Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Notes on the American News Company 2 –

The complaint alleges that the plaintiff conducts a store for the sale of newspapers, magazines, stationery and cigars and similar articles at 240 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn. It further alleges that the defendants owned and controlled substantially all of the leading newspapers circulated in the City of New York and in the Borough of Brooklyn with the exception of the New York Tribune and the local newspapers published in the said Borough of Brooklyn. 

That the American News Company has an almost complete monopoly of the business of supplying retailers with morning newspapers; that at the present time none of the important morning newspapers published in New York City, except The Tribune, can be obtained by retailers otherwise than through the American News Company.   —♠ ‘Decision Stops Aid Publishers Gave Hearst in Newsman's Fight,’ New York Tribune, Jan 27, 1919
MORE NOTES.—♠   By the end of my last post the American News Company was entering the era of Prohibition, gangsterism and bootleg liquor distribution. Prohibition was first proposed in late 1917 and came into full effect on January 17, 1920. Samuel Shipley Blood, formerly ANC Treasurer was the President of the ANC, Stephen Farrelly was Directing Manager and Vice-President. I quoted the online Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists unsourced comment that in the 1920s ANC was “controlled by organized crime, but it was headed by William Randolph Hearst, Arthur Brisbane, and Moe L. Annenberg.” I have found no evidence to support that claim, but I don’t disagree that the ANC was connected to organized crime, or that Moses Louis Annenberg was involved. He will pop in and out of our story in this and in future posts.

By John Adcock.—♠

ALLIES.—♠   If the Field Guide report is true, the most likely point of entry for Hearst, Brisbane and Annenberg into the affairs of the ANC would have been in 1918 when a suit was launched by news dealer Joseph A. Sultan against Hearst, his allies in the Publishers’ Association, and the American News Company. 

The Newspaper Publishers Association was a powerful force and deserves scrutiny, but it is also a huge hole to delve into. Every major city seems to have had one, and they stretched as far back as the 1880s. Another subject for the future I think. I will share something tantalizing now though. 

In 1912 Andy Lawrence, circulation manager of Hearst's Examiner, accused the Publisher's Association in Chicago of carrying out a murder of a union street car conductor during the newspaper strike. He himself had been fingered in print by the Chicago Tribune, but claimed it was not the Examiners hit. Instead he claimed it was carried out by assassins hired on behalf of the entire Publisher’s Union trust. Under Colonel Robert McCormick, owner and publisher of the Tribune

And you thought newspapering was a respectable profession. 

Did McCormick head the Chicago Association and Hearst New York? Too much to digest... for now...

HEADLINE—♠  This was not the first time Hearst had engaged in an attack against one of his rivals. A San Francisco Call headline of June 3, 1907 read: FOUR NEWSPAPERS ARE ACCUSED OF CONSPIRACY. The rival was Colonel Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago.—♠   Warrants were issued yesterday by Judge Fake of the Harrjson street municipal court against the Evening American, the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Record-Herald, Andrew M. Lawrence of the Examiner; Frank B. Noyes, publisher of the Record-Herald; Berthold Yokel and Max Annenberg, circulators of the Hearst papers; Walter Inman and Albert G. Beauenlane of the Daily News, and James S. Seymour and Ernest A. Scholz of the Record-Herald. 

The warrants were issued at the solicitation of five individual news dealers outside of Chicago on the following charges: Conspiracy to injure the business of complainant news dealers and dealers throughout  the country and state by refusal to sell the Daily News, Record-Herald, American, and Examiner to dealers handling the Chicago Tribune. Conspiracy, to injure the business of the Chicago Tribune. Violation of the antitrust law of Illinois.

BROTHERS—♠  Max Annenberg, named in the SF Call report of 1907, was the elder brother of Moses by three years. Max had started his newspaper career in the Chicago Tribune’s circulation department about 1893. He was working for Hearst by 1907 and rose to circulation manager of the evening Chicago American under Andy “Long Green” Lawrence. He changed sides once again, returning to the Chicago Tribune in 1910.


S.S. Blood.—♠  But back to 1918. Samuel S. Blood is mentioned. His name rarely appeared in news items except as “Mr and Mrs Samuel S. Blood,” usually in society page squibs dealing with charities or evenings out at the Waldof-Astoria. According to Roger Deane Harris’ The Story of the Bloods (1960) Samuel went from working in his brother-in-law’s bank to organizing the New York News Company in 1867.

The National News Company was absorbed by the American News Company in 1868. He became manager of the International News Company in 1872, then President and manager of the ANC in 1923. From this newspaper account we can see that he was President already in 1918. 

MONOPOLY.—♠  The defendant makes his case that William Randolph Hearst controls both the Publishers’ Association and the American News Company. And he uses that word “monopoly,” which followed the ANC from its beginning. This is not proof, however, that he “headed” the American News Company. Still… food for thought.

And this seems a good time to point out just what Moses L. Annenberg’s relationship to the Hearst newspaper chain was. His name and deeds will turn up in our investigations into the American News Company once again, but that is for a future post.


In a moment of supreme serendipity (chalk it up to The Invisible Librarian), I realized this news clipping ‘Court Enjoins Hearst at Plea of Newsdealer’ from November 12, 1918 was indirectly connected to a previous YP post of mine from Dec 4, 2010 titled Kronprinz Wilhelm Randolph von Hearst (HERE). This is verified by the NY Tribune’s position on Sultan’s suit published on Jan 27, 1919.



There are several days worth of coverage of the 1918 Sultan lawsuit  at Chronicling America for anyone who wants more. Comments on the Notes are welcome.

To be Continued...


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