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Book Ito. .& 

Ace. No. 3- JL 

Date ULz 


The Story Of News 








The idea of putting this story into words goes back a dozen years. 
It was then that the author began to learn that honest news reporting 
didn't just happen that even though the "freedom of the press" 
ideal had been incorporated in the Bill of Rights more than a hundred 
years before, systematic news gathering had to earn its place as a self- 
respecting public service through slow but dramatic evolution. 

The actual writing and refining of AP The Story of News re- 
quired two years, but other years of research and study preceded that 
final effort. Even two years may seem a long time to devote to such a 
work, yet the fact is that the author alone could not have produced the 
story as it now appears in that length of time. Indeed, the chances are 
he never could have produced it without the assistance of William A. 
Kinney, now of the Washington staff of The Associated Press, whose 
brilliant research abilities and keen perception as to detail contributed 
so much. 

Many sources were drawn upon in tracing the story to its end. 
Bits turned up in odd places: from yellowed, time-worn records; from 
various books and publications of one sort or another, many of them 
long since out of print ; from hundreds of newspaper files going back 
as far as 1800, and from all AP organizational reports and news files 
over a period of many years. No attempt is made here to list all such 
references and authorities, which fill a score of closely typed pages, 
but it can be said that more than three thousand books and publications 
were examined and that the search of AP records alone entailed the 
reading of more than twenty million words. 

And while it is not practical to list all the individuals who con- 
tributed in one way or another to the story, the author wishes to express 
thanks for their interest and help. To all of them, and the total runs 
to hundreds, he expresses the especial hope that in the following pages 
they will find some reward for their wholehearted co-operation in help- 
ing to make possible this story of news. 


New York, N. Y. 
June 25, 1940. 


























iv FLASH! 194 









xi "HE KEPT us OUT OF WAR" 249 





















INDEX ......... t . . 495 



A CHILL November rain blew in from Boston harbor. It swept 
across Long Wharf, up State Street and past the seven floors of the 
Exchange Coffee House, in 1 8 1 1 the tallest building in the country. 

Below, on the drenched cobblestones, merchants and citizens hur- 
ried by twilight to the recently established Reading Room on the sec- 
ond floor. They asked questions of one another and of travelers who 
had just arrived by schooner and stagecoach. They studied the dog- 
eared European newspapers. But they found no fresh news. 

Down the seaboard, past New York and the southern shore line, 
lights flickered in farmhouses and in fishing shacks, and in the busy 
towns of this New World of five million people. Out on the Atlantic 
there were other and more ominous lights. They dipped and rolled 
with the dark hulls of British men-of-war. American commerce was 
being blockaded and Yankee seamen were seized for the service of the 
crown on the grounds that they were British subjects. Every incoming 
merchantman brought tales of warlike acts, and at the end of the day 
people gathered to wonder and to speculate. 

In England George III brooded over the loss of his American 
colonies, and on the continent Napoleon traced new campaigns on his 
crinkling maps. 

In Washington a young, ill-knit Congress was convened in the 
half-finished Capitol demanding war to avenge repeated indignities 
at the hands of Great Britain and France. Precise President Madison 
rocked in the newly invented swivel chair and pondered. Henry Clay 
and his "War Hawk" followers had served their ultimatum Madison 
must see to it that war was declared or he would not be renominated. 

Official Washington could feel the state of affairs, but even there 
citizens could only speculate on what the next day held. These were 
crucial times. Events moved in some puzzling world pattern, yet the 
people had no news. 



There was no news because there were no real newspapers. True, 
newspapers and newsletters, of a sort, had existed for years. But the 
news they printed was old and almost always inaccurate. They took 
what little information came to them and made no effort to gather it 
for themselves. They found much else to print flowery verses, erudite 
essays, political bombast, or solemn dissertations on religion. 

Front pages, most of them, were given over to advertisements 
urging the purchase of slaves and livestock, of secondhand furniture, 
and of curious medicines. The size of the pages was often large and 
the number of pages few. These large pages were called blanket" 
sheets because, when opened, they were almost as large as a blanket. 
The reason for their size was partly a holdover from pre-Revolutionary 
days when papers were taxed on the number of pages they contained, 
and partly because the crude printing presses were operated by hand 
and it was easier and quicker to run off a few large sheets than many 
small ones. A strong pressman, without interruption, could produce as 
many as two hundred copies an hour. The large journals did not hesi- 
tate to make capital of their size. One of them proclaimed itself: "The 
Largest Paper In All Creation." But in the matter of circulation not 
even the most prosperous papers had more than a few hundred. 

The problem of hand presses and large pages was not the only one 
confronting printers. There was no telegraph, typewriter, or telephone. 
Copy was written out by pen, or set directly in type by hand. The only 
method of communication was by schooner or stagecoach. Public in- 
telligence, more likely than not, traveled by word of mouth. The 
tavern or the coffeehouse, rather than the newspaper, was the best 
pkce to find out what was going on and Boston was the trading center 
of the New World. 

This was the condition of newspapers, with few exceptions, until 
that November night in 1811 when the rain whistled in from the har- 
bor and Boston citizens hurried along to the Exchange Coffee House 
Reading Room in quest of whatever intelligence they might find. 

The popular Reading Room had been established a year before 
by Samuel Gilbert, one of the proprietors of the Exchange Coffee 
House, in an attempt to attract merchants and shipmasters to the trad- 


ing center on the second floor. After the practice of European establish- 
ments of a similar kind, Gilbert stocked it with whatever old journals 
he could obtain. But he also was an innovator. He kept on hand two 
large books, in one of which he recorded marine intelligence and in 
the other incidental information. 

The idea of recording news was immediately popular. Patrons 
thought so well of it that they donated a rowboat which Gilbert had 
used on occasions to meet incoming craft and learn details of their 
cargoes and voyages. 

Things went along satisfactorily enough until Gilbert found the 
Reading Room was taking too much of his time. He decided he needed 
a helper. The merchants and patrons learned of his selection with 
pleasure. Boston's foremost newspaper, the semiweekly Columbia Cen- 
tinel, printed an obscure announcement on November 20: 

commenced and so satisfactorily conducted by Mr. Gilbert are now trans- 
ferred to the care of Mr. Samuel Topliff, Junr., a young gentleman of 
respectability, industry and information; and who will, we doubt not, con- 
tinue the Marine and General News Books with great satisfaction to the 
patrons and friends of the Reading Room. 


The son of a sea captain, this young Samuel Topliff, Jr., was born 
in a wooden house in Orange Street in 1789. His childhood was 
prosaic. He did the things other boys of his time did sang in the 
choir at Hollis Street Church, marched in a memorial procession for 
George Washington in 1800, and went to school. He dreamed of a 
life at sea, but then in 1811 his father was murdered by a mutinous 
crew. When this news finally reached Boston Topliff knew that his 
earlier plans must be abandoned. He must support his mother and 
brothers and so he lost little time in undertaking his unusual assignment. 

Topliff soon observed that the stories of travelers and seafarers 
became magnified with each retelling. He decided that the best way 
to make sure the information was reasonably accurate was to obtain it 
promptly and record it in the News Books before constant repetition 
destroyed its value. 

He was completing his News Book entries for the day when the 
Reading Room door was thrown open by a runner who panted out 
that an unidentified boat was trying to negotiate the harbor. The 
runner, as was customary, had been stationed on the observation roof 
near the big dome of the coffeehouse. It was his duty to study the 
harbor by glass and report all arrivals and departures. Because of 


the descending darkness, he had been unable to distinguish the colors 
of the incoming craft, but unquestionably something unusual must be 
afoot, otherwise it was doubtful if any craft would attempt the harbor 
in such a squall. 

This information caused an uproar among the readers in the 
room. For all they knew, the British might be planning an attack or 
the ship might be bringing word of more warlike acts against Yankee 
shipping and commerce. 

Topliff listened to the hum of curious voices and made up his 
mind. The harbor was dark and treacherous, but he had handled a 
rowboat in bad weather before. While the Reading Room crowd con- 
tinued its excited speculation, he left the coffeehouse and headed for 
Long Wharf, where the Reading Room rowboat was moored. He 
unshipped the oars and pulled out. 

He was gone what seemed an interminable time. The cold raii> 
continued to blow. Dim lights flickered in the storm and slipped deeper 
into the night. Then the blur of the small boat reappeared, zigzagging 
its way to Long Wharf with the bedraggled young man still at the 

Soon he was back at his desk in the Reading Room and while those 
nearest crowded around to read over his shoulder, he entered in the 
News Book the story of what he had learned. 

The arriving boat was the brig Latona. She had had a stormy 
68-day voyage from Archangel. Her master was Captain Blanchard, 
and he brought disturbing tidings. A few days before, in longitude 65, 
the Latona was running before moderate winds when she was over- 
hauled by an English sloop-of-war which immediately broke out a 
signal for the brig to heave to. The sloop ran out her starboard guns 
to emphasize the order and when she came alongside a longboat of 
British marines boarded the Latona. 

A cocky, talkative second officer ordered Blanchard to muster his 
crew while the brig was searched for "deserters from His Majesty's 
Navy." The officer spoke in belligerent tones. He told Blanchard that 
six British line-of-battle ships and twenty frigates already had arrived 
off Halifax, and that twenty more were expected. England was bringing 
her naval forces in North America up to wartime strength. 

"To be prepared," the officer had explained condescendingly, "in 
case of a rupture with America. . . ." 

Before Topliff had finished writing there were shouts and commo- 
tion. These Boston citizens could understand the inevitable. Britain 


was ready to risk another war with her former colonies, New England's 
rich commerce at sea faced destruction, and eventually America might 
even lose the independence it had won thirty years before. 

The patrons of the Reading Room knew that Topliff had risked 
danger in order to bring back news at a time when everyone was eager 
for news. They toasted him for his courage and he knew that he had 
made a good beginning. But it is doubtful if any one of them realized 
the full significance of his act. 

Topliff in his rowboat had started systematic news gathering. 

The young man continued to meet incoming craft in the harbor. 
He also employed correspondents to send him regular newsletters from 
abroad. He kept his information as accurate as he could make it, and 
before long he was persuading a few newspapers to subscribe to regular 
reports which he wrote out in longhand and delivered by messenger 
or stagecoach. Newspapers themselves also slowly began to gather and 
print news. 

The War of 1812 came and the rowboat method was adopted 
by others. A rowboater for the Charleston (S. C.) Courier obtained 
word of the war's end seven weeks after the treaty was signed at 
Ghent, Belgium, the Christmas Eve of 1814. That seemed an amaz- 
ing feat, receiving word in such a comparatively short time, yet there 
was irony in it. In the last battle of the war Andrew Jackson won an 
overwhelming victory over the British at New Orleans, but it was a 
battle that would never have been fought had there been an adequate 
news system $ peace had been declared two weeks previously. 

By 1828 Boston had yielded to New York in news gathering as 
well as commerce. The vigorous, rough-and-tumble young metropolis 
sprawled along the lower tip of Manhattan and laughed at its growing 
pains. Plagues of yellow fever ravaged the populace, pigs roamed the 
thoroughfares, and brothels flourished along the water front. The 
shore line was a forest of spars, masts, and riggings, wagons rattled 
through Wall Street, and the graves of Potter's Field covered the 
meadow that is now Washington Square. 

Rowboats were still being used, but owing to the jealousy and in- 
trigue of rival publishers the harbor was a perilous place to venture, 
even in broad daylight. 

The hurrying population of 180,000 had halfheartedly supported 


nine daily newspapers until a year before, when a tenth unwelcome 
to the others made its appearance. Among the nine were the Com- 
mercial Advertiser, the Post, the Standard^ and the Morning Courier, 
the last published by violent, overbearing Colonel James Watson Webb. 
The tenth was the Journal of Commerce. It was owned by merchant- 
philanthropist Arthur Tappan and was managed by 37-year-old David 

The nine papers originally had fought among themselves to be 
the first with the news. Constant threats that additional newspapers 
might enter the growing field, however, finally had drawn them to- 
gether in a harbor combine served by the toughest collection of row- 
boaters who ever pulled an oar, more concerned with crushing outside 
opposition than with collecting and speeding the highly important 
intelligence from abroad. 

It was against the cutthroat activities of this combine that David 
Hale and the new Journal of Commerce had to struggle. 

Hale, a New Englander, was religious and would not gather news 
on Sunday. He had worked on an uncle's paper in Boston about the 
time Topliff was starting. He had taught school. He had started an 
importing business. He had tried auctioneering. He had invested in a 
powder mill only to have it blow up. During one brief period of pros- 
perity he had lent a few hundred dollars to a friend, Gerard Hallock, 
who shortly after became the editor of the weekly New York Observer. 
That loan to Hallock was a fortunate one, for it was Hallock who 
recommended Hale to owner Tappan as a likely manager of the Jour- 
nal of Commerce. 

Hale was accustomed to failure and after several months with 
the unpopular Journal of Commerce he faced it again. He could not 
get past the harbor combine to gather news from Europe. His boatmen 
regularly came back from the waterfront with their heads laid open 
by belaying pins. As soon as they set foot on a ship's ladder they were 
knocked back into their rowboats. If the paper could not obtain 
news it could not survive. Owner Tappan was tired of his venture and 
wanted to sell out. 

Early one morning in October, 1828, a small sloop sailed down the 
East River. It slipped past the spot where Brooklyn Bridge now stands 
and headed toward the entrance of the lower harbor and Sandy Hook. 
It was Hale's boat and on her side was painted the legend: JOURNAL 


The Journal of Commerce manager had fitted up the craft in a 


desperate effort to beat the harbor combine. He had tried to keep his 
intentions a secret, but word leaked out. The other papers accepted 
the challenge by rigging out a fast sloop they called the Thomas H. 
Smith. The Journal of Commerce then announced its plan in a notice 
which said: 

An opportunity now wfll be offered for an honorable competition. The 
public will be benefited by such extra exertions to procure marine news, and 
we trust the only contention between the two boat establishments wfll be 
which can outdo the other in vigilance, perseverance and success. . . . 

The two boats raced the eighteen miles to Sandy Hook and when 
the Journal of Commerce hove to in the rolling swells the combine 
craft was far behind. News gatherers never had ventured that far be- 
fore, but Hale saw that it was an excellent spot. Arriving merchantmen 
started to trim their sails there and his sailboat could obtain whatever 
budgets of intelligence they brought and scuttle back to port. 

The success of the Journal of Commerce jolted rival editors out of 
their lethargy and set the whole town talking. The bankers and mer- 
chants who foregathered at Holt's Hotel on Water Street discussed the 
commercial advantages that might come from this unprecedented enter- 
prise in news. But there was more to it than the excitement it created 
in New York. Hale and his Journal of Commerce had introduced 
the vital stimulant of competition into the sluggish world of news 

The Journal of Commerce went down the harbor many times. 
Larger, more seaworthy boats soon were cruising for news as far as 
a hundred miles off Sandy Hook. 

The harbor combine, fighting back with all its resources, began 
to make use of a new marine telegraph which was constructed between 
the harbor entrance and the Battery at the lower end of Manhattan. 
This was a semaphore device of flagstaff stations. A man at Sandy Hook 
identified the incoming boats and signaled word to the next station, 
where it was picked up and resignaled to stations along the route all the 
way to the city. 

But the difficulty with this system was that it could relay little 
more than the bare identity of the approaching ship. The news those 
ships carried was the thing, and Hale meant to have it first. There- 
after his boat put in at the outer tip of Staten Island, which sprawled 


between New York and Sandy Hook, and a waiting horseman took 
the news and galloped to the Manhattan ferry. 

The contest still waged unabated with every man for himself 
after the old harbor combine finally disintegrated under the pressure of 
Hale's efforts. The Journal of Commerce, however, was prepared to 
cope with this multiplication of opponents. Hale and his friend Gerard 
Hallock purchased the paper. 

The era of evening newspapers had not arrived, but Hale and 
Hallock gave New York its first "extra" by running off important 
news on their old hand presses for distribution during the afternoon 
hours. They broke precedent by putting their biggest news on page 
one, and they introduced credit lines proclaiming "25 DAYS LATER 
FROM EUROPE" to stress the speed with which they were obtaining 
the latest foreign reports. 

The nation was growing. Domestic news was becoming more im- 
portant. The Journal of Commerce met this situation by inaugurating 
a pony express. 

Andrew Jackson's attack on the Bank of the United States was 
the exciting topic of 1830 when the two publishers announced they 
would run a special express from Washington to New York in order 
to obtain the presidential message to the opening of Congress. James 
Watson Webb, who had not hesitated to attack the methods of his 
rivals, hastily organized an express for his Courier, bewailing the fact 
that it cost him $300. The remaining papers pooled their interests in 
a third. New Yorkers marveled to read that Jackson's message reached 
the city in less than two days in spite of badly mired roads. 

Yet the pony express remained only an occasional service until 
Hale and Hallock once more jogged the pace of progress. In 1833 they 
started a regular express from Washington with twenty-four horses 
racing day and night over a distance of 227 miles. It was a notable feat, 
for the paper's black ponies covered the distance in twenty hours, regu- 
larly beating the government's own express by one to two days. 

While these exploits were increasing the importance of the owners 
of the Journal of Commerce, another newspaper personality moved 
boldly on the scene. He was a squinting Scotsman and his name was 
James Gordon Bennett. He did not hesitate to tread on the touchy toes 


of all the New York publishers, and before he was through he became 
the first to gather and print all kinds of news fit or otherwise. 

Bennett had emigrated to America as a youth in 1819 and found 
a shilling in the streets of Boston, which fed him for a day. After 
working in Boston and New York he became Washington correspondent 
for Webb's Courier. Years later people spoke of him as the first Wash- 
ington columnist, but at the time he was more concerned with the prob- 
lem of eating. He roamed the Capitol corridors gobbling information. 
Sometimes there was small importance in the facts he gathered that 
the wife of a certain Cabinet officer was addicted to port laced with 
brandy, that Andrew Jackson was a good trencherman, or that people 
were calling the Executive Mansion the White House since it had been 
painted to cover the scars left by the War of 1812. Often enough, 
however, the information he obtained was important, and when it was 
he made the most of it. 

Vigorous, inquisitive almost to the point of being obnoxious, Ben- 
nett appeared just the man choleric Webb was seeking as editor when he 
consolidated his Courier with the Enquirer in a determination to outdo 
Hale and Hallock. The Scotsman went to New York as a $i2-a-week 
editor of the Courier and Enquirer. From the beginning the two per- 
sonalities clashed. Webb's shifty policies grated on the Scotsman and the 
two parted in 1832. 

Bennett tried other newspaper enterprises, but none of them suc- 
ceeded. By 1835 his writing of cheap newspaper fiction had netted $500. 
He attempted to persuade a young printer to join him in the publica- 
tion of a penny paper. The printer was Horace Greeley and he curtly 
declined. Bennett trudged down to the printing plant of Anderson and 
Smith at 34 Ann Street. His $500 talked and the partners agreed to 
print his paper as long as he could pay cash in advance. 

The morning of May 6, 1835, saw the birth of the Herald. It was 
a one-penny paper a fact calculated to appeal to the masses who could 
not afford the six-penny price of the established journals. The penny 
press had made its first positive appearance in New York two years 
earlier with the birth of the Sun and Bennett was shrewd enough to 
observe that such a popular-priced publication had a definite appeal. 
The city now had a population of 270,000, yet the combined circulation 
of all New York dailies was only 42,000. There was room for another 

Bennett resolved to become a real news gatherer. He actually did 
become the first reporter in the modern sense of the word. He promised 


to report the shady transactions in Wall Street, where the six-penny 
papers got their biggest support. He promised to print political news 
only for what it was worth. He said he would mirror the world in all 
its freaks and vagaries, that he would record facts on every public and 
proper subject. They were promises he kept for the remainder of his 

This vigorous start of the Herald served notice on Hale and 
Hallock that they must look to their news-gathering laurels. To meet 
so boisterous a menace, the six-penny papers put forth redoubled efforts. 
Still faster newsboats were built, more pony expresses were run. It 
was a formidable competition because Webb's Courier and Enquirer^ 
with a circulation of 3,300 and an advertising revenue of $65 daily, 
was accounted the most powerful paper in the country. 

But Bennett was not to be annihilated. His news touch was like 
magic. He was thrashed in the streets, denounced from pulpits, and 
still the Herald's circulation climbed until it reached 20,000 by 1836. 
No matter what the six-penny papers did, Bennett outdid them. His 
newsboats were faster, his expresses quicker, his genius sharper. He 
used the few rattletrap railroads, canal barges, runners, any and all 
conceivable methods of getting news. 

Brazen cock of the journalistic walk, the ill-looking Scotsman 
crowed long and loud over his triumphs. He mixed fact, fiction and 
fancy with an indiscriminate hand and served up the spicy melange 
under the name of news. 

And that was the salient weakness of the cause he did so much to 
help. He might get the news anywhere in Wall Street and on the 
Exchange, in the police station and at church, at the theater and in 
court, at home and abroad but when he gave it to the public in his 
rowdy, shocking way the news became a subordinate vehicle to express 
the incorrigible flamboyance of the man who presented it. 


Back in Boston the urgency of ,a swifter method of delivery had 
impressed Daniel Craig, an ambitious printer's apprentice from New 
Hampshire. He had planned to start a penny paper in Boston, but 
instead he made himself one of the great news gatherers of his time. 

"Carrier pigeons have been used for years in Europe to transmit 
messages," the heavy-set, square-jawed young man reflected. "They 
are fastj they can fly forty to seventy-five miles an hour. Why can't 
they be used to transmit news?" 


He ordered a consignment of pigeons from Europe, and once the 
birds had been trained, he inaugurated his pigeon post. It was not long 
before newspapers were subscribing to the service. Craig met ships 
miles out at sea off Boston, summarized the news from abroad, and 
sent copies winging shoreward. 

The pigeon service spread from Boston to New York and Balti- 
more. Moses Beach of the New York Sun was the first to appreciate 
the advantages that Craig could offer a metropolitan newspaper. In 
Maryland the New Englander found an enthusiastic supporter in 
Arunah S. Abell, who had just launched the Baltimore Sun. 

James Gordon Bennett, unwilling to mark time while any opposi- 
tion editor enjoyed a faster delivery of news, bought himself dozens 
of pigeons and before long he was shipping his birds to Craig, who 
loaded them with news and sent them winging back. At one stage 
Bennett was offering Craig $500 an hour for each hour that a pigeon 
could deliver news to the Herald ahead of its rivals. The Herald 
publisher also augmented his pony express routes with pigeon posts 
from Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and the state capitol at 


Only the highly successful journals could afford the heavy expense 
necessary to maintain the trinity of pigeons, ponies, and boats. The 
problem was a scientific one and Samuel Finley Breese Morse, a painter 
of international reputation with several minor inventions to his credit, 
had the solution. By 1847 his revolutionary new communications sys- 
tem, the electro-magnetic telegraph, was clattering away in a dozen 
or more cities. 

There were real newspapers now real enough for the times. The 
hand press had been replaced by faster but still crude mechanical 

Although the future of the telegraph was a foregone conclusion, it 
was expensive and its facilities still were too inadequate to handle all 
press dispatches with any degree of speed, even for papers in the few 
cities it connected. Until it could expand on a nation-wide scale and 
the first pony express had not even reached the Pacific Coast news- 
papers found it necessary to operate longer express routes, bigger news- 
boat systems, and more elaborate pigeon posts. 

The War with Mexico did not simplify matters. Bennett, still 
the most daring news gatherer, was running a special pony express all 


the way from the border. With the collaboration of the Baltimore Sun, 
the Philadelphia Public Ledger and the New Orleans Picayune, his 
efforts to obtain news of the Mexican struggle were leaving other 
publishers far behind. 

David Hale watched the Herald's expensive activities and realized 
the time had come to end the blind, cutthroat competition in which the 
New York papers had so long indulged. He didn't like Bennett any 
better than did the others among the so-called "Wall Street Press." 
Nevertheless, he had to admit that Bennett's contribution to news-gather- 
ing enterprise had been considerable. He saw that the progress of 
systematic news gathering had made newspapers indispensable in the 
lives of the people as the world grew slowly larger, extending difficult 
news frontiers. He was convinced that no one paper could continue 
indefinitely to meet the multiplying problems of individual news col- 

Others among the aloof New York press might continue to belittle 
Bennett in print and thrash him in the streets, as old James Watson 
Webb had done on more occasions than one. They might continue a 
"moral war" in which they had labeled him with such epithets as 
"obscene vagabond," "leperous slanderer," "rogue," "polluted wretch," 
and the like. But Hale did not propose to continue to do so. He felt 
that there was disaster ahead if the New York papers continued their 
headstrong course, and that there was no point in waiting longer to 
propose to Bennett what he had in mind. 

He put on his tall hat, left the Journal of Commerce office and 
presently was at the corner of Nassau and Fulton, where the Herald 
building stood. 

A few minutes later there was a knock on the door of Bennett's 

"Come in," called the publisher. 

He looked up from his desk, squinted his type-tired eyes, and 
finally recognized Hale. He got to his feet and stood waiting. Hale 
lost no time getting to the point. 

"Mr. Bennett," he said, "I have called to talk about news with 
you. Do you have any objection?" 

The publisher nodded his visitor to a chair. 

"I am always pleased to talk on that subject," he said. 

At last one of the publishers of the holier-than-thou Wall Street 
press had come to the offices of the despised penny paper. 

Hale proposed that he and Bennett pool resources to cover the 


Mexican War and the other big news of the day and Bennett, the 
Scotsman, accepted. That was the first positive step toward co-operative 
news gathering after years of fumbling, groping, and bitter competi- 
tion. The next step came a year later. 



TEN men, representing the six most important New York newspapers, 
sat around a table in the office of the Sun one day early in May, 1848. 
They had been in session for more than an hour and all that time they 
had been in stubborn argument. Some of them were belligerent, some 
were conciliatory, some were unconcerned, and some were worried. 
They were the autocrats of the city's newspaper world and one room 
never before had been big enough to hold them. 

Bennett was there with his assistant, Frederic Hudson, for the 
Herald. Webb attended with his managing editor, Henry Raymond, 
of the Courier and Enquirer. Gerard Hallock and Hale represented 
the Journal of Commerce. Greeley of the Tribune, Moses Beach, pub- 
lisher of the Sun y and Eustace and James Brooks of the Express com- 
pleted the ten. 

The meeting was the outcome of Hale's efforts over a period of 
months to bring the competing publishers together. He and Bennett 
had been pleased with the success of the co-operative effort which grew 
out of their meeting the year before, and Hale gradually had come 
to see a possible union of the foremost New York newspapers,* each 
contributing its share to a general fund which could be used in a con- 
certed effort to provide readers with wider coverage of all important 
world events. Now at the critical moment of his campaign he was tired 
and ill. He knew how difficult it would be to persuade the news titans 
to forget their antagonisms in the interests of the common good. But 
he faced the meeting and talked of news, its problems, and his pro- 

There was plenty of news to talk about. In Europe there were 
revolutions in progress and others brewing. At home the Mexican 
War was over, but the drums of another presidential campaign were 
beating for the war's two heroes, Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. 
The antislavery movement was growing daily 5 out in the wilderness 
of Utah the Mormons were establishing themselves on the shores of 



Salt Lake, and from Chicago, a rough, frontier city of 24,000, the rail- 
road was pushing slowly into the green prairies of the West. 

But, aside from Hale and Bennett, the overlords of the New York 
press were suspicious and reluctant. Hale outlined his plan and saw 
marked signs of resentment. The rival publishers had not been pleased 
at the strides of the Herald and Journal of Commerce through their 
co-operative efforts. There were gruff questions and vigorous dissent. 

James Watson Webb heard the plan through impatiently and 
reared to his feet. He had never forgiven Hale for breaking the har- 
bor news monopoly with his sailboat years before, and he never would 
forgive Bennett for violating established newspaper practice by pub- 
lishing a penjjy paper which gave the reader more than he was paying 
for. His Courier and Enquirer, he said, never would join any organi- 
zation which contained Bennett and his Herald. He accused Hale and 
Bennett of concocting a scheme which had been so costly that they were 
now trying to bamboozle others into paying the bill. Puffing and angry, 
he turned to Henry Raymond for approval only to find Raymond's 
attention fixed on Hale, who had picked up the interrupted discussion. 

Hale turned patiently to another phase of the problem. The situa- 
tion on telegraph news was highly complicated. Each paper arranged 
for this news independently and paid the full rate to the company j 
there was only one wire available to serve all the New York papers j 
it had its terminus across the Hudson River on the New Jersey shore j 
the papers had to take fifteen-minute turns on the facilities, and all but 
the first in line were out of luck. News was read aloud from the crude 
Morse ticker to a representative of the receiving paper and there 
was deliberate eavesdropping and pilfering. The telegraph companies 
were in a precarious position because of their own competitive struggles 
and consequently they charged every penny the traffic would bear. 

Although telegraph news already was expensive, Hale warned it 
might well become even more costly. It was common knowledge that 
the telegraph companies were selling news from their various offices 
to anyone with the price in spite of the fact that it had been gathered 
by representatives of the papers themselves. Hale also had been re- 
liably informed that certain wire enterprises were secretly toying with 
the idea of setting up regular subsidiary organizations to gather and 
transmit news for sale. The dangers were obvious; with no govern- 
mental supervision, the telegraph companies could make it virtually im- 
possible for any news but their own to move on limited wire facilities} 
papers would be forced to surrender the vital function of news gather- 


ing, and news itself would be reduced to a purely commercial and un- 
reliable commodity dished up for a price by outsiders on a take-it-or- 
leave-it basis. 

As Hale concluded, Webb was drawn aside from the group by his 
able assistant. Raymond, who founded the New York Times three years 
afterward, was convinced of the wisdom of the proposal Hale had just 
made. A few minutes later the old stalwart of the Courier and En- 
quirer returned to the table and one glance told Hale and the others 
that the battle was over. 

So in the Sun office in May, 1 848, the first real co-operative news- 
gathering organization was formed. Its concept was limited and largely 
selfish. There was no immediate thought of benefiting any but these 
six papers and there was no disposition to look upon the collection of 
news as a great public service. The organization was by no means all 
that it might have been, but it was a beginning. 

They called it The Associated Press. 

The first step taken by the new organization was to perfect operat- 
ing procedure. Hallock was named president and the office of "general 
agent" was created. The man to fill this job would be responsible for 
actively collecting and distributing the news, so important a position 
that time was necessary to fill it. Therefore a committee was imme- 
diately named to supervise the first news-gathering efforts. Frederic 
Hudson, Bennett's editorial right-hand man, and Raymond, the bril- 
liant managing editor of Webb's Courier and Enquirer, were the two 
men selected. 

The committee quickly began functioning. First it arranged for the 
charter of the steamer Euena Vista at Halifax to intercept all European 
boats, obtain what news they brought and rush it on to Boston, the 
northernmost terminus of the telegraph. Then it began negotiations 
with the wire company to secure precedence for the transmission of this 
news to New York at attractive rates. Raymond outlined what was 
needed in a letter on May 13, 1848, to F. O. J. Smith, a tight-fisted 
promoter then in charge of the Boston-New York telegraph line. He 

The Journal of Commerce, Express, Courier and Enquirer, Herald, 
Sun, and Tribune, of this city have agreed to procure foreign news by tele- 
graph from Boston in common and have appointed a committee to make 
arrangements with you for its transmission. 


Acting on behalf of that committee of the Association, I beg to propose 
that you give us, from the moment our dispatch shall be received at the tele- 
graph office in Boston, the use of all the wires that may be in working order 
for the uninterrupted transmission of all the news we may wish to receive. 

Upon its receipt here, we will make copies for each paper entitled to it 
and shall desire authority to prevent any part of the news leaving the office 
until we choose to send it out. 

The arrangement is also intended to apply to steamer's news that may 
reach Boston for us by express from Halifax. 

Upon what terms will you secure for us, for one year from the present 
date, the use of the telegraph as specified above? An immediate reply will 
greatly oblige Your obedient servant. 

Smith realized the increased business such an arrangement would 
bring and two days later he outlined a plan, quoting tolls. Raymond 
confirmed the contract on May 18. His communication to Smith said: 

I have received your letter of the I5th and have submitted it to Mr. 
Hudson, of the Herald, who with myself form the committee to act in behalf 
of The Associated Press. The object in making the arrangement proposed is 
to prevent the competition and the frequent changes of which you complain. 
We intend to forward the news so received, at once, to Philadelphia and 
Baltimore, so that the press of those cities will also be interested in the 

We understand your offer to be this: that our news shall come through 
without interruption; that for the first 3,000 words we pay a gross sum, 
$100, without reference to the parties using it; and that for the excess, we 
pay the regular rates, one full price and as many half prices as there are 
copies used, less one. 

We therefore accept the offer and assent to the conditions you have 

As the spring days moved on into another summer, it became ob- 
vious that Raymond had had definite plans in mind when he mentioned 
to Smith the possibility of forwarding news to other papers. The Phil- 
adelphia Public Ledger and the Baltimore Sun began receiving dis- 
patches. They were not members of The Associated Press the New 
York organization restricted that privilege but they were its first paying 
clients, and as the association grew the profitable practice of selling news 
to outside papers was greatly expanded. 

Once the channel was clear for foreign intelligence, the committee 
turned its attention to news at home. Already there were independent 
"telegraph reporters" scattered through the country who wrote and 
transmitted copy to any newspaper that would buy. The system under 
which they operated was unsatisfactory, but some of the men were 


good. There was serious need now for a man who was familiar not 
only with these free-lance sources, but also with the general operation 
of the telegraph. The association found the man for its general agent 
in Dr. Alexander Jones, a graduate in medicine whose early interest in 
communications had lured him into journalism. He had been a news 
gatherer on both sides of the Atlantic and he had devised the first 
cipher code to effect savings in telegraph tolls. 

Jones opened a simple office at the top of a long, dim flight of 
seventy-eight stairs at the northwest corner of Broadway and Liberty 
Street. This served as the headquarters of The Associated Press for 
more than two decades. The annual rental was less than $500 and the 
weekly administrative expense less than $50. The general agent's sal- 
ary was $20 a week and the entire cost of operations the first year was 
between $10,000 and $20,000. Payment for foreign news was the larg- 
est single item. 

At first the entire New York staff consisted of Jones and one 
assistant, but later there was a second. Trained, capable men were few 
and those available needed months of instruction. Besides his work in 
New York, Jones was kept busy engaging correspondents, or "agents" 
as they were called, to obtain and telegraph news to New York. The 
major duties of the general agent were to receive and distribute the 
intelligence received from these men, to pay telegraph tolls and other 
expenses necessary to conduct the business, and to see to collections from 
the six member newspapers and the hinterland clients. Sufficient copies 
of each incoming dispatch were made on manifold tissue paper to cover 
the list of subscribers. 

These were the first days of the sticky postage stamp an innova- 
tion which seemed a curiosity and the mails carried such obscure family 
tidings as the wedding of young Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant and word 
that fifteen-year-old James A. Garfield had found a job as a mule 

The great rush was on to California and fantastic tales of for- 
tunes in gold trickled overland to the East. But the exciting announce- 
ment of this discovery did not reach readers along the Atlantic until late 
in 1848 because pieces of ore, sent to the New York Herald by its 
Pacific Coast correspondent, lay for months before anyone thought 
to have them assayed. 

But gold was only one story. The Associated Press covered its first 
presidential campaign; a Woman's Rights Convention at Rochester de- 
manded suffrage; President Polk offered to buy Cuba for $100,000,000; 


Garibaldi's red shirts battled the French j the King of Prussia became 
the hereditary emperor of the Germans j the latest census showed 
Parkersburg, West Virginia, the center of the nation's 25,000,000 pop- 

The 1848 presidential election was the first major assignment 
undertaken. It had a spectacular, if premature beginning. Public in- 
terest centered on the Whig National Convention at Philadelphia where 
four men were in the running for the party's nomination: General 
Zachary Taylor, Henry Clay, General Winfield Scott, and Judge Mc- 

The New York terminus of the telegraph line still was in Jersey 
City the problem of bridging wide rivers baffled the wire companies 
and General Agent Jones intended to get the convention news across 
the Hudson as fast as possible. Flag signals, he decided, would do it. 
He went to Jersey City himself to make sure there would be no slip-up- 
At a pier near the Cortlandt Street Ferry on the New York side he 
stationed a boy from the Courier and Enquirer. The youngster had 
careful instructions. A white flag said Taylor; a red, Clay. Two white 
flags on the same staff meant Scott, and two reds, McLean. 

Forty minutes after Jones crossed the river, the boy saw a white 
flag being waved vigorously from the New Jersey side. He raced off to 
notify the New York papers that General Taylor had been nominated. 
The news fled north along the telegraph to New England, arousing 
great excitement, and in Portland a salute of a hundred guns was fired. 
Meanwhile, Jones was waiting patiently in Jersey City. The signal the 
boy had seen was the white flag of a broker's representative in New 
Jersey wigwagging the latest Philadelphia stock quotations to a lookout 
on the Merchants' Exchange building in New York. Fortunately, Gen- 
eral Taylor was nominated the next day. 

Coverage of the election was an epochal thing. It cost more than 
$1,000 an awesome amount for 1848 to report General Taylor's 
election. For the first time telegraph offices remained open all night, 
Dr. Jones went seventy-two hours without sleep before the story was 
cleaned up. 

Everything considered, the organization was off to a good start, 
but the man who began it did not live to see The Associated Press 
through its first crucial years. Hardly a month after the meeting in the 
Sun office, David Hale had a stroke. He regained strength for a time, 
but in January, 1849, death &me to the pioneer of co-operative news 


There were many difficulties those first years. Now that the asso- 
ciation had been launched with a general agent to handle its affairs, 
the publishers wanted to believe their news troubles were over. Almost 
every successful newspaper was aligned with one political party or 
another, and without partisan support they would have had trouble 
making ends meet. But the political picture was changing and the 
real beginning of an independent press imminent. The old party of 
Whigs, long so powerful, was on the decline. 

Jones did his best with his modest organization. He was handi- 
capped by a lack of experienced help, the slow expansion of the tele- 
graph, and the shortage of finances. The publishers saw the association 
as a money-saving creation and the $50 weekly allowed for office ex- 
pense was not enough. Jones was kept busy day and night, Sundays 
and holidays. Years later he complained: 

Our services were severe, and help with the proper tact and necessary 
prior instruction could not be had. Often on stormy nights in winter, when 
our errand boys were ill or absent in Jersey City [which still was the New 
York terminus of the telegraph] have we gone around at twelve and one 
o'clock and delivered messages with a snow or sleet storm beating in our 
face; and having, at many of the offices, to climb three or four pairs of stairs 
to find the composing room. For months at a time, we seldom retired before 
one o'clock and then had to be on duty through the next day. 

He gave The Associated Press all his energy and ability, but with- 
out Hale's support and encouragement the strain soon began to tell. In 
May, 1851, he submitted his resignation. 


DANIEL CRAIG, the hard-bitten Yankee who had started the first 
pigeon post, stood on the steps of the telegraph office in Halifax, Nova 
Scotia, one day in 1851. He could hear the industrious stutter of a 
Morse key and he could see in front of him the blue of the tumbling 
Atlantic. At any minute now his outgeneraled rivals would come racing 
up uneven Hollis Street to find they had been beaten once more. 

He was a hard man to beat, this Craig. For the first several months 
of existence, The Associated Press had exerted every resource to outdo 
him, but had failed. The sensible thing, then, was to use him, so two 
years earlier he had become the association's first regular correspondent 
on foreign soil. He operated out of Halifax because that had become the 
first port of call of the new Cunard steamers, which were slowly re- 
placing the sail. By boarding the craft there he could obtain any in- 
coming news and rush it on to Boston and New York, first by pigeon 
post and pony express, and then by telegraph as the lines expanded 

Fifteen years of news gathering had taught Craig to ignore the 
angry outbursts of his worsted opponents. But those rivals and their 
confederates were not above cutting telegraph wires, and Craig found 
it wise to be watchful until his budget of intelligence had cleared. He 
turned for a reassuring look at the lines which stretched from the 
office. Just then a clerk stepped up to him with a message. Craig read 
it. The Executive Committee of The Associated Press wanted him 
to come to New York immediately. 

In the two years since Raymond and Hudson had prevailed upon 
him to act as foreign news agent, Craig had done well. He established 
the first Associated Press office on foreign soil at Halifax early in 
1849. He arranged for the first Associated Press pony express that 
June to rush the exclusive news of an attempt to assassinate Queen 
Victoria in London. He sent The Associated Press's first all-wire mes- 
sage of European news from Halifax in November. He successfully 
advocated the first Associated Press controlled wire from New York 



to Boston to St. John to Halifax. And he brought The Associated 
Press its first large bloc of outside clients when he induced the papers 
in Boston to subscribe to the Halifax-European pony express before the, 
telegraph reached Nova Scotia. 

At the time Craig's assignment began, the telegraph lines extended 
only as far north as Portland, Maine, and getting the news to the wires 
was a headlong race. Once Craig's budget reached shore, an express 
rider was off with it at a breakneck gallop on the first lap of the 144- 
mile trip across the Nova Scotian peninsula from Halifax to Digby 
on the Bay of Fundy. Every eight miles a fresh mount waited. It took 
the express eight hours to cover the distance a mile every three and a 
half minutes. The riders aroused terrific excitement as they pounded 
across the country, and villagers lined the roadsides to cheer them when 
they passed. Several miles outside of Digby a cannon was fired to notify 
the boat captain at Digby that the express had been sighted. The cap- 
tain got up steam and sent a yawl ashore to meet the rider. Then the 
fast Digby boat dashed down the Maine coast to Portland and the 

Several months later the telegraph wires reached St. John, New 
Brunswick, and Craig sent his Digby packet to that port. The ship 
made the trip in three hours, enabling Craig to get his news to Boston 
on an average of thirty-five hours ahead of the ten-knot Cunarders on 
the Halifax-Boston run. Late in 1849 th e telegraph bridged the gap 
between St. John and Halifax and direct wire communication was estab- 
lished with New York. 

The hostility of the telegraph people interfered greatly with 
Craig's use of pigeons overland, even before the Halifax line was com- 
pleted. They considered the birds unfair competition, and went to 
great lengths to harass anyone using them. At sea, however, it was 
different and the pigeons flew the most important news ashore. In calm 
weather Craig could board the incoming Cunarders, obtain his package 
of European papers, then return to his own boat and prepare the dis- 
patches as he made for shore. When the seas were stormy, the steamers 
threw the packages overboard in water-tight half-gallon cans for Craig 
to pick up. During the daytime, the cans carried a small flag on a stick, 
and at night a flare to guide the news gatherer. 

