles that appeared on the same days as her column on different pages, sometimes the front page. Regular Journal-American contributor Jimmy Cannon was one of the highest paid sports columnists in the United States. Society columnist Maury Henry Biddle Paul, who wrote under the pseudonym "Cholly Knickerbocker", became famous and coined the term "Café Society".[6] John F. Kennedy contributed to the newspaper during a brief career he had as a journalist during the final months of World War II.[7]


Beginning in 1938, Max Kase (1898–1974) was the sports editor until the newspaper expired in 1966.[8] The fashion editor was Robin Chandler Duke.[9]

Jack O'Brian (1914–2000) was television critic for the Journal-American and exposed the 1958 quiz-show scandal that involved cheating on the popular television program Twenty-One.

Ford Frick (1894–1978) was a sportswriter for the American before becoming president of baseball's National League (1934–51), then commissioner of Major League Baseball (1951–65). Frick was hired by Wilton S. Farnsworth, who was sports editor of the American from 1914–37 until becoming a boxing promoter.

Bill Corum was a sportswriter for the Journal-American who also served nine years as president of the Churchill Downs race track. Frank Graham covered sports there from 1945–65 and was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame, as were colleagues Charley Feeney and Sid Mercer.

Before becoming a news columnist elsewhere, Jimmy Breslin was a Journal-American sportswriter in the early 1960s. He authored the book Can't Anybody Here Play This Game? chronicling the season of the 1962 New York Mets.

William V. Finn, a staff photographer, died on the morning of June 25, 1958 while photographing the aftermath of a fiery collision between the tanker Empress Bay and cargo ship Nebraska in the East River. Finn was a past-president of the New York Press Photographers Association and was the second of only two of the association's members to die in the line of duty.


The newspaper was famous for publishing many photographs with the "Journal-American Photo" credit line as well as news photographs from Associated Press and other wire services. They were mostly successful in competing with television news until the traumatic events of November 1963.


With one of the highest circulations in New York in the 1950s and 1960s, the Journal-American nevertheless had difficulties attracting advertising.

Starting with the four-day period of JFK's assassination, Jack Ruby's shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald and both men's funerals, evening newspapers suffered from the competition of television news much more than morning papers, especially in the market for blue-collar readers, the Journal-American's largest audience.[10]

Journal-American editors, apparently sensing that psychotherapy and rock music were starting to enter the consciousness of both blue-collar and white-collar New Yorkers, enlisted Dr. Joyce Brothers to write front-page articles in February 1964 analyzing the Beatles. While the Beatles were filming Help! in the Bahamas, columnist Phyllis Battelle interviewed them for articles that ran on the Journal-American front page and in other Hearst papers, including the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, for four consecutive days, from April 25 to 28, 1965.

During every visit that the Beatles made to New York in 1964 and 1965, including their appearances at Shea Stadium, various Journal-American columnists and reporters devoted a lot of space to them.[11]

Throughout 1964 and 1965, Dorothy Kilgallen's Voice of Broadway column, which ran Sunday through Friday, often reported short news items about trendy young rock groups and performers such as The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Dave Clark Five, Mary Wells and Sam Cooke. The newspaper obviously was keeping up with the many mid-1960s changes in popular music and its interracial fan bases.

edition of Friday afternoon, September 25, 1964

It published enlarged photographs of civil rights demonstrations, Dorothy Kilgallen's skepticism about the Warren Commission report as well as many reporters' stories on the increasing crime rate in New York's five boroughs.

Most of the front page of the Sunday edition of January 12, 1964 ran stories that were relevant to the previous day's announcement by U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry that "a blue ribbon committee of scientists and doctors," in the words of reporter Jack Pickering, had concluded that cigarette smoking was dangerous.[12]

The Journal-American's feel of the pulse of the changing times of the mid-1960s hid the trouble that was going on behind the scenes at the paper, which was unknown to many New Yorkers until after it had ceased publication.

Besides trouble with advertisers, another major factor that led to the Journal-American's demise was a power struggle between Hearst CEO Richard E. Berlin and two of Hearst's sons, who had trouble carrying on the father's legacy after his 1951 death. William Randolph Hearst, Jr. claimed in 1991 that Berlin, who died in 1986, had suffered from Alzheimer's disease starting in the mid-1960s and that caused him to shut down several Hearst newspapers without just cause.[13]


The Journal-American ceased publishing in April 1966, officially the victim of a general decline in the revenue of afternoon newspapers. While participating in a lock-out in 1965 after The New York Times and New York Daily News had been struck by a union, the Journal-American agreed it would merge (the following year) with its evening rival, the New York World-Telegram and Sun, and the morning New York Herald-Tribune. According to its publisher, publication of the combined New York World Journal Tribune was delayed for several months after the April 1966 expiration of its three components because of difficulty reaching an agreement with manual laborers who were needed to operate the press. The World Journal Tribune commenced publication on September 12, 1966, but folded eight months later.


Other evening newspapers that expired following the rise of network news in the 1960s donated their clipping files and many darkroom prints of published photographs to libraries. The Hearst Corporation, however, decided to donate only the "basic back-copy morgue" of the Journal-American plus darkroom prints and negatives to the University of Texas at Austin.[14] Office memorandums and letters from politicians and other notables were shredded in 1966.[14] The paper is preserved on microfilm in New York, Washington, DC, and Austin, Texas. One must know the date of an article to locate it. The Journal-American morgue of clippings, with about nine million items, is at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the photo morgue, with about two million prints and one million negatives, is housed in the Harry Ransom Center, both at The University of Texas at Austin.

Two scoops of "The Journal" was the printing of the confession of Herman Webster Mudghett aka Dr. H. H. Holmes a seriel killer of Chicago in 1896 and the Jacob Smith order of 1902


  1. (23 June 1937) (Hearst to Merge New York Papers: American will cease as separate publication, Miami News (Associated Press story)
  2. Ian Gordon (historian), Comic Strips and Consumer Culture, 1890-1945. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998), p. 33
  3. Bill Blackbeard; Martin T. Williams (1977). The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. Smithsonian Institution. p. 15. ISBN 0-87474-172-6.
  4. A Week in New York April 1945.
  5. DailyINK
  6. "The Press: Society Reporter". Time Magazine. 27 July 1942. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  7. Articles: By John F. Kennedy on Ireland, 29 July 1945 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved: 2014-05-14.
  8. International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame: Max Kase
  9. Larocca, Amy. "Robin Chandler Duke." New York. 19 December 2005.
  10. Kluger, Richard, The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune. New York; Alfred A. Knopf, 1986, p. 696.
  11. This web page, legitimate as a Wikipedia source, displays many New York Journal-American clippings of comments about the Beatles in 1964 and 1965.
  12. View Jpeg scan of New York Journal-American front page from Sunday edition of January 12, 1964
  13. Hearst, Jr. William Randolph and Jack Casserly. The Hearsts: Father and Son. New York: Roberts Rinehart, 1991.
  14. 1 2 Israel, Lee. Kilgallen. New York: Delacorte Press, 1979.
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