1700 - 1976 13c Adolph S. Ochs
US #1700 was based on a photograph by S.J. Woolf.

Newspaper publisher Adolph Simon Ochs was born on March 12, 1858, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Ochs had a reputation for running high-quality, trustworthy newspapers and coined the phrase, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Ochs was born into a Jewish family that had immigrated to America from Germany in 1846.  His father taught in schools in the South during the Civil War, though he supported the Union.

After the Civil War, Ochs’s family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he attended school and delivered newspapers.  He began working at the Knoxville Chronicle as an office boy when he was 11.  His boss there, William Rule, would become a significant influence and mentor.

In the coming years Ochs attended night school, worked as a grocery clerk and druggist’s apprentice.  He then returned to the newspaper to work as a “printer’s devil,” performing various duties.  When he was 19, Ochs borrowed $250 from his family to buy the failing Chattanooga Times.  He made a profit in his first year as a publisher.

1015 - 1952 3¢ Newspaper Boys
US #1015 was issued to honor America’s newspaper boys.

The following year Ochs created The Tradesman commercial newspaper and later helped found the Southern Associated Press.  Then in 1896, Ochs learned that The New York Times was suffering and could be bought for a very low price.  So he borrowed money to purchase it, established the New York Times Company and became the paper’s majority stockholder.

306494 - First Day Cover
US #1700 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

With the Times, Ochs set out to “conduct a high standard newspaper, clean, dignified and trustworthy.”  Subscribers appreciated knowing the latest news without the sensationalism of other papers.  Ochs also lowered the price from 3¢ an issue to 1¢.  These efforts helped to save the paper that was nearly shut down.  Readership increased tremendously from 9,000 when he bought it to 780,000 in the 1920s.  Ochs also coined the motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” which remains on the paper today.

PR114 - 1896 1c Newspaper & Periodical Stamp - soft paper, watermark, black.
US #PR114 – Newspaper & Periodical Stamp from 1896

Ochs eventually moved the paper to Times Square and was noted for his frequent opposition to William Jennings Bryan’s presidential campaign.  Under Ochs’s leadership the New York Times became one of the most respected and influential papers in the United States.  Ochs also introduced different weekly and monthly supplements including The New York Times Book Review and Magazine, The Annalist (financial review), The Times Mid-Week Pictorial, Current History Magazine, and The New York Times Index.

Ochs died while visiting Chattanooga on April 8, 1935.

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  1. Growing up in Brooklyn I always knew about The New York Times and it’s slogan but really nothing about Ochs. Always love reading The NY Times Book Reviews and its Magazine section. Thanks again Mystic for a great history lesson.

    1. Do you remember Dorothy Kilgallen when you were growing up? Fabulous journalist amazing woman, and I believe she knew who was responsible for the death of JFK! That’s why she was murdered. Thanks

  2. I miss taking the newspaper. Sounds like he would not be involved with “fake news “ Thanks for another good read!

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