Innumerable hard knocks in the unending struggle to be first 
with foreign news had toughened Craig. One of his fiercest battles had 
been with a telegraph promoter who had schemed to create and con- 
trol a foreign news monopoly. Somehow the promoter always seemed to 


have first call on the wire out of Halifax whenever Craig reached the 
office with news from the latest incoming boat. Craig's material accord- 
ingly was sidetracked. But Craig was equal to the emergency. As soon 
as a steamer was sighted off Halifax, he had an undercover employe 
send a cryptic message to another agent at Amherst, the next telegraph 
office along the line. The agent at Amherst understood what was then 
expected of him. He immediately passed a copy of the Bible over to 
the Amherst telegraph operator with word that he was to start sending 
"Associated Press Steamer News." 

With a sigh the operator began sending: "Associated Press, New 
York, N. Y.: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 
And the earth was without form and void." While this sending was 
being made, Craig was meeting the steamer at Halifax and dispatching 
his news by pony express to Amherst. It took five hours for the express 
to reach Amherst and, during that whole time, the Amherst operator 
continued his sending of Scripture to The Associated Press in New 
York. Sometimes he got through Genesis and well into Exodus before 
the express arrived and the local Amherst agent took back his Bible 
and substituted the newly arrived news. 

Craig's job was to obtain the news and send it in the most ex- 
peditious way possible, and that was what he did. 

"The advance receipt of European news by steamer at Halifax 
was so important," he said bluntly, "that no consideration of money or 
effort would have excused me for a single failure." 

As his train rattled southward over the rough roadbed which set 
its smoky oil lamps swaying, Craig may have wondered why he was 
being called to New York. Before his interview with Hudson and Ray- 
mond was ended, however, the first foreign correspondent of The Asso- 
ciated Press had become its second general agent. 

Craig had barely cleared a desk and established himself in the 
Broadway headquarters when another force entered the growing field 
of news. Raymond, who had resigned as editor of Webb's Courier , 
founded the New York Times, and he was so well liked that The 
Associated Press immediately welcomed his paper into membership. 

The Times proved a beneficial influence. A definite division was 
slowly splitting the ranks of the membership. The Herald, the Tribune^ 
and the Sun believed that the activities of the association should be in- 


creased. The Express, the Courier and Enquirer > and the Journal of 
Commerce were satisfied with things as they were. Raymond's Times, 
with its policy of initiative, broke the deadlock. 

Another important factor appeared. In the earlier days of the 
Morse, the swelling volume of news had been a nightmare for editors 
who found their antiquated printing equipment incapable of handling 
it. Machinery had failed to keep pace with the abruptly increased speed 
and volume of news. Just as the trouble was becoming acute, Robert 
M. Hoe discovered that the secret of rapid printing was to take the 
type from the flat bed on which it had reposed so many centuries and 
put it on a cylinder. His first rotary press appeared two years before 
The Associated Press was founded, but only now was the improved 
equipment replacing outmoded machinery in the plants of the larger 

The revolving cylinder brought an era of faster editions, larger 
papers, and a greater use of news. 

Activities of news pirates and bids of short-lived opposition agencies 
failed to check The Associated Press and the number of subscriber 
papers increased as urban centers enlarged. Payments from these "out- 
side" sources supplied funds for expansion and at the same time made 
it possible for the seven New York members to receive a steadily larger 
report at a fraction of the expense that would have been necessary had 
the news organization been restricted to New York alone. 

Gradually the subscriber papers began to gravitate into loosely 
defined geographical groups. Two major reasons prompted the rise of 
these groups. Their news was distributed to them on a regional basis, 
and a regional grouping facilitated their dealings with New York. In 
time these local associations were referring to themselves by such names 
as the Philadelphia Associated Press, New York State Associated Press, 
Southern Associated Press, Western Associated Press, and the like. 
Sometimes the word "Associated" was omitted and the papers were 
spoken of merely as the Baltimore Press, or the Southern Press. 

To distinguish the pareijt organization from these loosely formed 
groups, the newspaper world began to speak of it as the New York 
Associated Press. It remained the only association which endeavored 
to obtain all important domestic and foreign news and the others 
looked to it for coverage on everything outside their various geograph- 
ical divisions. 

The telegraph slowly expanded, but Craig never completely aban- 
doned a belief that his organization should take over communications 


facilities as subsidiary. He saw the telegraph as a logical "tail to The 
Associated Press kite." He feared the attempts of the telegraph com- 
panies to gather and sell news. Under the pretext of necessity and he 
had a free hand most of the time he went as far as he dared in efforts 
to convert the association's members to his point of view. Once, to 
assure delivery of his news without interference, he took a half interest 
in a line for a small amount and disposed of it in a few years at a 
profit of $100,000. He subsequently helped build other lines and con- 
trolled them temporarily in his capacity as general agent. 

Dealing with the staff, he had considerably more success in en- 
forcing his views. He was a stickler for correctness and insisted his men 
be likewise. He knew that it was a general practice for a reporter in 
one city to telegraph a few lines on the main facts of an event, leaving 
it to an imaginative editor on the receiving end to "blow up" the story 
into several hundred words with whatever "details" came to mind. 
Craig issued orders that if a story was important enough to warrant 
details the details were worth the wire costs. The rule shocked an ex- 
perienced "telegraph reporter," who protested that editors did not 
know the difference between real and imaginary news. But the re- 
porter did not raise the point a second time. He did things Craig's 

Another reform was the end to the practice of sending news re- 
ports in bewildering codes or highly skeletonized jumbles. Codes and 
ciphers had been the first reaction to the high cost of telegraphy. With 
words costing so much each, an attempt was made to compress phrases 
and even parts of sentences into one polysyllabic combination. This 
produced such amazing "words" as caserovingedsable, hoveesness, 
rehoeingedableness, and retackmentativeness. Craig put a stop to that. 
He ordered all the association's dispatches sent in full, and woe betide 
telegraph men who took liberties with them. The change was a nine-day 
wonder in the newspaper world. 

In 1856 Craig pointed out to the seven New York member papers 
that it was dangerous for the association tq continue operations without 
more definitely defined rules of procedure. A meeting was held on 
October 21 and out of it came a formal reorganization which set the 
association on a more businesslike basis, promulgated a code of regula- 
tions and redefined methods. The reorganization emphasized the essen- 


tially selfish purpose of the association. It was a union of seven morning 
papers there were still few afternoon editions and the news collected 
was designed solely to meet their needs, without any consideration for 
the wants of subscriber papers. The subscribers, in effect, were journal- 
istic vassals who dutifully paid tribute for such news as their New York 
overlords saw fit to provide. 

One of the outstanding results of the reorganization was an order 
to the general agent to establish the first two formal Associated Press 
bureaus in the United States at Washington and Albany. The associa- 
tion already had correspondents in most major centers and now it was 
logical to establish them in offices and to provide, in some cases, for 

The Washington bureau, or "agency" as it was called, was put in 
charge of Lawrence Augustus Gobright, a veteran who had been re- 
porting the capital's news for The Associated Press since 1848. He had 
been a familiar newspaper figure since the dim, half-forgotten days of 
Clay, Webster, and Calhoun. His service had been so long that they 
called him "Father" Gobright, though he was not yet forty. 

With authority better defined, Craig did not hesitate to crack down 
vigorously. Even James Gordon Bennett had no immunity and twice 
when he was disciplined by the general agent he threatened to with- 
draw the Herald from membership. There was little attempt to dis- 
guise the fact that the object of the association was to create and per- 
petuate a news monopoly, and Craig bluntly stated: "We succeeded and 
compelled the editors to abandon their arrangements and come into 


However much he might be occupied with the details of adminis- 
tration, the general agent never forgot that his prime concern was news 
lifeblood of the association. He had been compelled to devote most of 
his time to the development of domestic news, but he retained a keen 
interest in the European budget. When he left Halifax he had com- 
missioned William Hunter, a resourceful, pugnacious man like himself, 
to represent The Associated Press. Craig could find no fault with the 
way the foreign news was sent to New York once it reached Canadian 
soil. But all of Hunter's efforts and all the swiftness of the telegraph 
could not change the fact that European news was weeks late. The 
telegraph had conquered the land but not the seas. Any news report 
was a mixture of fresh domestic intelligence and stale date lines from 


IT WAS the evening of August 17, 1858. President Buchanan, in shirt 
sleeves, examined a remarkable message before him and drummed his 
fingers on the arm of his chair. He was sixty-eight and on this occa- 
sion he looked it because of the sultry heat of summer. Members of 
the Cabinet lounged about the White House study. The secretary of 
the treasury, Howell Cobb, relaxed on a sofa, shook his head in dis- 
belief for the dozenth time. It was a hoax, he declared, and in these 
days of growing agitation there was sufficient deceit in the land without 
swallowing another fraud. 

The brief, unexplained message purported to be a greeting com- 
posed abroad only that day by Queen Victoria and already delivered in 
Washington to the President of the United States! 

Everyone, however, did not agree that the message was a hoax. 
The messenger said he had come from Agent Gobright of The Asso- 
ciated Press. Moreover, there had been word from Cyrus Field a fort- 
night before that he had brought the North American end of his 
Atlantic cable ashore at Trinity Bay, linking Newfoundland and Va- 
lentia, Ireland. Buchanan read the message again: 


That was what the message said and Secretary of the Interior 
Thompson, most active of the indolent group, had been dispatched to 
the Associated Press office to find out the truth of the matter. The 
Cabinet idled on until he returned with Gobright, who soon cleared up 
the puzzle. 

The greeting had, in truth, come by Field's new cable under the 
ocean from Valentia to Trinity Bay, and thence by land telegraph from 
Newfoundland. It had been received from Field along with other mes- 
sages to The Associated Press. Although it was unknown at the time, 
the one-sentence message did not contain all that the queen had said. 
The following addition came through the next day: 


"WE WILL Go ON" 33 


The President and his perspiring Cabinet finally were persuaded 
as to the authenticity of the Queen's brief greeting and the chief 
executive drafted a reply which he asked Gobright to send. 

"I'll make a copy," the agent told the President, *"and keep the 

Secretary Cobb, still at ease on the sofa, felt that the original should 
be deposited in the public archives. But Gobright wanted it for him- 
self and the President made the decision. 

"It's yours, sir," he said. 

The correspondent glanced at the first official message ever to be 
cabled from this country and hurried along to follow Buchanan's re- 
quest. The message, which Gobright later donated to a historical col- 
lection, read: 


This had been a casual incident in the White House, but there was 
nothing matter-of-fact in the exuberant reception the nation gave the 


news that Field had succeeded after two costly failures. Papers clarioned 
the triumph by which Europe and America were linked by one slender 
wire snaking across the bottom of the Atlantic. In New York Bennett's 
Herald shouted its loudest, and city after city joined in the plans for a 
nation-wide celebration on September i. Field was toasted, given medals 
and lionized. Cannon boomed, bells rang, and whistles shrieked. There 
were parades, dinners, and fireworks. Poets wrote flowery odes and red- 
faced orators declaimed on the new union of the two continents. Gen- 
eral Agent Craig was personally very happy. He felt that the cable 
would immediately solve the problem of slow receipt of foreign news. 
In the midst of this great rejoicing the first European cable news in 
the history of the world spanned the Atlantic. It was addressed to The 
Associated Press. The essence of condensation, it read: 


The next day, August 28, the station on the North American main- 
land was answering with a budget of American news which included 
yellow fever statistics from the South and brief details of the plans for 
formal celebration of the successful cable. 

But cable signals were growing fainter and the operators were find- 
ing it difficult to understand them. The message was long in transit. 
There were uneasy periods during which the two stations could not hear 
each other and then, just as the September celebration was at its height, 
the last faint signals came over the lines. 

The cable was dead. 

The disappointment was tremendous. Those who had most loudly 
acclaimed Cyrus Field and his assistants damned the cable as a gigantic 
hoax. They claimed that no messages ever had been received or trans- 
mitted. There even was talk that the cable was a subterfuge for a stock- 
selling swindle. But the line was dead and The Associated Press was 
forced to lay aside its hurriedly formulated plans for use of the new 
link in international communications. The old reliable newsboats con- 
tinued their assignments off Halifax and Cape Race. 

Field met dejectedly with the directors of his company soon after 
the blow had fallen. Large sums of money had been lost and the 

"WE WILL Go ON" 35 

failure would make it difficult to find public backing for another at- 
tempt. Peter Cooper, the noted inventor, threw a consoling arm over 
Field's shoulder. As a director of the cable company, he had invested 
heavily in the venture. 

"Do not give up hope," he said, "we will go on." 
But black thunderheads were filling the horizon. The storm was 
inevitable and when its fury broke the nation and its news gatherers had 
little attention for Field or his persevering efforts. The storm had been 
brewing a long while. Its first cloud had appeared over Jamestown, 
Virginia, one August day two hundred and forty-nine years before. 
John Rolfe, husband of the Indian princess Pocahontas, had recorded 
the fact: 

About the last of August, came in a Dutch man of Warre that sold us 
twenty negars. 


WHAT would Lincoln do? 

General Agent Craig stood at the news pulse of the anxious na- 
tion in the large, dingy, carpetless headquarters of The Associated Press 
in New York. He weighed the question. The mass of dispatches in his 
hand was far from reassuring that gloomy November day of 1860. 
They told of southern students quitting classes at Harvard to return 
home, of the Richmond Enquirer screaming "An Act of War" at Lin- 
coln's election as President, and of General Scott's warning on the 
dangers of secession. National tension was mounting hourly and Craig 
debated his problem. 

Some persons felt that the whole tide of sectional differences arose 
because a humanitarian North wished to free the slaves of a feudal 
South, but hardheaded Craig could see there was more to it than that. 
There were fundamental differences in the two sections and long years 
of ignorance had not helped to bring about an understanding. The dif- 
ferences between the two suspicious, badly informed sections were too 
many to be overcome. A truthful, alert press would have helped, but 
much of the press had been anything but that. The warped, fanatical 
opinions and the twisted reports in news columns, North and South, 
were almost as much to blame as any other single factor. In this atmos- 
phere of sectional recrimination, Craig knew it was too late to do any- 
thing about the shortcomings of the past. The day had not yet arrived 
when newspapers drew a distinct line between the news columns and the 
editorial page, but he intended to use his influence to prevent distortion 
of Associated Press reports. 

Craig could not recall when a president-elect had assumed such 
sudden importance in the destinies of the country. Overnight the home 
of the furrow-faced lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, had become the 
focal point for a troubled people's attention. In 1852 and again in 
1856 the general agent had found that successful candidates produced 
news only occasionally in the preinaugural months and consequently 
required only casual attention. But with Lincoln it was different. Craig 



decided the time had come when the association must keep a corre- 
spondent constantly with the President-elect. 

The unprecedented assignment went to a 25-year-old Mid-wes- 
terner, Henry Villard, who was excited by his novel and important mis- 
sion. He received a warm welcome at Springfield. Lincoln held many 
conferences those fateful weeks and Villard reported them all. It be- 
came known that the President-elect would accept almost any com- 
promise with the disaffected southern states except one sanctioning ex- 
tension of slavery to the territories not yet ready for admission to the 
Union. That stirred up a furor 5 then the announcement of some mem- 
bers of his Cabinet brought another blast of condemnation. 

Villard reported the facts, but no facts during those preinaugural 
days could stay the relentless march of events. On December 20, 1860, 
South Carolina adopted the first ordinance of secession and the Charles- 
ton Mercury shouted: "The Union Is Dissolved." Before 1861 was a 
week old other states followed and the office at Broadway and Liberty 
was flooded with dispatches which told of the seizure of federal arsenals 
and forts, of regiments being raised, of bellicose speeches. 

Lincoln stood on the train platform at Springfield and looked down 
into the faces of the group of friends gathered to bid him good-bye as 
he left for Washington. He was somber with worry and the demon- 
stration touched him. In a few brief sentences he said farewell. The 
speech caught Villard unprepared and as soon as the train pulled out 
the Associated Press man came to him and explained his predicament. 
Lincoln reached out, took the correspondent's pad and pencil, and 
while the train jolted eastward he carefully set down the words he had 
spoken. At the first telegraph station Villard filed the dispatch, which 
concluded with the eloquent words of Lincoln's parting: 




It was easy for many newspapers to overlook that little speech in 
the thickening sheaf of dispatches that passed over Craig's desk that raw 
February. Jefferson Davis was inaugurated the first President of the 
Confederate States of America. In Charleston harbor guns under the 
brave new palmetto flag pointed menacingly across the water toward 
Fort Sumter. "The Southern Excitement" or "The Southern Troubles" 
became standing headlines in the North, and the secession spirit spread 
even to New York where the council was asked to declare Manhattan 
a free city, independent of the wrangling states. 

On a melancholy March day the telegraph clicked and the story 
went chattering into scores of newspaper offices that the one-time rail 
splitter had taken his oath of office. Then came the text of the inaugural 
address with its somber admonition: "In your hands, my dissatisfied 
fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil 
war." Word for word the document went to Associated Press members 
and clients. Lincoln had furnished his own printed copy with its nu- 
merous corrections and extensive interlineations so that it might be 
telegraphed in full. 

March swept on into April and there was nothing to report except 
that the tense nation hovered on the brink. The animosities did not 
appear to have touched all the people everywhere, and in the Asso- 
ciated Press office at Louisville, headquarters for the South, a repre- 
sentative of the client papers below Mason and Dixon's line still worked 
amicably enough with old Tyler, the Yankee agent there. The duty 
of the southern representative was to select from the incoming tele- 
graph report of the New York Associated Press a daily budget of news 
for his own subscribers. 

Then, at Washington, Gobright obtained the first authentic story 
of the administration's complete policy toward the seceded states and 
two days later the four long, red years began. 

They began, not in Washington, but miles southward. It was four- 
thirty in the morning of April 12, 1861. The agent at Charleston 
watched a signal rocket arch out over the harbor toward the Union 
garrison of Fort Sumter and a second later saw the first Confederate 
shell go screaming across the water. He sent his dispatch. Thirty-four 


hours later he reported the fort's surrender and in New York Bennett 
wrote an editorial in a single line: "Civil War has begun." 

Resourceful as Craig might be, he had no precedent on which to 
model the activities of the association. The technique for reporting mili- 
tary action had to be learned by trial and error. Even by the loose 
standards of the day the number of experienced reporters in the service 
was few, for most of the agents who manned Craig's scattered outposts 
had been chosen primarily because of their ability to use the telegraph. 
Battles were not fought conveniently in the backyard of telegraph offices 
and wire facilities were rambling and insufficient. 

Thus far, however, the agents were acquitting themselves well. 
Through the worried weeks since the 1860 election, while the crisis 
mounted and prejudices ran wild, their dispatches, even as read now, 
show factual directness and great restraint. These were the days of 
flowery, declamatory journalism, and frequently the correspondents for 
individual papers wrote with undisguised bias. In the news columns, 
side by side with such excitable accounts, the association's dispatches 
seemed strangely calm, direct, and terse. As the long bloody miles to 
Appomattox unrolled, many a successful skirmish was hailed by writers 
representing one journal or another as "a glorious, overwhelming vic- 
tory," and many a sorry rout excused as "a strategic withdrawal before 
a vastly superior enemy." But somehow Craig's agents managed to cling 
close to a factual sanity and keep their dispatches reasonably free of 
gaudy, artificial heroics. 

Gobright summed up the creed effectively: 

My business is to communicate facts; my instructions do not allow 
me to make any comment upon the facts which I communicate. My dis- 
patches are sent to papers of all manner of politics, and the editors say they 
are able to make their own comments upon the facts which are sent them. 
I therefore confine myself to what I consider legitimate news. I do not act 
as a politician belonging to any school, but try to be truthful and impartial. 
My dispatches are merely dry matters of fact and detail. Some special cor- 
respondents may write to suit the temper of their organs. Although I try 
to write without regard to men or politics, I do not always escape censure. 

On April 15, 1861, Lincoln called for 75,000 militia "to suppress 
obstructions to Federal laws in the seceded states," and in Boston the 
bells rang all day. Jefferson Davis retorted with an appeal for 42,000 
men to serve in the ranks of the Confederacy, and the South dreamed 
of a short, glorious fight to victory. In New York a mob marched on the 
Journal of Commerce demanding that Gerard Hallock, its pacifist 


editor and president of The Associated Press, display the union em- 
blem. He quickly did so. Earlier the crowd had marched down to Ful- 
ton Street, where Bennett was not quite so well prepared. While they 
stormed the Herald's door and shouted threats, the agitated office staff 
sought frantically for a flag and the nervous publisher paced the floor. 
The frenzied search failed to produce a banner and an office boy was 
sent out the back door to the nearest Broadway department store. The 
crowd's temper had reached the boiling point by the time the youngster 
returned. The hastily purchased Stars and Stripes was broken out from 
a flagpole and then Bennett himself appeared smiling at the window. 

War fever spread, and North or South it was: Follow the Flag or 
Wear Petticoats. 

Then two awkward, amateur armies met near Bull Run in the 
blazing heat of July 21. The sloppy blue lines rolled forward in a 
fumbling attack which nevertheless seemed assured of victory and an 
officer in gray was shouting: "Look! There stands Jackson like a stone 
wall!" To Washington by courier and telegram went the exultant 
prediction of triumph and a raw agent with the Union Army, after 
seeing the Confederate forces so badly hammered, set off for the capital 
at a mad gallop with the details of the unfinished battle. It was his first 
experience under fire and he was so unstrung when he reached Wash- 
ington that he was unable to write his account. Gobright took charge, 
pieced the story together, and dispatched the first eyewitness account 
to New York. He started writing at nine o'clock that night and it 
was after eleven before he finished. 

The distraught correspondent would have preferred some whisky 
for his nerves, but Gobright ordered the telegraph line kept open and 
dragged his tired companion off to seek later arrivals from the field 
who might have additional news. It was just then that the first panic- 
stricken fugitives began to straggle into the city and from them Go- 
bright learned the incredible news that the tide of battle had turned, 
transforming an apparent Union victory into decisive Union defeat. The 
details were sketchy but enough to send Gobright racing for the tele- 
graph office to dispatch a description of the reversal of federal fortunes; 

Gobright counted himself lucky in having held his night wire open 
long enough to obtain and send such important information, but the 
next day he discovered that not a single paper had printed his mo- 
mentous story of the Union defeat. Instead, they had printed only the 
earlier material brought in by the field correspondent. 

The North was hailing this incomplete report as the first "glorious 


victory" for the Union and the exuberant populace was celebrating with 
clanging bells and wild hurrahs. Gobright learned what had happened. 
As soon as Winfield Scott, general in chief of the northern forces, had 
heard of the disastrous turn in the battle's t ; de he dispatched a rider to 
the telegraph office with orders to prevent the transmission of any 
word of the defeat. Gobright's story never had left the wire company's 
office. It was the first instance of official censorship, but it was an unmis- 
takable warning of what was to come. 

The war was on in grim earnest and the federal government, 
lacking an adequate telegraph service of its own, commandeered the 
facilities of The Associated Press to handle military communications. 
This imposed a heavy handicap on the association. Henceforth military 
messages took precedence and the flow of news was increasingly re- 
stricted as the volume of these messages grew. Craig saw one advantage 
to be gained. His agents would be brought into close daily contact with 
the army and since many of them were telegraphers, they frequently 
would be privy to the contents of the messages they handled. Craig 
felt confident that in this way his men in the various cities would be 
able to keep well informed of facts throughout a war which already 
was spawning endless rumors and alarms. 

But the campaigns were not fought in the cities, and Craig 
methodically set out to organize his corps of war correspondents to 
accompany the Union armies into the field. He began recruiting new 
men and dispatching them to the ill-defined fronts which were slowly 
taking shape to Missouri, to Kentucky, to the strategic points along the 
Ohio, to West Virginia where the cocky star of McClellan had started 
its rise, and into Virginia where the Bonnie Blue Flag whipped defiantly 
over the Confederate outposts. His preparations went ahead independ- 
ent of the pretentious individual efforts of the New York publishers. 

For the first time in many years the hurried plans of the jour- 
nalistic powers were minus the loud and bullying influence of one 
famous old personality. James Watson Webb no longer was on the 
scene. He had disposed of his paper and it was consolidated with the 
newly founded World, which acquired the Courier's Associated Press 
membership. The indefatigable Bennett was mapping a coverage cam- 
paign which cost him $525,000 and put sixty Herald correspondents in 
the field. Greeley's Tribune, Raymond's Times, and the others likewise 


were assembling their forces. The private news armies they marshaled 
were large, but Craig's forces were even more numerous. One of the 
Herald's staff, surveying the war zones, wrote: "The special corre- 
spondents of the several New York papers are nearly if not quite as 
numerous as the agents of The Associated Press." 

They were a picturesque lot, these correspondents, some smooth- 
shaven youths, some with long Quakerlike beards, some mustached in 
the approved style of the day. Kossuth hats and fancy vests were uni- 
versal favorites and all wore stiff collars. Campaign kits were not 
elaborate revolver, field glasses, notebook, blanket, haversack 
although a good mount was indispensable. For the risks and arduous 
living demanded, the monetary return was not great. Salaries ranged 
from $10 to $25 a week for the men in the field, out of which they had 
to pay their own expenses, to a maximum of $35 for key men in such 
centers as Washington and Louisville. General Agent Craig received 
$3,OOO annually. 

From the flatlands of Virginia to the muddy Mississippi unsea- 
soned armies maneuvered and feinted for advantage. But before an- 
other major battle followed the rout of Bull Run there was trouble on 
the home front which ended the career of Gerard Hallock, president of 
The Associated Press since its foundation. 

Under Hallock's personal direction, the Journal of Commerce had 
been outspoken in its opposition to the Lincoln administration and the 
prosecution of "the present unholy war" with the South. He himself 
wrote most of the editorials which so offended fiery Union supporters. 
With the war fever at fanatical heat, a federal grand jury stepped in 
with a presentment denouncing the Journal of Commerce as disloyal 
and recommending that the paper be prosecuted along with several 
others. Later it was said that the foreman of the jury had reason to 
nurse a grudge against Hallock because of the editor's refusal to accept 
a bribe for publishing a "puff." A patriotic boycott was unloosed against 
the Journal of Commerce. Its circulation suffered, but Hallock stuck to 
his course, unmindful of threats against his life. Then came the second 
blow. The postmaster general barred the paper from the mails. Hal- 
lock fought the order as in violation of the Bill of Rights, but it was 
not revoked and the Journal of Commerce faced the certain loss of its 
profitable out-of-town circulation. Its evening edition was suspended and 
the morning edition was distributed only to those who did not receive 
their paper through the mail. 

It was obvious that the Journal of Commerce could not continue to 


publish under such a handicap and so on August 31, 1861 the day the 
publication completed its thirty-fourth year the editor stepped down 
to save the life of his paper. He disposed of his interest to David M. 
Stone, head of the Journal's commercial news department, and to 
William Cowper Prime, author and traveler, who immediately suc- 
ceeded him as president of The Associated Press. Beyond Hallock's 
embarrassment at the stigma of "disloyalty" to the Union, his retire- 
ment had no consequences. The beliefs expressed in his columns rep- 
resented his own personal feelings and were not reflected by the press 

But Hallock never lost his absorbing interest either in the Journal 
of Commerce or in The Associated Press. For the next several years, 
even after he retired with his family to Connecticut, he watched news 
gathering pursue its uneven course. He wrote letters to the editor and 
from time to time he offered advice to his former colleagues. 

He sat one winter afternoon beside the smoldering fire in the 
living room of his home overlooking the Connecticut River. A blanket 
rested across his legs and he was intent on the current edition of his 
favorite paper. Presently he called the members of his family to join 
him. He talked with them of the past and of the future and then 
asked if he might be alone. 

When they returned ten minutes later the first president of The 
Associated Press was dead. 


NORTH, south, east and west men marched and countermarched 
through 1 86 1. Generally overlooked in those hectic days was the part 
the special correspondents of many northern newspapers were playing 
by disclosing Union strategy to the Confederacy. Not content with 
attempts to get news first, they tried to anticipate it and unwittingly 
served the Confederate cause. For a long time their stories kept the 
South remarkably well informed on federal plans. Southern spies in 
the North watched the newspapers closely, forwarding any important 
information they contained, sometimes even maps of projects, cam- 
paigns, or fortifications. In the South this problem did not develop so 
acutely. An official agency supplied the papers there with war news 
and the authorities were better able to control the information published. 

It was not only this aiding of the enemy that was turning Union 
generals against the war correspondents as a group. Too many reporters 
were writing fantastic, erroneous stories. They embroidered "atrocity" 
reports. They set themselves up as experts in -military strategy and 
they railed at any officer whose ideas on a campaign differed from their 
own. And woe to the general who did not acknowledge their dignity. 

The Department of the Cumberland, the military designation for 
the area with Union headquarters at Louisville, had more than its 
share of these so-called correspondents in the autumn of 1861. William 
Tecumseh Sherman, the general commanding, made no attempt to 
conceal his contempt for them. The only two men he trusted were 
quiet old Tyler, the Associated Press agent, and Henry Villard, who 
had joined the Herald since his preinaugural press association work with 
Lincoln. Because the government had commandeered the association's 
telegraph facilities, the Associated Press agency in Louisville virtually 
became a part-time headquarters for Sherman. He was there night 
after night, tall, sharp-eyed, brusquely abstracted. When he talked at 
all, it was to Tyler or Villard. 

Sherman was worried. He saw that the war would be a long and 
bloody one and he was afraid the Confederates would seize the strategic 



vantage points in Kentucky and along the Ohio before he had sufficient 
men to hold them. The special correspondents continued to ridicule 
him. One of them wrote that Sherman had the manners of a Pawnee 
Indian and when the general upbraided him the correspondent apolo- 
gized in print not to Sherman, but to the Indipns! 

Then many reporters for the private press seized upon his moodi- 
ness and whispers began to circulate that the general was suffering 
from mental depressions, spells, and aberrations. The whispers grew 
until they reached Washington. Sherman was relieved of his command 
and sent to an inconsequential "safe" post in Missouri. Then on Decem- 
ber n, 1 86 1, the most abusive of all libels was splashed across certain 
front pages. "General William T. Sherman Insane!" was the headline 
in the Cincinnati Commercial, over a story which began: 

The painful intelligence reaches us in such form that we are not at 
liberty to disclose it, that General William T. Sherman, late commander 
of the Department of the Cumberland, is insane. It appears that he was at 
the time while commanding in Kentucky stark mad. 

. After months under a cloud, Sherman fought his way back as 
one of the greatest military figures of the war, but he never forgave 
that "slanderous insanity story." Two years later, at Vicksburg, three 
special correspondents were erroneously reported lost. The general 
received the news with caustic sarcasm. "That's good," he exclaimed. 
"We'll have dispatches now from hell before breakfast." 

Although Associated Press men themselves had nothing to do with 
the libel, the entire press without distinction suffered the consequences 
for the remainder of the war. It multiplied the difficulties of obtaining 
official news and it made army officers openly hostile. Associated Press 
agents and other correspondents who tried to be accurate labored under 
as much disrepute as their careless, vindictive colleagues. 

The first war Christmas passed and the New Year came 1862. 
In New York the association's headquarters had grown to five rooms 
and the office staff was enlarged to meet the demands which had come 
with the conflict. The general agent had two assistants and a corps 
of six copyists, or manifolders, who transcribed dispatches by hand on 
the flimsy, carbon-smeared tissue sheets which were distributed by four 
messengers to members and clients in the city. 

Before the costly spring campaigns got under way the truculent 
new secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, clamped down on news 
gathering. "All newspapers publishing military news, however obtained, 


not authorized by official authority, will be excluded thereafter from 
receiving information by telegraph and from transmitting their publi- 
cations by railroad." That was his order, aimed primarily at the papers 
which had been disclosing military secrets to the enemy. It aroused so 
much editorial opposition that he modified the regulations the next 
day to permit the publication of "past facts, leaving out details of 
military forces, and all statements from which the number, position 
and strength of the military forces of the United States can be inferred." 
Editors continued to storm, but Stanton was not to be trifled with. 
Already he had thrown one special correspondent into prison and, 
moreover, he was the wartime czar of both the telegraph and the 

From Craig's agents in Virginia came accounts of defeat after 
defeat the fierce Peninsular campaign, another rout at Bull Run, the 
awful slaughter at Antietam, and Burnside's butchery of an army before 
the heights of Fredericksburg. Only from the West came tidings to 
relieve the Union's gloom. A new leader, Ulysses S. Grant, was 
shouldering his way in a slam-bang fashion through the back door of 
the South. And that superannuated sea dog, Admiral Farragut, captured 
New Orleans. The London Times put mourning borders around the 
news when it reached Europe many days later. 

Special writers signed their accounts with fancy pseudonyms, but 
there were no "by-lines" for the Associated Press agents on the many 
fronts. Occasionally a copyist might absently include the name of the 
agent at the end of a dispatch McGregor with the Army of the 
Potomac, Weir with the Army of Tennessee, Tyler in Kentucky but 
those were exceptions. For every exception there were hundreds of 
accounts which submerged the identities of the men on the battle 
lines with the impersonal description: "From the Associated Press 

The dispatches which came to the general agent ordinarily were 
brief. The curtailment of wire facilities limited his correspondents to 
terse bulletins on important engagements. These were followed a day 
or more later by more extended eyewitness accounts. In the East the 
agents often found it quickest to jump a train immediately after a 
battle and write their stories en route to New York or some intermediate 
city where telegraphic transmission could be arranged. Sometimes they 
used messengers, sometimes they galloped the long miles themselves, 
and sometimes they relied on the mails. It was even more difficult for 
the men in the West where train service was erratic and infrequent. 


They had to trust to the mails or the good graces of a military courier 
to carry the dispatches which supplemented the meager intelligence 
the army allowed on the telegraph. But, East or West, the anonymous 
agents somehow contrived to get their news through with a promptness 
that was creditable. 

Like the troops in the winding blue columns they accompanied, 
Associated Press agents were mystified that year by the peculiar-looking 
two-horse wagon which followed the army. The soldiers called it the 
"What-is-it-wagon" a name that stuck and jested about the short- 
bearded man who rode after it in a battered buggy. He was Matthew 
B. Brady, the "What-is-it-wagon" was his traveling darkroom, and 
together they were the quiet heralds of the beginnings of news photog- 
raphy. In those days a camera still was an oddity and pictures had to 
be developed within five minutes after exposure or else they would 
spoil. Brady used the primitive equipment expertly to produce a pictorial 
history of the war. The newspapers were not equipped for engraving 
and reproduction, so Brady's photographs did not appear to illustrate 
dispatches from the field of battle. 

The year dragged on to its end, and when the general agent 
totaled his expenditures for 1862 the amount reached the unheard 
peak of $123,408. The assessments against the seven papers had risen 
to $214 a week, and the afternoon papers in the city three in number 
were paying $119 each. Out-of-town subscribers were charged from $7 
a week upward for the little they received. Craig accompanied his 
financial accounting with a report setting forth that he had been able 
to save $20,000 by various news arrangements. "Indeed," he told the 
members, "holding practically a monopoly of the telegraphic news of 
the country, you are saving the expenditure of many thousands of dollars 
which would be required in case you had determined opposition." He 
also reminded them that more than half the association's entire expense 
was met by subscribers who had no say about the report they received. 
. News-gathering difficulties in New York were taking an unfore- 
seen turn. There had been a steady drain of city reporters to the 
various fronts and the seven member papers soon found themselves 
hard put to arrange for adequate coverage of local news. Because of 
this shortage of man power, the newspapers filled some positions with 
women, but the problem still remained acute. The situation finally 
prompted an organizer named Thomas Stout to establish a private 


service which years later was considered a forerunner of the present 
New York City News Association, which gathers the news of the 
metropolis. He called it Stout's Agency and recruited a staff of ten 
men to cover local assignments ordered by short-handed city editors 
or the general agent. 

The war went on and it was 1863. The price of newsprint soared. 
Small change had virtually disappeared and people paid streetcar fares 
with postage stamps. There was talk about an unknown "scribbler" 
named Walt Whitman who had burst upon thp literary horizon, and 
there were advertisements for artificial limbs. Out in the West the 
dogged Grant was stubbornly hammering away at Vicksburg, and in 
Virginia the genius of Robert E. Lee seemed never surer. 

June came and the whole anxious North was asking: "Where is 
Lee?" No one seemed to know. Gobright scurried about Washington, 
trying one official source after another. Then among the straggling 
crowds on Pennsylvania Avenue he met a friend who was with the 
army as a staff officer. After a hard ride from western Maryland the 
official had just arrived with a message for the secretary of war. Lee 
had invaded the Free State and was moving north on Pennsylvania at 
the head of an army of 80,000 men! The officer had few particulars, 
but what he had sent Gobright hurrying off to the room high up in the 
National Hotel where Stanton's censors operated. Gobright wrote his 
alarming dispatch that Lee was invading the North it was not more 
than twenty lines and pressed it upon the censor. 

"It can't go," said the War Department official. 

"But why?" asked Gobright. 

"Because it gives information to the enemy." 

Gobright was exasperated. 

"Colonel," he asked, "do you suppose the enemy does not know 
what he himself is doing? And besides, is it not important that the 
people of Pennsylvania and New York should know of their danger?" 

In the face of this logic, the censor finally agreed to pass the 
dispatch if Gobright qualified it with the cautious prefix: "It is said." 
So the dispatch sped to New York with the first staggering news that 
Lee and his gray legions were sweeping north. 

Just one week from the day Gobright sent the news, the North 
was wildly rejoicing at the first meager tidings of the victory at Gettys- 
burg. Church bells tolled and then a telegraph key tapped out a terse 
Associated Press message from the West: "Grant has captured Vicks- 


burg." No single day in three years had brought such news, and the 
day happened to be the Fourth of July. 

Battles were obvious things, and it took no great reportorial 
discernment to recognize an advance or a retreat, a victory or a rout. 
But too often news judgment was wanting a^d correspondents and 
editors alike stood unseeing in the presence of important history. It had 
been that way in January, 1861, when Confederate batteries drove off 
the relief ship bringing supplies and reinforcements to Fort Sumterj 
editors did not realize that those were the opening shots of civil war. 
It had been that way in March, 1862, when the Monitor, that "cheese 
box on a raft," fought the Merrimac in Hampton Roads 5 editors did 
not see that the long history of wooden navies was over. And it was 
that way, too, in November, 1863, when Lincoln delivered his Gettys- 
burg address. 

It was almost an afterthought that Lincoln had been asked to 
attend the dedication of a national cemetery on the battlefield. The 
President was given to understand that his part would be quite second- 
ary. "It is desired," he was told, "that after the oration you, as chief 
executive of the nation, finally set apart these grounds to their sacred 
use by a few appropriate remarks." 

So Lincoln sat on the platform and listened to the Honorable 
Edward Everett's elegant periods. Pencils of journalists raced. For 
more than an hour the famous orator spoke and when he reached his 
peroration there was a storm of applause. So intent were many on 
congratulating Everett that they missed the solemn opening words of 
the President. "Four score and seven years ago," he was saying, "our 
fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation . . ." 

The next day newspapers published long, laudatory columns on 
Everett's address, and most accounts ended with the brief sentence: 
"The President also spoke." Here and there an editor gave some 
obscure position to the text of what the President had said because 
The Associated Press had delivered it to his newspaper. Indeed, years 
afterward a story persisted that an unsung agent for The Associated 
Press was the only one to telegraph Lincoln's words just as he delivered 

After three years of civil war it was 1864 and Lee was still master 
of the snowy Virginia flatlands. Across the Potomac political veterans of 
three years 1 hard campaigning at the Willard bar gulped their neat 


whiskies on cold January nights and conceded Lincoln little chance of 
re-election. Perennially hopeful, Cyrus Field haunted London, seeking 
funds and waiting for the war to end so he might make still another 
attempt to lay an Atlantic cable. And young Henry Villard, one-time 
Associated Press agent with Lincoln, was back in Washington after his 
siege as a war correspondent. 

The general agent in New York presently heard of Villard's 
return and of what he was doing. The ambitious Midwesterner had 
conceived the idea for a news service to rival The Associated Press in 
Washington news. It was not long before he had five papers subscribing 
to his report and The Associated Press was in arms at the temerity of 
this upstart. Competition might be the life of trade, but at this stage 
neither Craig nor the seven members he served liked the idea. Villard 
was an interloper and they attacked him. 

While Villard and Craig fought, the secretary of war was still 
cudgeling his brains for a foolproof method of combating the misin- 
formation which appeared with increasing frequency in some publica- 
tions. Censorship had not proved enough and there was no use in 
suppressing papers when Lincoln permitted them to resume. Stanton 
hit upon a solution. He would write a "war diary." Perhaps Lincoln 
himself had something to do with the inauguration of the official 
communiques, for he believed the people should have the news and 
on more than one occasion he made sure that important intelligence 
was given to The Associated Press. 

Stanton acted on his idea immediately. Each night he wrote a 
dispatch summarizing the day's military events. The "war diary" 
dispatches were addressed ostensibly to General John A. Dix, the chief 
military authority in New York, but actually were prepared for The 
Associated Press. Dated variously between eight o'clock in the evening 
and two in the morning, the bulletins set forth with brevity and 
restraint the daily progress of each command. 

The entire Union perhaps never was so anxious for news as during 
the first week of May, 1864, after Grant disappeared into the tangled 
underbrush of the Wilderness to start his campaign against Lee and 
Richmond. All communications were cut and for two days there was no 
word. Then Henry J. Wing of the New York Tribune, after a 
dangerous all-day journey, reached Washington with the first account 
of the opening of a bloody battle. Lincoln was so overjoyed at the 
information and at a private message Wing gave him from General 
Grant ("Tell him for me that whatever happens, there will be no 


turning back") that he impulsively kissed the youthful correspondent. 
Then apologetically the President told Wing he had robbed the Tribune 
of the beat. "He told me," the correspondent related, "that to relieve 
the anxiety of the whole country regarding Grant's first contest with 
Lee, he had arranged with my managing editor to give a summary to 
The Associated Press to appear in all the papers." 

The fierce campaign in the Wilderness remained the biggest news 
one night two weeks later when a nervous messenger made the rounds 
of the newspaper offices in New York. He carried several copies of 
the same story. All bore the heading, "To The Associated Press," and 
told under a Washington date line that President Lincoln had issued 
a surprise call for 400,000 more troops and had appointed a national 
day of fasting and prayer for victory. 

ThelDoy stopped at the Times, at the World, at the Sun, at the 
Herald, and then at the Express. When he reached the Tribune build- 
ing the door he tried was locked and he scuttled away. In a few minutes 
he was at the office of the Daily News, which only recently had begun 
to buy the news report. The boy passed the pages across the counter 
and was starting for the door when the editor hailed him. Why wasn't 
this dispatch in the usual Associated Press envelope? The messenger 
stuttered, then blurted out that the supply of envelopes had run out 
and the dispatch was too important to be delayed. 

A presidential proclamation was important news. Although dead- 
lines were near, grumbling editors began to rip out front pages to make 
room for it. But deadline or no deadline, the editor at the Daily News 
was dubious. The Times office was the nearest, so he sent a copy boy 
there to see if that paper had the same dispatch. The Times had the 
proclamation, but the inquiry aroused suspicion and an editor went 
hurrying to the Tribune. The mysterious messenger had tried the wrong 
door and consequently the Tribune men knew nothing about the story. 
There was a hurried dash to the Associated Press offices and there the 
dispatch was immediately branded a forgery. 

The presses already were printing at the Herald, the Express, the 
Journal of Commerce, and the World, but the Herald discovered the 
truth in time to destroy its edition. The Express, too, learned in time, 
but word reached the Journal of Commerce and the World too late. 
The papers already were on the street, in the mails, and on steamers 
for delivery abroad. Rewards were posted for the perpetrator of the 
hoax and the general agent hurriedly sent off telegrams warning all 
subscribers not to pick up the counterfeit. 


But the damage had been done and War Secretary Stanton's orders 
crackled over the telegraph to General Dix in New York. Blue-coated 
troops went tramping into the World and Journal of Commerce offices 
and publication was suspended. Manton Marble, editor of the World, 
and William C. Prime, Journal of Commerce editor and president of 
The Associated Press, were clapped into the military prison at Fort 

For four days the bogus proclamation was a major mystery. Then 
the culprit was discovered. He was Joseph Howard, publisher of the 
struggling New York Daily Star. Acting at the behest of Wall Street 
promoters, his aim was to create a disturbance in the stock market and 
he had deliberately withheld delivery of his false intelligence until the 
early morning hours when it was unlikely that the copy would be 
carefully examined before use. 

The Journal of Commerce and the World were not the only papers 
to suffer. In New Orleans, then in Union hands, the Picayune picked 
up the proclamation from a mail edition and fared even worse. General 
Banks suppressed the paper from May 23 until July 9, while Prime 
and Marble were exonerated at Lincoln's order and their publications 
resumed in a week. But there was a certain curious irony about the 
whole affair. Before two months were over Lincoln not only called 
for additional troops, but also set aside a national day of prayer for 

As soon as Howard had been thrown into prison, The Associated 
Press took steps to protect members and subscribers against a recurrence 
of such fraud. A special iron stamp was made and henceforth all 
dispatches bore its imprint. 

The civil conflict was almost over now and the news reports added, 
day by day, the final details. Sherman reached the sea in December, 
1864. Then bugles sang in the April dawn and Richmond fell. A week 
later April 9, 1865 it was Palm Sunday and at half past one in the 
afternoon Grant and Lee met in the home of Wilmer McLean on 
a dusty road near Appomattox. At four o'clock they shook hands. 
McGregor, the Associated Press agent with the Army of the Potomac, 
watched them as they came out. Lee had surrendered. 

Only a few newspapermen were awake, keeping the watch, when 
the news reached Washington. Telegraph keys began to click, and at 
dawn a tremendous thunder broke all the windows in Lafayette Square. 
Five hundred cannon were roaring out a salute. Even Stanton was 


The city was in a gala mood and when John Francis Coyle, 
editor of the National Intelligencer, encountered John Wilkes Booth 
shortly before noon on Good Friday he did not think it strange that 
the handsome actor should invite him to share a bottle of wine. Over 
their glasses Booth expressed anything but satisfaction with the outcome 
of the Union efforts and fumed against the i resident, the government, 
and the North. 

"What would happen," he said, "if Lincoln were removed?" 

The editor answered that and many other questions on the same 
subject. But Booth obviously had been drinking and Coyle did not 
bother to wonder what prompted such sudden technical interest. 

They talked on into the afternoon until the actor tossed off his 
last glass of wine and then made his departure. He seemed in great 


"Father" Gobright puffed on the big cigar that had been given 
him by a tipsy captain at the Willard bar and leaned back in his chair to 
scan the out-of-town editions. The Washington agent had written his 
last dispatch for the night and already it was on its way to the New 
York office. It stated that General Ulysses Grant had changed his mind 
and, instead of attending the play, Our American Cousin, at Ford's 
Theatre, as advertised, had departed with Mrs. Grant for New Jersey. 

In the few days since Appomattox the ill-kempt city had taken on 
a crude and garish atmosphere of rejoicing. The dreary years of conflict 
and uncertainty had given way to a surging relief and even Lincoln 
was joining in the celebration. Along with other dignitaries, he and 
Mrs. Lincoln were at Ford's Theatre. Although General Grant had 
been able to persuade Mrs. Grant to go north instead, the President 
had not been successful with his suggestion to Mrs. Lincoln that an 
old newspaper friend, Noah Brooks, accompany her in his place. 

Gobright sat in his office until the hands of the clock dragged to 
nine-thirty and on toward the hour. Just as he was turning another 
page, the office door burst open and a friend rushed in shouting. The 
story came in snatches. The man had raced from Ford's Theatre by 
hack. He was upset, but Gobright began to ask questions. 

A few seconds later the agent was hurrying off the dispatch: 





Minutes after the assassin leaped from Lincoln's box Gobright 
was standing beside the chair in which the President had been shot. 
The military was in command and a cordon of bayonets and blue 
uniforms circled the theater. All doorways and passages were barred. 
A crowd materialized in the streets outside, but the assassin was gone. 

Gobright had just entered the presidential box when William 
Kent, a theater employee, stooped beneath one of the seats, picked up 
a pistol, and placed the stubby firearm in the agent's hand. The audience 
was still horrified below. A young naval officer demanded that the gun 
be surrendered, but Gobright would give it to no one but the police. 

He quickly got the picture of the attack as it had occurred. He 
examined the torn flag in which the assassin's spur caught as he jumped 
from the box to the stage to scream, "Sic semper tyranms!" Then he 
followed the path of escape out a back door. Gobright was leaving the 
theater to get back to the telegraph office when he heard that Secretary 
of State Seward also had been attacked as he lay sick at home. In his 
commandeered hack Gobright hurried to the Seward residence. There 
he obtained all the information available and was off to the boarding- 
house to which the President had been carried. Then he returned to 
his office to send additional details. 

Months afterward when there was time for reminiscing the agent 

Returning to the office, I commenced writing a full account of that 
night's dread occurrences. While thus engaged, several gentlemen who had 
been at the theater came in, and, by questioning them, I obtained additional 
particulars. Among my visitors was Speaker Colfax, and as he was going to 
see Mr. Lincoln, I asked him to give me a paragraph on that interesting 
branch of the subject. At a subsequent hour, he did so. Meanwhile I carefully 
wrote my despatch, though with trembling and nervous fingers, and, under 
all the exciting circumstances, I was afterward surprised that I had succeeded 
in approximating so closely to all the facts in those dark transactions. 

Long before Gobright began to prepare his full story of the 
attacks, his first dispatch had galvanized the New York office. Copyists 
on duty wrote furiously. Sleepy messengers were rushed out to deliver 
the news to the offices of member papers in other parts of the city, 
and there was driving haste to prepare the information for telegraphing 
to client papers. All this took time, yet the speed was considered 

Greeley's Tribune was ready to go to press as the messenger 
dashed in with the wrinkled sheet of copy. It was the first bulletin 


from Washington and page one was hurriedly dismantled. Typesetters 
went to work, headline writers scribbled, and the story was thrown 
together in the extreme left column then the preferred front-page 
space. So sensational was the news that the Tribune crammed into its 
columns, in the order of arrival, every scrro of information that it 
received. Shortly after the first Associated Press dispatch, the Tribimefs 
own correspondent in Washington was heard from, first in a message 
to "stop" the press association bulletin and later in dispatches that were 
not always accurate, particularly in the premature report of the Presi- 
dent's death. And so details of the story appeared as received, the 
erroneous bulletins intermingled with the accounts from Gobright. 
Next morning the Tribune's left column read: 


The President Shot! 
Secretary Seward Attacked 

First Dispatch 

Washington, April 14, 1865 
To The Associated Press: 

The President was shot in a theatre tonight and perhaps mortally 

Second Dispatch 

To Editors: Our Washington agent orders the dispatch about the 
President sent "stopped." Nothing is said about the truth or falsity of the 

Third Dispatch 

Special to the New York Tribune: 

The President was just shot at Ford's Theatre. The ball entered his 
neck. It is not known whether the wound is mortal. Intense excitement. 

Fourth Dispatch 

Special to the New York Tribune : 
The President expired at a quarter to twelve. 

Fifth Dispatch 

Washington, April 15, 12:30 A.M. 
To The Associated Press: 

The President was shot in a theatre tonight and perhaps mortally 


The President is not expected to live through the night. He was shot 
at a theatre. 

Secretary Seward was also assassinated. 
No arteries were cut. 
Particulars soon. 

Then came Gobright's long story under the heading "Particulars." 
Through the night, as additional reports were available, the details 
moved from Gobright's office to the office of the general agent and 
thence to subscribers. Secretary of War Stanton also sent an official 
announcement to Major General Dix in New York. It reached General 
Agent Craig in the early morning. 

Gobright's longest telegram, the "Particulars," was unusually 
detailed and stood for many years as a model of the reportorial style 
of the day. It read: 

Washington, April 14. 

President Lincoln and wife, with other friends, this evening visited 
Ford's Theatre, for the purpose of witnessing the performance of the "Amer- 
ican Cousin." 

It was announced in the papers that General Grant would be present. 
But that gentleman took the late train of cars for New Jersey. 

The theatre was densely crowded, and everybody seemed delighted 
with the scene before them. During the third act, and while there was a 
temporary pause for the actors to enter, a sharp report of a pistol was heard, 
which merely attracted attention, but suggesting nothing serious, until a man 
rushed to the front of the President's box, waving a long dagger in his right 
hand, and exclaiming, "Sic semper tyrannis" and immediately leaped from 
the box, which was in the second tier, to the stage beneath, and ran across 
to the opposite side, making his escape, amid the bewilderment of the audi- 
ence, from the rear of the theatre, and mounting a horse, fled. 

The screams of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed the fact to the audience 
that the President had been shot; when all present rose to their feet, rushed 
toward the stage, many exclaiming, "Hang him! Hang him!" 

The excitement was of the wildest possible description, and of course 
there was an abrupt termination of the theatrical performance. 

There was a rush toward the President's box, when cries were heard, 
"Stand back and give him air!" "Has any one stimulants?" On a hasty 
examination, it was found that the President had been shot through the head, 
above and back of the temporal bone, and that some of the brain was oozing 
out. He was removed to a private house opposite to the theatre, and the 
Surgeon-General of the Army, and other surgeons, were sent for to attend 
to his condition. 

On an examination of the private box, blood was discovered on the 
back of the cushioned chair in which the President had been sitting; also on 


the partition, and on the floor. A common single-barrelled pocket-pistol was 
found on the carpet. 

A military guard was placed in front of the private residence to which 
the President had been conveyed. An immense crowd was in front of it, all 
deeply anxious to learn the condition of the President. It had been previously 
announced that the wound was mortal, but all hoped otherwise. The shock 
to the community was terrible. 

At midnight the Cabinet went thither. Messrs. Sumner Colfax, and 
Farnsworth; Judge Curtis, Governor Oglesby, General Meigs, Colonel Hay, 
and a few personal friends, with Surgeon-General Barnes and his immediate 
assistants were around his bedside. The President was in a state of syncope, 
: totally insensible, and breathing slowly. The blood oozed from the wound 
at the back of his head. 

The surgeons exhausted every possible effort of medical skill, but all 
hope was gone! 

The parting of his family with the dying President is too sad for de- 
scription. The President and Mrs. Lincoln did not start for the theatre until 
fifteen minutes after eight o'clock. Speaker Colfax was at the White House 
at the time, and the President stated to him that he was going, although 
Mrs. Lincoln had not been well, because the papers had announced that 
General Grant and they were to be present, and, as General Grant had 
gone north, he did not wish the audience to be disappointed. 

He went to the theatre with apparent reluctance, and urged Mr. Colfax 
to accompany him; but that gentleman had made other engagements, and 
with Mr. Ashmun, of Massachusetts, bade him good-bye. 

When the excitement at the theatre was at its wildest height, reports 
were circulated that Secretary Seward had also been assassinated. 

Reported Assassination of Mr. Seward 

On reaching this gentleman's residence, a crowd and military guard 
were found at the door, and on entering, it was ascertained that the reports 
were true. 

Everybody there was so excited, that scarcely an intelligible word could 
be gathered; but the facts are substantially as follows: 

About ten o'clock, a man rang the bell, and the call having been an- 
swered by a colored servant, he said he had come from Doctor Verdi, Secre- 
tary Seward's family physician, with a prescription, at the same time holding 
in his hand a small piece of folded paper, and saying in answer to a refusal, 
that he must see the Secretary, as he was instructed with particular direc- 
tions concerning the medicine. He still insisted on going up, although re- 
peatedly informed that no one could enter the chamber. The man pushed 
the servant aside, and walked heavily toward the Secretary's room, and was 
then met by Mr. Frederick W. Seward, of whom he demanded to see the 
Secretary, making the same representation which he did to the servant. What 
further passed in the way of colloquy is not known, but the man struck him 
on the head with a billy, severely injuring the skull, and felling him to the 


floor almost senseless. The assassin then rushed into the chamber and attacked 
Major Seward, Paymaster United States Army, and Mr. Hansell, a mes- 
senger of the State Department, and two male nurses, disabling them all. He 
then rushed upon the Secretary, who was lying in bed in the same room, 
and inflicted three stabs in the neck, but severing, it is thought and hoped, 
no arteries, though he bled profusely. The assassin then rushed downstairs, 
mounted his horse at the door, and rode off before an alarm could be 
sounded, and in the same manner as the assassin of the President. 

It is believed that the injuries of the Secretary are not fatal, nor those 
of either of the others, although both the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary 
are very seriously injured. 

Secretaries Stanton and Welles, and other prominent officers of the gov- 
ernment, called at Secretary Seward's house, to inquire into his condition, 
and there, for the first time, heard of the assassination of the President. They 
then proceeded to the house where he was lying, exhibiting, of course, intense 
anxiety and solicitude. An immense crowd was gathered in front of the 
President's house, and a strong guard was also stationed there, many persons 
supposing that he would be brought to his home. 

The entire city to-night presents a scene of wild excitement accom- 
panied by violent expressions of indignation and the profoundest sorrow. 
Many shed tears. The military authorities have dispatched mounted patrols 
in every direction, in order, if possible, to arrest the assassins. The whole 
metropolitan police are likewise vigilant for the same purpose. 

The attacks, both at the theatre and at Secretary Seward's house, took 
place at about the same hour, ten o'clock, thus showing a preconcerted plan 
to assassinate those gentlemen. Some evidences of the guilt of the party who 
attacked the President are in possession of the police. Vice-President Johnson 
is in this city, and his headquarters are guarded by troops. 

The story written, Gobright took up his vigil outside the house 
in which the dying President lay. More than once he had swapped 
stories with the chief executive and during the long early morning hours 
many pictures of the man came to mind. There was the Lincoln who 
could enjoy a joke even when it was on himself the Lincoln who 
could fill with emotion at the sight of suffering the Lincoln whose 
ready wit could be devastating in driving home an argument. Gobright 
had been a veteran in Washington even before Lincoln appeared on 
the scene as an Illinois congressman and at one time or another he 
had had occasion to write about every one of those Lincolns he now 

Nevertheless, he did not write the final lines of the assassination. 
With other correspondents, he was excluded from the house. War 
Secretary Stanton took everything into his own hands. 

Day dawned and it was raining. More hours of waiting. Another 


of the secretary's military couriers emerged from the shuttered house, 
swung into a saddle, and clattered off. No one knew at the time, but 
he was riding to the telegraph office and he carried one of the last 
of Stanton's hastily scribbled "war diary" messages. The message was 
for the New York Associated Press and it read: 



THE long siege between the Union and the Confederacy had obscured 
events which ultimately exerted a decisive influence on the course of 
news gathering. During the war years hinterland publishers first began 
to chafe at the journalistic servitude in which they were held by the 
New York Associated Press. The most important stirrings of discontent 
were in the West. 

As a geographical designation, "West" was a vague expression. 
Because the nation had been born along the Atlantic seaboard, anything 
beyond the Alleghenies was the West, and even before Chicago existed 
there were such thriving centers as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Louisville, 
Cincinnati, Detroit, and St. Louis. Just as in other areas, the journals 
of the West had risen with the growth of populations and the increase 
of literacy. Like all the other "outside" papers, they paid their money 
as clients to the New York Associated Press and took whatever was 
doled out to them. 

The inequity of this condition became greater as the West grew 
stronger. By the second year of the Civil War the publishers of 
western papers had started to prepare for journalism's own internal 
conflict. The call to arms necessarily a discreet one was sounded by 
Joseph Medill, the erect, sharp-featured publisher of the Chicago 

The lot of MedilPs Tribune was neither better nor worse than 
that of its major western contemporaries. In spite of the feverish public 
interest in Civil War news, the service supplied by the New York 
Associated Press was far from adequate. Dispatches came by telegraph 
only four hours nightly between six and ten o'clock and Medill 
knew they represented only a minor portion of the daily file collected 
primarily for the New York papers. The arbitrary price exacted for 
that sketchy budget was out of all proportion. 

A lawyer before he became a publisher, Medill realized the futility 
of protest. He was at the mercy of a firmly entrenched news oligarchy 
and it would be absurd to attack it singlehanded. As matters stood, he 



was helpless. He must have news, however inadequate, and if he 
refused to meet New York's demands, he would be cut off in the midst 
of the biggest news period of the nation's history. General Agent Craig, 
spokesman for the owners in the East, tolerated no opposition. 

Together with other papers beyond the Alleghenies, the Chicago 
Tribune belonged to the loosely grouped affiliation of journals known 
as the Western Associated Press. This was primarily a regional associa- 
tion which had not thought of mutual protection and advancement. 

Medill took the initiative late in the war year of 1862. A letter 
went out from the Chicago Tribune to fellow publishers. It was time, 
it hinted, for Westerners to unite in a real alliance, but they must do 
it warily so as not to arouse the suspicions of New York or to provoke 
reprisals. Medill suggested a meeting. To all appearances it would be 
a casual, regional gathering to discuss limited, routine problems. 

That meeting was held in Indianapolis late the same year. Medill 
and his colleagues took special care to let New York hear of it and 
they welcomed the representative sent by Craig. A model of circum- 
spection, the meeting appointed an Executive Committee with Medill 
as chairman, to represent the group in all negotiations with the East. 
So discreet were requests that the New York representative was able 
to report that it had been a very friendly meeting in which entirely 
"satisfactory agreements" were reached for continuation of the existing 

New York dismissed the meeting with little thought, but it marked 
the formal start of a real Western Associated Press. 

The first tentative steps of organization begun, a meeting in 1863 
at Dayton produced more tangible results. The Western Associated 
Press felt strong enough to experiment and voted to send a committee 
to New York to seek a larger and better prepared report. Medill 
described what was accomplished: 

We succeeded in being allowed to put a news agent in the office of the 
New York Associated Press with authority to make up and send a three hun- 
dred word extra dispatch to afternoon papers and a one thousand word 
message to be put on the wire after ten P.M. for the morning papers. It was 
called the midnight dispatch and was published in an extra edition. We 
secured it at low tolls. The extra day dispatch was comparatively expensive 
as the wires were occupied at that time on commercial business. 

Medill continued his interest and when the 1864 meeting convened 
in Cincinnati he urged that the Western Associated Press be put on a 
legal basis. After some discussion, the decision was made to seek a 


charter of incorporation. H. N. Walker of the Detroit Free Press was 
chosen to apply to the Michigan legislature for a special act making the 
charter possible. 

Once the uncertainties of the Civil War had been banished, the 
West entered upon a truly epic period of expansion. Pioneers and their 
covered wagons were rumbling westward from the Mississippi, onward 
to the Rockies and the Sierras. Chicago was the hub from which the 
spokes of expansion radiated west. It was the capital of a broad new 
empire in which there were now 103 daily journals. On the plains 
sledge rang on spike as sweating labor gangs pushed forward the road 
of steel and ties. 

Side by side with the advancing rails marched the telegraph, but 
in many places it struck out boldly for itself across prairie and mountain. 
The lines strung on into the purple distance and suspicious Indians 
inspected the strange strands. They listened to the hum of the wires 
and in time they learned how the magic of the telegraph could summon 
the "Long Swords" of the palefaces. This "talking wire" was evil 
medicine, and war parties went whooping forth to cut the wires, fell 
the poles and massacre the men in the isolated stations where the 
talking wire spoke. And in the Southwest, cowboys were finding the 
telegraph a source of sport. The insulators on the poles proved irre- 
sistible targets and blazing six-shooters kept linesmen busy repairing 
damaged lines. But the poles and wires kept moving onward. 

The West was on the march. Yet when the publishers filed into 
Masonic Temple at Louisville on November 22, 1865, to perfect their 
recently chartered organization, there was a strange lack of belligerency 
and outspoken criticism on the subject of New York. The growing dis- 
content in the Western Associated Press was well underground a calm 
before the storm that broke within a year. 

The meeting adopted resolutions designed to leave General Agent 
Craig under the impression that everyone was well content. In the light 
of later events, two of them stood out as shrewdly conceived. One was 
a friendly gesture to the publishers of the prostrate South, expressing 
disappointment that they had been unable to meet with the Westerners 
and suggesting that either they attend future sessions or "that they 
organize a Southern Associated Press." The other resolution outlined 
for the West's special agent in New York the factors he should take 
into consideration in selecting the limited reports he was permitted 
to send. It contained four rules for news handling which stood for 
many years to come: 


Telegraph reports should above all else be reliable; they should be as 
brief as possible; information should be selected for its interest to the sub- 
scribing papers, not for its importance in New York, and in most cases 
editorial comment of New York papers should be disregarded; also news 
items should be compiled without giving credit to papers except where the 
authority is an essential part of the news. 

Small papers as well as large were represented in the Western 
Associated Press and it was necessary that action be taken to dispel 
any fears of the little publishers that the wealthier newspapers would 
dominate. This feeling had manifested itself the year before. The small 
papers then were receiving the same budget as more affluent contem- 
poraries, although at lower assessments, and in most cases the wordage 
was ample for their needs. They were afraid that a larger report would 
saddle them with increased expense for news which only the big papers 
could handle. 

To reassure them, a resolution was adopted specifying that news- 
papers having the need and the large resources could obtain more news 
without obligating proprietors of the small papers. This regulation was 
made part of the working constitution in 1865. In order to allay any 
other fears, Medill stepped aside and J. D. Osborne, of the Louisville 
Journal, was chosen president to succeed him. 

The first big event of 1866 was Cyrus Field's final triumph over 
the Atlantic. He had bounded back from his failure of years before 
with new backers and many more hundreds of miles of cable. 

Dissatisfaction in the Western Associated Press was reaching 
intolerable proportions just about the time of Field's success. The papers 
felt confidence in the strength of their organization and they knew they 
could rely on the financial support of the bulk of their membership. 
The end of the Civil War had removed their fears of being arbitrarily 
cut off from vital news and they were free to assert themselves. With 
the new cable opening up broader news horizons, there was an added 
incentive to seek a voice in the management of news gathering and an 
end to the inequities which galled them. 

The discontent was not confined to the West. Trouble was brewing 
among the seven members of the New York Associated Press. The 
balance of power was now in the hands of the ultra conservatives. The 
four members who held the reins underestimated the force which 


was rising elsewhere in the country. They were blind to the necessity 
for initiative in news gathering and failed to comprehend the ferment 
agitating the "outside" clients. 

Back of the New York dissension was the old rule of the association 
forbidding any one of its members to publish telegraph news from 
any part of the world without first making it available to all six others. 
This was a discouraging burden for the minority because the less 
ambitious papers could sit back and feel perfectly assured that they 
would receive all the news the others compiled at great individual 

The cleavage thrust General Agent Craig into the most anomalous 
position of his regime. He agreed with the minority, yet he was forced 
to act counter to his beliefs. The strong-minded Yankee grew increas- 
ingly restive. Little by little rumors began to seep west that Craig was 
at loggerheads with the men who were dictating the policies at New 

The Western Associated Press had waited a long time, but now 
the psychological moment had arrived and it was in an atmosphere 
of resentment that the membership convened in Detroit on August 7, 
1866. Some members were for a quick and open action, but the knowl- 
edge that there was disagreement in New York it was probable that 
the information had come from Craig himself counseled more subtle 

On the vital issue before the organization independence of New 
York or equality with it the entire course of action was placed in the 
hands of the Board of Directors. The breach in New York was becoming 
daily wider and the Western directors bided their time. 

The bombshell exploded on November 5. To every client of the 
New York Associated Press went a telegraphic note declaring that 
Daniel Craig, for fifteen years the monarch of news gathering, "is 
discharged by unanimous vote of the members," and that "Mr. James 
W. Simonton has been appointed General Agent" in his place. It was 
signed by W. C. Prime, as president of the New York association, and 
Joseph P. Beach, as secretary. 

The wires sizzled with a heated rejoinder by Craig denouncing the 
Prime-Beach statement as "utterly and infamously false." He denied 
he had been dismissed and volunteered the startling information that he 
was planning a new and better news service. 

"My resignation," he declared, "has been in the hands of the 
Executive Committee for several weeks, and whether accepted or not, 


I should have retired at the end of this time, at which time, as I have 
good reason to believe, every agent or reporter of the association will 
earnestly co-operate in the new movement, which I assure you is started 
with the most ample backers, and its results will largely promote the 
interests of all the papers outside of this city, and I shall confidently 
hope for your earnest approval." 

The secret was out. Craig confidently expected to take with him 
all the employes of the New York Associated Press both at home 
and abroad. The seven squabbling New York members did not know 
every detail of his quietly devised plans, but the dominant faction had 
acted with lightning swiftness to oust him as soon as it learned that 
he proposed to start another news-gathering organization. Craig's sum- 
mary dismissal ruined his plan to keep his project under cover until 
everything was ready and he could leave the stunned New York 
members in the lurch. He was forced to leave his old job at once and 
he turned all his energy to his audacious new undertaking. 

Simonton, the new general agent and a close friend of Raymond 
of the Times, was catapulted overnight into a trying position. He was 
suddenly expected to do all things. He must direct the operation of 
the news report without interruption. He must meet the menace of 
Craig's bold promise to raid the profitable ranks of his news customers. 
And he must maintain control of the restless "outsiders" who already 
were eager to do business with Craig. 

The New York Associated Press had been maneuvered into a 
perilous spot and the Westerners did not see how they could lose. Either 
New York must grant them the full concessions they were prepared to 
demand or else they could sever all relations and join Craig. Each 
passing day made the old association more vulnerable, and the strate- 
gists of the West watched for New York and its new general agent 
to make some overture. But New York was too busy fending off Craig's 
forays among its near-by clients. 

On the day Craig's new service began the Executive Committee of 
the Western organization was on its way to New York. Murat Halstead 
of the Cincinnati Commercial, and Horace White of the Chicago 
Tribune carried with them complete authority to obtain the concessions 
desired or to "make such other arrangements as they should deem 
advisable" for another news service. 


The envoys from the West were both young men. Halstead, a 
stubborn, fiery individual with the mustache and goatee of the tradi- 
tional southern colonel, was thirty-eight and his companion several 
years younger. Both were experienced journalists and White had the 
added advantage of five years' experience as agent for the New York 
Associated Press in Chicago. He took the post in 1855 and covered the 
famous Lincoln-Douglas debates for the organization he was now ready 
to fight. 

Halstead and White found New York an industrious city with a 
population close to the million mark. The wires from telegraph poles 
laced through the branches of shade trees along Broadway. Office 
forces worked ten hours a day, six days a week, and there were no 
female employes. The basement of the modest J. P. Morgan building 
in Wall Street was stacked with the wares of a retail wood and coal 
dealer, and inflated rubber bosom pads were the latest boon to the 
feminine figure. 

The two Westerners went straight to the New York Associated 
Press offices on lower Broadway where boxlike containers rattled back 
and forth above the street on three miniature aerial railways, shuttling 
dispatches from the association's headquarters to the wires of the near-by 
telegraph company. The aging, one-time schoolmaster who presided 
over the messenger boys greeted them and led the way to the committee 

There the powers waited President Prime; Joseph P. Beach, man- 
ager of the Sun; George Jones, business manager of the Times; Samuel 
Sinclair, publisher of the Tribune; Manton Marble, of the World, and 
Simonton, the new general agent. The Express was not represented, 
but Halstead and White already knew that Erastus Brooks was on a 
hurried trip upstate in an effort to hold the wavering New York State 
Associated Press in line. Nor was there anyone from the Herald. Young 
James Gordon Bennett, who had succeeded his father, was busy getting 
his sleek yacht Henrietta ready for a transatlantic race. 

Halstead, as spokesman for the West, told the New Yorkers that 
his association wanted an equal voice in all news-gathering affairs. Such 
a proposal shocked the monopolistic group. 

"Any such proposal is out of the question," Prime declared. 
"Such an idea cannot even be considered." 

"Why not?" 

Baldish and slightly hunched, the president of the New York 
Associated Press wrinkled his brow and attempted to explain. 


"The New York Associated Press," he said, "was founded by six 
publishers who have sponsored organized news gathering since 1848. 
We have facilities for carrying on the work and we do not propose to 
delegate any of our authority. It is unthinkable that an outside group 
should presume to feel it can have any voice in our affairs. News 
gathering is our business enterprise and we do not propose to share it 
with others. Consideration of your plan would imply that the Western 
Associated Press is entitled to be treated as an equal, and that would 
be an intolerable humiliation." 

Halstead and White objected to such a narrow concept of news 
gathering, but, making no impression, suggested another meeting the 
next day. Prime and his colleagues consented it would give these 
Westerners time to realize New York could not be frightened into 
agreement with their plan. The second meeting was inconclusive and 
a third was arranged. 

But Halstead and White were not bluffing. They had proceeded 
cautiously pending an opportunity to appraise the preliminary success of 
Craig's new independent agency the United States and Europe Tele- 
graph News Association, which was backed by the Western Union. 

The new service had begun auspiciously on November 24 and the 
reports for the first four days were workmanlike and promising. One 
of Craig's initial policies had been to provide, by way of the new cable, 
a good budget of foreign news, a large portion of it from sources 
formerly controlled by the New York Associated Press. This assured 
the West of some improvement in cable coverage and Craig had further 
promised to make up a special daily western report designed solely for 
the particular needs and requirements of that section. 

The two Westerners spent no time on formalities at the third 
meeting. They put a prepared statement on the table in front of Presi- 
dent Prime. It served notice that the West planned to assume control 
of its own news report and that it would obtain news on its own behalf 
from any outside organization which could provide what they wanted. 
It said: 

To The New York Associated Press: 

The Executive Committee of the Western Associated Press propose 
to get news from all parties who have news to sell, and to provide for its 
transmission to their respective journals. They propose to take the regular 
report of the New York (Associated) Press at Buffalo, and provide for 
its transmission to the various Western cities. For this news they will pay 
their own equitable proportion of the cost of collection. They propose also 


to appoint their own agent in New York to collect and buy additional news 
from all sources accessible to him and to provide for the transmission of the 
same to the various cities. 

A hubbub broke loose. There were sharp words, loud threats, and 
a noisy storm of voices. Halstead and White sat through the turmoil, 
calm and unmoved, making no attempt to reply. The New York group 
quickly adopted a resolution prohibiting any subscriber from taking 
dispatches from a rival organization under the penalty of being cut off 
instantly from its news report. But this time the threat did not work. 
The two young men from the West rose. 

"Gentlemen," Halstead said, "my colleague and I have made a 
most thorough examination of the entire situation. As matters now 
stand the press of the West is subservient to and dependent upon the 
New York Associated Press for all its news. We are not getting the 
kind of news we want and we have no voice in the direction of your 
organization. Our decision is that it would best serve the interests of 
the West if we aid in the establishment of another news service. Then 
we can get the kind of news we want. Accordingly we have made plans 
to supply ourselves with news without any further assistance from you. 
Gentlemen, we bid you good day." 

The two men quit the room. They could hear another wrathful 
outbreak as they descended the stairs. The angry voices died, but Hal- 
stead and White would have been interested to hear the carefully 
studied observation of one of the men they left behind. General Agent 
Simonton had watched these Westerners in action. He saw they were 
progressive and might be impressed by some startlingly new develop- 
ment. The struggle was on, but he believed he could produce a news 
report that might play some part in bringing it to an end. 

"Mr. President," he began, "I have a plan . . ." 


GENERAL AGENT SIMONTON'S plan was to take advantage of 
the new cable and improve New York's foreign news report. He would 
do this by sending an American-trained reporter to Europe something 
the association had never done before. He looked around for a likely 
man and called in the son of a New Jersey senator. 

When Alexander Wilson left Simonton and climbed down the 
long flight of stairs all had been decided. There was a raw, wintry bite 
in the early December air of 1866 as he stepped out onto Broadway 
and looked down Liberty Street toward the East River. He could see 
the graceful masts of clipper ships and California packets towering above 
the low water-front buildings, and the sooty columns of smoke from the 
less glamorous steamships. Wilson now felt a new, personal interest 
in these trim vessels. Somewhere along the docks of South Street was 
his transport to a great adventure. 

This new foreign assignment at first had seemed a very ambitious 
experiment in news gathering, but as Simonton carefully explained its 
purpose Wilson realized how logical and inevitable it was. The foreign 
report of the past had been contributed by Europeans with no firsthand 
knowledge of what American papers needed. In consequence much copy 
of comparatively little interest was received at considerable expense. 
The completion of the cable brought the long-awaited opportunity to 
obtain foreign intelligence while it still was news and Simonton saw 
that, by sending his own man abroad, he would have a strong point in 
bargaining with the West. 

Once his plan was approved by the New York majority, Simonton 
offered Wilson the assignment. The new correspondent had had expe- 
rience on the New York Times and before that had been associated 
with both Simonton and Henry J. Raymond on the Courier and 
Enquirer. Now he was in his late forties and once he had recovered from 
his surprise at such an unexpected change he was impatient to begin 
his duties abroad. 

A few days later he stood on the deck of an outbound vessel and 



watched the ragged Manhattan sky line fade into the morning mist. It 
would be his task henceforth to write Europe's daily history the wary 
duels of the great Disraeli and Gladstone, the negotiations with Russia 
for the purchase of Alaska, Garibaldi's invasion of the Papal States, 
the rise of a strong German nation under Bismarck, and the troubled 
destiny of France. 

He set up the first Associated Press office in London, and he did 
it in time to cable news of a contest which had all the East talking the 
first transatlantic yacht race from Sandy Hook to Cowes. Young James 
Gordon Bennett brought his Henrietta in victorious on Christmas Day, 
1866, with a record of 13 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes for a 
tempestuous winter crossing of 3,106 miles. Bennett's two rivals, Pierre 
Lorillard, Jr., and George Frank Osgood, scudded in a day later to 
pay off the $30,000 stake each had posted. 

As European agent for The Associated Press, Wilson inherited 
what Craig had left of a loosely-knit staff of foreign-born representa- 
tives. These were his lieutenants and to supplement them he had the 
reports of the foreign agencies, originally largely commercial in char- 
acter, which were developing as news gatherers. There was the agency 
which Charles Havas established in Paris in 1836 to obtain financial 
intelligence, the German organization founded in Berlin by Dr. Bern- 
hard Wolff in 1849, Guglielmo Stefani's Italian enterprise which had 
its beginnings in Turin in 1854, and most important, the service Julius 
de Reuter launched in London in 1858. 

But Wilson's job was to do as much actual reporting as possible, 
and Simonton also wanted him to Americanize the foreign news for 
American consumption. Wilson had to do the job alone and the news 
conflict raging back home made his task an exacting one. 

That conflict had been on in grim earnest for weeks. Immediately 
upon quitting the New York meeting of November 28, 1866, Halstead 
and White dispatched to their fellow members a full announcement 
of the break with New York. They reported that arrangements had 
been consummated with Craig to provide the service of his United 
States and Europe Telegraph News Association, and they instructed 
the publishers to refuse henceforth the budgets transmitted by the old 

Craig made his debut as the paladin of the "outside" papers he 


so often had chastised. On November 29 he was designated general 
agent of the Western Associated Press. The news gathering machinery 
of the country was in a turmoil as the contest began. Both Craig and 
Simonton transmitted complete reports, day and night, not only to 
the West but to other clients. The agents of the New York Associated 
Press in other cities were bombarded first by this faction, then by that. 
For a month they hardly knew which side they served. 

The prophets who had been saying the West was courting destruc- 
tion in its split with New York soon changed their opinions. Craig 
had lost none of his old skill. The superiority of his report was apparent 
almost from the outset. The rank and file of his old correspondents 
rallied to him and many dissatisfied clients of the New York association 
came under his banner. The close of his first day of operations found 
him proudly enumerating the imposing list of papers he was serving: 

The leading journals of Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville, 
Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville and Memphis in the West, the 
majority of the newspapers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas in the South- 
west, every paper in Louisiana with a single exception in New Orleans, 
all the newspapers in Virginia with but three or four exceptions, four-fifths 
of the press of Georgia, one-half of the press of Baltimore, all the news- 
papers of Washington City, eight out of the thirteen Philadelphia papers 
which publish news by telegraph, two of the three of the prosperous city of 
Newark, the entire press of Brooklyn, and three of the nine of New York. 

New York, pushed suddenly to the wall, fought back doggedly. A 
shrewd statement was rushed to all members of the Western Associated 
Press charging that Halstead and White had sought to betray the 
interests of their fellow publishers at the price of preferential arrange- 
ments for their own papers. 

Nevertheless, the tide continued strongly toward Craig. The New 
York State Associated Press debated the wisdom of casting its lot with 
the rebellious West. The New England association also threatened to 
desert, and the few clients remaining in the South grew restive. The 
elder Bennett left his semi-retirement for secret conferences with Hal- 
stead and White, who had remained in New York to direct operations 
with Craig. Then came the first actual break in the solidarity of the 
New York Associated Press. The World y long sympathetic to the 
insurgents, announced its withdrawal from membership. 

It was at this juncture that the shaken New York majority actually 
ordered all its own news reports withheld from papers using Craig's 
service. At the direction of Halstead and White, Craig retorted with a 


broadside notifying his subscribers they could not continue to receive 
the new Western news budget if they also took service from the New 
York Associated Press. There was ironic inconsistency in this policy. 
Halstead and White had been vehement in denouncing just such tactics 
on the part of the old monopoly. But this was one of those battles in 
which the better part of valor seemed to be to fight the enemy with his 
own weapons. 

The old association's service began to show a lack of live news, 
particularly from the Mississippi Valley. Yet New York stubbornly 
showed no signs of yielding. It redoubled its attacks on Craig, Halstead, 
and White, revived the old bugaboo of New York's ability to dominate 
the telegraph, and preyed on the fears of the timid small publishers 
who feared the split eventually would mean an entire loss of telegraph 
news. Nor was New York above stooping to sabotage. When Lincoln's 
successor, President Andrew Johnson, delivered his important message 
to a hostile Congress that December, trees were felled across the wires 
being used by Craig to transmit the news. 

Although Craig made no effort to conceal his desire for revenge 
on New York, he demonstrated that he also had the good interests 
of news gathering at heart by offering to turn over ownership of his 
United States and Europe Telegraph News Association to its subscribers 
the moment they organized on .a national front. There were no strings 
attached to the offer and had the opportunity been seized the old 
monopoly probably could not have survived. Halstead and White pon- 
dered the proposal but felt they could not accept without assuming 
greater responsibility than their Board of Directors had authorized. 
So the offer was soon forgotten in the rush of other events. 

Simonton, the opposing field marshal, meanwhile was laboring to 
hold together a disintegrating news empire until Wilson could re- 
establish the association's old dominance abroad. The new general agent 
placed great store in the importance of Wilson to help turn the tide. 
The other factor on which he relied was the mounting bill the West 
was being called upon to meet for the expenses of its adventure in news 
independence. Despite the forbidding immediate outlook, he was 
inclined to be optimistic. Already the subtle New York propaganda 
campaign had begun to bear fruit among the apprehensive small papers 
in the West. Halstead and White were being called selfish con- 
spirators by fellow members, their authority was being questioned, and 
there was grumbling about expenses. 

Halstead and White were so stung by this sniping back home that 


they issued an indignant rejoinder, defending their course and denying 
they had sacrificed the smaller papers to their personal advantage. They 
realized, however, that eventually their actions of the past feverish 
fortnight must be formally ratified, and definite plans mapped for the 
future. They recommended a special meeting and the Western Board 
of Directors called one for December 12 at Crosby's Opera House in 

No sooner had the meeting convened than J. E. Scripps, testy 
managing editor of the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune > leaped into the 
fray. He called upon the association to disavow responsibility for every- 
thing Halstead and White had done and lashed the two envoys for 
their "unwarrantable assumption of power." 

Halstead met the attack with a spirited reply. 

"The question goes beyond journalism," he declared. "It is a ques- 
tion of importance to every merchant and every man who deals in 
securities. Every community in the Western country has been robbed 
of its intelligence by this monopoly, and what we have to do is to break 
it up to establish competition. I do not expect to be able to crush the 
New York Associated Press, but I do expect to be able to release the 
Western Press from its despotism." 

Scripps's motion was thrown out after an animated debate and the 
chairman recognized Erastus Brooks, who had come from New York to 
plead for amity. Questions were fired at him from all sides and when 
asked point-blank if the West would be given a voice in the New 
York Associated Press, he replied firmly that this could be done only 
on matters pertaining to its own territory. 

Joseph Medill of the Chicago Tribune, who had been the leading 
influence in the foundation of the Western Associated Press four years 
before, made short work of Brooks's arguments. 

First he reproved the smaller papers for distrusting the motives 
of Halstead and White, and then he charged New York with foment- 
ing such a feeling in order to weaken the West so that the old monopoly 
could divide and conquer the insurgents piecemeal. 

"This New York Association is a monopoly in the worst sense of 
the word," Medill declared, "the denial of Mr. Brooks to the contrary 
notwithstanding. It is one of the most pernicious and crushing monopo- 
lies that ever existed. It contracts and collects the telegraphic news to 
suit its own wants and tastes, and then deals out scraps of it to others 
on such conditions and at such prices as it chooses to affix. What voice 
have we in that New York association? We are told that we pay but a 


trifle toward its expenses. I contend that we have paid more than our 
full quota on all the dispatches we have received. When the cable dis- 
patches were added as a portion to the news of the day, the New York 
Associated Press apportioned out to the various places their quota of 
the expenses. Did they take five-sevenths of the cost to themselves? 
Not exactly. They charged one full third to the association represented 
on this floor 5 another third on the papers south of New Yorkj an addi- 
tional fraction on those west and north of New York, and the residue, 
if any, they pay themselves! 

"I am in favor of confirming the action of the Executive Commit- 
tee," he continued. "It is necessary for the protection of our interests 
as Western publishers to carry this action through. Gentlemen, you 
represent and speak to twelve millions of free people! You speak in 
the name of twelve states $ they in the name of one city! How much 
longer shall we permit this minority to rule over the majority? Don't 
be afraid of independence. It is not going to hurt you. It will not take 
long before these New York birds of paradise will come down from 
their lofty trees and roost lower. Let us simply be united and all the 
rest will be easy!" 

The meeting voted 21 to n to approve the action of Halstead 
and White. The divorce from New York had been duly ratified. 

Victory was in the air. Halstead successfully proposed the crea- 
tion of a three-man committee to correspond with publishers outside 
of New York City with a view to organizing a United States Asso- 
ciated Press. Then the meeting ended, confident the power of New 
York had been blasted. 

The New Yorkers were not so easily annihilated, however. Wil- 
son's presence in London was giving Simonton the advantage abroad 
which he had awaited. Now the conflict grew even more expensive for 
both antagonists. Although cable rates had been reduced from $10 to 
$5 per word, transatlantic dispatches remained the most costly con- 
venience in newsdom. The fighting factions found their cable bills run- 
ning over $2,000 weekly, an outlay which threatened bankruptcy if 
continued. Craig struggled to overcome Simonton's advantage, but it 
was an uneven contest because Wilson's presence in England made 
New York's foreign budget superior to that provided the West by 
European correspondents ignorant of American newspaper practice. 


Thus the battle seesawed, with Craig pre-eminent in domestic intelli- 
gence and Simonton the leader in the foreign field. 

For another fortnight the rivalry continued sharp and intense and 
then, surprisingly enough, it was the stiff-necked New York majority 
that finally unbent and made the first real move for peace. As 1866 
ended they advanced the suggestion that, if the Western Associated 
Press would send some of its "old heads" back east along with the 
"young men" of the Executive Committee, an agreement might be 
reached. Just when the Westerners might have held out a little longer 
and perhaps emerged victorious, an unexplained blindness descended. 
They seemed too preoccupied with the considerations of the immediate 
present the fight was proving immensely expensive, Wilson's foreign 
news report had created a tremendous impression, and the grumbling 
small papers were sulky in their support of hostilities. At any rate, 
the Westerners overlooked the past abuses and received the New York 
overture favorably. They named Medill, H. N. Walker of the Detroit 
Free Press, and Richard Smith of the Cincinnati Gazette as the "old 
heads" to accompany Halstead and White to the eastern metropolis. 

A great show of tactful politeness and diplomacy characterized 
the first several days of the revived conference. New York made nu- 
merous efforts to win back the West without making major conces- 
sions, but the insurgents sat tight, counting heavily on the apparent 
friendliness of the New York World and Herald and the presumed 
support of both the New England and the New York State Asso- 
ciated Press. Again an impasse threatened. Then the New Yorkers 
broke the deadlock by resorting to the old divide-and-conquer strategy. 
Simonton slipped away one night to Boston and negotiated a new con- 
tract which brought New England once more under the old standard. 
Bennett's Herald was cozened back and the upstate publishers were 
persuaded to return. 

Robbed of their fancied advantages, the Westerners settled down 
to earnest efforts to reach an agreement. General Anson Stager, super- 
intendent of Western Union Telegraph Company, was invited to act 
as mediator. For some reason Western Union had lost its initial en- 
thusiasm for the Craig venture. The company had been hard put to 
handle the voluminous reports of the rival agencies. Soon a pact was 
worked out which the Westerners, however mistakenly, considered a 
major concession. Craig, the veteran of more than thirty years' news 
gathering, was sacrificed to the agreement and under the terms of the 
treaty Simonton also was to retire in the interests of harmony. The 


pact was drawn on January n, 1867. It contained the following pro- 
vision, among others: 

1. Those papers that left either association during the difficulties are 

2. The New York Association is to furnish all its news, for the exclusive 
use of the Western Associated Press within its territory, to the Western 
agent in the New York office. 

3. The Western Associated Press is to collect and furnish all news of 
its territory to the agent of the New York Associated Press at Cleveland 
or Pittsburgh. 

4. Delivery of news is to be made as rapidly as received. 

5. Both associations agree not to compete for papers in the other's 

6. The Western Association is to pay: For general news, $8,000 per 
annum; for cable news 22 per cent of the expense of obtaining the same, 
but not exceeding in gross expense $150,000 per annum; for California 
news, 20 per cent of the whole cost to the New York Associated Press at 

7. The Western Associated Press is to deliver at Chicago its report 
for California customers of the New York Associated Press and for cus- 
tomers at other points west of the territory of the Western Associated Press. 

Prime, as president, and Beach, as secretary, signed the agreement 
for New York. H. N. Walker affixed his signature as president for the 

That same day Walker also signed a contract with Western Union 
for transmission of news under the new agreement. Buffalo was desig- 
nated the eastern relay point for news to the West's afternoon papers, 
and New York for the morning. The day file from Buffalo consisted 
of a foo-word "early morning report" and a 30O-word "noon report." 
The night report contained the more imposing volume of 3,500 words 
and went to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Chicago, 
Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. A night "pony" report 
of 1,500 words, abstracted from the larger report, was filed out of 
Cleveland to Wheeling, Zanesville, Columbus, Dayton, Madison, Ind., 
New Albany, and Sandusky. 

The local news from all large and small points, aggregating 2,000 
words daily, went to the major cities. An additional budget called 
"River news" was serviced to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and 
St. Louis only. The complete Western report averaged 6,000 words 
daily and for its transmission that association paid Western Union 
$60,000 a year in $5,000 installments. 


To replace Craig, an experienced telegrapher named George B. 
Hicks was appointed general agent for the West and headquarters were 
established in Cleveland. 

They called it peace, but the settlement left New York still mas- 
ter in the field of news. Although the old organization had lost some 
prestige, it still retained a tight grip on the highly important cable 
news, Washington news, and the news of financial New York. Further- 
more, it remained in a position to control, if not to dictate, the news 
output of most of the regional associations. 

Besides such psychological advantages as the West reaped, it also 
won a more satisfactory financial agreement with New York and a 
limited degree of recognition. But it had surrendered much for these 
concessions. The loudly urged claim for a voice in the operations of 
the New York association was quietly jettisoned $ the stubbornly as- 
serted right to obtain news from other sources was forgotten, and there 
were no specifications as to the quality of the news report itself, long 
the subject of agitation. 

Disillusioned and embittered, Craig retired from the news field, 
but not so Simonton. New York blandly forgot its pledge to eliminate 
him the new general agent had proved himself equal to a great 


BY THE time of Grant's inauguration as President, Simonton had set- 
tled down in the old New York headquarters, which remained in the 
same building on Broadway occupied since the days of the first general 
agent. There was a large force of assistants now and the association 
had agents in London, Liverpool, Montreal, Quebec, Boston, Phila- 
delphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington, Albany, San Francisco, 
"and in all the principal cities and towns of the United States." News 
flowed in at the rate of 35,000 words daily. It came by Atlantic cable, 
by Cuba cable, by land telegraph, by ships from South American ports, 
by clippers on the China run. Busy copyists with carbon-grimed fingers 
transcribed it all on the thin manifold sheets, stuffed it into envelopes 
for delivery to the dozen metropolitan papers, or handed it to waiting 
regional agents who prepared the reports transmitted to the auxiliary 
associations. . 

There was much news for the hard-working copyists during 1869. 
Wall Street had its famous "Black Friday" when the market went 
crashing in a cloud of confusion, bankruptcy, and ruin. On Promontory 
Point, out in Utah, Governor Leland Stanford and Thomas Durant 
drove the last spike connecting the railroads which first linked the 
Atlantic and the Pacific. Arthur Cummings was hailed as the man who 
introduced curve pitching in baseball. Sweating English troops invaded 
Ethiopia to punish the Lion of Judah. John D. Rockefeller was laying 
the foundation for his oil empire, and from Europe the rising tide of 
immigration kept rolling. The country's population was close to 39,- 

Simonton's worries were multiplying. There was a running con- 
troversy with the cable company over rates and the priority of press 
dispatches. Another source of trouble was the emergence of a struggling 
rival the Hasson News Association which was providing unaccus- 
tomed competition. Then, too, there were the activities of the Western 
Union which sold brokers and countinghouses a service of commercial 
and market news abstracted from the Associated Press report. Such lib- 



cities were taken under a vague agreement between the company and 
the New York association, but there were constant complaints from the 
West on the ground that the wire concern was invading the regular 
news field. 

Soon the general agent was finding Western Union the cause for 
more grievous embarrassment. Although close alliance with the tele- 
graph company had undeniable advantages in assuring the best com- 
munication facilities, it left the news-gathering organization vulnerable 
to repeated attack. Throughout the seventies the names of the New 
York Associated Press and the Western Union were coupled again 
and again in Congress and denounced as "co-conspirators in building a 
press monopoly." 

In those graft-ridden, ruthless days, Western Union, by controlling 
the most important telegraph system, held the whip hand and New 
York was expected not to send out anything inimical to its powerful 
ally. If necessary the news could be painstakingly selected or colored, 
and all criticisms by client papers were prohibited. At one stage the 
president of Western Union acknowledged before a Congressional in- 
vestigation that the New York Associated Press was under an agree- 
ment to use its wires exclusively, and that all papers receiving its re- 
ports were forbidden to have any dealings with rival wire systems. 

In the face of these incessant assaults, the members who controlled 
the New York Associated Press maintained an unworried complacency. 
The harried general agent was left to make such defense as the inci- 
dents demanded. Eventually it became necessary that a formal answer 
to the monopoly charge be made and Congress, after almost ten years 
of talking, summoned Simonton to appear before a Senate committee. 
There were six counts in the indictment of the press association's rela- 
tions with the telegraph company: 

1. News associations are compelled by The Associated Press to use 
only Western Union wires. 

2. By their contracts with Western Union, The Associated Press is 
pledged to oppose other wire companies. 

3. The inability of New York Evening Post to use a dispatch from 
its own correspondent until it has given the dispatch to other members of 
the New York Associated Press. 

4. News originating in New York is sometimes sent to Washington 
for distribution so that those receiving it will think it originated in Washington. 

5. The New York Associated Press censors the papers of the country 
by cutting off news reports to papers who have criticized The Associated 


6. The New York Associated Press is engaged in public business and 
therefore is amenable to the laws governing corporations transacting public 

Simonton made a lengthy and vigorous reply, stoutly defended the 
organization he headed, and did not hesitate to lecture the investigating 
committee. He said: 

The Associated Press is a private business, carried on under the same 
moral, legal and constitutional rights which permit any one paper, in a 
country village or in a metropolis, to collect and publish its local news. The 
charge of monopoly rests upon the single fact that here and there some 
newspapers, which did not share in the labor or risk of establishing The Asso- 
ciated Press, are not permitted to come in and share its facilities, now that 
the day of experiment and risk has passed. As well might they demand to 
force their way into a share of the already created business of any bank or 
dry goods house, or other mercantile establishment, which, like The Associated 
Press, had spent thirty-one years in perfecting its plans, securing its customers 
and their confidence, and creating its opportunities for doing business with 
profit. The profit of the bank or mercantile business is in cash dividends; the 
profits of The Associated Press are in the use of the news which it collects, 
as the profits of the fisherman are in the fish which he captures and takes 
from the rivers and the sea, just as we take that in which we deal from the 
great ocean of human events. 

He declared that the New York Associated Press was merely a 
customer of Western Union, denied the association was pledged to fight 
opposition telegraph companies, and pleaded ignorance of a mutuaJ 
defense agreement. There were some concessions in rates, considering 
the large volume of business Western Union received' from the asso- 
ciation. Were it not for these rate concessions, the general agent said, 
the New York Associated Press would be unable to continue its liberal 
practice of supplying news at low cost to the many sections of the nation 
where populations were sparse and small journals were struggling for 
existence. His exact words were: "The Press and the telegraph com- 
pany both agree to give lower rates to the poor and recoup by higher 
compensation from the well-to-do." 

He dismissed the old monopoly charge by pointing out that the 
auxiliary associations, with few exceptions, made their own rules and 
determined who should and who should not receive New York's report 
in the various territories. As to the charge that New York maintained 
a rigid censorship over the press of the country under the threat of 
cutting off their news reports, Simonton explained that the so-called 


censorship in reality was punishment for infractions of rules and regu- 
lations. He upheld the association's right to cut off the news report 
"our readiest defense" whenever a subscriber had the hardihood to 
criticize it in print: 

I submit that there is not a gentleman here who would sell dry goods, 
groceries, or anything else day after day to a man who told him every time 
he came in, "You are a thief, a swindler and a liar." You would very soon 
say, "If you can't come in and behave yourself, I do not want your trade 
and you can get out." That is the sort of censorship we exercise. When 
papers insist that they have grievances against us and give us an opportunity 
for explanations, they very often learn that they have been in error. But 
when papers will persist in abusing us for the alleged grievances in advance 
of inquiry, we simply say to them, "We do not want to serve you. If we 
cannot be treated like decent men, you had better get your news service 

The general agent recapitulated his testimony in four categorical 

I. The Associated Press is not a monopoly. 2. It is a private business. 
3. It is independent of the Western Union Telegraph Company. 4. It has no 
franchise from the government and no legislation within the power of 
Congress can take from it the tools of its creation. 

Simonton acquitted himself well, presenting his organization in 
the best possible light, and the committee hearings were productive of 
no untoward results. 

All these troubles which beset Simonton represented only one side 
of the picture. It was a period of great news events and the general 
agent proved himself a capable administrator. He was zealous for the 
improvement of the report and under his direction it did improve in 
spite of the handicaps imposed by the structural nature of the organiza- 
tion. His efforts did much to atone for the shortcomings of the ser- 
vice. This was particularly true when the news was not of a contro- 
versial nature, and 1871 produced an outstanding demonstration. 

That was the year of the most famous bovine in history Mrs. 
O'Leary's cow and the lantern she was said to have kicked over. It 
was half past nine on an October Sunday night when the flames started 
to race through Chicago before a strong wind. Through seventy-three 
miles of streets they roared in one mighty, appalling conflagration. Two 
hundred lives were lostj 98,500 were homeless; 17,500 buildings were 


destroyed, and some $200,000,000 worth of property went up in smoke. 

Together the New York and Western associations brought the 
country the story of Chicago's disaster. When special correspondents 
arrived in the stricken city they found telegraph offices would not per- 
mit their accounts to interfere with the transmission of the thousands 
of messages being sent for relief. There was only one exception The 
Associated Press and its dispatches received the right of way. In order 
to get their stories out, other correspondents found it necessary to send 
the copy by train to Cleveland. 

The next year also there was a great volume of news, including 
the extraordinary presidential campaign which gave Grant his second 
term, the malodorous Credit Mobilier scandal investigation, and a 
host of other occurrences. Cable tolls alone exceeded $200,000 and 
special assessments were imposed generally on both New York and 
auxiliary Associated Press groups. 

The mad postwar spree of spending and speculation was over and 
hard times were beginning to pinch. 

William Henry Smith, who had succeeded Hicks in 1869 as gen- 
eral agent of the Western Associated Press, was beset by pleas for lower 
assessments from his members who protested they could not weather 
the depression unless the reductions were granted. Occasional evi- 
dences of friction cropped up between the West and New York, and 
the old cry for cheaper telegraph tolls was raised again, though without 
encouraging results. 

Telegraph rates had always been a subject of concern, but in 1872 
Simonton was occupied with an entirely different aspect of the associa- 
tion's transmission problems. Always in the past the telegraph company 
had controlled the wires over which the association moved its news. 
Simonton wanted to lease a wire outright between New York and 
Washington to use in moving the heavy volume of news between those 
two cities and the intermediate points of Philadelphia and Baltimore. 
He thought it would be more economical and would speed the report. 
The telegraph company scouted the request as impracticable. Simonton 
persisted in his campaign, with steadfast encouragement from his young 
assistant, Walter Polk Phillips, who later became known as the author 
of the "Phillips Code" of telegraphic abbreviations. The company de- 
layed action for several years, but in 1875 Simonton won and the first 
leased wire in press association history began operating. 
, v The wire was taken over under a straight leasing arrangement, a 


practice that grew as the need for exclusive news-transmission facilities 
steadily increased. 

"It was my good fortune as one of the lieutenants of James W. 
Simonton," Phillips recounted, "to select the men to work that pioneer 
leased system between New York and Washington. There were eight 
of them, two each at New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washing- 
ton." The men Phillips picked were Fred N. Bassett, P. V. De Graw, 
W. H. C. Hargrave, W. J. Jones, Thomas J. Bishop, H. A. Wells, 
W. N. Grave, and E. C. Boileau. 

This first leased wire was 226 miles in length and was followed by 
similar lines to Boston, Buffalo, then to Chicago and eventually to the 
Pacific Coast. The inauguration of the system was one of the great 
achievements of Simonton's administration. 

The same year that brought the leased wire saw the New York 
Associated Press change its quarters for the first time since 1848. The 
new home was at Broadway and Dey Street on the eighth floor in the 
imposing building Western Union had just erected. The flow of news 
turned into this new center the famous "stolen" presidential election 
of Hayes versus Tilden, the expensive Russo-Turkish War, the reign 
of the "Molly Maguires" in Pennsylvania, and the election of Pope 
Leo XIII. 

History quietly repeated itself that decade, for another great ad- 
vance in the science of communications passed with scant notice. Alex- 
ander Graham Bell's attorney appeared in Washington in 1875 and 
filed application for a patent on a new device called the telephone. It 
was several years, however, before the instrument came into general 
use, even on a small scale, and its quickening effect on news gathering 
was not immediate. 

It was an important year, but the event that caught popular in- 
terest was not BelPs invention. A cavalry officer with a reputation for 
insubordination was riding toward the valley of the Little Big Horn 
in Montana. And with him and his Seventh Cavalry went a lone news- 
paperman an Associated Press correspondent on a nimble gray mule. 


IT WAS May, 1876, and Philadelphia buzzed with last-minute plans 
for the greatest celebration in the history of the nation the hundredth 
anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The exposition was 
imposing and the agents of the New York Associated Press who drew 
the assignment to report the spectacle began sending out their stories 
telling of the wonders in store for those who planned to attend. 

All this was worlds removed from life in the frontier town of 
Bismarck, North Dakota. On May 14, just four days after the ex- 
position threw open its gates, there was a small gathering in the home 
of Bismarck's town druggist, John P. Dunn. The occasion was a 
farewell dinner for the quiet, middle-aged man who had become a close 
friend of the family in the three years he had been a reporter for the 
weekly Bismarck Tribune. His name was Mark Kellogg and he was 
preparing to accompany General George Armstrong Custer and his 
regiment into the badlands westward to punish Sitting Bull and his 
warlike Sioux. Colonel Clement A. Lounsbury, owner of the Bismarck 
Tribune and a part-time correspondent for the Western Associated 
Press, had intended making the trip, but last-minute illness in the family 
compelled him to delegate the assignment. 

The Dunn family knew little of Kellogg except that he had 
moved from town to town along the frontier since his wife died some 
years before. He was greatly attached to children and he had been 
attracted to the Dunns by their rollicking youngsters. His presence at 
the Sunday dinners had become a custom and the entire family looked 
forward to having him there. 

The Dunns lingered as long as possible over the meal because they 
would miss their friend. He had to leave at three o'clock to ferry the 
Missouri and join Custer at old Fort Lincoln, so dinner had been 
served earlier than usual. Mrs. Dunn inquired about his preparations 
for the trip and he displayed a little black satchel. In it were tobacco, 
pipes, underwear and other pieces of light clothing. There were pencils 
tqo, and a supply of paper on which to write his accounts of the cam- 
paign against Sitting Bull, for relay by pony across the plains to the 
nearest newspaper and telegraph offices, many miles away. 



Jokingly he told the Dunns that General Alfred H. Terry, com- 
mander of the expedition, had assigned him a gray mule. As soon 
as he arrived at Fort Lincoln the animal was turned over to him. The 
sure-footed little beast was so small that Kellogg's feet touched the 
ground, but throughout the campaigning he was able to keep up with 
the big chargers of the troopers. 

The winding blue and yellow column flowed over the Dakota 
hills. Somewhere over the silent horizon were the upper waters of the 
Yellowstone where the Sioux were gathered for one last determined 
stand against the invasion of the Black Hills. 

All along the dusty march, Kellogg sent back his dispatches while 
the expedition pushed slowly across the wild, rugged country. Terry 
had ignored orders in permitting Kellogg to accompany the troops. 
The grizzled old general of the armies, William Tecumseh Sherman, 
was very specific in the instructions he sent from Washington before 
the expedition started. "Advise Custer to be prudent," he wrote, "and 
not to take along any newspapermen." But Custer wanted a journalist 
with him. 

The correspondent spent almost a month in the saddle before the 
column entered the hostile region along the Yellowstone where scout- 
ing parties found the fresh trail of the Sioux and their abandoned 
campsites. On June 21 Terry held a council of war where the pebbly- 
bottomed Rosebud empties into the Yellowstone River. Custer would 
push south down the Rosebud with his Seventh Cavalry and circle 
westward into the valley of the Little Big Horn River where the In- 
dians were believed to be gathering. 

He was not to attack from the south, however, until Terry and 
General Gibbon's forces arrived from the north on June 26. Kellogg 
had his choice. He could stay with Terry's forces, or he could ride in 
the advance alongside the impetuous young cavalry leader. Custer's 
carefree assurance dispelled any indecision and Kellogg went with the 
Seventh. On June 24 Custer made ready to cross the Rosebud and strike 
out for the Little Big Horn, so Kellogg sent back a last dispatch de- 
scribing preparations for the march. He wrote: 

We leave the Rosebud tomorrow and by the time this reaches you we 
will have met and fought the red devils, with what result remains to be seen. 
I go with Custer and will be at the death. 

The next morning commands rattled out and the Seventh went 
cantering out of camp, some six hundred strong. At the head of the 


column with the commander rode Kellogg. His little gray mule was 
comical beside the officers' big chargers, and the black satchel lent a 
most unmilitary note as it slapped against the mule's flank. 

There were thin clouds in the Montana sky on June 25 and the 
air shimmered with heat as the dust-powdered Seventh pressed toward 
Little Big Horn. The trail of the Sioux hourly became plainer and 
Custer studied the signs with impatience. There could be no doubt 
now. A large concentration of Sioux was at hand. Then the scouts came 
galloping back with the news that an immense encampment of lodges 
had been sighted. Custer saw glory and the opportunity to whip the 
Sioux without waiting for his supporting columns to come up. It would 
be routine work for the Seventh which had scattered just such hostile 
bands many times before. 

No one ever knew what strategy Custer had in mind that day, but 
he split the regiment's twelve companies into three detachments. Kel- 
logg knew infallibly that all the color and dramatics would be with the 
five companies that formed Custer's personal command, so he stayed 
with the cavalry's beau sabreur. Holster flaps were opened, sabers clat- 
tered, carbines were loosened in their boots, and Custer's detachment 
went swinging forward at a fast trot up the dusty rise that lay between 
the Seventh Cavalry and the Sioux encampment. Kellogg urged his 
mule along and the animal struggled to keep up. 

They were on the crest now and below spread the valley of the 
Little Big Horn with its rolling ridges and hills. Custer ordered his 
adjutant to instruct one of the other detachments to move up imme- 
diately with the ammunition packs. A trooper saluted and went gallop- 
ing off with the order. Then Custer's red-and-blue personal flag with 
its crossed silver sabers disappeared below the rise and the column rode 
down into an amphitheater of sudden death. 

In an hour it was all over. An officer's charger was the only living 
thing in the command to escape. But for two days no one knew what 
had happened in the bloody valley beyond the crest. The other seven 
companies of the Seventh were too hard pressed elsewhere fighting 
off the Sioux hordes which surrounded them. Then General Terry ar- 
rived with the main column and his troopers found the field of Big 
Horn silent in the hot sun, with 225 bodies dotting the ridges. They 
found the body of reckless Custer and they found the crumpled body 
of the correspondent who had trotted gallantly to death on his small 
gray mule. Only those two had escaped scalping and mutilation. The 
red man's code had dictated that the body of the yellow-haired warrior 


should not be disfigured, and they did not touch "the man who could 
make the paper talk," as the Indians of Dakota had called Kellogg. 

True to his promise, Kellogg had been there "at the death" but 
the big story of one of news gathering's first part-time, or "string," cor- 
respondents never was written. 

They found his black satchel where he fell and eventually it was 
returned to the Dunn family in Bismarck. The motherly woman who 
had been so solicitous for his comfort the day he departed came upon 
the pipes, tobacco, and what was left of the blank writing paper. 


A NEW decade the elegant eighties was filled with trouble for the 
formidable old New York Associated Press. There was discontent once 
more in the Western association. 

Nevertheless, the tide of news flowed on. The tenth census showed 
50,155,783 persons in the thirty-eight states. Boston was ready to cele- 
brate her 25<Dth anniversary, and Ben Hur was the literary rage of the 
season. There were a half dozen marine disasters, and far across the 
oceans the Boers had begun their mutterings against England. In Ger- 
many a wave of anti-Semitism was sweeping Jews from Berlin, and in 
Ireland the despotic actions of a landlord's agent, Captain Boycott, were 
about to make his name a new word in the English language. 

It was a tired and ailing general agent who scanned the miscellany 
of changing stories. Simonton's constitution never had been robust and 
fourteen years at the helm of an ill-contrived organization had left their 
mark. The general agent was expected to be all things to all men, a 
symbol of the tenuous union in which all the auxiliary associations were 

But, for all its inherent weaknesses, the news-gathering empire 
Simonton ruled was apparently flourishing and prosperous. In addition 
to its seven members, the New York Associated Press was serving 348 
clients and spending $392,800 annually on domestic telegraph tolls. 
The foreign service was expanding and the general agent boasted for 
the association: 

Its London offices are never closed. By means of a double corps of 
agents, the news of Europe, chiefly concentrated at the British capital, is 
forwarded at all hours as rapidly as received. By contracts with the great 
European news agencies, The Associated Press receives their news collections 
from every part of civilized Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. 

Cable tolls rarely were less than $300 a day and frequently 
mounted as high as $2,000. 

Even the assessments seemed reasonable for the service Simonton 



had built up. Outside of New York the papers paid from $15 to $250 
a week each, and in the metropolis itself from $300 to $1,500. 

As the new decade moved forward, Simonton found himself once 
more with the exacting responsibility of directing coverage of a hard- 
fought presidential campaign. The Republican James A. Garfield won 
by the slender popular plurality of 9,500 votes and the cynical specu- 
lated on how many of those ballots had been influenced by biased dis- 
patches. Suspicion fixed likewise on the powerful Western Union Tele- 
graph Company which gathered the returns jointly with the New 
York Associated Press, for it was no secret that the corporation desired 
a Republican victory. 

Inauguration came swiftly on the heels of election, and then only 
a few months later on July 2, 1881 a shocking Washington dispatch 
was thrust into Simonton's hands. 

A disgruntled office seeker, Charles Guiteau, had shot and mor- 
tally wounded the new president. 

Chester A. Arthur, the vice-president, took over the duties of the 
nation's chief executive and there arose the wild talk that the assassina- 
tion had been plotted for the sole purpose of putting Arthur in power. 
The feeling against Arthur grew bitter and editorial tom-toms throbbed 
to keep it alive. American journalism had not progressed much from 
the hate-ridden Reconstruction days. 

For three months Garfield lingered. Death came on September 
19. Like most news stories, however, it was all over in a few days and 
then, without warning, the publishers in the West were surprised and 
disquieted by confidential advices from the East. General Agent Simon- 
ton no longer directed New York's news-gathering machine. 

Inquiries brought assurance that the absence was only temporary 
and that Simonton would return as soon as he regained his health. 
Meanwhile Erastus Brooks, of the Mail and Express, and James C. 
Huston had been designated to take direct charge of the New York 
Associated Press activities. The Westerners did not like the change. 
They had come to have a sincere respect for Simonton. He could be 
counted upon to do his utmost to satisfy them and on many occasions 
he had acted as their friend at court. 

Simonton's disappearance from the news scene was not the only dis- 
turbing factor in 1881. Papers which could not buy The Associated 


Press service had been dissatisfied with the makeshift reports they re- 
ceived from a succession of ineffectual agencies, and now a concerted 
movement was launched to unite all these journals under one banner. 

Arthur Jenkins of the Syracuse Herald summoned the dissatisfied 
group to meet in his city. Out of that meeting came the decision to 
set up another news-gathering agency as a strictly private, money-mak- 
ing enterprise. Thus an organization called the United Press was born 
and one of its three incorporators was Walter Polk Phillips, Simonton's 
former aide. Francis X. Schoonmaker was named general agent and 
the organization got under way early in 1882. This United Press had 
no connection whatever with the news organization which was to be 
established in 1907 under the name of the United Press Associations. 

The emergence of this new agency and the continued absence of 
Simonton fed the agitation in the Western Associated Press. The 1866 
peace treaty with the eastern monopoly had proved an empty coup in 
most respects and an unending succession of differences continued. 
Convinced that it still occupied a position of nominal servitude, the 
West again debated whether to try wresting recognition from New 
York or to make one more attempt at a national co-operative service 
of its own. There were some members who favored preserving the 
status quo, but the majority wanted action, especially since content of 
the news report was suffering under the indifferent Brooks-Huston 

Once more the time seemed propitious for the West to reassert 
itself. The activities of the new commercial agency had become suffi- 
ciently vigorous to cause concern, and again New York was embroiled 
in a quarrel with Western Union. 

The seven members of the New York Associated Press were not 
long in hearing the rumblings of this new uprising. Realizing that their 
own position was weak, they sought to catch the West off guard by 
offering unsolicited minor concessions. The strategy failed, and the 
New York Board of Directors met to consider the problem. 

David Marvin Stone, of the Journal of Commerce, who had suc- 
ceeded Prime as president in 1869, was one of the few who saw the 
justice of the West's demands. He proposed immediate recognition of 
their claim for full partnership and the creation of a joint board of 
control of seven Westerners and seven New Yorkers to administer 
the combined organization. 

This was too much of a surrender for most of his colleagues and 
Charles A. Dana, now editor of the Sun, called for a "more specific 


and guarded substitute." He suggested an arrangement by which both 
associations would pool their news under the direction of a five-man 
executive committee, two members from each association and a chair- 
man chosen by the New York association. Such a plan, he pointed out, 
still would give the old organization a three-to-two balance of power. 

The Dana proposal failed to appeal to the Western Associated 
Press at its next meeting in October, 1882. Old Joseph Medill, long 
one of the West's moving spirits, dictated the reply. Flourishing his 
black ear trumpet, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune introduced a 
resolution which would serve the required notice that the West would 
not renew its contract which expired that December 31. He coupled this 
notice with the threat that, unless New York granted equality and 
sanctioned expansion of the West into certain disputed areas, the or- 
ganization would strike out for itself again with its own news service. 

The gage of battle was flung at the feet of the New York Asso- 
ciated Press. The Easterners were badly prepared for a recurrence of 
the costly conflict of 1866. 

Two new converts to the cause of equality now came forward. 
The Times and the Herald fathered a plan which proposed to give 
recognition not only to the West but also to the other leading auxili- 
aries. Here, at last, was a definite step in the direction of a truly repre- 
sentative co-operative, but it was far too liberal for the controlling 
bloc and was decisively voted down. 

There was more negotiating between committees representing both 
associations and presently the New Yorkers learned that, if they would 
make territorial concessions, the West might be prevailed upon to 
agree to a union under the five-man joint committee plan advanced by 
Dana. The New York committeemen seized the chance and offered 
to surrender considerable territory in the South and West. This made 
the bargain appear more attractive to the Western committee and a five- 
year contract eventually was ratified on January i, 1883. 

The New York Associated Press named Charles A. Dana as chair- 
man of the five-man governing committee. Its other two members were 
representatives of the Herald and the Tribune. 

The Western Associated Press named Walter N. Haldeman, of 
the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Richard Smith, of the Cincinnati 
Gazette, both members of the Western Board and its Executive Com- 
mittee, as its representatives. 

Again the West hailed a great victory, minimizing the fact that 


the three-to-two committee alignment, carefully stipulated by Dana, 
gave veto power to New York. 

The most important result of this latest realignment was the 
selection of William Henry Smith to fill the vacancy left by General 
Agent Simonton. The choice was calculated to inspire confidence in the 
West where Smith's ability was well known. As proof of the new 
unity in news gathering, Smith also retained his position as general 
agent of the Western Associated Press. Thus he became the unifying 
head of the two organizations with the new title of general manager. 

Smith was born in upstate New York in 1833, the year the penny 
press made its first positive appearance with the birth of the New York 
Sun. Before the Civil War he published a small weekly in Cincinnati 
and by the time hostilities began he was on the staff of the Cincinnati 
Gazette. His newspaper work gave him opportunities for numerous 
political contacts and he used them to such advantage that in 1863 
he was made secretary to Governor Brough of Ohio. The next year 
he was chosen secretary of state in the same election which seated 
Rutherford B. Hayes in the governor's chair first major step in a 
career which brought Hayes to the White House. Hayes and Smith 
became fast friends and the close association led political foes to carica- 
ture Smith as "the keeper of the governor's conscience." Subsequently 
he resumed his newspaper work and in 1869 he joined the Western 
Associated Press in Chicago as general agent. 

In his new position as general manager for both associations under 
the direction of the five-man governing committee Smith soon showed 
results. He began substituting trained newspapermen for the telegraph 
operators who had been agents for New York in strategic cities. Most 
important, he abandoned the old practice of restricting the association's 
field almost entirely to news that could be picked up from or supplied 
by member and client newspapers. He believed in a staff of trained 
reporters who would show initiative in getting news. 

If one weakness could be found in his qualifications as general 
manager it was Kis political background. In 1876 his old friend Hayes, 
as President of the United States, rewarded him with an appointment 
as Collector of the Port of Chicago. It was a political sinecure with a 
salary that greatly increased the $5,000 a year he then received from 
the Western Associated Press. In the face of criticism, he held on to 


the post until he lost it a year before he assumed joint management of 
the two Associated Press bodies. In his new position, just as in the old, 
he cultivated his political connections and thereby left the political re- 
porting of the association open to suspicion. 

'The same months which witnessed the industrious beginnings of 
Smith's regime saw the further rise of the United Press. Schoonmaker 
lasted only a short time as its general agent and then a new commander 
took charge, began improving the service and recruiting new clients. He 
was the former Associated Press employe, Walter Polk Phillips, and 
he had the resourcefulness needed. 

From his several years of employment in The Associated Press, 
Phillips was aware of the drawing power of news from abroad. Since 
the New York Associated Press held exclusive contracts with such 
foreign agencies as Reuters, Havas, and Wolff, making their reports 
unavailable to him, Phillips set about under cover to create his own 
foreign service. He organized a separate agency called The Cable 
News Company and placed Schoonmaker in charge. Soon this disguised 
subsidiary was supplying its report not only to United Press clients 
but also to some of the Associated Press papers. 

Phillips ostensibly was the sole guiding genius of the United 
Press, but actually he was not. His fellow triumvirs, discreetly in the 
background, were John R. Walsh, financier and part owner of the 
Chicago Herald, and, unaccountably, William Laffan, a dramatic critic 
who had risen to be business manager of Dana's New York Sun. 

In the beginning the identity of these latter two remained un- 
known. In time Walsh's connection could be logically explained, for his 
publishing partner, James W. Scott, had been one of the founders 
of the United Press. Moreover, as a financier, he had a finger in nu- 
merous business pies. But the caustic Laffan was by all odds the most 
important of the three, and when his part in the undertaking finally 
was exposed the anomalous situation presented a mystery. As business 
manager of the Sun y he enjoyed the full confidence and support of 
Dana, and Dana was chairman of the Joint Executive Committee and 
kingpin of the renovated Associated Press. 

Phillips's disguised Cable News Company continued to expand its 
list of clients until it had added Medill's Chicago Tribune. General 
Manager Smith quickly called the Tribune to task for using a rival's 
report in violation of regulations. He assailed Cable News as "only 
an annex to the United Press" and charged it had been organized as a 


subterfuge by the other news agency in an attempt to inveigle Asso- 
ciated Press members away from their own association. 

The Tribune confronted Schoonmaker with the charges and he 
denied them. 

"The United Press has no possible connection with the Cable 
News Company," he declared, "and my special cables are not only be- 
yond the reach of The United Press but, as you will soon see, in hot 
opposition to their cable service." 

When Smith heard this he threatened to cut the Tribune off from 
the report if it did not discontinue the cable service. No epithet was too 
strong for Schoonmaker j he was a "scoundrel," "the prince of liars," 
and a news thief who "systematically debauched an employe of the 
Western Union Telegraph Company to steal Associated Press cables 
for the benefit of the United Press Association." In the face of Smith's 
barrage, which he backed by documentary evidence, Schoonmaker 
finally admitted the Cable News was connected with the United Press, 
and the Tribune dropped the report. 

Considering Smith's scathing denunciation, many publishers were 
amazed in 1884 when this same Schoonmaker quit his Cable News posi- 
tion and was taken into the employ of The Associated Press at a salary 
of $4,000 a year. Significantly, on that very same date August 17, 
1884 the jointly operated Associated Press itself became a subscriber 
to the Cable News Company reports reports which General Manager 
Smith so recently had described as "bogus cable dispatches prepared by 
a set of sharpers." 

Strange things were going on behind the scenes. 

The presidential year of 1884 was a poor one for the prestige of 
the New York Associated Press. The Republican party, after almost a 
quarter of a century in power, nominated James G. Elaine, "the plumed 
knight" of Maine, and the Democrats selected Grover Cleveland, the 
Buffalo bachelor who enjoyed a game of pinochle in the back room of 
his favorite German-American beer garden. 

When news of Cleveland's nomination reached the offices of the 
usually Democratic New York Sun, Dana, the autocrat of The Asso- 
ciated Press, stamped up and down the room. 

"It isn't Cleveland ... It can't be Cleveland ... It shan't be 


He muttered the words over and over, pounding his palm with 
his fist, and throughout the campaign the Sim fought Cleveland with 
savage fury. 

Dana was only one in the powerful battalions arrayed against 
Cleveland. Jay Gould, the singular figure of American finance who 
then controlled the Western Union Telegraph Company, contributed 
enormous amounts to the Elaine war chest. Other Wall Street operators 
added to the golden stream, and the Elaine forces spent their funds 
lavishly. There was uncontradicted testimony that the editor of one in- 
consequential weekly paper received $60,000 and the disillusioned could 
calculate the sums spent elsewhere. To bolster their cause further, the 
Republicans seized upon Cleveland's private life he was declared the 
father of an illegitimate child and dragged his name through the 
political mire. 

While the campaign swept along, the typewriter made its un- 
heralded debut in the newspaper world. Until that year reporters 
laboriously wrote their news in longhand and telegraphers copied the 
wire dispatches in their fast scrawl. A few business houses were using 
the new machine, but little attention had been paid to the invention 
generally. Then one day word reached the Chicago office of the West- 
ern Associated Press that John Paine, the association's telegraph op- 
erator at Nashville, was using the newfangled contraption and that the 
editors there were hailing the cleaner, more legible copy. Addison C. 
Thomas, the wire chief at Chicago, saw the possibilities and arranged 
to have all his men supplied. Soon the telegraph companies followed 
suit and the typewriter played a steadily greater part in the production 
of news. 

The primitive typewriters clacked and as the presidential campaign 
progressed increasing interest attached to the state canvasses held prior 
to the November vote. They were looked to as barometers of popular 
feeling. The Maine primary was held in September and the jointly 
operated associations reported the Republican majority as 19,739 when 
it was only 12,082. Again, in Ohio the association's figures were out of 
line with official totals. Many of the unofficial returns had been gath- 
ered by Gould's Western Union j the New York Associated Press and 
the telegraph company tabulated the votes jointly as they had done 
for years past. 

The cry arose that The New York Associated Press was falsifying 
returns in Elaine's favor. The Buffalo Courier on October 27, 1884, 


carried a special dispatch from Washington which began pointedly with 
this quotation: 

"Well," said a prominent Elaine Republican tonight, "it does look as 
though The Associated Press were in our interest." 

The story cited the reasons behind the opinion and over another 
special despatch from the national capital the Courier headlined: "The 
Associated Press Severely Criticized For Its Rank Partisanship." The 
story stated: 

The conduct of The Associated Press in working systematically in the 
interest of Elaine continues to be severely commented on here by persons 
having facilities for obtaining inside information. As an illustration of the 
methods pursued by it during the campaign, the action of the management 
in employing one of Elaine's stenographers to represent The Associated Press 
during Elaine's tours is cited. The reports of Elaine's speeches and the inci- 
dents of his travels came from* this stenographer after careful revision by 
Elaine himself. This Associated Press agent was in the employ of Elaine for 
Several months preceding and also after his nomination. This is but a speci- 
men of the inner workings of a partisan news agency theoretically supposed 
to be non-partisan. 

Newspapers in the past had been punished with lightning swift- 
ness for much milder criticism of the association. They were as sternly 
punished for similar transgressions in the future. Yet this time there 
was no punitive action. General Manager Smith did not attempt a 

When Elaine arrived in New York City the week before election 
the odds were 2 to I in his favor. It appeared that New York State 
probably would decide the contest and both parties concentrated their 
final efforts there. Although it was his home state, Cleveland labored 
under a disadvantage. As governor he had estranged the Tammany, 
labor, and Catholic votes. Elaine's managers, who had been wooing the 
church vote throughout, assembled a meeting of ministers to greet 
their candidate and pledge support. It was such a minor campaign func- 
tion that the local papers did not bother to cover it. Nevertheless, the 
New York Associated Press sent along Frank W. Mack, a young man 
of twenty-three. 

The Reverend Samuel Dickinson Burchard, seventy-two years old, 
addressed Elaine on behalf of the assemblage. His speech in the main 
was newsless until he uttered the dynamite-laden final sentence: "We 
are Republicans, and do not propose to leave our party and identify 


ourselves with those whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism, and 
rebellion !" 

Seated in the rear of the meeting place, young Mack saw the 
sensational importance of Burchard's phrase. His story fanned out over 
the wires. In many parts of the country "Rum, Romanism, and Re- 
bellion" was a good vote-getting slogan for Elaine, but ironically 
enough it also was the most deadly ammunition that could have been 
given the underdog Democrats. They jumped to the attack. Burchard 
had represented the Republican party inferentially as hostile to Cath- 
olicism. That alienated the Catholic support on which Elaine's managers 
had been counting so heavily. Furthermore, Elaine's mother was a 
Catholic, and Democratic orators were quick to point out that the Re- 
publican candidate had suffered Burchard's oblique slur on her to go 
unrebuked. In three days the 2 to i odds disappeared and Cleveland 
became a 10 to 9 favorite. 

Election day came and in spite of ballot box stuffing, vote stealing 
and vote buying, the first tabulations showed Cleveland carrying the 
all-important New York metropolis by a vote of almost three to two. 
Throughout the country crowds gathered outside newspaper offices 
to read the hastily lettered bulletins. Cleveland appeared sure of vic- 
tory and Democrats quickly organized jubilant torchlight parades. 

The New York State vote still was in doubt, but Cleveland seemed 
to have an edge. Dana's Stm y which had fought Cleveland so fiercely, 
surprised everyone by conceding his victory. Then one ominous fact 
began to stand out. A great bloc of rural New York districts, which 
normally tabulated early, had failed to report. 

Rumors began to fly that Jay Gould's telegraph company was out 
to steal the election. Crowds outside the newspaper offices grew denser, 
excitement mounted to a fever pitch, and still the Associated Press- 
Western Union returns gave the lead to Elaine. 

On the day after election the outcome remained in doubt. Elaine 
wired party chiefs: "Claim everything." The next day came. Most New 
York districts had reported and a Cleveland victory appeared certain. 
And still the New York association placed the state in Elaine's column. 
All day long Elaine leaders conferred with Jay Gould and when the 
session ended shortly before seven that evening a Gould lieutenant 
assured waiting reporters: "The state is safe for Elaine." 

Almost immediately the wires were carrying a New York Asso- 
ciated Press bulletin stating that Elaine had carried New York State 
by a margin of more than 572 votes. With thirty districts still missing, 


the count given was Elaine 555,531, Cleveland 554,959, and the dis- 
patch asserted the unreported districts were staunchly Republican and 
would swell Elaine's plurality. 

In the streets there was a sullen, angry rumble as the throngs read 
the newly posted dispatch. The rumble swelled into a roar and a mob 
poured down Broadway toward the Western Union building which 
housed the offices of both Gould and the New York Associated Press. 
A great roar went up: 

"Hang Jay Gould! Hang Jay Gould!" 

Uptown another wrathful crowd, five thousand strong, went surg- 
ing along Fifth Avenue to storm the Gould mansion. It marched 
to the same fierce cry: 

"Hang Jay Gould! Hang Jay Gould!" 

Elsewhere other crowds roamed the streets and as the night re- 
echoed their cries an editorial writer on the New York Herald was 

. . . Gould controls the Western Union Telegraph Company. During 
the last two days Gould, by false reports through his telegraphic agencies, 
has been executing his share of the plot of preparing Republican partisans for 
a fraudulent claim that the vote of New York has been cast for Elaine. . . . 
It is the official returns of the ballot of the people of New York honestly 
computed, and it is not Jay Gould and his Western Union Telegraph Com- 
pany that are to determine the electoral vote of this state. 

At the Western Union building police action prevented violence. 
A guard was thrown around the Gould mansion. That night the finan- 
cier quit the city for the safety of his yacht in the middle of the Hudson. 

Soon after Gould had removed himself, the New York Associated 
Press announced that Cleveland had carried New York State by a scant 
margin. The official plurality was 1,149, which emphasized how close 
the contest was and how damaging to Elaine had been Burchard's inept 
speechmaking. With New York in his column, Cleveland had 219 elec- 
toral votes to Elaine's 182. Had Elaine carried the state the count 
would have been Elaine 218, Cleveland 183. 

So the turbulent election of 1884 passed into history. It saw the 
New York Associated Press accused of complicity in an unsavory elec- 
tion-stealing plot, and yet in contradiction it saw the same organization 
break the **Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" story which proved so 
fatal to the hopes of the plot's beneficiary. 


GROVER CLEVELAND was inaugurated the twenty-second Presi- 
dent of the United States on March 4, 1885. Washington had never 
seen such a jubilant assemblage. More than half a million Democrats 
flooded the banks of the Potomac. 

The size of the Associated Press staff on duty was in impressive 
contrast to the one when Buchanan took his oath of office in 1857. 
Only Gobright had been present for The Associated Press to report 
that story. Now a half dozen reporters were assigned. The recent cor- 
ruption and fraud charges still were fresh as they knuckled down to 
write about the colorful occasion, but no subversive influences were in- 
terested in the coverage of such a straightforward event. 

The reports of the inauguration sped across the country. Although 
the era of newspaper pictures had not dawned, the Los Angeles Times 
seized upon the occasion to publish a humorous pen sketch of Cleveland 
mounting the "administration horse." The drawing was jokingly con- 
ceived by an artist in the newspaper's office, but the caption accompany- 
ing the sketch was an unwitting prophecy of the amazing picture de- 
velopment that revolutionized American journalism fifty years later. 
The caption read: 

This special Photogram to The Times, wired from Washington at 
enormous expense, is Short (name of the artist who did the drawing) but 
sweet, and gives a graphic idea of Mr. Cleveland's appearance as he mounted 
the administration charger. A slight roughness in the lines is due to bumping 
against the insulators as it came buzzing along on the overland wires. 

With the news pulse quickening, reports were pouring into the 
New York headquarters at the rate of more than 40,000 words daily 
at the time of Cleveland's inauguration. The dispatches came from a 
fair-sized staff, yet the names of the reporters themselves never had 
been identified publicly with any of the work they did. Now occurred an 

Employees of the Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain Railway 
were on strike. The walkout, sponsored by the Knights of Labor, 



threatened a stoppage on other railroads as well. The one man who 
could point the way to a settlement was Jay Gould, magician of so many 
business deals. For a long time he could not be found. Then word 
reached New York that he was in Florida. Charles Sanford Diehl, of 
the Chicago office of the Western Associated Press, happened to be 
on vacation there and the formidable task of interviewing Gould was 
delegated to him. 

Diehl finally got the interview and his story contained a statement 
from Gould which prevented a general walkout. The story was so im- 
portant, and Diehl presented his information so well, that the associa- 
tion carried his name at the end to indicate it was an exclusive dispatch, 
obtained and written by one of its own staff men. That was a great 
departure from tradition, marking the first intentional appearance of a 
correspondent's by-line in the news report. 

DiehPs good work in the past, climaxed by this Florida interview, 
was responsible for his almost immediate promotion. A short time later, 
when the Western Associated Press found it imperative to open a 
division headquarters on the Pacific Coast, he received the assignment. 
The papers of the Far West were dissatisfied with the service they re- 
ceived and two influential clients had withdrawn. A tactful hand was 
needed on the scene to Ijold the others in line and to ensure adequate 
Pacific news protection. 

Diehl was no newcomer to the newspaper business. Born in Mary- 
land in 1854, he was a seventeen-year-old typesetter in Chicago at 
the time of the great fire. In an attempt to allay the fears of the 
populace he began printing a handbill newspaper. Later he became a 
$10 a week reporter on the Chicago Times and a month after the Custer 
massacre the paper sent him into the Northwest to cover the redoubled 
drive against the Indians. There he operated with the column of Gen- 
eral Terry, whose instructions Custer had so tragically disobeyed, and 
there he learned firsthand the story of Kellogg's end. He was impressed 
by the part that special, or string, correspondents such as the Bismarck 
reporter might play in a large news-gathering system. Soon after 
joining The Associated Press he encouraged the organization of a sys- 
tem of part-time men in the Chicago area and it paid news dividends 
from the start. 

When Diehl arrived in San Francisco in May, 1887, he brought 
energy that was badly needed. The Pacific coast, glamorous and ro- 


mantic, was also a neglected stepchild. The newbudget it received was 
haphazardly assembled and irregularly delivered. Diehl saw the possi- 
bilities and for the first time a detailed report began to appear west 
of Kansas City, transmitted over regular telegraph lines. 

The Associated Press picked the right time to open a Pacific Coast 
headquarters. Diehl scarcely had established himself and adjusted the 
complaints of disgruntled editors before the first in a series of important 
news events occurred in a remote part of his vast territory. 

In Hawaii many miles from communication facilities revolt over- 
threw Queen Liliuokalani and her island court. Diehl made special 
arrangements for a roving correspondent in Honolulu to report the 

The correspondent got his story all right, but he couldn't get it 
out. Two boats, the Australia and the United States revenue cutter 
Richard Rush, were leaving for the mainland the same night. The 
Australia was San Francisco bound and would carry mail, but the com- 
mander of the Richard Rush, on a shorter run to San Diego, would 
neither carry the correspondent's story nor permit anyone aboard to 
do so. 

Other reporters decided their only choice was to send their stories 
by the slower Australia, but Diehl's man had different ideas. In the 
bar of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel he saw a sailor whose cap bore the 
lettering "Richard Rush." The seaman was quick. A bargain was made. 
For $75 he concealed a copy of the dispatch inside his undershirt and 
filed it with the telegraph company as soon as he reached San Diego. 
In that way Diehl secured the story of the Hawaiian insurrection 
twenty-four hours before the Australia arrived at San Francisco even 
before the government in Washington received its official report. 

While Diehl was organizing the Coast, activities of an entirely dif- 
ferent kind were under way in the East. The five-year joint manager- 
ship contract between the New York and Western associations was to 
expire at the close of 1887. Its renewal was vital to the furtherance of 
the secret plans of certain of the five-man governing committee and the 
undercover owners of the United Press. Therefore, early that year 
those concerned began to look to the future. 

As chairman of the Joint Committee, Dana took steps to see that 
there was no hitch. The New York Associated Press accordingly pro- 


posed a five-year renewal and praised the effectiveness of the existing 
union. Dana himself urged the Western association to accept it at once. 
He was seconded by Richard Smith and W. N. Haldeman, who repre- 
sented the West on the Joint Committee, and the arguments they 
presented so hoodwinked the Western directors that they ratified the 
extension six months earlier than necessary. 

The decade moved. Cleveland accepted the Statue of Liberty as 
a gift from the French; the Interstate Commerce Commission was 
authorized; an ambitious individual completed a trip around the world 
by bicycle; the phonograph was invented, and the first paper bottles 
appeared and were laughed at. 

In a Baltimore basement a German immigrant named Ottmar 
Mergenthaler had been trying for several years to perfect a machine 
suggested by the idea of James O. Clephane, the Washington stenog- 
rapher who had first thought of the typewriter. His object was to per- 
fect a mechanism that would set newspaper type automatically, thereby 
replacing the old hand-type method. 

His first machine was tried out in the office of the New York 
Tribune. It was christened the Lin-o-type. By 1888 the apparatus was 
ready for more widespread use and publishers spoke of it as the most 
significant printing development since the introduction of movable 
type ii> the middle of the fifteenth century. 

Until the invention of movable type in 1450 printing had been 
difficult. It was necessary to carve the whole text on a solid block and 
after that laborious process the block was worthless once it had been 
used. Movable type made it possible to fashion each letter separately 
on a small block and these individual pieces could be properly reassem- 
bled over and over again as other documents required printing. That 
was the first major advance in typesetting and now, with the advent 
of the Lin-o-type, the composing rooms of newspapers began a new 
day of rapid operations. 

In the beginning the Lin-o-type was an expensive addition to 
newspaper equipment; it was several years before it came to be regarded 
as a necessity. But news could not wait. 

Out in Samoa in March, 1889, an international controversy had 
developed over governmental control of the South Sea Islands. War- 
ships of the disputing nations assembled threateningly in Apia harbor* 


Diehl, in San Francisco, scented a story of potentially great importance 
and dispatched a staff man. John P. Dunning drew the assignment. 
In the absence of cable facilities in that part of the world, he was forced 
to relay his stories to San Francisco by boat. But it was the violence 
of nature and not of nations that made the biggest news. 

On March 16 the most devastating hurricane ever to strike in 
that tropical latitude swept the islands with a fury that took many lives 
and wrecked Samoa and the battleships alike. For a month the world 
knew nothing of it, and then on April 13 a story running several 
thousand words reached Diehl. It was from Dunning, by the Australian 
steamer Alemada^ and it contained first word of the tragedy. After 
helping with rescue work Dunning had written his story in the midst of 
the wreckage. Regular leased wire facilities of The Associated Press 
still had not reached San Francisco, and Diehl had to feed the big news 
over the regular commercial lines at a cost of six cents per word. 

The eighties, with their wealth of spontaneous news, had made 
trained newspapermen more than ever conscious of how words could 
paint a quick picture for the reader. Men like Diehl now were schooling 
their men to tell all the salient facts in the first inclusive paragraph 
later called the "lead" of any story. It was the seal beginning of a 
modern newspaper style and The Associated Press' was beginning to 
answer, in the first few lines, those five most pertinent questions who, 
when, where, why, what. 

Dunning's opening sentence on the Samoan disaster was long, but 
it told the complete story in less than a hundred words. It said: 

Apia, Samoa, March 30 The most violent and destructive hurricane 
ever known in the Southern Pacific passed over the Samoan Islands on the 
1 6th and ijth of March, and as a result, a fleet of six warships and ten 
other vessels were ground to atoms on the coral reefs in the harbor, or 
thrown on the beach in front of the little city of Apia, and 142 officers and 
men of the American and German navies sleep forever under the reefs or 
lie buried in unmarked graves, thousands of miles from their native lands. 

The reporter could have let that paragraph stand alone. The 
essential facts had been presented. But Dunning went on to the details. 
He gave the names of the ships and their loss of personnel. Then he 
returned to the terrifying storm itself, describing its intensity and pic- 
turing the great struggle to survive the catastrophe. He told of natives 
holding up wooden shingles as protection against a rain so fierce that 
it cut their faces, of the heroic activities of rescuers, and of the valiant 
efforts at reconstruction. 


It was the longest story that ever had moved by telegraph across 
the continent. 

The news editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, standing over 
DiehPs shoulder as the agent edited the copy for the wires, exclaimed: 
"My God, that is a wonderful picture!" Diehl subsequently said: "If 
I were to prepare a primer for young writers, not omitting some who 
are more mature, I would offer Dunning's opening paragraph of a 
memorable sea tragedy as a code to observe." United States Senator 
Don Cameron told his colleagues: "When I want to shed tears I read 
Dunning's story of the heroism of the human race, as it developed in 
Apia harbor." The New York Tribune reproduced the story in pam- 
phlet form to satisfy the requests of readers, and in London the Times 
called it one of the most perfect bits of English ever written. 

May, 1889, arrived cheerlessly, bringing rains which deluged the 
eastern states. For three weeks the downpour continued, hampering 
communications and swelling rivers. The rain was still falling on May 
31 when, toward evening, the vague report reached Colonel William 
Connolly, Associated Press agent in Pittsburgh: "Something has hap- 
pened at Johnstown." 

Telegraph lines and the new telephone circuits were already 
crippled. There was only one possible way of reaching Johnstown, in 
the mountains of western Pennsylvania and ninety miles away, and 
that was by special train. This meant enormous expense, but the Pitts- 
burgh papers and Agent Connolly pooled resources to engage a one-car 

Before the train pulled out the first shred of news arrived reports 
that a flood had taken as many as a hundred and fifty lives. The agent 
hurried the word off to New York and then with Harry W. Orr, his 
best telegrapher, set out by train against the advice of railroad officials. 
The special crept into the darkness with frequent halts while train- 
men splashed ahead with lanterns to inspect the track. The water kept 
mounting until it reached the driving rods and the engineer announced 
he could go no farther. 

Connolly, Orr, and two others Claude Wetmore, a free lance 
ordered to the scene by the New York World, and a reporter for one 
of the Pittsburgh papers plunged into the black water over the 
roadbed. Three timid colleagues stayed behind. Connolly waded off in 


search of a farmer who might drive them the remaining miles. While 
he was away the others were attracted by the dim light of lanterns. 
They sloshed over to a rickety bridge which spanned the raging Cone- 
maugh River. 

The lanterns were being carried by rescuers fishing for human 
bodies. The workers were using lassos to catch arms or legs as bodies 
hurtled past in the river. More than two score corpses were piled on 
the planks and the gruesome work continued. 

Several miles up the river from Johnstown a dam had made the 
Conemaugh a vast lake for many years. The weeks of ceaseless rain 
had piled up eighteen million tons of water. Late that afternoon the 
dam had given way and a liquid wall, seventy-five feet high, swept 
down the valley on the low-lying town. A railroad engineer tied down 
his locomotive whistle and raced the water toward Johnstown. But 
he was too late. 

Connolly returned presently with a farmer who, for $50, said he 
would attempt to take the four newspapermen across the mountains. 
They were six hours covering the few miles and it was seven o'clock 
in the morning when they reached the south bank of the Conemaugh 
three miles from Johnstown. No conveyance could go farther. They had 
to make their own way, slipping and sliding through the muck, slime 
and water, past half-buried bodies and the hideous jumble of debris. 
One of the party sickened and turned back. Connolly, Orr and Wet- 
more struggled on. 

Feeling his way along the flooded roadbed, Connolly stumbled 
over an abandoned cattle guard and floundered into the rushing water. 
When he tried to get to his feet he found his ankle badly wrenched. 
The pain was so great he could not even hobble. Orr and Wetmore 
managed to get him to a farmhouse on a near-by hillside where he 
collapsed. The injured man, however, refused to let them waste time 
with first-aid efforts. The only thing that counted was the story of 
Johnstown's tragedy. 

Orr and Wetmore split up, each with the determination to find 
some way to get out a few positive words. As the representative of a 
member paper, Wetmore promised Connolly to see that the first news 
sent out would be to The Associated Press. In the next few horror- 
filled hours the reporter and the telegrapher slogged through muck, 
scaled barricades of debris, and brushed past countless bodies of dis- 
aster victims. Wetmore had the first luck. He spied a lineman on a pole 
cutting in on a wire preparatory to sending a message with a pocket 


Morse instrument. The free lance begged him to send a dispatch for 

"Hell, no!" the operator yelled down. "This is railroad business." 

But Wetmore was not willing to give up. 

"Just a few words," he pleaded. "Ask your superintendent at the 
other end." 

The telegrapher reluctantly consented. A prompt answer came 
ticking back and the lineman shouted down. 

"All right! Get it up to me!" 

Wetmore scribbled on a piece of wet paper, found a long pole and 
passed up his dispatch: 


Orr encountered Wetmore shortly afterward, and then both were 
surprised to see Connolly hobbling toward them, supported by two 
bedraggled farmers. He had not received any medical attention, but was 
determined to get back to the story. Choosing a vantage point, he found 
a large board, lay down on his stomach and began to write. 

After midday relief trains started to arrive and on their return 
trips Connolly sent out great wads of copy for relay outside the flood 
zone. During the afternoon three wire lines were strung into Johns- 
town. One was set aside for official messages, one for military instruc- 
tions on troop movements and supplies, and one was given to The 
Associated Press. Connolly set up headquarters in an abandoned grist- 
mill on the east side of the Conemaugh, and there Orr took charge 
of the wire, moving Connolly's continuing story directly from the 

Unknown to the two staff men, General Manager Smith spent 
that day and most of the next trying to join them. The flood had caught 
him near Altoona en route by rail to Chicago. He made his way over 
the mountains, stopping to report the death of thirteen passengers in a 
train that had been wrecked by the floods. 

Connolly was in a pitiful condition by the time the general manager 
arrived. He had been working without rest and next to no food for 
seventy-two hours. His injured ankle was much worse because he in- 
sisted on walking. Smith found that part of the Associated Press head- 
quarters had been pressed into service as a morgue. At an improvised 


desk made of a narrow board on two upturned barrels, Connolly wrote 
his story and passed it to Orr at his elbow. The rest of the room was a 

Not long after Smith appeared, Connolly collapsed and the gen- 
eral manager took him back to Pittsburgh, leaving the coverage in 
charge of Alexander J. Jones, the first additional staff man ordered to 
the scene. Orr refused to leave his telegraph key. A slight, frail man, 
Jones was not so vigorous. He could not get anything to eat and twenty- 
four hours in the nightmare of destruction unnerved him. He called 
for help from Chicago the only direct point on the Associated Press 

Help arrived, but it was intended for Orr and not Jones. J. Her- 
bert Smythe, a young telegrapher in his twenties, had started from Chi- 
cago to act as relief operator for Orr. When he reached Johnstown, 
Orr broke down after ninety-six hours under pressure and had to be 
put on a train for Pittsburgh. Jones departed on the same train. 

Smythe proved equal to the emergency. Lacking a pair of rubber 
boots, he tied strings around the bottom of his trousers to keep out the 
mud and then tackled the story. The first day he sent two thousand 
words, writing in pencil on copy paper and telegraphing it when he got 
back to the gristmill. He was meticulous about making corrections if 
he saw an opportunity to improve the account as he went over it a second 
time while operating the Morse key. For a while the only food was 
soda crackers and black coffee. On that diet Smythe turned in a brilliant 
reportorial performance which won him regular assignment to the 
news staff. 

A few days after Smythe arrived another Associated Press man 
reached the makeshift headquarters. The newcomer was Lewis from 
New York, and it had taken three days and nights to wade and flounder 
from Harrisburg, a little more than a hundred miles away. He had 
been attending a formal dinner in New York when ordered to the 
flood zone and the full dress suit he wore was an amazing sight. He 
had cut the tails off his coat to facilitate his progress. His collapsible 
silk hat was battered, and his boiled shirt was black. 

Johnstown was slowly reviving. The remaining houses on higher 
ground were crowded with refugees and a small dynamic woman named 
Clara Barton had taken charge of relief operations for the Red Cross. 

Lewis and Wetmore, unable to find any other sleeping place, ap- 
propriated some of the boxes that had been brought in by relief trains 
and stacked near the mill for use by the Red Cross. They lined them 


s^; ; ' __ 

with straw and moved them into the windowless building. For the next 
two weeks, while the full story unfolded, they led a harsh existence, 
eating what little they could obtain and suffering from the scarcity of 
drinking water. They slept occasionally and the boxes into which they 
tumbled for bed were cheap pine coffins. Smythe was more fastidious. 
He used a board stretched across two kegs. 

From the standpoint of straight news reporting, the Johnstown 
flood tested the working newspaperman's determination to obtain first- 
hand information despite all odds. 

Although news gathering itself was coming of age, the little 
handful of men behind the old New York monopoly continued to 
take liberties with the facts whenever they dealt importantly with poli- 
tics, the almighty dollar, or any of the other major controversial issues 
which exerted national influence. Late that same year of 1889 the Mon- 
tana copper kings spent more than a million dollars to influence voting 
and once again the association was accused of disseminating biased 


THE country was greedy for quick money as the nation moved into the 
closing decade of the nineteenth century. Slick promoters and market 
manipulators lured the small investor and shady financial circles in 
New York were careful to see that no news leaked out that would dis- 
turb the gullible. New states were being admitted to the Union, new 
industries developed and the magic of a dawning machine age brought 
the promise of a better future. Legislators were so interested in their 
own private affairs that enactment of wise regulatory laws was neg- 
lected. The entire press was threatened by a news monopoly controlled 
by moneyed interests. 

The period was one of critical transition in the conception of a 
newspaper's obligations to its readers and in journalism's financial read- 
justment to the nation's pace. This era of change had begun in the 
eighties during the most rapid expansion of population and industry in 
the history of the United States. Until that time the press of the coun- 
try had been a comparatively small, personalized business. But the 
development of the telegraph and the cable, the introduction of the 
telephone, the constantly increasing appetite for news, and the eventual 
perfection of rapid printing facilities changed the entire complexion of 
newspapering. Gradually the future of news gathering itself came to 
be involved. Either it was to become entirely the instrument of forces 
concerned with profits and special causes or it would emerge as an hon- 
est, self-respecting public service. 

From Chicago the strongest new figure in the Western Associated 
Press surveyed the whole uncertain panorama. Victor Fremont Lawson 
was editor and publisher of the Chicago Daily News. He had entered 
the newspaper field several years before the beginning of this headlong 
time and had had opportunity to study the pyramiding of the nation's 
financial structure. He had watched the growth of co| 
until they controlled almost every conceivable comr 
barbed wire, oil, rubber, cordage, even ice and kindling wood. And he 
had seen the news from financial New York phrased or delayed so that 
interested men profited to the extent of millions. 



Lawson knew how the press could influence the masses. His father 
had printed foreign-language papers for the large Scandinavian popu- 
kitJbns of the Middle West, and Lawson continued the business after 
his father's death. His papers had brought him in contact with the 
financially unstable Chicago Daily News, founded by an old school- 
mate, Melville E. Stone. Lawson bought it and gave Stone freedom 
as editor. It was an effective partnership, Stone with his editorial abil- 
ities and Lawson with his idealistic conception of a newspaper's mission, 
and it lasted until Stone relinquished his position in 1888 because of 
poor health. Together the pair made the Daily News one of the most 
respected papers in the country. Lawson outlined his views on what 
the publication should stand for: 

Candid That its utterances shall at all times be the exact truth. It is 
independent but never indifferent; 

Comprehensive That it shall contain all the news; 

Concise The Daily News is very carefully edited, to the end that the 
valuable time of its patrons shall not be wasted in reading of mere trifles; 

Clean That its columns shall never be tainted by vulgarity or obscenity; 

Cheap That its price shall be put within the reach of all. 

Lawson wondered if these principles could not be applied to news- 
gathering, where reform plainly was needed. 

Under the terms of the last truce, the Western Associated Press 
continued in alliance with the old New York organization and the 
combined operations of the two were still directed by the same Joint 
Executive Committee of three New Yorkers and two Westerners 
which had taken over the dual management at the conclusion of the 
1882 hostilities. In the great surge of national development and the 
wealth of news which followed that rapprochement, there had been 
little inclination to question the arrangement. There had been com- 
plaints, but the West's own William Henry Smith was the general 
manager of the affiliated associations and the two Western representa- 
tives on the Joint Executive Committee had n voice. Superficially this 
partnership appeared sound. But when th$|Western Associated Press 
members gathered for their annual meeting 'in 1890 there was increas- 
ing belief that appearances were deceptive. 

For several years the members had watched with misgivings the 
phenomenal growth of the new agency the United Press. Publishers 


beyond the Alleghenies had been worried when this rival first appeared 
in 1882, but the apprehension subsided with the Western-New York* 
Associated Press realignment a few months later. Now they realize^ 
they should have given this upstart organization more attention. It 
continued to grow stronger in spite of the apparent opposition of the 
more solidly entrenched Associated Press. 

On top of everything else, there was a mystery shrouding both its 
control and its method of operation. The Westerners had heard rumors 
that a small clique of financiers owned the United Press, lock, stock, 
and barrel. In retrospect a few noted that one of the greatest periods 
of unreliability and distortion in their own news report paralleled the 
rise of this agency. Most disturbing of all was the suspicion that the 
United Press had secretly perfected an arrangement to siphon news 
from Associated Press reports. Some Westerners bluntly charged that 
such a state of affairs existed and that there was connivance between 
the shadowy commercial interests and some members of their own 
Joint Committee. 

The Western membership decided at their 1890 meeting on an 
official inquiry. The investigation was entrusted to Victor Lawson as 
head of a committee of three. 

Lawson himself did not know the extent of his undertaking. His 
immediate commission was rather limited in scope to discover what 
he could about the growth of the United Press and to establish any 
hidden connection it might have with The Associated Press. 

Lawson was assisted by Colonel Frederick Driscoll, of the St. Paul 
Pioneer-Press, and R. W. Patterson, Jr., of the Chicago Tribune, 
among others. During the long months of careful, puzzling research 
there were repeated attempts to unseat the committee and to discredit 
its efforts. At one stage I. F. Mack, now president of the Western 
Associated Press, even attempted to stop Lawson. Others whom Lawson 
had trusted most implicitly turned out to be among the most culpable. 
Individuals in high places were involved in the most complicated 
scheme. Even the majority of the seven members of the old New York 
Associated Press had not been aware of what was going on. 

Lawson made his preliminary report to the regular 1891 meeting 
and then hurried off to Ng|f York to complete his investigation. Interest 
ran so high that only one member of the entire Western Associated 
Press failed to attend the special meeting called in Detroit on August 18 
of the same year to hear the whole shocking story of betrayal and deceit 

The meeting was stunned by Lawson's revelations. 


He presented documentary evidence showing that all of the news- 
gathering facilities of the country were in the control of a trust domi- 
nated by John Walsh, the financier, William Laffan, business manager 
and publisher of Dana's New York Swn y and Walter Phillips, directing 
head of the United Press. 

These men principal owners of the United Press controlled all 
the news by virtue of a secret trust agreement between the United 
Press and members of the Joint Executive Committee of the New York 
and Western associations. 

They had contrived this agreement with the Joint Executive Com- 
mittee and they had given stock valued at many thousands of dollars 
to the committee members privately in order to effect their plan. 

Not only was part of this stock held personally by Charles Dana, 
president of the New York Associated Press and chairman of the Joint 
Executive Committee, but Richard Smith and W. N. Haldeman, 
Western representatives on the committee, and General Manager 
William Henry Smith also had been given large financial interests. 

The total holdings of all the Associated Press men involved until 
now considered entirely loyal to the best interests of the jointly operated 
associations were as follows: 

Charles A. Dana, Editor of the Sun and chairman of the Joint 

Executive Committee $ 72,500 

Whitelaw Reid, New York Associated Press representative on the 

joint committee, in the name of Henry W. Sackett 72,500 

W. N. Haldeman, Western Associated Press representative on the 

joint committee 50,000 

Richard Smith, Western Associated Press representative on the 

joint committee, in the name of J. D. Hearne 50,000 

William Henry Smith, General Manager of the combined New 

York and Western Associated Press 50,000 

William M. Laffan, business manager and publisher of the Sun ... 72,500 

Total $367,500 

It took Lawson more than ten thousand words to recount the 
entire story and his report explained for the first time many mystifying 
incidents of the past. 


The incredible situation had its beginning back in 1884 when the 
rising young United Press in a masterpiece of salesmanship prevailed 
upon the Joint Executive Committee to buy the bothersome report ofc 


its European news subsidiary, the Cable News Company. Ostensibly 
the move was designed to strengthen The Associated Press's own foreign 
news service, but there were other shadowy details in the transaction. 
It was then that the New York Associated Press employed Francis X. 
Schoonmaker who had been head of the Cable News. Many publishers 
now recalled that, at the time, they had been surprised by this sudden 
change of front by General Manager Smith who had previously 
denounced Schoonmaker as a "scoundrel" and "thief," and the Cable 
News Company as a purveyor of bogus dispatches. 

The Cable News Company proved the entering wedge and for a 
while the Joint Executive Committee and the United Press worked 
together privately in the field of foreign intelligence. The first arrange- 
ment also called for the New York Associated Press to supply its 
theoretical rival with news of the New England area, but presently 
Congressional and Albany reports were added, and soon The Associated 
Press was supplying its news on a national scale. The news usually was 
made available to the United Press in New York through a scheme 
which kept the overt act well concealed. 

In return for the news it received from The Associated Press, the 
United Press exchanged some of the news it gathered, but there was 
more than reciprocity in the partnership. To cement the union, the 
men who controlled the United Press presented thirty per cent of their 
organization's stock to four members of the Joint Executive Committee 
in 1885. Technically, the committeemen "bought" the stock, but an 
immediate hundred per cent "dividend" refunded the purchase money. 
Since the co-operation of the general manager of the combined Asso- 
ciated Press organization was necessary, the two Western committee 
members reissued one-third of their holdings to Smith. 

The theory was simplicity itself. The men who directed the oper- 
ations of the New York and Western associations would supply the 
United Press the great bulk of their news secretly and at virtually no 
cost. The operating expense of the United Press accordingly would be 
at a minimum and an imposing percentage of its receipts would represent 
profits profits to be distributed as dividends to the coterie behind the 
scenes; Furthermore, the United Press would increase its number of 
clients by recruiting Associated Press papers to take its report under 
threat of subsidizing opposition publications in their territories. Thus, 
in effect, those Associated Press papers which were coerced into sub- 
scribing to the United Press would be paying twice for substantially 
the same news service. 


Once the 1885 stock-distributing trust agreement had been ratified, 
the plan proceeded, successful and surreptitious. In 1887, however, the 
first five-year contract of the Western Associated Press with New York 
expired. Failure to renew it not only would cut off the United Press 
from the news gathered by the West, but also might affect the personnel 
of the all-important Joint Executive Committee and bring about a 
change of general managers. That was why the interested parties set 
about assuring a renewal of the agreement between New York and 
the West. 

All this while the dividends had been rolling in. The returns had 
surpassed anticipations and carried the promise of even more lucrative 
operations. The United Press had found itself handicapped by its 
modest capitalization. As soon as the West renewed its New York 
contract, Walsh and his group felt free to remedy this deficiency. Ac- 
cordingly, in 1887 a new United Press was chartered with a $1,000,000 
capitalization. The financier, Walsh, as treasurer, immediately bought 
back the old United Press stock from the Associated Press officials, 
thereby repaying their initial "investment" a second time. 

Then he distributed to them gratis $300,000 worth of the new 
stock, and the name of William M. Laffan appeared on the list of 
stockholders for the first time along with those of Dana, Reid, Richard 
Smith, Haldeman, and General Manager Smith. Dana, Laffan, and 
Reid each purchased an additional $22,500, so that the total Joint 
Executive Committee holdings were $367,500. Just as with the 1885 
agreement, this stock was pooled with that held by Walsh and a few 
others to assure continued control of the expanded United Press. Walsh 
again filled the powerful position of trustee. 

With operations on a big scale and the profits mounting, the 
manipulators realized the need for putting their news juggling partner- 
ship on a legal basis. Hitherto everything had been done by informal 
arrangement. On May 28, 1888, a formal contract was executed and 
it was Lawson's discovery of this document which started him on the 
trail leading to all the scandalous revelations. 

In the course of his report Lawson told of President Mack's 
efforts to sabotage the committee's work. He also called for the 
resignations of Richard Smith and Haldeman as the West's representa- 
tives on the joint committee. 

Mack took the floor for an explanation of his strange behavior. 
But the membership rebuked him by electing William Penn Nixon, 


publisher of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, to replace him as the Western 

Richard Smith and Haldeman entered an extended defense, 
extolling the progress of news gathering during their ten-year service 
on the committee. But there was no explaining away the embarrassing 
possession of stock. 

Then General Manager William Henry Smith asked for indul- 
gence to review his twenty-two years in the association. "I have 
endeavored to be faithful," he protested, "and have given to the work 
of creating this great and honorable news service the best years of my 
life." But the members were not to be moved by touching pleas. 

The Lawson report was accepted and all its recommendations 
adopted. Lawson was elected to head the West's reconstituted Executive 
Committee and the membership referred the whole involved business 
of the projected trust and the future status of General Manager Smith 
to that body. 

Those members of the monopolistically inclined New York Asso- 
ciated Press who had not known what was going on also were incensed 
and disillusioned. At last they saw that monopoly, carried to its logical 
conclusion, meant a national news system operated for the dollar first 
and news integrity second. The New York majority made some feeble 
efforts to recoup their former prestige as a news-gathering combination, 
but they realized that the arrogant association they had so jealously 
fostered had been virtually stolen from under their noses by a profit- 
hungry element of their own membership in league with outright 
commercial interests. The New York Associated Press, historic old trail 
blazer, was doomed, and they made little attempt to save it. 

The day of reckoning had come, but the struggle was only just 


THE nation rushed heedlessly along toward a financial debacle and, 
as the forces of the Western Associated Press left the significant Detroit 
meeting, the first scattered signs of the panic of 1893 began to appear. 
The price of silver started its decline, the Treasury's gold reserve was 
shrinking, there were occasional bank failures, and in some industries 
the fear of unemployment no longer could be disguised. 

It was at such a critical time in national life that Lawson and the 
other Western publishers started their struggle to wrest control of 
news from the private money interests. On every side was uncertainty 
and confusion. Many publishers, still shocked by the scandal which 
Lawson had unearthed, seemed too dazed to realize the serious plight 
into which the nation's news-gathering machinery had been maneuvered. 
There still were strong elements of opposition among some of the 
publishers themselves. The complexity of motives and the ambitions 
of selfish interests did not make the future a bright one. 

In the next months this clash of interests was bitter. There were 
many times when Lawson himself wavered and was unsure, but the 
inevitable fact remained that the men behind the United Press controlled 
most of the news of the world and were driving resolutely ahead in a 
determination to control all. 

Under such circumstances it behooved the West to compose its 
own internal differences and strengthen that portion of news gathering 
which it still controlled. One of the first steps was to employ repre- 
sentatives in many important centers where the Western Associated 
Press was not already represented. This marked the official introduction 
of the large-scale string correspondent system into Associated Press 
coverage, extending the plan which Diehl had instituted in Chicago 
several years before. Another step was to increase the leased wire 
facilities. Heretofore the wires had operated only nineteen hours a day, 
but now began the practice of delivering news to big newspapers around 
the clock. 

The resignation of William Henry Smith as general manager had 



not been accepted, though there was little doubt that he had lost much 
of his old initiative and spirit. He kept protesting that the United Press 
stock in his name actually was the property of Walter Haldeman and 
Richard Smith, and that he had been incriminated merely for accepting 
dividends. The administration had become sluggish. The news report 
suffered and Dana, now in the United Press fold, gloated editorially: 

Those journals of The Associated Press that are distressed by reason 
of the superior and more accurate news that is regularly supplied by the 
United Press are hereby informed that there is no necessity for their remain- 
ing in such a state of unhappiness. 

The United Press is prepared to furnish the news, foreign and domestic, 
to any newspaper that is ready and willing to pay a reasonable rate for the 
same; and that without discrimination on account of race, complexion or 
previous condition of servitude. 

There were many factors, however, which made General Manager 
Smith's continuance necessary. Not the least reason was that a large 
number of papers in worried auxiliary associations had come to know 
him personally and to rely upon him for their news. 

This was especially true in the South. Adolph S. Ochs, the young 
publisher of the Chattanooga Times y was secretary of the regional 
Southern Associated Press. He was a stanch supporter of the principles 
for which Lawson was fighting, and Lawson did not wish to take any 
step which might alienate so important a block of newspapers. 

Lawson's committee set to work to weld the Western Associated 
Press and its affiliates into a more compact front. It held meetings with 
representatives of the Southern, New England, and New York State 
Associated Press organizations in the hope of convincing them that they 
should all join forces and face the future together. 

The full significance of that future was becoming increasingly 
apparent in Lawson's mind. He saw its inevitable climax must be a finish 
fight to decide whether control of news should be in the hands of those 
who gathered it or whether it was to be held by a trust whose primary 
concern was profit. 

The first step was to perfect plans looking forward to the trans- 
formation of the Western Associated Press into a potentially representa- 
tive national association. This represented an ambitious undertaking 
and progress was slow. It was decided, however, to incorporate a new 


organization under the laws of the state of Illinois. The name of the 
projected organization was to be The Associated Press of Illinois. 

The second step was an exceedingly delicate operation. It involved 
maneuvering the United Press into a disadvantageous position which 
would neutralize its superiority in strength and financial resources an 
operation which must be performed without arousing suspicion. The 
United Press still wished to do business with the West and Lawson 
had suffered negotiations to continue. Now he saw that these negotia- 
tions gave him an excellent means to advance toward his second 
objective. Accordingly, he welcomed the growing anxiety of United 
Press officials for an understanding. The Laffan- Walsh-Phillips trium- 
virate had become concerned lest no new working compact be agreed 
upon before the end of the year, when the one-time secret Associated 
Press-United Press contract formally expired. They were ready to 
absorb the legally nonexistent New York Associated Press, and they 
privately felt it imperative to keep the West quiescent by any sort of 
concessions until that conquest had been accomplished. 

Laffan and Phillips therefore went to Chicago in October, 1892, 
to expedite matters. The mission had greater magnitude than they 

A provisional "unifying" agreement was drawn. Under it the 
United Press was to retire from the territory of the old Western 
Associated Press and confine its operations to the states east of the 
Alleghenies and north of Virginia. The news exchange agreement was 
to be revived officially, the United Press supplying foreign, eastern 
seaboard, and Gulf states news in return for the news of the rest of 
the country, to be furnished by the projected Associated Press of Illinois. 
The proposed contract, which was to be for a fantastic term of ninety- 
three years, ostensibly promised a perpetual, peaceful alliance, and at 
the time the United Press was eager to encourage this delusion. Hence 
the emissaries agreed readily to an innocently phrased stipulation by 
Lawson that the tentative contract should not restrict The Associated 
Press of Illinois to any specific territory in the collection or distribution 
of news. Colonel Driscoll, of Lawson's committee, summed up the 
West's attitude: "Bear in mind it was not as though we were treating 
with honorable gentlemen." 

Once the "unifying" .provisional agreement had been drawn, 
Lawson's committee accelerated preparations for the appearance of The 
Associated Press of Illinois. 

The organization they contemplated was a bold and radical 


departure from anything ever before undertaken in journalism. It was 
to be a complete co-operative, making no profits and declaring no 
dividends. Its sole purpose was to be the collection and distribution of 
news for its newspapers, which were to be members rather than clients. 
Each paper was to have a voice in its affairs. Above all, it was to serve 
the cause of truth in news. 

On November 10, 1892, the application was made for a charter of 
incorporation. The objects were set forth as follows: 

... to buy, gather and accumulate information and news; to vend, 
supply, distribute and publish the same; to purchase, erect, lease, operate and 
sell telegraph and telephone lines and other means of transmitting news; to 
publish periodicals; to make and deal in periodicals and other goods, wares 
and merchandise. 

The hastily drawn charter scarcely had been issued before Lawson 
learned confidentially that at last the United Press had arranged to 
take over everything that remained of the old New York Associated 
Press at the beginning of 1893. It was to obtain most of the old 
organization's members, its excellent foreign report, its wires and news- 
gathering facilities, its New York and Washington budgets, as well 
as all the "outside" clients. 

That same day the first meeting of the new Associated Press of 
Illinois was held in Chicago. Sixty-five newspapers were listed as 
charter members entitled to stockholding privileges. They speedily 
agreed upon a set of by-laws embodying the revolutionary principle 
of nonprofit, co-operative news gathering. William Penn Nixon was 
elected president, and Lawson, Knapp, and Driscoll were named to the 
Executive Committee. The major business was the question of agreeing 
to the proposed "unifying" contract with the United Press which 
Lawson had negotiated. The session was a closed one and the delibera- 
tions secret facts against which indignant United Press officials later 
inveighed but before it ended the members ratified Lawson's tentative 
agreement and authorized the execution of a "general contract" to 
make it effective. 

Qn December 31, 1892, the old New York Associated Press 
slipped almost unnoticed from the national scene after forty-four event- 
ful years. As the sabotaged institution passed, it was significant that a 
majority of its staff the rank and file of the scattered news army which 
had made it great in its day aligned themselves under the standard 
of the new Associated Press of Illinois. To them the change simply 


represented a phase of evolution which left the continuity of co-operative 
news gathering unimpaired and they regarded themselves as the heirs 
or colleagues of those who had contributed so much to Associated Press 
history since 1848. 

The Laffan-Walsh-Phillips triumvirate counted on the disappear- 
ance of the New York organization to leave the outlook serene for 
the United Press. With the control of all foreign and most eastern 
news now believed secure, they expected to be free to proceed with the 
subjugation of the West. Then quite accidentally they learned shocking 
news which the West had not intended them to know at that stage. 

The Associated Press of Illinois, which they had marked for 
destruction, already was active in a quiet campaign aimed at the destruc- 
tion of the United Press. 

The United Press chieftains made a further discovery which was 
additional proof of what they immediately termed "double-dealing." 
At the time the tentative "unifying" contract was negotiated, they had 
nominated their own general manager, Walter P. Phillips, as the man 
to administer the revamped affairs of the two associations. With Phillips 
in this position, future moves against the West would be greatly facili- 
tated. Lawson's committee had received the nomination and the United 
Press negotiators had departed with the belief that it had tacit approval. 
Now, to their anger, they learned The Associated Press had no inten- 
tion of countenancing Phillips in such a role. 

On the contrary, The Associated Press of Illinois already had 
another candidate in mind as its general manager. The man was 
Melville E. Stone, Lawson's former partner on the Chicago Daily News. 

Whether or not Lawson and his committeemen were aware that 
the United Press had all this information, they appeared at the Sun 
office in New York on February 15, 1893, t execute the previously 
drafted unifying agreement. But it became obvious that the United 
Press had no intention of going through with it. Laffan, as vice-president 
of United Press, declined to agree to the contract, promising to make 
explanations in writing. 

The explanations came two days later in an aggrieved letter from 
Laffan, not to the Lawson committee but to Laffan's fellow triumvir, 
John R. Walsh of Chicago. Laffan accused The Associated Press of 
Illinois of bad faith and charged the Westerners had regarded the 
tentative agreement merely as a "temporary expedient" whereby the 
United Press should be "belittled, restricted and ultimately destroyed." 
The committee's motive, he declared, "was to secure our signatures to 


the agreement and then open their ambuscade upon us when we were 
no longer in a situation to defend ourselves." The broadside was read 
to the Board of Directors of The Associated Press of Illinois in the 
presence of Lawson's committee and went uncontradicted. 

The collapse of the contract parley ended all pretense of nego- 
tiations. Then in one last attempt at intimidation Laffan boastfully 
informed Lawson that the United Press had just closed an agreement 
with the English agency, Reuters, for exclusive American rights to all 
European news. This dismayed Lawson and his colleagues, who had 
understood that Reuters planned to deal with them at least on an 
equal footing with the commercial agency which held the expiring 
contract between the old New York Associated Press and Reuters. 

For several days the outlook for the West appeared gloomy. Then 
came a turn. Ironically, The Associated Press of Illinois had William 
Henry Smith to thank. The old general manager, whose loyalty was 
reasserting itself after his fall from grace, was responsible. As soon as 
Laffan had announced his negotiation of the foreign contract the 
thoroughgoing Smith had cabled Walter Neef, former agent in London, 
asking him to investigate. Neef cabled back on February 21, 1893, ^ at 
the United Press contract, although discussed with Herbert de Reuter, 
the European news power, had not yet been executed. The concluding 
details had been deferred until Laffan could reach London in person. 
Meanwhile Reuter had heard of the news battle in the States, and it 
made him adverse to signing any contract which failed to include the 
co-operative Illinois association. He told Neef that he was willing to 
treat with the Lawson organization. 

Laffan was not due in London for six weeks and Lawson's 
committee moved warily so as not to betray their valuable information. 
An agreement must be concluded with Reuter at once. The Board of 
Directors decided the opportune moment had arrived to bring in Stone 
as general manager and to send him to London, if necessary, to obtain 
a contract at least as favorable as any Laffan might get. 

Lawson's committee sought out Stone that night and he was with 
them when they met the next day. It was an important meeting. 
William Henry Smith received a letter from Neef amplifying the 
information he had previously cabled. Lawson immediately cabled Neef, 
appointing him London agent for The Associated Press of Illinois and 
authorizing him to take steps at once for a contract with Reuter. 

Within twenty-four hours the new general manager, too, was on 
his way to London. 


Melville E. Stone was born in 1 848, the same year which saw The 
Associated Press founded by the six wrangling New York publishers. 
The son of a circuit-riding Methodist minister, he was attracted early to 
newspaper work and at the age of ten he had learned to set type. The 
family's peregrinations finally brought him to Chicago and there he 
supplemented a haphazard education in the same public school attended 
by Victor Lawson. A few years later he became a reporter on the staff 
of the Chicago Republican and at the age of twenty he covered General 
Grant's nomination for the presidency. 

By 1871 reporting temporarily lost its charm and Stone tried to 
build up a business selling theater seats. The great Chicago fire wiped 
him out. With the slenderest of resources, he founded the Chicago 
Daily News in 1876. His great ability was strictly in the field of news 
the business of operation never appealed to him and he could 
not keep his publication on a firm footing. Its financial fortunes went 
from bad to worse and it had reached the end of the road when Lawson 
stepped in to save it. 

Unhampered by money worries, Stone concentrated on the news 
department and soon the Chicago Daily News yron a commanding 
reputation. It was an exciting life, but in 1888 ill health forced him to 
sell his share of the paper to Lawson. He spent two years abroad and 
when he returned he became an officer of a Chicago bank. It was from 
this post that Lawson's committee summoned him on March 3, 1893. 
He set forth his motives: 

I had a secret longing to return to the printers' craft. And much more 
controlling than any personal interest was the question of public duty. My 
friends of the press and I talked it over. 

It was quite true that control of the press was wrested from governments 
at the beginning of our Republic. The first amendment to our Federal Con- 
stitution did this. It forbade any attempt in the United States to stop free 
speech or a free press. But, unhappily, this was not sufficient. Government 
might not enchain the press, but private monopoly might. The people, for 
their information indeed, for the information upon which they based the 
very conduct of their daily activities were dependent upon the news of the 
world as furnished by the newspapers. And this business of news gathering 
and purveying had fallen into private and mercenary hands. Its control 
by three men was quite as menacing as that of the governmental autocrats of 
the ages agone. There could be no really free press in these circumstances. 
A press to be free must be one which should gather news for itself. 

A national co-operative news-gathering organization, owned by the 


newspapers and by them alone, selling no news, making no profits, paying 
no dividends, simply the agent and servant of the newspapers, was the thing. 
Those participating should be journalists of every conceivable partisan, 
religious, economic, and social affiliation, but all equally zealous that in the 
business of news gathering for their supply there should be strict accuracy, 
impartiality, and integrity. This was the dream we dreamed. . . . 

The new general manager's trip abroad proved largely unneces- 
sary. Neef had carried out instructions with far greater success than 
Lawson could have hoped. The contract he had concluded was an 
exclusive one. It was for ten years with an automatic renewal clause. 
It placed at Associated Press disposal the complete reports of Reuter's 
Telegram Company, the formidable British organization j the Agence 
Havas of Paris, its French counterpart, and the Continental-Tele- 
graphen-Compagnie of Berlin, which collected the news of Germany 
and of middle and southern Europe. 

When Stone arrived in London on St. Patrick's Day, 1893, ^ 
details had been agreed upon. There was nothing left to do but sign. 

But now a tremendous new factor was thrust into the picture. The 
nation was on the eve of panic. All through the spring of 1893 gld 
had been fleeing the country and prices melted on the New York Stock 
Exchange and in commodity markets. It was in this uneasy atmosphere 
that Grover Cleveland, back in the White House after four years of 
private life, pressed a button on May i to open the Chicago World's 

The fair was expected to be the outstanding event in national life 
that year, but Wall Street dispatches carried warnings of much grimmer 
things. There came the resounding collapse of the $10,000,000 National 
Cordage Company, one of the vast new systems of grasping trusts. 
Wall Street values toppled under an avalanche of selling, depositors 
stormed banks, factory after factory suspended operations, frightening 
rumors flew, and the public nerve was badly shaken. The cataclysm 
smote the West with crushing force and banks closed in dizzy succession. 
On July 25, 1893, ^e Erie Railroad went bankrupt and one of the 
strongest remaining inland banks failed to open. 

The panic became a mad rout and despair settled over the country. 

This series of jolting financial blows spread confusion in the ranks 
of The Associated Press of Illinois. Most of its members were western 
publishers and their communities were so hard hit that their only 


thought was to save their newspapers. This was no time for a conflict 
which would impose severe strain on badly straitened resources. The 
United Press likewise drew back, although far better buttressed finan- 
cially. So preoccupied were the opposing associations by the stress of the 
emergency that hostilities were temporarily suspended. 

In spite of the panic, throngs flocked to Chicago. J. P. Morgan 
strode through the Palace of Fine Arts and snorted that the French 
exhibit must have been selected by a committee of chambermaids. 
Crowds filled the Midway to marvel at James J. Corbett, the "gentle- 
man" pugilist who had conquered mighty John L. Sullivan. Blushing 
women turned their heads when they passed the concession where 
"Little Egypt" entertained with her danse du ventre. 

The fair helped ease the strain in Chicago, but the slight relief 
did not blind Lawson to conditions elsewhere. News, more than ever, 
had tremendous importance. But the news most likely to affect the 
progress of panic the news of Washington, of the New York money 
markets, of the industrial East still was dominated by the opposition 
agency. The Associated Press of Illinois had not had the time or the 
resources firmly to establish services out of those centers. Even if it 
could have done so, the bulk of the country's papers still were under 
contract to the United Press and received its service. No one could 
say how much damage had been done by news reports which many 
people did not trust. 

At this disturbing moment the United Press, in violation of the 
temporary understanding to cease hostilities, began raiding Associated 
Press papers in the West and elsewhere. The Associated Press met the 
challenge. Panic or no panic, the long-deferred battle was on. 

Fights cost money and The Associated Press soon found itself 
seriously handicapped by insufficient funds. The United Press, on the 
other hand, had $2,000,000 in resources on which to draw. 

While the United Press boldly extended its lines into Associated 
Press territory and intrigued with telegraph companies in an effort to 
embarrass the new co-operative, Stone was improvising a news-gathering 
system of old New York employes to cover the East and Washington. 
Temporary New York headquarters were set up in the Mail and 
Express building at Fulton Street and Broadway, but later moved to 
the Western Union building near by. Stone also called Charles Sanford 
Diehl from California where he had labored so capably as Pacific Coast 

The first month favored the United Press. When Stone chanced 


to meet Laffan in Columbus at the beginning of October, Laffan 
arrogantly told him that The Associated Press might as well disband 
and turn over its papers. Stone laughed at him. 

Diehl was waiting in Chicago when the general manager returned. 
He heard the story of the encounter with Laffan and said he was glad 
Stone had given his antagonist no encouragement. 

"You want to fight?" asked Stone. 


"You will have to fight," Stone declared. 

Diehl offered no objections. 

"Wanting to fight and fighting are two different things," he said. 
"I have known for ten years we would have to fight." 

Stone made Diehl assistant general manager. 

Willingness to fight, however, was not enough. Lawson, who had 
to provide the finances, saw other obstacles ahead. He knew the United 
Press report generally was inferior, but he knew also how cleverly the 
enemy had distracted attention from this weakness by spreading defeat- 
ist whispers that The Associated Press was on the verge of financial 

Those whispers were all too true. On October 4, 1893, members 
of The Associated Press of Illinois gathered at Chicago. With the 
burden of the panic, it did not seem that their new organization 
could survive much longer. The membership might not be able to 
make the sacrifices necessary to carry on the campaign. In such a 
critical moment in their own affairs, it would be easy for them to 
abandon the new association and beg for peace on whatever terms the 
United Press might grant. 

The financial difficulties already were well known and as Lawson 
walked through the corridors on his way to the meeting room he saw 
bigwigs of the United Press lounging about. They had come from New 
York by special railroad car. Lawson gave them one last look and then 
went into the meeting. 


VICTOR LAWSON was the man the members waited to hear as their 
meeting got under way. The chairman of the Executive Committee 
was grave as he faced them. He had watched the specter of defeat 
draw nearer and nearer. Since the last meeting the panic had sucked 
the nation deep into its vortex. Men labored all day for the price of 
a bowl of soup. Business failures continued and with them suicides, 
distress, and starvation. In Washington a wrangling Senate kept block- 
ing the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act which was proving 
so ruinous to commerce and industry. 

Lawson masked his misgivings as best he could and opened his 
report. The audience sat in sober silence while he presented one blunt, 
uncontradictable fact after another. The Associated Press of Illinois 
was facing the end, almost before it had begun to fight. Its news report 
might be a marked improvement over anything the United Press could 
offer; the new exclusive contract with Reuters provided an undenied 
advantage in foreign dispatches, but this superiority had been bought 
and maintained at a great price. Already there was a deficit. Ensuing 
months were certain to produce larger ones. The campaign could not 
continue without better financing. 

Lawson had no way of gauging the temper of the members as 
he looked from face to face. 

To carry the fight to United Press strongholds in the East, he said, 
would require an immediate increase in the association's capitalization 
from $30,000 to $100,000. This was the first step toward placing 
operations on a proper basis, and he advocated it strongly. 

There was a buzz of conversation at this recommendation and 
Lawson, hearing it, stopped speaking and sat down, still without men- 
tion of the major feature of the war-to-the-death program he had 
prepared. What he had told them was enough for the time being and 
he wanted their reaction to this initial proposal before outlining the 
second essential point which would call for great personal sacrifice on 
the part of everyone present. 



"Mr. Chairman!" 

The speaker was James E. Scripps, of the Detroit Tribune, stormy 
petrel of so many other meetings. Older members could recall how, as 
far back as 1866, he had vigorously opposed the first bid of the Western 
Associated Press for equity with New York. They also remembered 
that in the past decade he had actually deserted their ranks to become 
a United Press client, only to return to the fold when he found himself 
at odds with the aims and administrations of the commercial agency. 
The appearance of the bearded old scholar on the floor was usually a 
danger signal. 

"Mr. Chairman!" 

There was a scraping of chairs and more craning of necks as 
President Nixon recognized Scripps and he took the floor. 

He opened with a resume of the principles for which The Asso- 
ciated Press was fighting and declared the opposition was seeking to 
make secure "another Trust even more lucrative than the sugar, the 
oil, the cordage, or any of the other numerous modern monopolies 
which have grown fat at the expense of the legitimate trade of the 

Lawson, intent on all the Detroit man was saying, perceived he 
was re-stating the case so ably set forth in a recent attack on the United 
Press which he had mailed to all Western publishers. This was a 
salutory thing and Scripps was doing it most effectively. 

The white-haired publisher warmed to his theme. He told of the 
evolution of the profit-hungry United Press to its present state of 
affluence, of the free distribution of stock as "bribes" to Associated 
Press officials in the past, and of more recent attempts to demoralize 
the co-operative by private offers to Lawson and others. 

"Gentlemen," he declared, "the issue clearly is: Shall the news- 
gathering business be permitted to fall into the hands of a syndicate 
of mercenary sharks who will use it simply to plunder the press of 
the country, or shall the newspapers continue, as in the past, to 
co-operate in the collection of their own news and to enjoy the advan- 
tages of controlling the service and getting it at actual cost? . . . 

"It is a dangerous opponent we are confronted with," he continued, 
"and the more so as the men who dominate the United Press are 
without question as able as they are unscrupulous. They are not the 
inferiors in any way of the great schemers who have created previous 
gigantic trusts and they are not to be met with children's weapons. 

"It is a life or death struggle for the great principle of control 


of the news by the parties most concerned in its purity and cheapness, 
and to prevent the service from becoming a mere instrument in the 
hands of unscrupulous and hungry sharks for the thraldom of the 
press of the nation!" 

There was a storm of applause when Scripps finished. Large and 
small publishers alike were noisily demonstrating one determination 
to close ranks and carry on the battle. 

General Manager Stone was next and they cheered him as he 
reported on the extended reconnaissance he had made, seeking out 
the weak points in the enemy lines. He told of the progress of the 
hastily improvised news-gathering system in the East. 

There was an ovation, too, for Diehl, whom the United Press 
twice had sought to lure away with tempting offers to double the salary 
he received. The Pacific Coast papers, he assured them, could be counted 
upon. Other regional groups, he said, would give their support if they 
could be brought together and given the entire story. As for the enemy's 
news service, he pointed his finger at its great shortcoming. 

"Their conception," he said, "is that news can be taken out of 
newspaper composing rooms after somebody else has obtained it and 
written it. The Associated Press is already procuring and distributing 
its most important news through its own staff correspondents, and shall 
continue to do so." 

By the time Diehl finished speaking, there was no question regard- 
ing Lawson's recommendation for an increase in the association's 
capitalization. The meeting which had assembled in an atmosphere of 
apprehension had become an enthusiastic rally. 

Lawson took the floor to make a "suggestion." 

The fight against the United Press, he reminded the members, 
was certain to be a series of emergencies. The United Press had circu- 
lated reports that The Associated Press was on the verge of bankruptcy. 
To lay these rumors once and for all and to provide the necessary 
funds, he proposed that voluntary contributions be made here and now. 

"Mr. President," he declared, addressing Nixon, "I am ready to 
start such a fund with a subscription of $20,000 for the Chicago Daily 

It was a call to arms. In an instant men in all parts of the room 
were clamoring for recognition. Parliamentary decorum vanished. 
Subscriptions poured in: $10,000 here, $5,000 there, $20,000 more, and 
on down the line. Even the smaller papers fought for a place on the 
list although their pledges of $1,000 represented a tremendous sacrifice 


in the deepening depression. Before the meeting ended $320,000 had 
been raised and subsequent subscriptions swelled the total to $550,000. 

It was a great profession of faith, for all knew they stood to lose 
every cent of their subscriptions if the United Press emerged victorious. 
Nor was that all 5 the enemy already had threatened that, in the event 
of victory, it would exact heavy indemnities from the losers to pay the 
costs. It also promised to punish the conquered further by hiking the 
rates for the service that all would be compelled to take. 

Lawson wasted little time in getting the renewed drive under way. 
Two days later he was writing to Adolph Ochs of the Chattanooga 

By this time you are, of course, fully advised of the magnificent meeting 
held day before yesterday by the members of The Associated Press and the 
raising of the volunteer guarantee fund of over three hundred thousand dol- 
lars toward any possible contingencies growing out of the present contest 
with the United Press. If any of our friends on the outside have at any time 
held any doubt or question as to the purpose and ability of The Associated 
Press to maintain its rights as against the United Press, I think every one 
must agree that the meeting this week has definitely and positively settled 
all such questions. The fight we are making for the preservation of the 
independence of the American Press is in my judgment substantially won 

Ochs, prime mover in the Southern Associated Press and long 
sympathetic to the West, joined The Associated Press of Illinois at 
once. He stipulated only that the other southern papers should be 
eligible for admission on the same terms as those given his Chattanooga 

A week later Victor Lawson closed his desk in Chicago and packed 
his bags. His destination was the East and his purpose was to bring 
a hundred newspapers then receiving United Press service into The 
Associated Press. Stone and Diehl had preceded him to open the grand- 
scale undertaking. 

These aggressive tactics put the United Press on the defensive 
and the enemy captains issued a statement setting forth the financial 
stability of their organization. It carried an impressive list of signatures, 
including the names of Dana and many other leading eastern editors. 
Long held in awe by the struggling smaller papers, these men repre- 
sented the backbone of United Press strength and many of them 
publicly acknowledged that private motives prompted their actions. 


Throughout the years these leading newspapers had created their 
own elaborate systems of "special" correspondents, with which no small 
paper could hope to compete, and it was in their interest to foster no 
press association improvement which would jeopardize that superiority. 
The Associated Press of Illinois threatened to do so by making available 
to all its members, large and small, the extensive news resources pre- 
viously enjoyed only by the big publications. 

Lawson's invasion of the East was audacious. He struck first at 
the opponent's greatest stronghold New York City. The key men on 
three of the papers there once had been connected with the Western 
Associated Press. John A. Cockerill, formerly of St. Louis, managed 
the New York Advertiser. Horace White, who had been one of the 
West's emissaries in the 1866 break with the New York Associated 
Press, was a director of the New York Post. The one-time Hungarian 
immigrant boy, Joseph Pulitzer, had expanded his journalistic efforts 
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to include the New York World. 
All three of these men seemed ready to pick sides and it was on them 
that Lawson and Stone concentrated immediate efforts. 

Cockerill was the first convert and he brought in both the morning 
and evening editions of the Advertiser. Aided by Stone, Lawson next 
laid siege to the World } and Pulitzer joined. Then the two Associated 
Press men walked into the office of the Post y where they found Horace 
White busy on an editorial. Scarcely glancing up from his work, the 
editor greeted them. 

"I am with you," he said. "I do not believe in an association which 
is controlled by three or four men. The Evening Post will join your 
company. But I am under pledge to make no move in the matter with- 
out consulting my friends of the New York Staats-Zeitung and the 
Brooklyn Eagle." 

Within a few days the Post y Sta&ts-Zeittwg, and the Eagle came 
into The Associated Press. St. Clair McKelway, editor of the Eagle y 
took occasion to issue an invitation to others. 

"The latchstring is out," he said. "Come and toast your tired toes 
at the family hearthstone." 

Two more New York City papers, the Commercial Advertiser and 
the Press y transferred their allegiance. Then a number of upstate papers 
joined and not the least of them was the Syracuse Her aid y in 1881 the 
prime mover in the foundation of the now embattled United Press. 
Lawson shifted operations to Philadelphia and most of the papers in 
that city became converts. 


Diehl was busy in New England. The Worcester Spy and the New 
Haven Union joined. It was difficult territory but the important Boston 
Herald set an example others soon followed. 

From New England Diehl moved on to Washington. He obtained 
an interview with Frank B. Noyes, a young man of thirty who shared 
in the management of the Washington Star, of which his father was 

The Star was served by the United Press. Located outside the 
territory in which The Associated Press had been making its biggest 
drive, it had listened to the blandishments of the opposition agency, 
which had sought to convince Noyes and his associates that the Illinois 
organization was doomed to failure. 

Diehl found Noyes a quiet listener. He began the interview by 
discoursing on the principles for which the news struggle was being 
waged, but after some time he realized he had done all the talking 
that Noyes had not asked a single question. The young man, neverthe- 
less, seemed to be listening, so Diehl plunged on. He was still plunging 
on when Noyes interrupted. 

"I am convinced of the justice of your cause," he said. "The prac- 
tical question now has to do with your hope for success." 

Diehl spoke of the financial stability of The Associated Press and 
of the spirit of the men who had made voluntary contributions. He 
told Noyes that the United Press, rather than his own organization, 
would collapse. Pulling a pencil from his pocket he listed the papers 
lost by the commercial agency in recent months, computed the conse- 
quent decrease in revenue, and worked out what he believed to be the 
probable financial condition of the other agency. 

Noyes was on the way to New York the next day to call at the 
elegantly furnished office of the United Press in the Western Union 
building. Finding Dana and Laffan in conference, he asked a question. 

"I would like to know something about the financial condition of 
the United Press," he said. 

Dana attempted to laugh the matter off, declaring such questions 
should not concern the young man from Washington or any other 
client of the United Press. But Noyes was insistent and finally Dana 
instructed that the books be produced. 

Diehl was waiting at a New York hotel for the Washington Star 
man to return from his visit to the opposition headquarters. He was 
certain the figures he had computed on the deficit in the United Press 
were reasonably accurate, but he was not so sure the commercial agency 


would permit inspection of its books, or that it might not loose another 
blast against The Associated Press in an effort to cool the Noyes interest. 
He waited impatiently. Then Noyes appeared. 

"You have told me the truth," the Washington man said, and 
extended his hand. 

Immediately thereafter Noyes convinced his associates that the 
Star should cast its lot with The Associated Press. 

Once convinced of the justice of a cause, Noyes was not a man 
for a passive role. He joined in the campaign and, with Diehl, made a 
trip to Baltimore. Owing largely to his efforts, the Sun and the 
American in that city were quickly inducted into membership, followed 
later by the Philadelphia Ledger. 

The success of the whirlwind invasion aroused the United Press. 
Dana used his editorial page for vicious attacks on Lawson, Stone, 
and finally Noyes. Damage suits were instituted against deserting 
clients. A heavy news-war tax was levied on the big New York papers 
which remained in the United Press and an intensive new drive for 
customers was launched in the West. But the co-operative lines held 
firm. Early in 1894, the four Chicago papers which had formed such 
a strong United Press bloc in the midwestern metropolis shook off the 
commercial yoke. 

In an atmosphere of rejoicing the association gathered for its annual 
meeting in Chicago on February 14, 1894, and elected Lawson presi- 
dent to succeed William Penn Nixon. The list of eastern papers which 
had become members since the previous October filled three closely 
printed pages and Lawson reported that these gains meant a loss to 
United Press of over $300,000 a year. No one believed the opposition 
could survive and the Board of Directors congratulated the member- 
ship "upon the happy issue of this contest." 

But the self-congratulations were premature. The opposition was 
underrated. For all its reverses, the commercial agency was still backed 
by many big papers. The conflict continued, sometimes flaring furiously, 
sometimes lagging. At various times proposals for peace were advanced 
by some quarters and individual United Press clients made overtures for 
compromise, but all contemplated a division of territory. 

There was no letup in the heavy financial drain on both sides. 
While Coxey's Army was marching on Washington, hostilities raged 
through 1894 then on into 1895 as the nation headed into better times. 
The United Press made frantic efforts to have the strife halted before 
everything was lost. Pressure was exerted on neutral parties to arrange 


negotiations with The Associated Press, but Lawson said it would be 
a mistake to make concessions merely for the sake of hastening the 
inevitable end. 

In the fall of 1895 the United Press had difficulty maintaining its 
service. General Manager Stone discovered that it was stealing Asso- 
ciated Press dispatches. The membership was notified. 

The thievery continued and the general manager saw his chance 
for a dramatic expose. One day a dispatch arrived from India telling of 
a native revolt. Before relay of the story to member papers, Stone 
inserted a sentence naming the leader of the revolt as one Siht El 
Otspueht. The dispatch promptly appeared in United Press papers and 
Stone lost no time in publicizing the fact that the name of the mythical 
chieftain spelled backward proclaimed the galling indictment: "The 
UP stole this." 

Early in 1896 an event occurred in New York which exerted 
great influence. Adolph S. Ochs of Chattanooga bought the New York 
Times, which had been staggering under a heavy burden, not the least 
of which was the heavy tax exacted by the United Press. Ochs made no 
secret of the fact that he intended to bring the Times back into The 
Associated Press as soon as contracts with the United Press could be 
terminated. To distract attention from this threatened defection, General 
Manager Phillips of United Press blanketed the country with stories 
that The Associated Press was prejudiced in favor of the gold-standard 
Republican party and would distort the news in the feverish presidential 
campaign about to begin. Only the United Press, he announced, could 
be counted upon to give equal justice to free-silver Democrats as well 
as to gold-standard Republicans. It was about this time, too, that United 
Press enlarged its own name to United Associated Presses. But the 
change made small impression and the agency remained best known as 
United Press. 

The presidential campaign of 1896, waged on the controversial 
monetary issue, momentarily eclipsed the prolonged news revolution. 
On July 6 a 35-year-old congressman stampeded the Democratic con- 
vention with his impassioned cross-of-gold speech. William Jennings 
Bryan shouted: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor 
this crown of thorns j you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold." 
It was Bryan for the Democrats and free silver j William McKinley for 
the Republicans and gold. The victory went to the Republicans, and 
after the election was over both Bryan and McKinley sent The Asso- 


elated Press unsolicited letters of commendation for the fairness with 
which the strenuous campaign had been reported. 

Even before McKinley was inaugurated in 1897 The Associated 
Press announced its readiness to take all eligible United Press clients 
into its membership provided the battered profit agency would retire 
from the field. Laffan countered with a proposal to withdraw the 
United Press in the West if The Associated Press would withdraw 
from the East. He put on a bold front but the situation was beyond the 
bluffing stage. 

On March 27, 1897, the New York Herald, the Tribune, the 
Times, and the Telegram went over to The Associated Press. In the 
once formidable stronghold of New York City the United Press had 
only two papers left Dana's Sun, which had rejected a cordial invitation 
to become a member, and the New York Journal, which had been 
purchased two years earlier by William Randolph Hearst. 

Lawson, his health impaired by the demands of the struggle, had 
come to New York to take personal command of The Associated Press 
forces. But, even the wholesale departure of the Herald, Tribune, 
Times, and Telegram failed to wring from the United Press any ad- 
mission of defeat, and Lawson could not help admiring the stubborn 
determination of his three major foemen Laffan, Dana, and Phillips. 
They might be wrong in their cause, but they were as pugnacious as 
ever and Lawson wondered how much longer they could continue. 

There was endless rumors and speculation, and finally on March 
29, 1897 President Dana filed a petition of bankruptcy for the United 
Press, listing assets of $38,040 and liabilities of $129,415. A receiver 
was appointed. 

Lawson was at his desk all the next day in the cramped cubbyhole 
of an office on the gloomy fifth floor of the Western Union building 
where headquarters of The Associated Press were now housed. The 
office was in shabby contrast to the sumptuous United Press establish- 
ment two floors below, with its expensive furniture, rugs, wrought-iron 
accessories, and stained-glass windows. 

But Lawson was interested in what might be happening in those 
fine offices, not in the fine furniture they contained. What did United 
Press plan to do next? 

His office door was flung open and an editor handed him a piece 
of paper. He adjusted his pince-nez and read the notice. It was from 
the elegant offices below, it was dated March 31, 1897, ^d it was 
addressed "To Whom It May Concern." It said: 


The News service of the United Press will be discontinued after the 
night of April yth, at about two o'clock A.M. on April 8th. No news dis- 
patches will be received from correspondents or news agencies or paid for, 
and the services of all employees will be dispensed with after that time. 


BY THE time the United Press disappeared unmourned from the world 
of news gathering on April 8, 1897, Lawson's organization was badly 
battered after four years of conflict. The menace of a gigantic, mer- 
cenary news trust had been destroyed j the co-operative, non-profit 
principle had been vindicated, but the difficulties of reconstruction were 
many. The fight had cost The Associated Press nearly $1,000,000 
over and above the ordinary expenditures necessary to maintain normal 
news service. That was a staggering sum in days when $50 would buy 
a first-class passage to Europe. 

Lawson and his colleagues, however, considered the success of 
their crusade worth all the effort and money it had taken. 

The organization set about binding up the wounds of war and 
consolidating its imperfect condition. Although a great majority of the 
clients who had been with the United Press were taken into member- 
ship, the brilliant but aging Dana stubbornly rebuffed all invitations. 
He announced that the Sun would go it alone, relying on the service 
of a news bureau of its own under the direction of the indomitable 
Laffan. Dana died a few months later, leaving Laffan in control of the 
Sun's destinies. 

There were other papers which could not be admitted on the 
terms they sought, and they began arrangements to meet their own 
particular needs. An additional group of disgruntled losers who pur- 
posely stayed out of the co-operative threatened to be a future source 
of trouble. 

However pressing the problems of reconstruction, the forces of 
The Associated Press of Illinois found time to celebrate their triumph. 
It was, of course, described as a gay and festive occasion when the 
hundred and eight leaders in the long fight gathered in Chicago on 
May 19, 1897, for the banquet. There was a huge silver loving cup, 
brimming with champagne, and each guest drank to a round of 
applause. North, South, East, and West were represented, and there 
were toasts, speeches, laughter, and badinage. In honor of the occasion, 



a medallion was struck off. Its inscription read: "To commemorate the 
triumph of the co-operative principle in news gathering." 

The year 1897 seemed ideal for "back-to-normalcy" efforts in the 
news report. The times had a strangely placid air about them, a certain 
deceptive promise that the world's tomorrows would be serene. In 
London Captain Ames, the tallest man in the whole British Army, led 
the Diamond Jubilee procession as the empire paid its extravagant 
tribute to "the Widow of Windsor." 

It was the heyday of the bicycle built for two; "Mr. Dooley" 
philosophized while his devotees chuckled j Weber and Fields were 
climbing to popularity, and audiences jammed theaters to hear De Wolf 
Hopper recite "Casey at the Bat"; music lovers talked of Victor Her- 
bert, and John Philip Sousa led the United States Marine Band; the 
biggest beer in town was a nickel, and small boys jeered "Get a horse!" 
at the first noisy automobiles. 

To newspaper readers generally life at home seemed uncommonly 

At Key West on February 15, 1898, it was a quiet night. The 
cable operator sat at his idle instrument yawning as the minutes 
dragged by. 

Then the sounder on the desk jumped from silence into sudden 
life like some mechanical cricket. Havana calling Key West Havana 
calling Key West. The operator opened his key. 

Havana was urgent. The Key West operator decoded the message 
as it came off the noisy instrument: 


Then the instrument lapsed abruptly into silence and it was minutes 
before Havana came pounding through again: 


While the sounder danced at Key West, F. J. Hilgert, Associated 
Press correspondent at Havana, already was out in the wreckage-strewn 
harbor, hurriedly assembling the facts of the disaster which had over- 
taken the American battleship as she rode at anchor. One after another 
he questioned dazed survivors. He saw the warship's wrecked super- 
structure and watched the little fleet of rescue craft scurry about. 


Then the Key West sounder started again, spelling out Hilgert's 
story, and the cable operator bent excitedly over his typewriter, copying 
the hastily written narrative of the explosion which had taken the lives 
of 266 men. 

Hilgert's story was published throughout the world and the head- 
lines shocked the nation. Although the Maine's captain cautioned that 
"Public opinion should be suspended until further report," a Spanish 
mine was immediately blamed. War fever swept the streets and in a 
Broadway bar a man raised his glass and gave the country its battle 
cry. "Gentlemen," he said, "remember the Maine!" 

For some years past the United States had been watching conditions 
in insurrection-torn Cuba, where the natives were waging a seemingly 
hopeless fight for independence from Spain. Popular opinion was horri- 
fied at the rule of General Valeriano Weyler, the military governor 
who, according to rumor, ruthlessly put down insurrectors and mal- 
treated noncombatants. Americans and their property frequently suffered 
and for some time William Randolph Hearst and his New York 
Journal had been demanding intervention. 

As early as 1896 The Associated Press decided that a staff man 
was needed in Cuba. Hilgert was assigned to Havana, a post normally 
filled by a string correspondent. The association took elaborate pre- 
cautions to protect his identity, and not even to inquiring members 
would the general manager divulge the name of the man ordered 
under cover to this dangerous field of news. From the outset Hilgert 
worked against endless difficulties and at great personal risk. General 
Weyler forbade all newspaper work under threat of the firing squad, 
but for two years, by employing all sorts of ingenuity, Hilgert had 
managed to smuggle out his thrilling, factual accounts of Cuba's 
struggle. The night of the Maine's destruction he threw caution to the 
winds and used the cable. 

As soon as the news was received, Assistant General Manager Diehl 
saw that quick preparations were necessary. He anticipated a rigid 
censorship on the Cuban cables. If The Associated Press was to cover 
a war in the Caribbean, it would be necessary to assemble a flotilla of 
dispatch boats to carry all news to the nearest neutral cable heads at 
Jamaica or Haiti. He outlined his plans to General Manager Stone, 
who was reluctant to approve lest any undue activity by the association 
inflame an already aroused public. Stone had watched the vociferous 
efforts of some newspapers to whip the nation into a military frenzy 


and precipitate war, and he was unwilling that The Associated Press 
do anything which might set the drums beating louder. 

Nevertheless, if news occurs it must be covered. Diehl pointed out 
that, if war came and found The Associated Press unprepared, press 
and public alike would charge the management with neglect and incom- 
petence. The preparations he suggested were precautionary and could 
be carried out without attracting attention. 

Stone saw the logic of this reasoning and the assistant general 
manager was off to Washington to lay siege to official quarters with 
an audacious request. He wanted permission to place staff men on the 
flagships of the two American fleets most likely to see active service. 
Secretary of the Navy John D. Long would not hear of the idea. 
Diehl presented his case directly to the President. McKinley knew 
of no precedent for such an extraordinary application and thought to 
dispose of it tactfully by getting Diehl to acknowledge that such a 
thing never had been done before. He asked a question: 

"Has a war correspondent ever actually been permitted on board 
a flagship in wartime and in action?" 

For the moment Diehl was stopped. Then in some vague corner 
of his mind a forgotten scrap of information bobbed up. 

"Yes," he told the President, "a London Times correspondent was 
on the Chilean flagship Esmeralda during the war between Chile 
and Peru." 

McKinley consented without further hesitation. 

The war hysteria mounted in the weeks after the Maine's destruc- 
tion, while a Naval Board of Inquiry investigated the explosion. Business 
and the President were averse to war, but the pressure of public opinion 
had become almost overwhelming. Theodore Roosevelt, assistant 
secretary of the navy, lost patience with the hesitation and snorted: 
"McKinley has no more backbone than a chocolate eclair." He pre- 
dicted: "We will have this war for the freedom of Cuba in spite of the 
timidity of the commercial interests." 

And already military bands were blaring the marching song of 
> 9 g "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." 

Although Hilgert's position in Havana had become more perilous 
than ever, he stuck to his duties. In spite of official secrecy surrounding 
inquiries on the Maine's destruction, he learned that evidence gathered 
by the experts who had examined the wrecked hulk established that the 
battleship had been blown up "from the outside." 

The dispatch doubtless would have been a death warrant if found 


in Hilgert's possession. Use of the cable was out of the question and 
so he succeeded in smuggling out his story by mail. Its authenticity 
was confirmed March 21 when the Navy Board's report blamed the 
disaster on the detonation of a submarine mine by unknown persons. 
That report sealed the issue, though its accuracy was later questioned. 

Diehl was assembling a flotilla of dispatch boats and a competent 
war staff. After scouring shipyards along the coast, he chartered five 
vessels: the Wanda, a yacht, and the Dauntless, the Dandy, the Cynthia, 
and the Kate Spencer, all tugs. 

The staff included Elmer E. Roberts, J. B. Nelson, Arthur W. 
Copp, Byron R. Newton, A. W. Lyman, J. W. Mitchell, Howard N. 
Thompson, H. L. Beach, Harold Martin, A. C. Goudie, G. E. Graham, 
W. A. M. Goode, N. C. Wright, Albert C. Hunt, J. C. Marriott, E. 
R. Johnstone, Oscar Watson, R. B. Craemer, and John P. Dunning, 
the journalistic hero of the Samoan disaster of 1889 an d the only 
American correspondent to cover the Chilean Civil War in 1891. 

The preparations were completed none too soon. On April 20 
the day before formal declaration of war Associated Press dispatch 
boats hurried into Key West, the concentration point for the main 
American fleet. When Goode climbed aboard Admiral Sampson's flag- 
ship, the New York, to which he had been assigned, the greeting was 
not reassuring. 

"So you want to come aboard and get your head blown off, do 
you?" asked Sampson gruffly. "It's foolish." 

At daybreak two days later the fleet steamed out, headed for Cuba, 
and seaman Patrick Walton on the cruiser Nashville fired the first shot 
of the war to capture a Spanish merchantman. 

It was the beginning of a conflict such as never had been seen 
before, nor has been seen since. From the standpoint of news gathering, 
it was a correspondent's war. The newsboats of The Associated Press 
cruised at will through the battle lines at sea, maneuvered for the best 
vantage points regardless of the fire of opposing sides, and scurried 
back and forth delivering their stories to the nearest usable cable heads. 
The boats of individual newspapers performed similarly. All sorts of 
journalistic personalities were attracted and at times the whole fray 
took on a comic opera complexion. More frequently than not the cor- 
respondents risked their lives out of all keeping with the over-all 
importance of the facts they sought, but there was high interest back 
home and the news gatherers meant to satisfy it by one means or 


The first big news came not from Cuba or the southern seas, but 
from the far-off Philippines. Admiral George Dewey with the Asiatic 
squadron swooped down on Manila harbor on May i. "You may fire 
when ready, Gridley," he said to the commanding officer of his flag- 
ship, and proceeded to destroy the Spanish fleet without the loss of a 
single American bluejacket. The news, rushed to Hong Kong by cutter 
and cabled across the Pacific, did not reach the United States until 
May 7. The country went wild with rejoicing and almost everyone 
sported a large celluloid button boasting: "Dewey Did It." 

In the preliminary naval operations around Cuba correspondents 
reported the bombardment of enemy works at Matanzas and later the 
shelling of the forts at Havana. Besides the men on the dispatch boats 
and with the fleet, Diehl also had correspondents in sultry Tampa 
where the army drank gallons of iced tea and groused at repeated post- 
ponement of its departure for Cuba. 

A big question mark kept the army immobilized at Tampa. The 
whole country was asking: Where is Cervera? The Spanish admiral, 
with the main enemy fleet, had sailed from the Cape Verde Islands 
across the Atlantic on April 29. Then there was no word and the uncer- 
tainty spawned nervous rumors. One panicky report had it that he 
planned to attack the New England coast 5 another, that he would 
bombard New Yorkj still another, that his objective was to engage 
Sampson's fleet off Cuba. 

For one staff correspondent this news meant a welcome chance to 
get to the exciting scene of hostilities. George E. Graham had been 
assigned to the Brooklyn, flagship of the flying squadron commanded 
by Commodore Winfield S. Schley. 

"Can you fight?" Schley asked when Graham came aboard. "We 
don't allow any loafers aboard a man-of-war, and if a lot of men on 
this ship are killed during a combat, you'll have to help take their 
places." To a subordinate he added with a twinkle, "Put him to work 
with a six-pounder gun crew. He'll be handy." 

But Graham had had a very dull time. The flying squadron was 
kept at Hampton Roads, Virginia, as a precaution against the possible 
appearance of Cervera off the New England or the Middle Atlantic 
coast. The news that the Spanish fleet was in southern waters slipped 
the leash which had held Schley in port and the flying squadron steamed 
toward Key West to co-operate with Sampson. 


But where was Cervera now? More rumors flew as American 
warships scouted for the elusive Spaniards. Goode, on Admiral Samp- 
son's flagship, was in a position to appreciate how little both Navy 
Department and fleet commander knew of the enemy's whereabouts. 
Finally, on his own initiative, he went ashore at Haiti on one of the 
Association's newsboats and sent cable after cable to Associated Press 
correspondents, first in the Caribbean-South American area, and then 
in strategic cities elsewhere. All the messages asked for information 
on Cervera. 

Tense days passed and on May 20 the long-awaited news came in 
an Associated Press dispatch from of all places the Spanish capital of 
Madrid. Member newspapers published the announcement that Cer- 
vera's fleet had arrived in the harbor of Santiago twenty-four hours 
before. At Washington the Navy Department acknowledged the news 
by issuing the bulletin: "The Department has information, which is 
believed to be authentic, that the Spanish squadron is at Santiago de 
Cuba." And far to the southward Sampson ordered Commodore Schley 
to Santiago with all speed to bottle up the enemy in port. 

Events moved to a more rapid tempo and at 4 A.M. on June 3 
Lieutenant Richmond P. Hobson and his crew sank the Merrimac in 
the harbor entrance at Santiago under shell fire from Spanish guns. 
Before departing Hobson gave Correspondent Goode the only interview 
he permitted, and as the Merrimac dashed for the harbor in the bright 
moonlight, Graham stood on the bridge of the Brooklyn peering through 
his binoculars for an eyewitness account of the exploit. 

No one who saw the young lieutenant and his men set out on their 
mission expected them to escape with their lives, but late that afternoon 
Goode was scribbling the news that all had been captured uninjured 
by the Spanish. 

Mauser bullets raked the news yacht Wanda on June 9 as she stood 
by off Guantanamo while the marines went splashing ashore in the 
first large-scale landing of troops on Cuban soil. Through the surf with 
them floundered Harrison L. Beach, the first of Diehl's correspondents 
to get his baptism of fire on land. It was almost a fatal baptism. A 
Spanish regiment fought the landing in spite of shelling by three 
American warships and as the marines drove forward a Spanish sharp- 
shooter in the dense chaparral saw Beach before his rifle sights and 
squeezed the trigger. The bullet tore across the bridge of his nose just 
below the line of his eyes. Blood streaming down his face, Beach kept 


going and the wound was still fresh when Diehl watched him write 
his account of the fighting back aboard the Wanda. 

The correspondents on the co-operative's dispatch boats with the 
blockading fleet off Santiago were having an equally hazardous time. 
When the harbor forts were bombarded, the boats were constantly 
exposed to the enemy's return fire. Navigation at night was particularly 
dangerous, for all ships had to run without lights, and frequently 
American warships opened fire on the dispatch boats, mistaking them for 
Spanish scouts. 

The news craft had been unwelcome when they made their first 
appearance, but this hostile feeling was not long-lived. After a few 
weeks the navy was pressing the dispatch boats into service whenever 
circumstances warranted, to carry messages and to tow or convoy crippled 
warships to port for repairs. On one occasion the Associated Press tug 
Dauntless was commissioned to take a captured schooner back to Key 

The long-delayed army expeditionary force arrived off Cuba in 
thirty transports on June 20 and debarkation began two days later at 
Daiquiri, east of Santiago. The Wanda, with Diehl aboard, and the 
Dauntless were on hand for the preliminary bombardment of the 
Spanish land positions, and as soon as the troops started ashore in open 
boats, correspondents Lyman, Mitchell, and Dunning were landed to 
report the army advance on Santiago. Diehl subsequently reinforced 
them with Thompson, Martin, Goudie, and Beach, who still wore a 
bandage from the wound at Guantanamo. It was Lyman's last assign- 
ment. He contracted yellow fever and died upon returning to the States 
after the fall of Santiago. 

Four days after the landing at Daiquiri, Dunning was pushing 
forward through dense tropical undergrowth with the Rough Riders 
of Colonel Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt. A blazing sun 
beat down and the sweating troops discarded piece after piece of equip- 
ment as they pressed on along the narrow tortuous trail. There was no 
sign of the enemy and the tangled mass of trees, vines, high grass, and 
chaparral crowded close to the path. Men began to drop under the 
intense heat. The trail grew steeper as the column neared Las Guasimas. 
Dunning plodded in the van not far from Roosevelt. It was a perfect 



place for an ambush. Suddenly from a thicket a Mauser cracked, and 
another, and another. 

"It's up to us, boys!" shouted Roosevelt, 

"Deploy, lie down!" Wood called along the line of the Rough 
Riders, and Krag-Jorgenson carbines began to rattle. It was the regi- 
ment's first experience in battle and Dunning saw some men waver as 
comrades dropped wounded or dying. For an hour the fighting raged. 
Then reinforcements came up and the whole line swept forward in a 
charge which routed the Spaniards. 

Dunning hurried back to find the army base at Siboney seething 
with erroneous reports of the action at Las Guasimas. Colonel Wood 
had been killed. The Rough Riders were being wiped out. Stragglers 
had brought in fantastic stories. The Wanda had just arrived offshore 
and Dunning got aboard to begin writing his account of the first major 
fighting of the campaign. By the time the yacht made a fast run to 
Guantanamo he had four hundred words ready for filing in the section 
of the Cuba-Haiti cable which the navy had seized. Then the Wanda 
pointed her bow into the teeth of a tropical storm and set out for 
Jamaica. Through the night Dunning wrote additional details while 
the sea threatened to engulf the buffeted vessel. The dispatch was 
ready when they arrived and with it went the only accurate list of dead 
and wounded published until official reports were released after the war. 

Las Guasimas was merely a prelude. On July i the American 
forces began their attack on the blockhouses and outer works of Santiago. 
Diehl had Beach, Thompson, and Mitchell on the firing line throughout 
the fighting which added the names of El Caney and San Juan Hill 
to American military history. The Spanish swept the American lines 
with a hail of bullets from fortified positions, Cervera turned the heavy 
guns of the fleet on the advancing troops, and sharpshooters hidden in 
treetops picked off men like flies. 


Back in the States newspaper circulations climbed dizzily and the 
nation reveled in a delirium of flag-waving patriotism. The war brought 
with it the day of shrieking headlines nowhere shriller than in New 
York. Battling to outdo one another, some papers turned front pages 
into typographical nightmares. Larger and larger type was used until 
the big block letters were four inches high. When the blackest ink 
seemed inadequate to scream the latest sensation, drums of red were 
rolled into pressrooms and even gaudier headlines appeared. 


The biggest news of the war, however, was yet to come. On July 3 
the blockading American fleet off Santiago prepared for Sunday morning 
inspection. On the bridge of the battleship Brooklyn, Correspondent 
Graham chatted with Commodore Schley. Off to the east the Dauntless 
and the Wanda rode easily in calm seas. With Dunning aboard, the 
Wanda was just back from the Jamaica cable and fortunate to be back 
at all. Port authorities had threatened to quarantine her for three days 
because of the prevalence of yellow fever in Cuba. Diehl, alarmed lest 
his dispatch fleet be tied up, stayed behind to cable Associated Press 
offices in London instructions to appeal to the British Cabinet for an 
order exempting his boats from the Jamaican regulations. 

It was a perfect Sunday with a blue sky and a hot sun. Graham 
talked on with the commodore. Then a voice bawled: "The enemy ships 
are coming out!" The Spanish fleet, bottled up in Santiago harbor for 
weeks, was steaming out. It was led by Admiral Cervera's flagship, the 
Maria Theresa. 

Schley grabbed his binoculars. 

"Come on, my boy," he exclaimed to Graham. "We'll give it to 
them now!" 

Orders exploded like a string of firecrackers. Bells jangled. 

"Clear ship for action!" 

"Signal, c The enemy is escaping! 7 " 

"Signal the fleet to clear ship!" 

With Graham at his heels, Schley went up the ladder to the con- 
ning tower. Midway he pulled out a watch one he had borrowed 
from Graham a few days ago. 

"It's just 9:35," he said. 

The guns of the American fleet roared into action. The tornado of 
sound on the Brooklyn almost deafened Graham. Through glasses he 
could see the harbor mouth choked with black smoke from the enemy's 
funnels and the brilliant yellow splashes of flame from exploding 
American shells. The escaping Spaniards turned westward in column. 
They were going to run for it. 

While Graham watched from the Brooklyn and a hurtling storm 
of shot and shell churned the waters, the Wanda and the Dauntless 
came steaming into the zone of fire, maneuvering recklessly with the 
fleet to get the best possible view. So close was the Wanda that she was 
able to save an officer and eight sailors from a Spanish torpedo-boat 
destroyer which was sinking under heavy gunfire. The rescued officer 
startled Dunning by kissing him on both cheeks. 


Before long Cervera's flagship was disabled and caught fire, and 
the Spanish admiral himself was picked up from the sea by the U.S.S. 
Gloucester. Dunning boarded her to interview the dripping enemy com- 
mander. Although Cervera had lost almost all his clothes, his com- 
posure was unshaken and he told briefly from a Spanish viewpoint the 
story of the battle that still raged. 

To the west, at the head of the column, the Brooklyn and the 
Oregon kept pouring a devastating fire into the fleeing vessels which 
had escaped destruction in the terrific first hour of fighting. On the 
Brooklyn Graham stood with several others just in front of the con- 
ning tower from which Commodore Schley was directing the action. In 
the group with the correspondent was a seaman who was taking the 
enemy's range. 

"It's twelve hundred yards, sir," the sailor called to Schley. 

Graham heard a thud on the deck beside him and warm blood spat- 
tered his face and clothes. Before him sprawled a shapeless heap the 
seaman who had been calling out the range a moment before. A Spanish 
shell had decapitated him. 

At 1 115 P.M. that July 3, 1898, the ensign of Spain fluttered down 
in surrender on the last ship of Cervera's fleet. The Wanda came up in 
time to witness the final act of the victory. Then, after collecting the 
stories written by the men on the Daimtless, Graham on the Brooklyn, 
and Goode on the New York, the yacht made her run to the Jamaica 

Dunning, who had woven all the accounts into one complete story 
while en route, stepped ashore at Jamaica at I A.M. July 4. Diehl met 
him with news that the dispatch boat of one of the New York papers 
had arrived an hour before. 

"We are beaten," Dunning said wearily. Diehl thought so too until 
he learned that the whole Spanish fleet had been destroyed. His dejec- 
tion immediately vanished. The rival boat had left the battle after only 
two enemy ships had been sunk. 

But that rival correspondent intended to do everything to protect 
his time advantage on the news of the battle's start. As soon as his 
first "urgent" story had been cleared, he filed a long unimportant dis- 
patch at low press rates to hold the cable exclusively. Diehl was equal 
to the emergency. He served notice on the cable company that, if it 
failed to accept Dunning's story at the "urgent" rate of $1.67 a word 
as soon as the special's first story had been transmitted, he would sue 
for damages. The threat was effective and Dunning's complete story 


of Santiago was promptly put on the cable. At the urgent rate, the tolls 
were $8,000. 


The naval victory at Santiago virtually ended the war. The city 
of Santiago surrendered on July 17 and an Associated Press correspon- 
dent preceded the troops into the city despite refusal of military authori- 
ties to permit newspapermen to enter before the formal occupation took 
place. The correspondent was Alfred C. Goudie. When permission was 
denied, Goudie, who spoke both Spanish and French, put on peasant 
clothes and joined a crowd of Cuban refugees who were being allowed 
to return to their homes in the city. Carrying a parrot cage on one arm 
and on the other a baby entrusted him by a tired mother, Goudie 
passed through the lines without being stopped. Once in the city, he 
filed three thousand words describing the arrangements for the sur- 
render, the march of refugees, the plight of the city, and the approach 
of the American forces. 

The press corps had been much depleted by that time. Of the 
two hundred correspondents who had landed with the troops in June 
to cover operations ashore, only nine remained. Three of them Goudie, 
Martin, and Thompson represented The Associated Press. The vicissi- 
tudes of campaigning, the tropical climate, and the peril of yellow 
fever had driven the others home. 

Thompson stayed on for four years, and in 1902, when the Ameri- 
can flag was hauled down from the palace in Havana and the flag of 
the new independent Cuban Republic hoisted in its place he wrote 
such a brilliant description of the occasion that the Congress of the 
United States by joint resolution unanimously ordered it printed in 
the Congressional Record as the official history of the event. 

With the fall of Santiago, national interest shifted to the final 
drives against Spain in Puerto Rico and the Philippines, where other 
correspondents were on the scene. 

The guns which started to rumble on other fronts drowned out the 
navy's parting shots off Santiago. Several days after the destruction 
of Cervera's fleet the U.S.S. Potomac sighted a small craft near the 
wreck of one of the Spanish warships. The suspicious gunboat opened 
fire and three shots splashed perilously close to the little target. Then 
the officers saw the attacked vessel break out her pennant. 

The last three "careless" shots of the war off Santiago had been 
fired at the Cynthia one of the five dispatch boats of The Associated 


THE second that comes once every hundred years had arrived. It was 
January i, 1900, and there was the clink of many glasses and the 
echo of hopeful toasts. For all the optimism and rejoicing, however, it 
was a disturbed world that greeted the new century. In the South 
African veld black clouds of disaster trailed British arms in their war 
with the stubborn Boers. In far-off China the stage was set for the Boxer 
uprising. From Berlin came a dispatch saying Kaiser Wilhelm had 
chosen the first day of the new century to deliver a strident, sabre- 
rattling speech to his garrison officers. 

The turn of the century found The Associated Press of Illinois 
growing stronger. Nevertheless, the organization was apprehensive 
over the outcome of litigation which struck at the very purpose and 
spirit of its existence. One of its own member papers had brought a 
lawsuit charging that its charter and by-laws were unconstitutional. 
An adverse decision would destroy the hard-won gains realized after 
the long, bitter struggle against the peril of a commercial news trust 
and might so impair the character of the association as to kill it. 

Curiously enough, this legal threat was an outgrowth of something 
entirely foreign to the field of news the defeated efforts of a Chicago 
utility magnate to obtain, without adequately compensating the city, 
a fifty-year extension of his street railway franchises. 

Charles T. Yerkes for years had been able by devious ways to 
obtain whatever he wanted from the corrupt majority of the Chicago 
city council. But finally the indignant public, backed by all the city's 
newspapers, rose up in arms to fight him. A citizens' league was formed. 
In the forefront of the fight was Victor Lawson. His Chicago Daily 
News editorially assailed the corruption which Yerkes had exploited 
and his checkbook gave support to the forces crusading for honesty in 

Yerkes realized he could not count upon the venal members of the 
city council to do his bidding unless they had the encouragement of 
an outspoken champion. He needed a newspaper to advocate his cause. 



With the press of Chicago arrayed against him, there was only one 
way to get such support. On November 21, 1897, the none too successful 
Chicago Inter-Ocean announced that a "party of Chicago gentlemen" 
headed by Charles T. Yerkes, had purchased the paper. Equally sig- 
nificant was the statement that George Wheeler Hinman was the new 
editor. Hinman came direct from the staff of the most implacable of 
Associated Press enemies, Laffan's New York Sun. 

The policy of the Inter-Ocean immediately changed. At the outset 
Hinman declared editorially that the twofold platform of the new 
management was to "oppose the Chicago newspaper trust" the anti- 
Yerkes publications and to advocate the supplying of Associated Press 
news to any and all papers applying for it. 

Hinman quickly singled out Lawson as the one man in the city 
pre-eminently identified with both the causes the Inter-Ocean was 
attacking. As owner of the Chicago Daily News he was the most promi- 
nent anti- Yerkes publisher and as President of The Associated Press 
he personified all that the organization represented. Here was a target 
and on it Hinman concentrated his fire. 

In the beginning the broadsides were against Lawson personally 
and as a Chicago publisher. There were baseless charges that he sought 
to profit at the city's expense in a schoolsite land "grab," and Hinman 
sneeringly dubbed him "Rice Water Lawson" because of the free nurs- 
ing care which the Daily News provided for sick children from tenement 
districts. Then Lawson's Associated Press affiliations were introduced 
into the civic tempest, and on December 2, 1897, Hinman wrote: 

It is well to remind our readers that Mr. Rice Water Lawson is the 
soul of the newspaper trust of this city, that the sandbagging methods adopted 
by him in his editorial capacity have become the methods of the trust, largely 
through his influence, and that as President of The Associated Press he has 
striven to bolster monopoly and bolster the boycott, even to the point of 
dictating the sources of information to which the newspapers of the country 
shall turn. Do the people of Chicago regard a man of his ways and means as 
the one to dictate the selection, suppression and manipulation of the news 
of this great country, city and state? 

The next day Hinman, ignoring the fact that the Inter-Ocean was 
a member, further assailed The Associated Press of Illinois and spoke 
acidly of Lawson, "wrapped in the cloak of religion, exhaling the odor 
of sanctity." This time Melville Stone's name figured in the diatribe. 
The Inter-Ocean declared: 


The leader of the [Associated Press] gang is Mr. Rice Water Lawson; 
his henchman and accomplice is Melville E. Stone. To suit the personal and 
financial interests of these two men the news of the country has been mis- 
interpreted, mangled and suppressed. 

Abuse and attack, whether directed at him personally or at The 
Associated Press, left Lawson unruffled. In his judgment, the only 
intelligent way of dealing with Hinman was to ignore him. Much 
earlier he had told Yerkes that the Daily News would treat him and 
his utility enterprises impartially and fairly in its news columns. On one 
occasion he even wrote the traction company head that, if he changed 
his methods, the Daily News would be "quite as ready to commend 
you as we now are to criticize." Discussing one of Hinman's denuncia- 
tions, Lawson commented: 

The attacks of the Inter-Ocean on The Associated Press are quite con- 
sistent with the personal antecedents of the new editor and the personal 
feeling of the new ownership. I do not imagine that the New York Sun and 
the Chicago Inter-Ocean can hurt The Associated Press. 

The municipal battle continued until April, 1898, and the anti- 
Yerkes forces emerged victorious. The utilities operator failed to get his 
franchise extension and soon left Chicago after disposing of his traction 
interests and his newspaper, Hinman, however, stayed on as the con- 
trolling power on the Inter-Ocean and there was no diminution of his 
condemnation of the Illinois association and its president. 

Lawson was wrong, however, when he said he did not believe Hin- 
man and his former associates on the New York Sun could hurt The 
Associated Press. He had underestimated the power for discord which 
existed in the Chicago Inter-Ocean by virtue of its Associated Press 
membership. Hinman's editorial hostility could be ignored indefinitely, 
but when he carried his fight into the courts the situation immediately 
assumed a serious character. 

The trouble actually began before the elections which ended 
Yerkes's power. At Hinman's direction, the Inter-Ocean had been 
using dispatches syndicated by the Laffan News Bureau which had con- 
tinued since the disappearance of the old United Press. During the bitter 
news war of 1893-1897 the Laffan bureau had been pronounced "an- 
tagonistic" to the co-operative, and all members were enjoined against 
subscribing to it. As soon as the Laffan dispatches were noticed in the 
Inter-Ocean, General Manager Stone pointed out to Hinman that their 
use was a violation of the agreement under which the paper enjoyed 


its Associated Press membership. Hinman showed his defiance by con- 
tracting for a complete special service. 

Such a challenge could not go ignored and the directors of 
The Associated Press met it by invoking the penalty provided by the 
by-laws the suspension of the news report received by the offender. 
The Inter-Ocean, however, had anticipated this action and, before it 
could be taken, Hinman went into the state courts for an injunction 
restraining The Associated Press from stopping the news report or 
enforcing the terms of its contract. 

The paper argued the corporate charter of The Associated Press 
of Illinois was so worded that it made the organization, in effect, a 
public utility, obligated to give its service without discrimination to any 
newspaper which sought it. The Inter-Ocean maintained further that 
The Associated Press, by forbidding its members to obtain news from 
"antagonistic" sources, acted in restraint of trade and therefore un- 
lawfully. In reply, The Associated Press contended it was a co-operative, 
not conducted for profit, and therefore had a right to limit and govern 
its membership. 

The Circuit Court upheld The Associated Press. The Inter-Ocean 
was suspended from membership and on May 16, 1898, it was declared 
antagonistic to The Associated Press. But Hinman carried the fight to 
the Appellate Court, and when he lost there he appealed to the Supreme 
Court of Illinois. For almost two years the issue went undecided, and 
the resultant uncertainty colored the outlook in 1900. 

From the date of the organization of The Associated Press of 
Illinois on December 15, 1892 it was inevitable that sooner or 
later its basic membership principle would be subjected to a rigorous 
test. There always was the likelihood that an ineligible paper would 
resort to legal action in an effort to force admission to membership, 
and there was the other possibility that a member paper such as the 
Inter-Ocean^ disciplined for a major violation of the by-laws, might 
seek to compel the resumption of its suspended report. 

Lawson, Driscoll, Knapp, and the others responsible for the evolu- 
tion of The Associated Press of Illinois believed their theory of organi- 
zation fundamentally sound. The association was to be made up only of 
those papers elected to membership and to be governed by those papers. 
Its news report would stem from two main sources the mutual ex- 


change of the local news collected by the member papers themselves, 
and the news gathered by the correspondents of The Associated Press 
throughout the world. The cost of obtaining and disseminating the 
report would be borne pro rata by the members, and finances would be 
administered on a strictly non-profit basis. The purity of the news such 
an important factor in the controversy with the defunct United Press 
and, earlier, with the old New York Associated Press would be pro- 
tected by the independence of the active management and by the very 
diversity of political, social, and religious beliefs among the members 
receiving the reports. 

As with any co-operative, the association would be a defensive and 
offensive alliance, acting for the benefit of those who enjoyed its 
privileges, and in this connection certain precautionary measures were 
necessary. Among these was the right of a member to protest the 
admission of too many other papers in the same city. 

The protest right had a twofold purpose: It served not only to 
protect existing enterprise but also to exclude financially and editorially 
irresponsible publications in an era when fly-by-night newspapers were all 
too common. Many times the Board of Directors wisely overruled pro- 
tests emanating from selfish motives and admitted desirable papers. 
A number of times, too, protest rights were sustained, particularly 
where the paper's financial stability figured in the challenge. 

In his attacks Hinman repeatedly denounced the organization 
as a "monopoly," emphasizing the word which had sinister connota- 
tions in the mind of the contemporary public. Lawson realized that noth- 
ing could be gained by replying to such charges. The facts spoke for 
themselves. Far from being a monopoly, The Associated Press was 
serving roughly one-third of the 2,ooo-odd newspapers then published 
in the country. The remainder was supplied by various other news- 
gathering agencies and most papers appeared quite satisfied. 

Under the energetic William M. Laffan, the New York Sun's 
Laffan News Bureau had stepped out boldly after the 1893-1897 strife 
as a collector of news, serving a sizable list of paying clients. William 
Randolph Hearst also made arrangements to supply news for his New 
York Journal and San Francisco Examiner, as well as others. Still 
another agency was the Scripps-McRae Press Association, which had for 
its nucleus four midwestern newspapers owned by Milton McRae and 
Edward W. Scripps, the latter a brother of the Detroit Scripps so active 
in the fight against the old United Press. 

At the time the United Press went out of existence Edward W. 


Scripps had applied for membership in The Associated Press for all 
his papers. Some of them were in cities in which all available member- 
ships already were taken and Scripps said that, if The Associated Press 
could not accept all his papers, it could not have any of them. He 
began the development of his own news service. 

Additional services also appeared and, although they were all 
strictly commercial, operating for profit, their very number provided 
insurance against monopoly. Moreover, the evolution of The Associated 
Press had given all the publishers of the country a dependable yard- 
stick by which the truth, accuracy, and cost of any news enterprise 
could be quickly and honestly measured. 

But the courts moved slowly. During the first week of 1900 
Secretary of State John Hay made news, announcing completion of 
negotiations for the "open door" in China. The $35,000,000 contract 
for New York's first subway was awarded. Then on February 19 the 
Supreme Court of the State of Illinois handed down the long-awaited 
decision in the Inter-Ocean case. 

The decision was a thunderbolt. Hinman and the Inter-Ocean won 
a smashing victory. On every major point the court found against 
The Associated Press. Its foes were jubilant, but hundreds of papers 
over the country non-members of the co-operative as well as members 
printed editorials deploring the decision out of which might come 
another news monopoly. Ignoring the ruling of the Illinois Supreme 
Court, a similar case in Missouri shortly thereafter was declared in 
favor of The Associated Press. 

However, the court of the association's home state had spoken. The 
hasty and loose language used in 1892 when the nonprofit co-operative 
was formed had proved its legal undoing. The sweeping decision cited 
the fatal portion of the corporate charter which included among the 
organization's purposes the right "to erect, lease, or sell telegraph or 
telephone lines." Although this right never had been exercised, the 
court ruled that it gave The Associated Press of Illinois the nature of 
a public utility and in consequence the organization was legally bound 
to supply, without distinction, any persons "who wish to purchase 
information and news, for purposes of publication, which it was created 
to furnish." All the damage, immediate and potential, was in that sweep- 
ing ruling. 

It was of minor importance that the decision also struck at the 
"antagonistic" section of the by-laws. The court held that provision 
to be in restraint of trade and declared it null and void. 


The Associated Press sought in vain for a rehearing of the case 
while the victorious Inter-Ocean took steps to realize everything it 
believed the decision guaranteed. The paper applied for reinstatement 
as a member, sought a receiver for the association, sued for indemnifica- 
tion of alleged losses sustained during the period of suspension, and 
petitioned for an injunction to prevent dissolution of The Associated 
Press of Illinois in the event the organization so attempted to escape 
the result of the protracted court fight. Papers hitherto excluded began 
to press for admission on the strength of the decision, and legal actions 
against the co-operative multiplied. 

It was a disheartened membership that convened in Chicago on 
May 1 6, 1900, to hear the formal reports on the stunning setback and 
to consider what was to be done. Nominally, the members still were 
masters of their association, but it was debatable for how long. The 
spirit, concept, and purpose of the organization had been dramatically 
altered by legal fiat, and it was likely that the mechanics of operation 
would have to change accordingly. 

It was apparent that the membership was unwilling to continue 
on that basis. All recommendations for the amendment of the by-laws 
were rejected. Individual publishers said what they thought. They had 
fought a bitter war to organize a press association free of the evils which 
had beset news gathering in the past. Many of them had pledged 
personal fortunes and had contributed unsparingly of time and energy 
in the struggle. When the hard-won victory finally came, they thought 
they had earned recognition for the principles they served. Now their 
gains had been swept away or jeopardized. Some urged the preserva- 
tion of the spirit and methods of the association, but in the mesh of 
existing legal entanglements they frankly acknowledged uncertainty 
as to how that could be accomplished. 

When the time came for the annual election of officers, some sig- 
nificant things happened. Victor Lawson declined re-election as presi- 
dent. Melville Stone resigned as general manager. Other officers with- 
drew their names from nomination. The men who had guided The 
Associated Press of Illinois through a great news-war revolution had 
mapped their plans. 

Charles Knapp, of the St. Louis Republic, absent on account of 
illness, was elected president to succeed Lawson, and Diehl was named 


general manager to replace Stone. Writing to Knapp the next day, 
Lawson hinted of the strategy in preparation: 

I understand that certain ex-directors and other people of their kind 
are pursuing their machinations at this moment within the corporate limits of 
Chicago with the fell purpose of doing disrespect to our Supreme Court. 
All of which grieves me much. I am guessing that the developments of the 
near future will bring us face to face again in New York. 

That same week all newsdom knew the steps that were being taken. 
On May 22, 1900, a certificate of incorporation of a technically new 
association, bearing The Associated Press name, was filed in New York. 
It carried the signatures of Stephen O'Meara, of the Boston Journal, 
Adolph S. Ochs, of the New York Times, St. Clair McKelway, of the 
Brooklyn Eagle, William L. McLean, of the Philadelphia Bulletin, 
Frank B. Noyes, of the Washington Star, and Alfred H. Belo, of the 
Dallas News. So, by coincidence, six papers were represented in this 
fresh start, as six papers had been represented in the beginning in 1848. 

New York had a law applying specifically to co-operative and non- 
profit organizations and the decision of Lawson and his group had been 
made to seek incorporation under that statute. This time, however, 
the legal technicalities received the most thoroughgoing attention. The 
incorporators were determined not only to avoid the pitfalls which 
had made the Inter-Ocean suit possible, but also to correct the defects 
and inequities which had manifested themselves in the structure of 
The Associated Press of Illinois. Great care was taken to make the 
membership character of the organization so specific as to admit of no 
contention. The certificate of incorporation, after first describing how 
newspapers might be elected to membership, stipulated plainly: 

No person not so elected shall have any right or interest in the corpora- 
tion or enjoy any of the privileges or benefits thereof. 

Another unequivocal expression of policy was: 

The corporation is not to make a profit or to make or declare dividends, 
and is not to engage in the business of selling intelligence nor traffic in 
the same. 

This phrased a cardinal principle of the new policy that the mem- 
bers would co-operate in gathering the news of the world for their 
mutual benefit, each contributing his respective share and each defray- 
ing his portion of the total cost 5 they would not buy their news from 


the association, but would be part owners, each with an equal voice in 
all Associated Press affairs. 

There were other important changes in the constitution. In the 
Illinois organization memberships had been divided into two classes 
of unequal rights and privileges. This distinction was eliminated. The 
incorporators decided against the issuance of capital stock for financing 
the association, as had been done in 1892. Instead they substituted 
first-mortgage bonds, for which the membership might subscribe in 
varying amounts. 

Not unexpectedly, Melville E. Stone was designated general man- 
ager and he was soon busy sending out invitations to membership. 

A special meeting of The Associated Press of Illinois was called in 
Chicago, September 12, 1900, and by unanimous vote it was decided to 
disincorporate. The details connected with the dissolution required time, 
so the Board of Directors was empowered to take the necessary step 
to close out the business. Significantly, the directors were specifically 
authorized to dispose of the organization's news-gathering facilities 
to "such other news association, as, in the opinion of the Board of 
Directors, it is deemed wise to have relations with." The way was 
cleared for the legal transfer, of the essential working equipment to 
The Associated Press which was ready to carry on the traditions of 
the service. 

The Chicago meeting was, to all intents and purposes, the actual 
finale of The Associated Press of Illinois. Legally it continued in 
existence several months more during which time the directors, among 
other things, paid $40,500 to the Inter-Ocean to satisfy its claims and 
to effect a dismissal of additional suits brought by that paper and the 
New York Sun. 

To lead the transformed Associated Press, the Board of Directors 
chose as president Frank Brett Noyes, the 37-year-old Washington Star 
executive who had taken such a decisive role in the struggle with United 
Press and whose influence had helped the reorganization. He was 
young for this important job, considering the number of older men 
available. Moreover, some observers considered him too daring because 
the Washington Star printed society and sports news in unprecedented 
volume. But time proved otherwise. 

Quiet, austere, and judicial, Noyes already commanded the respect 


of the membership at large. They knew he had an unswerving devotion 
to the best interests of news gathering and that, under him, The Asso- 
ciated Press would scrupulously discharge its mission. Time and again 
he declared: "News must be non-partisan in its highest sense. It must 
have no tinge of bias whether political, economic or religious. It must 
neither advocate nor oppose causes." In view of the public trust which 
reposed in the press, he believed that no individual had the right to 
impose any sort of censorship, direct or indirect, upon the free dissemi- 
nation of public intelligence. 

"And," he said, "I don't care whether that man is the nation's 
ruler, the head of a news agency, or the publisher of an individual paper. 
Newspapers are business enterprises, and they must make money to sur- 
vive, but any newspaper that distorts news, or resorts to that even 
more deadly form of distortion suppression of essential facts has no 
more right to continued existence than any other business enterprise 
which persistently defrauds its customers." 

The Associated Press of Illinois delivered its last news report 
on September 3, 1900. The next day, over the same wires, the new 
Associated Press started the first dispatches of the transformed service. 
The change-over was challenged. Court action was instituted on behalf 
of some non-member papers, attacking the legality of the transfer to 
New York. It was some time before the matter was adjudicated, but 
the verdict upheld the right of Associated Press members to take the 
course they had followed. The Associated Press of Illinois, the decision 
stated, was under no obligation to continue when it found it could not 
achieve its proper purposes under the laws of that state. The associa- 
tion likewise was free to dispose of all its property and there was 
nothing to bar its former members from incorporating the successor 
association in New York, which in turn acquired that property. 

After years of slow evolution and battle, The Associated Press had 
reached its goal as the world's only non-profit, co-operative news-gather- 
ing organization. The ideal of truth in news had emerged and the 
association dedicated to that ideal now stood on solid ground. 


BUNDLED in a heavy overcoat, Guglielmo Marconi, then a young 
man of twenty-seven, moved about giving orders while a huge kite 
strained at its cord of wire in the high winds over Newfoundland. 
It was Saturday, December 21, 1901. 

There had already been three failures. On Tuesday Marconi and 
his assistants had flown their first kite but they had not heard signals 
from the English station at Poldhu in Cornwall. The next day they 
tried a balloon. Both the balloon and the aerial it supported were car- 
ried away in a squall. Then another kite and its aerial were lost, 
whipped out to sea by the high winds. 

By 11:30 that Saturday morning Marconi and his half dozen 
helpers got a third kite up and the crew paid out the wire until it 
stretched four hundred feet into the wintry sky. Then they walked back 
to the barracklike building where a primitive wireless receiving appar- 
atus had been set up. A tense wait began among the jumble of extra 
supplies the zinc sheets, gas cylinders, deflated balloons, and spare 

For days now, by prearrangement, the experimental station seven- 
teen hundred miles away in Cornwall had been repeating the same test 
signal the simplest possible. It was the letter S, three dots in tele- 
graph code. 

For almost an hour Marconi sat listening, a single headphone 
clamped to his ear. The five men watched him. At 12:30 his numbed 
fingers trembled. The instrument on the table moved almost imper- 
ceptibly and the headphone weakly whispered three dots the letter S! 
The signal was repeated, once, twice, several times. It was faint but 

Marconi was on his feet gesticulating. "Avete sentito? Avete sen- 
tito?" he shouted. "Did you hear it? Did you hear it?" 

They passed the headphone around and one after another con- 
firmed the signal. Even the fishermen who helped with the kites had 
their chance to listen. The absence of sending equipment prevented 



Marconi from replying. He dashed to the cable office and his jubilant 
message to co-workers abroad proclaimed that wireless no longer was 
limited to small distances. It could range the earth! 

Marconi's 1901 successes prompted the United States Navy to dis- 
continue the use of pigeons for communications in the fleet and to 
substitute wireless telegraphy. But before the navy took this step, 
even before Marconi projected the transatlantic signal test, The Asso- 
ciated Press with the co-operation of the New York Herald had used 
the inventor and his wireless to report a news event. The story was the 
first covered by wireless in this country and marked the initial public 
demonstration of the invention in America. That was in 1899. Marconi 
had been experimenting in Europe for four years, receiving and sending 
messages over limited distances. James Gordon Bennett, Jr., of the 
Herald contracted with him to come to New York and demonstrate an 
attempt to report the international yacht races that October. He brought 
his equipment in two trunks. About the same time another distinguished 
visitor arrived. He was the trim, amiable sportsman, Thomas Lipton, 
here for his first attempt to lift the symbol of international yachting 
supremacy, the America's cup. 

Marconi had his opportunity to demonstrate wireless in reporting 
the competition between Lipton's Shamrock and the American Columbia. 
A tall receiving mast was erected on the Atlantic Highlands. A cor- 
responding mast was erected on a building in 34th Street and two 
ocean going liners were chartered to follow the races, carrying Mar- 
coni's equipment. The Columbia defeated the English contender in 
three straight races off Sandy Hook on October 16, 17 and 20, and 
detailed accounts were transmitted to the land stations. The cost ex- 
ceeded $25,000, a considerable sum in those days for a single story, but 
the demonstration was highly successful. 

A year later Marconi's wireless again assisted The Associated 
Press in covering the 1900 sailing of the international classic. In 1902, a 
rival appeared in the person of Lee De Forest, young pioneer of 
American wireless development. He raised enough money to get from 
Chicago to New York and offered his services to The Associated Press 
for reporting the races with equipment he had perfected. General 
Manager Stone already had contracted with Marconi again and De 
Forest found employment with one of the commercial agencies. 

From a yachting standpoint, the first race went off smoothly 
enough, but this time the wirelessed news did not fare so well. The 
Marconi and De Forest boats docked after the finish only to learn that 
not one understandable word had been received. The two primitive 


spark sets, operating in such close proximity with their ear-splitting, 
crackling noise, had set up such a field of interference that they com- 
pletely jumbled each other's signals. 

Later, with Stone's co-operation, the inventor introduced the first 
regular daily news service on the high seas while conducting experiments 
on the Cunarder Lucania. At the close of each day Stone sent Marconi 
a summary of important news. Reception was uninterrupted all the 
way across the Atlantic and the daily news budget Marconi received 
was posted in the steamer's smoking room. 

Marconi's experiments during the frigid December days at New- 
foundland made 1901 historic in the annals of science, but for America 
the year marked a national sorrow in President McKinley's assassination 
on September 6 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. At the 
President's side when Leon Czolgosz fired through a handkerchief 
stood a young string correspondent who had been assigned to cover 
the reception. The reporter ran to the only telephone in the vicinity 
and blurted out his story to an editor in the Buffalo bureau. Then, to 
keep his story exclusive as long as possible, he ripped out all the wires 
and wrecked the telephone. He thought it an ingenious move until he 
realized a few minutes later that he had destroyed his own line of 
communication. It required a full half hour to relay further informa- 
tion from the scene of the assassination. 

In 1902 a greater tragedy made the year's big story. The night of 
May 2 brought the first meager tidings a telegram from St. Thomas 
in the Danish West Indies. It reported that Mount Pelee, the volcano 
on near-by Martinique, was erupting and the town of Saint-Pierre was 
shrouded in smoke and covered an inch deep with volcanic ashes. All 
cable communications were broken before The Associated Press could 
hear from its two correspondents on Martinique, one at Saint-Pierre and 
the other at Fort-de-France, nine miles away. 

Through the night New York headquarters endeavored to devise 
some way to get the news. Correspondents at St. Vincent, St. Thomas, 
Puerto Rico, Barbados, Trinidad, and St. Lucia were ordered to send 
any information which might have reached them, and also to make every 
effort to reach Martinique. Then Stone discovered that an old news- 
paper friend, Ayme, was the American consul at Guadeloupe, a small 
island a dozen miles from Martinique. The general manager appealed 


to Washington to grant a leave of absence and then cabled the consul 
to charter a boat for Martinique. 

All the w*y from Guadeloupe Ayme's boat navigated through a 
thick cloud of falling ashes and cinders. It was a dangerous night trip 
and when the boat finally reached Saint-Pierre, Ayme was aghast at 
what he saw. The entire population of the town, some thirty thousand, 
had been buried under the burning mass of hot ashes, and among the 
victims was the regular correspondent that New York had tried so hard 
to reach. Saint-Pierre was a charnel house and even Ayme's long news- 
paper experience did not immunize him to the horror he found. He 
began to assemble the story. He was joined presently by the correspon- 
dent from Fort-de-France, Jose Ivanes, who had escaped unhurt, 
and together these two men worked in the blazing cinders. Ayme pieced 
the narrative together as his boat dashed back to Guadeloupe. 

Stone called the story "worthy of the younger Pliny," who wrote 
the classic description of the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum. 

The performance of The Associated Press during those first few 
years of the new century spoke well for the administration of the new 
organization, but General Manager Stone was dissatisfied with one 
important phase of the report, the propaganda in and the censorship of 
European news. 

An autumn day in 1902 found him in Paris, walking briskly toward 
the Quai d'Orsay. The minister of foreign affairs, M. Theophile Del- 
casse, was expecting him. 

With the end of the Spanish-American War, the United States 
emerged as a modern world power and Stone noticed the heightened 
interest of Americans in international affairs. Nevertheless, correspon- 
dents abroad still labored under great handicaps. In some countries 
there was the strictest censorship, in others there was unofficial yet none 
the less rigid regulation, and almost everywhere in Europe there was 
the hopeless drawback of government-controlled telegraph systems 
which delayed or withheld America-bound dispatches. 

The co-operative had competent American correspondents in some 
European capitals and in several of the more important cities, but the 
twin handicaps of censorship and poor telegraphic service had defeated 
attempts to gather European news at first hand. M. Jules Cambon, the 
French ambassador at Washington, expressed concern over the need for 


faster, more adequate news from France and Stone tactfully reminded 
him of the obstacles France herself interposed. The Republic had no 
formal censorship, but it achieved the same effect by refusing cor- 
respondents access to the news of many of its most important depart- 
ments. Service of the government-controlled telegraph was so poor 
that it frequently took a dispatch six or seven hours to get from a pro- 
vincial city to Paris, and there the story was likely tp encounter a like 
delay before being routed to the United States. 

The ambassador's desire to help improve conditions gave Stone his 
first chance. Cambon forwarded Stone's views and added his own 
opinion that, if the news of France could be collected and written by 
unhindered Associated Press correspondents, relations between the two 
nations would benefit. 

Stone's reception at the Quai d'Orsay was cordial. M. Delcasse 
manifested much interest and appeared well informed. He listened 
attentively as Stone cited numerous instances when correspondents had 
filed dispatches only to have them thrown aside by a clerk in a gov- 
ernment telegraph office until all government, commercial, even family 
death telegrams first had been cleared. 

M. Delcasse assured Stone he was in agreement that the situa- 
tion was bad. However, one could understand that it would be an 
extremely serious matter to make changes. The minister of foreign 
affairs apologized, but it was something he must first discuss with his 
confreres, especially with the minister of telegraphs. He would do that 
immediately and would like Stone to have breakfast with him the next 
morning so that he might meet the other members of the Cabinet. 

The breakfast was served in M. Delcasse's private room in the 
palace set apart for the Department of Foreign Affairs. Stone's atten- 
tion was attracted by a piece of furniture in the apartment an old ma- 
hogany table and he was told that it had played an important part in 
American history three times. On it three documents had been signed: 
the agreement by which Benjamin Franklin had obtained financial aid 
from France for the struggling thirteen colonies 5 the treaty of peace 
which ended the War of 1812; lastly, the treaty which brought to a 
close the Spanish-American War of 1898. The discussion turned tem- 
porarily to historical subjects, but when it returned to news, Stone spoke 

"If The Associated Press is to gather the news of France at first 
hand," he told the ministers, "then our correspondents must be abso- 
lutely free and there must be no attempt to influence them. I under 


stand, of course, that in order to be useful the representative of The 
Associated Press accredited to any capital must be on friendly terms with 
the government at that capital, but under no consideration will he be a 
servile agent of that government. The Associated Press will not sur- 
render the right to free and accurate statement of the news, and any- 
thing the association may do in the future must be done with the dis- 
tinct understanding that the government of France will not attempt to 
influence the impartial character of the service. If the French govern- 
ment can see its way to expedite our dispatches on the state telegraph 
system, if it will throw open all departments of the government to us 
so we can obtain the facts, then I shall be very glad to establish a full- 
sized bureau in Paris and take all our French news from Paris direct." 

Things moved slowly in the Paris of 1902 and Stone saw it would 
be some time before action, if any, was taken. So he returned to 

One day less than a month later, a bulky communication reached 
him in New York. It was from M. Delcasse. 

First and foremost, the French government pledged that its offi- 
cials henceforth would supply representatives of the co-operative with 
all pertinent information. Officials would answer any questions that 
might be of interest to the United States and would do everything in 
their power to expedite the news thus obtained. To eliminate delays, 
the Ministry of Telegraphs had prepared three special blanks for the 
exclusive use of The Associated Press. The first, which had "Associated 
Press" printed across its face in red ink, was for routine stories and 
took precedence over everything but government telegrams. The second, 
bearing the inscription "Associated Press, tres presse," was for more 
important matter and assured transmission immediately after any 
government message then on the wire. The third, labeled "Associated 
Press, urgent? was for news of outstanding importance and superseded 
all other telegrams. 

The success of this system so pleased the French Foreign Office 
that it offered to Bassist Stone in the plans he already had in mind to 
break down the barriers in other countries. During his conferences with 
M. Delcasse the general manager had mentioned the possibility of 
treating with Italy and Spain on the same subject. Accordingly, as soon 


as the reforms were effected in France, the minister of foreign affairs 
suggested that Stone might find the moment opportune to approach the 
other two governments. To be helpful, he issued instructions to the 
French ambassador at the Quirinal to pursue the matter with Italian 

So in 1903 Stone went abroad once again. Italy had been tried by 
a disastrous Ethiopian War and the assassination of a king since he had 
been there as a tourist after he left the Chicago News. The new mon- 
arch, Victor Emmanuel III, and dominant Giovanni Giolitti held the 
reins of government. 

Stone learned that the French ambassador, M. Barrere, had done 
much to prepare the way for him. The first solution offered was to have 
correspondents in Italy send dispatches on the government-owned tele- 
graph to the border for relay on the French wires to Paris. That would 
improve matters somewhat, but there was a better way sending the 
dispatches direct from Rome to New York. Stone said so in his con- 
ference with officials of the Italian Foreign Office and then came a com- 
mand to an audience with the King. 

The conversation between Stone and Victor Emmanuel was with- 
out formality, but it soon reached a delicate point. Rome, in effect, was 
the capital of two sovereigns Victor Emmanuel, temporal ruler of 
Italy, and Leo XIII, spiritual head of the Catholic Church. For years 
relations between the government and the papacy had been strained 
it would be more than a quarter of a century before they were satis- 
factorily adjusted and the pontiffs during that period remained volun- 
tary "prisoners" in the Vatican. Stone realized that the man he placed 
in charge of a Rome Bureau he planned to establish would be in a diffi- 
cult position because it would be necessary for him to be persona grata 
both at the Quirinal and at the Vatican. 

He voiced his thoughts frankly and Victor Emmanuel assured him 
that he entertained nothing but the kindliest of personal feelings toward 
the Pope. Of course, officially, the Quirinal and the Vatican were 
estranged, but the estrangement should not hamper the co-operative. 

A few days after his audience with the King, 
at the Vatican by the aging Pope who had reigned, 
talked for an hour. 

Then he opened the new Rome Bureau, anc 
head it was Salvatore Cortesi, who had been doiij 
for The Associated Press since the mid-nineties. 


A few weeks later Stone was in Berlin. He had met Kaiser Wil- 
helm's brother, Prince Henry of Prussia, during the latter's visit to the 
United States in 1902, and he was "commanded" to attend a special 
Ordenfest given by the Emperor. After the banquet Stone was sum- 
moned to an anteroom for his private audience with the Kaiser. 

The Kaiser gave the general manager assurances he would issue 
the necessary orders to place The Associated Press in a satisfactory 
position in Germany as regarded both censorship and prompt trans- 
mission. He turned the details over to Postmaster General Sydow who 
agreed on a small red label bearing the word: "America." Pasted on a 
press message anywhere in the Fatherland, it guaranteed the telegram 
first place on all wires. 

That same year the association's new European organization re- 
ceived its first major test. It came almost before Cortesi had become 
settled as chief of the Rome Bureau and, because of the nature of the 
event, it caused the Italian government to proclaim a special censor- 
ship. In the silence of the Vatican Pope Leo XIII lay dying. At the 
time of his election as pontiff everyone had expected his reign to be 
short. He, himself, had jested while being robed on that occasion: 
"Hurry, or I shall die before you have finished." That was a quarter 
of a century earlier and he had lived to bury all but one of the car- 
dinals who participated in the conclave which selected him. Now, how- 
ever, the end was at hand and the Italian government notified all corre- 
spondents that no dispatch of the Pope's passing could be transmitted 
for two hours after his death. This was to permit the Vatican sufficient 
time to notify papal legates in other lands. 

Ever since he had begun work for The Associated Press in the 
nineties, Cortesi had cultivated sources and contacts in the Vatican. 
For ten years he had paid weekly visits to Dr. Giuseppe Lapponi, the 
Pope's personal physician, and the two men had become close friends. 
He also had made it a point to become acquainted with the Pope's rela- 
tives outside the Vatican and as many members of the papal house- 
hold as possible, until he had a small army of unofficial reporters ready 
for any emergency. 

Leo XIII fell ill during the intolerably hot Rome weather of 
July. Some of the organization's best correspondents immediately were 
ordered to Cortesi's aid, among them William A. M. Goode, who 
had been on Admiral Sampson's flagship during the Spanish-American 


War, and Charles T. Thompson, the new chief of the Paris Bureau. 
They found Cortesi had the situation well in hand. In spite of official 
silence on what was happening in the sickroom, he was able to report 
every detail during the eighteen days of the Pope's illness. 

The world followed the hourly accounts with anxious suspense. 
In the United States both Protestant and Catholic churches offered 
prayers for recovery. To show the importance of quick coverage, Stone 
cabled Cortesi an account of these services and the correspondent trans- 
mitted the message to the Vatican where Monsignor della Chiesa the 
future Benedict XV showed it to Leo XIII. The sinking Pope scanned 
it with dim eyes and exclaimed: "I die satisfied, as this shows that my 
idea of the reunion of all Christian churches is not a dream." 

Tension increased as the end neared and for weeks Cortesi had 
been perfecting a plan whereby he not only hoped to have the news 
promptly, but also and this was hardly less important to be able 
to transmit it to "Melstone, Newyork," the cable address of the gen- 
eral manager. 

The last day came. In the little Vatican room a Pope passed away. 
Then there was an age-old ceremony to be observed. Before the Pope 
could be declared officially dead, his private physician first must pass 
a lighted candle before the still lips to show the pontiff breathed no 
more. Dr. Lapponi stepped into an adjoining room to obtain the candle 
for the ceremony. It took only a moment to pick up the telephone there 
and whisper a few words. In the Rome Bureau two miles away, Cortesi 
heard the few words, wrote down three numbers and dashed out. 

Those who braved the blazing heat of that July day stared at the 
apparently demented man who tore past them in the streets, running 
for the Central Telegraph Office. He slapped the message on the counter 
and a perspiring clerk, mystified at the need for such excited haste, 
read the innocuous words: 


"Send it all routes," panted Cortesi. "Urgent!" 

Nine minutes later The Associated Press in New York learned 
what no one in Rome and few in the Vatican yet knew. Leo XIII had 
died at 4:04 A.M. The news was flashed across the United States to San 
Francisco and from border to border. It went back on the cables to 
Europe, giving London, Paris, Berlin, even Rome, the first news of 
the Pope's death. 


Stone and Cortesi had prearranged the harmless-appearing code 
message to circumvent the special censorship. Only the numerals had 
to be filled in and the numerals told the precise minute of the Pontiff's 

The death of Leo XIII demonstrated the remarkable change which 
had occurred in the handling of foreign news. When Leo's predecessor 
died in 1878, only ten lines were carried. On Leo's death the co-opera- 
tive cabled enough to fill a complete newspaper page, approximately 
eight thousand words. 


In America that late summer of 1903 the first automobile crossed 
the continent in fifty-two days. Joseph Pulitzer gave Columbia Uni- 
versity $2,000,000 to found a School of Journalism. Samuel P. Langley 
failed in his attempt to fly a heavier-than-air machine over the Potomac 
River. The obstacles blocking the construction of the Panama Canal 
were at last being surmounted. Nor was news the only thing. Stone's 
thoughts once more turned toward Europe, this time to Russia. 

Up to this time the empire of the Czars had been the despair of 
news gathering. Every conceivable obstacle was put in the way of corre- 
spondents. The censorship was the most stringent in the world. Tolls 
on the government telegraph were exorbitant and the service itself so 
slovenly that messages frequently were delayed for days. Until some- 
thing was done about Russia, The Associated Press could not pretend to 
supply a complete and accurate news picture of Europe. Previously, 
however, the time had not seemed propitious to carry the crusade to 
Muscovy. Now Stone believed the success of his experiment in the 
other countries would help show Russia the way. 

He enlisted the support of Count Cassini, the Russian ambassador 
at Washington, and also obtained the help of the French and German 

It was the dead of winter when he reached St. Petersburg. Bells 
jingled as droshkies whirled along Nevsky Prospekt. The river Neva 
was thick with ice, and snow blanketed its many islands. An agent 
whom Stone had met in London had preceded him to the Russian 
capital so the Czar's ministers might know in advance of the general 
manager's proposals. 

Count Lamsdorff, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, was cordial, 
but protested he was powerless to give active help. The question of 
cen$pi*hip and the telegraph was wholly in the hands of Minister of 


the Interior Viatscheslav Plehve, who was answerable only to the Czar. 
Stone met Plehve, who also headed the dread secret police, and his 
hopes at once suffered a setback. The minister made no secret of the 
fact that any change in existing conditions might be dangerous in a 
country harried by assassinations, secret societies, and Nihilist plots to 
overthrow the government. 

"Frankly," he said, "I am not prepared to abolish the censorship. 
To my mind it would be a very imprudent thing to do. However, I 
will go as far as I can toward meeting your other wishes." 

The telegraph service? The press rate? Plehve promised to make 
arrangements for dispatches, but of course they could not take prece- 
dence over government messages or telegrams from a member of the 
imperial family. As for the press rate, that unfortunately was not the 
province of the minister of the interior. Stone would have to consult 
with the minister of finance. 

Shuttled from bureau to bureau, struggling with official red tape 
and procrastination, Stone's mission seemed hopeless. He talked with 
the timid foreign censor who also had time to be government censor 
of the Russian stage and found him fearful to pass a single line that 
might offend anyone. 

As the bleak Russian winter grew deeper, Stone slowly began to 
win a few concessions. Rapidity of transmission first was assured. Next, 
a satisfactory press rate was negotiated. Then, a little later, two de- 
partments agreed to receive the regular correspondent assigned to St. 
Petersburg. But the citadel of censorship still stood unshaken. Stone 
was almost ready to confess defeat when, on January 18, 1904, he was 
asked to an audience with the Czar in the famous Winter Palace. 

At the end of a labyrinth of wide halls and endless corridors, lined 
with guards, functionaries, and attendants, the general manager was 
ushered into a library to meet the Czar of All the Russias, an unassum- 
ing man of thirty-five dressed in the braided white jacket and blue 
trousers of the navy. 

Stone explained the desire of his organization to collect the news 
of Russia accurately and swiftly and to transmit it to the United 
States. directly from St. Petersburg and not from neighboring nations. 

"We come as friends," he said, "and it is my desire that our 
representatives here shall treat Russia as a friend j but it is the very 
essence of the proposed plan that we be free to tell the truth. We can- 
not be the mouthpiece of Russia, we cannot plead her cause, except in 
so far as telling the truth will do it." 


"That," replied the Czar, "is all we could ask of you." 

He asked Stone to enumerate the reforms sought. 

"It seems to me, your Majesty," Stone said, "that censorship is 
not only valueless from your own point of view, but works a positive 
harm. A wall has been built up around the country, and the fact that 
no correspondent for a foreign paper can live and work here has re- 
sulted in a traffic of false Russian news that is most hurtful. Today 
there are newspapermen in Vienna, Berlin and London who make a 
living by peddling out the news of Russia, and it is usually false. If we 
were free to tell the truth in Russia, as we are in other countries, no 
self-respecting newspaper in the world would print a dispatch from 
Vienna respecting the internal affairs of Russia, because the editor would 
know that, if the thing were true, it would come from Russia direct. 
All you do now is to drive a correspondent to send his dispatches across 
the German border. I am able to write anything I choose in Russia, 
and send it by messenger to Wirballen, across the German border, and 
it will go from there without change. You are powerless to prevent 
my sending these dispatches, and all you do is to anger the correspond- 
ent and make him an enemy, and delay his dispatches, robbing the 
Russian telegraph lines of a revenue they should receive. So it occurs 
to me that the censorship is inefficient 5 that it is a censorship which does 
not censor, but annoys." 

The Czar requested Stone to embody his ideas in a formal memo- 
randum which he might study before issuing any orders. The man's 
sincerity seemed patent and Stone might have been optimistic had not 
the monarch been so preoccupied over the crisis in Russia's relations 
with Japan in the Far East. With the vast empire teetering on the 
brink of war, Stone knew all too well that his memorandum might be 
lost in the shuffle. 

Little happened that the secret police did not learn and Plehve 
soon was advised that Stone's memorandum was in the hands of the 
Czar. Unrelenting in his antagonism to any proposal he considered 
"revolutionary," he asked Stone to agree to a halfway measure provid- 
ing for nominal censorship. The suggestion was rejected. 

No word came from the Czar and the crisis with Japan hourly 
grew worse. Stone quit St. Petersburg for a few days in Berlin. There 
he met the Kaiser again and in a strangely prophetic conversation the 
German ruler said of Czar Nicholas: "Poor chap. I think he is likely 
to lose his throne!" 

Before Stone got back to St. Petersburg Japan launched a crippling 


surprise attack on the warships of the Russian Far Eastern squadron at 
Port Arthur. Two days later the government of the Mikado declared 
war. Stone foresaw an indefinite wait before he could get a decision 
from the Czar. He discussed his predicament with Robert McCormick, 
the American ambassador, and asked him to make inquiries of Count 
Lamsdorff in the Foreign Office. 

The count was surprised when the subject was mentioned. 

"Why, the thing is done!" he exclaimed. 

"I do not follow you," the ambassador said. 

"Mr. Stone left a memorandum of his wishes with his Majesty, 
did he not? Well, the emperor wrote 'approved* on the corner of the 
memorandum, and all will be done. There may be a slight delay 
incident to working out the details, but it will be done." 

The news was received with mixed feelings. Stone could rejoice 
over the victory which the Czar's approval represented, but he was 
dubious at the mention of "a slight delay incident to working out the 
details." That might cover a multitude of postponements and give 
hostile ministers opportunities to circumvent the purpose of the im- 
perial order. But there was nothing to be gained by staying in Russia 
and Stone had business in Vienna. He departed, leaving the St. Peters- 
burg Bureau in charge of a man he had been training for that assign- 
ment. The correspondent was Howard N. Thompson, the same staff 
man who had won notable recognition for his work in the Spanish- 
American War and its sequel of Cuban independence. 

Stone stepped off the train at Vienna to find a lengthy telegram 
waiting. It was from Thompson at St. Petersburg and it said: 


Stone wired back that he was in full agreement with Lamsdorff. 
The Associated Press had no desire to monopolize this new privilege. 


Within forty-eight hours after censorship restrictions were rescinded 
for The Associated Press, they were rescinded also for all foreign cor- 

But the world was not standing still. The streets of Tokyo were 
already resounding to shouts of "Dai Nippon Banzai! Dai Nippon 
banzai! Banzai, banzai, banzai!" The Mikado's troops were starting for 
the front, and in Manchuria on the Asiatic mainland the ponderous 
columns of the Czar were on the march. 

Another war demanded reporting. 


THERE were strange date lines and strange names on the front pages. 
Dispatches spoke of Port Arthur, Chemulpo, Chefoo, and the Yellow 
Sea. Readers struggled with problems of correct pronunciation as they 
learned about General Kuropatkin, Admiral Vityeft, and the Japanese 
Kuroki, Nogi, and Togo. The unpredictable limelight of news had fixed 
upon a new stage and the popular interest of America shifted with 
it to focus on the clash of Russo-Japanese arms in a distant corner of 
the Far East. 

It was an America of 76,000,000 that read the first scattered war 
bulletins in February, 1904. The four years that had passed since the 
transformation of The Associated Press of Illinois into the non-profit 
co-operative of New York had given the organization time to con- 
solidate its new position. The number of member papers now totaled 
648 and the budget for annual operations exceeded $2,000,000. The 
leased wire network had expanded to 34,000 miles. The news report 
averaged 60,000 words daily, moving into editorial rooms by Morse at 
the rate of 35 words a minute. 

To General Manager Stone only news of gravity was worthy of 
notice and he had reproved a youthful member of the Washington staff 
who made the first slight deviation. Jackson S. Elliott wrote a humorous 
story about a Congressional fashion plate who had provoked much 
merriment by appearing absent-mindedly on the Senate floor sporting 
a tan shoe on one foot and a black one on the other. The story got on 
the wires while the regular wire editor was at lunch. Although papers 
from coast to coast seized eagerly on the sprightly piece, Stone called 
it "too trivial" for the report and issued orders against any repetition. 
The incident, however, was a straw in the wind. 

During Stone's extensive travels for the organization, active com- 
mand devolved on Diehl, Stone's capable right hand/The two men 
were thousands of miles apart Stone back in St. Petersburg and Diehl 
in New York when the Russo-Japanese War broke, but they were im- 
mediately working in unison to complete the mobilization of forces to 



report the conflict. From the Russian capital, Stone ordered men post- 
haste to the Far East: Henry J. Middleton of the Paris Bureau, who 
had done brilliant reporting on the Dreyfus case, Frederick McCor- 
ipick, Robert M. Collins, Lord Brooke, journalist son of the Earl of 
^Warwick, Kravschenko, an eminent writer who had covered wars in 
China, and Nicholas E. Popoff, a young Russian who wrote under the 
name of Kiriloff . To supplement the regular staff, he engaged a number 
of Russian correspondents to serve as string men for the others. Simul- 
taneously in New York Diehl was issuing assignments which sent an- 
other corps to Asia Paul Cowles, of the San Francisco Bureau, Chris- 
tian Hagerty, from New York, George Denny, from Chicago, and 
Richard Smith, who had covered the Boer War. 

The power of military censorship made itself felt early, with 
varying severity. Russia invoked it in the war zone, but its application 
was not unreasonable and both the men in the field and Thompson in 
St. Petersburg were able to obtain and transmit their news without 
difficulties. The Japanese, on the other hand, imposed stifling restric- 
tions. They forbade correspondents with some of the Mikado's armies 
to send a single line and they hospitably "detained" other newspaper 
men in Tokyo until the campaigns were well under way. 

The focal point of one main Japanese attack was the Russian 
stronghold of Port Arthur where the Czar's Pacific fleet lay under the 
protecting guns of the forts. With the Japanese fleet controlling the 
waters outside the Manchurian port and the first operations all naval 
in character, it was obvious that some reliable way must be devised to 
get out uncensored news of the warfare in that whole area. The task fell 
to Paul Cowles, the Pacific Coast superintendent who had come to the 
Orient to supervise the news-gathering operations. 

A laconic cable gave New York the first inkling of the way Cowles 
did things. J. R. Youatt, then cashier and later treasurer, blinked when 
he read the bland message that reached his desk. It was from Cowles: 


This was impossible! Youatt, flabbergasted, went hurrying to 
Stone, the fantastic cablegram in his hand. Stone, too, exploded. 

"The man must be crazy. This is insane. $80,000! Cable him im- 
mediately for an explanation. What can Cowles need that amount of 
money for?" 



Succeeding inquiries vindicated Cowles's sanity. Across the Gulf 
of Pechili ninety miles from Port Arthur was the neutral Chinese 
city of Chefoo where news could be put uncensored on the cable for 
Shanghai and the United States. Cowles had established headquarters 
there and he bought the yacht not only to serve as a dispatch boat 
between Port Arthur and Chefoo but also to provide a means for re- 
porting any naval engagements in that vicinity. 

Youatt honored the draft and when the war ended Cowles sold 
the vessel at a profit. 

Dispatches from a dozen correspondents gradually brought into 
outline the strategy dictating the conflict. On land the Japanese aim was 
a quick decisive victory over the main Russian Army under General 
Kuropatkin. The Russians were vaguer, delaying decisions until the 
arrival of endless reinforcements would give them an overwhelming 

But it was apparent that the nation supreme on the sea would be 
victorious. Admiral Togo had the Czar's Pacific squadron blockaded in 
Port Arthur, but he was anxious to destroy it piecemeal before arrival 
of the new enemy fleet which was preparing to come halfway round 
the world from Europe. The Russian hope was to inflict as much dam- 
age as possible without jeopardizing their forces unnecessarily, so that 
Togo's depleted fleet would be no match for the combined Russian 
Navy when the new squadron reached Asiatic waters. 

After some initial successes, Togo found himself with a foeman 
of no mean caliber. Admiral Makaroff, a tall, bearded daredevil of a 
man, took command of the Russian fleet at Port Arthur, and the two 
Associated Press correspondents there, George Denny and Kravschenko, 
saw the squadron transformed from a demoralized aggregation into a 
confident fighting force. Makaroff's torpedo boats harassed Togo, caus- 
ing considerable losses. Other Russian cruisers, based at Vladivostok, 
went into action, making the Sea of Japan unsafe for troop transports 
and shipping. Togo began to sow mines, and Paul Cowles's $80,000 
dispatch yacht had to thread dangerous waters between Chefoo and 
Port Arthur. 

Knowing MakarofPs impetuous temperament, Correspondent 
Kravschenko felt certain that, sooner or later, he would sally forth for 
a lightning thrust at the enemy when the Japanese fleet was not present 
in full force. He tried to persuade the admiral to grant him permission 


to be on board the flagship Petrofavlovsky when she put out to fight. 
At first Makaroff was favorably inclined, but he was a quick-tempered 
person and the two got into a quarrel. The admiral banned Kravschenko 
from the flagship. 

If Kravschenko could not see the action from the bridge of the 
flagship, he could watch from shore. Golden Hill, outside of Port 
Arthur, commanded the surrounding waters, and Kravschenko went 
there on April 10, 1905. For three days and nights he watched distant 
ships of the Japanese through binoculars. The weather was bleak, with 
snow squalls and cold winds, and on one night fog was so thick that 
searchlights of the near-by forts could not pierce it. 

It was daybreak on April 13 when Kravschenko picked out a Rus- 
sian torpedo boat racing for the harbor. Her sister ship had been 
attacked by one of Togo's flotillas. Makaroff immediately dispatched a 
cruiser to the aid of the stricken vessel and when another enemy division 
appeared on the scene, he ordered all available units out against the 
Japanese. Kravschenko saw them steam out, the Petropavlovsky lead- 
ing the way with MakarofFs flag snapping at the masthead. 

In a few minutes guns were roaring and Kravschenko followed the 
running battle between the two fleets which had closed in to ten thou- 
sand yards. He was not alone on the hill now. Grand Duke Boris, his 
staff, and other officers had arrived to watch the engagement. The Jap- 
anese slowly withdrew with Makaroff following. Then smoke on the 
horizon told of the approach of Togo's main fleet, and Makaroff, realiz- 
ing his inferiority to the combined enemy forces, turned for the harbor 
with Togo on his heels. 

Kravschenko's watch said 9:43. The Petrofavlovsky had reached 
the protection of the forts and was maneuvering into the harbor en- 
trance. Without warning there were four tremendous explosions. The 
flagship was ripped asunder, her foremast came smashing down, her 
bow plunged into the sea, and her stern pointed skyward, propellers 
spinning in the air. Then she vanished, carrying the intrepid Makaroff 
and 631 men to death. Togo's mines had done their work well. 

On Golden Hill beside Kravschenko Grand Duke Boris fainted 
when the battleship disappeared. All along the shore officers and men 
who had witnessed the disastrous spectacle began to weep and pray. 

Kravschenko's graphic account of the destruction of the Petropav- 
lovsky was one of the most important stories to come out of the Far 
East during the opening months of the struggle, and American readers 
read of MakarofFs end the next day. 


The news was not always so swift. On May 15 the Japanese bat- 
tleship Yachima struck a mine off Dalny, near Port Arthur, and sank. 
It was not until early June that The Associated Press was able to 
authenticate the story and cable it to America. Japanese authorities im- 
mediately denied the dispatch and insisted that the Yachima continued 
with the fleet. The same authorities, however, officially confirmed the 
accuracy of the news in November when they formally notified foreign 
governments of the ship's loss. 

In Manchuria the opposing armies had come to grips and in April, 
May, and June the dispatches from Middleton, McCormick, Collins, 
Kiriloff, Brooke and the others described the Japanese successes at the 
Yalu River, Nan Shan, and Tolissu. Middleton, a Foreign Service 
veteran, did not see the campaign through. He contracted dysentery 
and collapsed. They took him back to a little Red Cross hospital at 
Liang-chia-Shan, near the squalid city of Liaoyang, headquarters for 
Russian operations, and there under alien skies, he died a week later 
on June 25, 1904. 

A Russian firing squad volleyed over his grave when they buried 
him with full military honors two days later. Three colleagues stood 
by in silence. 

But Liaoyang was not Middleton's last resting place. At Stone's 
cabled request, the Czar's representative in the Far East, Viceroy 
Alexieff, had the remains disinterred and sent through the lines. The 
roar of field artillery ceased and the rattle of rifles stilled as the little 
procession with the plain wooden coffin left the Russian entrenchments. 
The warring troops halted in a silent armistice while Middleton took 
his final leave of the battle front that was his last assignment. 

Middleton's death almost cost the co-operative another of its best 
correspondents. To fill the vacancy with the Russian armies, Cowles 
picked Denny, who had reported the Japanese assaults on Port Arthur. 
To reach General Kuropatkin's headquarters at Liaoyang, Denny was 
compelled to go around the Japanese lines and make a perilous journey 
through wild country west of the fighting zone. He traveled for days 
in a jolting cart through territory swarming with Manchurian bandits, 
and in one encounter he narrowly escaped with his life. 

Denny reached Kuropatkin's headquarters safely, but Liaoyang 
remained unlucky for staff men. Throughout July and August the 


Japanese armies kept battering away toward Liaoyang in three converg- 
ing columns. Everyone was asking: "Will Kuropatkin stand at Liao- 
yang?" They were answered the last week in August, 1904, when the 
troops of the Mikado reached the area and found the Russian forces 
drawn up in strong positions. The bloody six-day engagement began 
August 29 and the world waited to hear how the troops of the Czar, 
now greatly superior in numbers, would acquit themselves against a 
foe that had been monotonously successful. 

On a rocky spur in the jumble of heights, ridges, and tortuous 
valleys surrounding the town, Collins, who was with the Japanese army 
of General Kuroki, could sweep the whole field of action with his 
glasses as the ground shuddered under the greatest storm of artillery 
fire history had yet seen. Wheel to wheel, the Japanese had five hun- 
dred guns many of them captured Russian pieces hurling destruction 
into Kuropatkin's lines. Thundering back came the shells of Russian 
batteries, fully as numerous. The hazy summer air was filled with the 
ugly orange and red flashes from the mouths of guns, smoke from ex- 
ploding shells, and the pyres where the Japanese were burning their 

All day August 30 the duel raged while wave after wave of 
Japanese infantry shattered on Kuropatkin's right. Within these lines, 
Denny, Kiriloff, McCormick, Brooke, and seven others followed the 
battle. On August 31 the hammer of massed artillery continued un- 
abated. The blazing forenoon saw more ammunition expended than in 
the whole three days of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

Collins could watch from his splendid vantage point, but his 
colleagues on the other side had a more difficult task, particularly Kiri- 
loff who found himself covering the hottest sector of the Russian front. 
He was assigned to the corps commanded by Baron Stakelberg the 
general who had arrived in the Far East with his wife, her companion, 
two maids, a French chef, a milch cow, and one hundred and twenty- 
seven pieces of luggage. It was Stakelberg's division that was bearing 
the brunt of the Japanese bombardment. 

Kiriloff rode out for his second perilous day in the front lines 
at dawn on August 31. All along the five miles of the Haichong Road 
he saw the wounded coming back, carts piled with dead, and long 
ammunition trains moving up. Shrapnel raked the road methodically 
and there was no lull in the thunder of artillery. 

Kiriloff made his way to one of the most exposed spots in the 
sector, where the field pieces of one battery kept hammering away at 


the blue Japanese lines below. The position was a shambles. Out of 
sixty gunners in the unit, forty had been killed or wounded in the first 
day's fighting. No food had been sent up for twenty-four hours, but 
the guns kept firing and the piles of empty cartridge cases grew higher. 

Kiriloff shared what provisions he had brought along, talked to 
officers and men, then decided to stay in the shell-smashed emplacement 
because it gave a view of all Stakelberg's entrenchments. While guns 
roared and recoiled around him, he found a discarded ammunition box 
and began to write his narrative. 

Time after time he saw the Japanese infantry roll up to the 
Russian lines only to fall back broken. A storm of protective rifle fire 
covered the charges and bullets rained about Kiriloff as he wrote. 

Thousands of miles away, in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg, 
Chief of Bureau Thompson matched together the fragmentary dis- 
patches that dribbled in from the men at Liaoyang. Sketchy, incon- 
clusive, they left the outcome of the fighting in doubt. Then the long 
quiet trans-Siberian wire in the Central Telegraph Office came to life. 
Kiriloff had filed his story. Thompson edited the account as rapidly as 
the sheets came to his hand. 

"Prudence urged me to leave the spot," KirilofPs dispatch said, 
"but I was fascinated." 

There it broke off abruptly and Thompson waited for the next 
"take" to come through. But the "take" was not from Kiriloff. It was 
signed by a Russian artillery officer, and it said: 


While this message came into St. Petersburg telling what had 
happened to Kiriloff, Collins was writing the story of the day as seen 
from the Japanese side, unaware of what had befallen his fellow corre- 


spondent. He had been something of a hero himself that day. A Jap- 
anese officer who had become his friend was shot down at the height of 
the battle. Heedless of danger, Collins dashed into the thick of the 
fray and carried the wounded man to safety. 

The battle went on three days more. The Russians were beaten, 
hurriedly evacuated Liaoyang and fell back on Mukden. 

The next big story of the conflict broke, not on the remote battle 
fronts of the Far East, but on the Dogger Bank fishing grounds off 
Hull, England. It was news that threatened to plunge Great Britain 
and Russia into a European war. 

For months the Russians had been building an imposing fleet 
at their European naval base on the Baltic. This fleet was to sail half- 
way around the world, combine with the Pacific squadron and then give 
battle to Admiral Togo. 

It left on October 14, 1904, with Admiral Rojestvensky in com- 
mand. Uneasy tension marked the departure. Rumors were rife that 
the Japanese had torpedo boats in European waters to attack the ships 
as soon as they were out of the Baltic. Worried officers and men, keyed 
to the breaking point, sought to guard against the invisible dangers. 
This psychology made possible the celebrated "Dogger Bank Affair" 
on October 21. 

Nobody knew where the rumors came from, although the French 
Foreign Office suspected they came from Germany. It was a fantastic 
business from the start because Lansdowne, the British foreign minis- 
ter, pointed out it was impossible for a squadron of Japanese warships 
to have reached the North Sea from Japan without being reported 
somewhere en route. Unofficially most people who had anything to do 
with the affair were inclined to agree with Prince Radolin that vodka 
must have played some part in what Rojestvensky said he saw. 

Rojestvensky was steaming through the North Sea that night 
when one of his repair ships wirelessed: "Foreign torpedo boats are 
attacking." Vigilance was redoubled. A little later the fleet encountered 
an indistinct flotilla. Russian guns went into action and several "enemy" 
boats were sunk or disabled. Later, however, they turned out to be 
English fishing trawlers, although Rojestvensky maintained to the end 
that he had sunk a Japanese torpedo boat. 

By daybreak the association's cable report was carrying what had 


happened at Dogger Bank. "English Fishing Fleet Sunk By Russian 
Guns," headlines announced. Great Britain was incensed. Her navy re- 
ceived orders to be ready for active duty. War was freely predicted, 
but the Russian government refused to take any steps until it had 
Rojestvensky's version. For days no one knew what that might be. 
The limited range of wireless equipment prevented the Czar's ministers 
from communicating with the admiral, who was steaming for a coaling 
stop in Spain, totally unaware of the storm. When the crisis seemed at 
its worst, Associated Press papers were able to print word that calmer 
counsel had prevailed and Great Britain had agreed to submit the mat- 
ter to international arbitration. 

The situation continued grave, however, in the absence of any 
statement from Rojestvensky. Then on October 26 the Czar's fleet 
reached the Spanish port of Vigo and two launches quickly put out for 
the flagship. One carried the agitated Russian consul-general from 
Madrid and the other the co-operative's chief of bureau at Paris, Charles 
T. Thompson, who had hurried to Vigo. Rojestvensky was astounded to 
learn of the crisis which had arisen from the affair at Dogger Bank. 
To Thompson he gave substantially the same account he transmitted 
in his official report to St. Petersburg, and the interview, setting forth 
Rojestvensky's explanation and defense in detail, did much to relieve 
the international tension. 

The high significance attached to the news was emphasized in 
Paris the next day when the attitude of the government there was de- 
scribed in this statement: 

The French officials attach much importance to The Associated Press 
interview at Vigo with Vice- Admiral Rojestvensky as giving the most reason- 
able explanation of the circumstances. The Russian embassy takes a similar 
view. Therefore the authorities have taken steps to have The Associated 
Press interview reach the French press, as a means of calming public appre- 
hension over the affair. 

In the East, Port Arthur, without food and supplies, held out 
until January I, 1905. Internal conditions in Russia had grown critical 
and Denny was detached from the Manchurian front to assist Thomp- 
son at St. Petersburg. He arrived in time to help cover "Bloody Sun- 
day," January 22, when troops fired on demonstrators who were seeking 
political reforms, killing several hundred and wounding nearly three 
thousand. The "Revolution of 1905" followed. 


Then the Japanese decisively defeated Kuropatkin at Mukden in 
March and still the war dragged on. Russia had one slim chance. 
It rested with Admiral Rojestvensky who was leading the new fleet 
eighteen thousand miles around the world to challenge Togo. Eight 
months after he put out from the Russian naval base at Libau on the 
Baltic, he kept his rendezvous with history off the Island of Tsushima 
in the Korean Strait between Japan and the Asiatic mainland. 

Throughout all those months dispatches reported every stage of 
Rojestvensky's odyssey through European waters, round the continent 
of Africa, into the Indian Ocean, on past the Malayan Peninsula, and at 
last into the Pacific. The world knew Togo was waiting and that one 
fleet or the other would have to be destroyed before the war could 
be won. 

The day that made Japan a major naval power was May 27, 1905. 
With the strictest censorship in force, Martin Egan, chief of the Tokyo 
Bureau, cabled the dispatch American papers printed that day. The 
Russian fleet had been sighted in the Strait of Korea $ the whereabouts 
of Togo was a mystery. But as readers scanned that news, one of the 
greatest naval battles of all time was being fought at Tsushima, where 
Togo and Rojestvensky met. In one hour the Russians were defeated, 
but it took Togo thirty-one hours to destroy them. 

Egan had the news in Tokyo the next day but the censor was un- 
yielding. As far as the Japanese government was concerned, the Battle 
of Tsushima technically continued in progress. Egan might cable that 
the enemy fleet had entered the Strait of Korea, but any further details 
were strictly forbidden. Egan thought a moment and wrote the dis- 
patch which gave the first hint that the battle had been fought and 
that the Japanese had won. He hid the great story in two words 
"Historic events" and the censor passed the harmless-appearing item: 


In New York headquarters, the two significant words were a sig- 
nal that mobilized all the resources of the association to get the story. 


Egan's cable did not long stand alone. Other dispatches arrived from 
Nagasaki, from Chefoo, from Tokyo. In St. Petersburg, Chief of Bu- 
reau Thompson gave the Czar and his ministers first tidings of the com- 
plete destruction of Russia's fleet. From Washington, Edwin M. Hood 
supplied the first detailed account of the Russian losses, as reported by 
American naval attaches in the Orient. When the few Russian warships 
which escaped reached the safety of Vladivostok, Thompson had a cor- 
respondent there for the survivors' stories. From a dozen date lines the 
story of Tsushima was completed. 

The disaster was the end of Russian hopes in the Far East. At the 
invitation of President Theodore Roosevelt, representatives of the 
warring powers met in a peace conference at Portsmouth, New Hamp- 
shire, early in August, 1905. To report it, General Manager Stone 
brought Cortesi from Rome, Thompson from St. Petersburg, and 
James T. Williams and R. O. Bailey from Washington. The three 
Japanese commissioners, Baron Komura, Baron Takahira, and Baron 
Kaneko, and the two Russians, Count Sergius Witte and Baron Rosen, 
all were personal friends of Stone. He saw them frequently after their 
arrival in the United States and as the conference at Portsmouth pro- 
gressed he could not resist the temptation to take the role of peace- 
maker as well as news gatherer. 

The Japanese insisted that Russia pay a large indemnity. Witte 
and Rosen would not consider it. Both believed Japan had passed the 
high-water mark of success and was economically unequal to continuing 
the war. Witte felt resumption of hostilities on a grand scale would 
bring about the destruction of the Japanese armies in Manchuria. 

Stone learned privately from Witte and Rosen that the question 
of indemnity was causing the deadlock. If that was removed, the Rus- 
sians could not in good faith reject a peace treaty, for they already had 
reached agreement with the Japanese on all other questions. Stone went 
to President Roosevelt. He outlined the terms on which he thought 
peace could be reached and suggested that the President cable the Ger- 
man Kaiser to use his influence with the Czar to have them accepted. 

Ultimately The Associated Press reported that the Japanese were 
about to waive all claims for indemnity, and other correspondents at 
Portsmouth were loud in ridicule. That was inconceivable. Everybody 
knew that when the conference resumed on September 5, Baron Komura 


would repeat his demands. The Russian commissioners regarded the 
story as a ruse. Their plans were already made. If the indemnity de- 
mands were repeated, as they expected, Witte would leave the confer- 
ence room and say casually to one of his secretaries, "Send for my 
Russian cigarettes." That was the prearranged signal for a code mes- 
sage to flash to Manchuria. The heavily reinforced Russians awaited 
only that word to loose a smashing offensive. 

The conference met in strictest secrecy that day. The Associated 
Press men there knew Witte had set 1 1 150 A.M. as the hour he would 
leave the conference room and speak the words which might mean a 
new deluge of blood in the Far East. Suspense mounted as the ap- 
pointed time neared. 

Promptly at 1 1 150 the door of the room opened. Witte stepped 
out. He did not ask for his cigarettes. 

"Gospoda, mir," he said in Russian. "Gentlemen, peace!" 


WASHINGTON'S emergence as the news center of America was one 
of the notable journalistic phenomena in the first decade of the twen- 
tieth century. There were several factors involved. The first was the 
confidence in the nation's destiny which followed the war with Spain 
and gave Washington significance as a symbol of a united democracy. 
Second, a period of social consciousness and readjustment had dawned 
and Washington was the grand arena for its issues, reforms, and legis- 
lation. And there was a third major force the vigorous news person- 
ality of President Theodore Roosevelt, who seemed able to dramatize 
himself or a platform plank with equal ease. For the United States and 
for other lands, this combination gave Washington date lines a new 

To the United States it was the news of social and economic 
changes which most concerned and affected everyday life. Dispatches 
from the capital described the stormy progress of pure food and drug 
legislation, the continued efforts at trust busting, the controversy over 
railroad rates, the measures for conservation of natural resources, the 
exposure of graft, and the countless concurrent developments which 
marked those years. 

Newspapers reflected the changes that were taking place, some im- 
perceptibly and some with noticeable swiftness. By and large, discern- 
ing journals arrived at a serious realization of the responsibilities which 
their public character imposed. A more definite code of ethics and 
standards was established. Many editors and legislators united in a 
drive on fraudulent and misleading advertisements, abuse of the news 
columns, dangerous personal notices, and other evils. Revised postal 
regulations, stricter libel laws, and other statutes implemented the cam- 
paign. An increasing number of newspapers began extending a helping 
hand to the underprivileged a practice encouraged as early as 1886 
when Victor Lawson's Chicago Daily News established a sanitarium for 
sick children from the tenement districts. At last the possibilities of such 
public service were receiving more widespread recognition and news- 



paper-sponsored campaigns were helping to provide the needy with 
free milk, ice, coal, hospitalization, and other necessities. At the same 
time the papers became aware of the tremendous number of women 
among their readers, and columns on household hints, menu sugges- 
tions, and departments devoted to women's activities were inaugurated. 

Things were happening, but the process was gradual. The times 
moved to a leisurely tempo. It was the day of Spencerian penmanship 
and Delsarte speakers. Good whisky was $2 a gallon and the British 
were building the largest steamer in the world the Lusitania. 

The chronicle of such a period was not spectacular. The news relied 
for its significance, not so much on any one outstanding story, or any 
dozen, as on the great cumulative effect built up month after month. 
In retrospect the period seemed landmarked more by incidents side- 
lighting the news and by stories-behind-stories than by anything dra- 
matic or heroic. 

There always was "copy" in the President. The hearty New 
Yorker with the high-pitched voice "Teddy" to the people, although 
he despised the nickname had been on front pages more than ever 
since his picturesque Rough Riders landed in Cuba in '98. His penchant 
for phrasemaking caught public fancy and there was applause every time 
"T.R. got off another one." 

The man in the street credited the President with "another one" 
in June, 1904 a fighting one, this time, and the man in the street was 
wrong. The Republican National Convention had assembled in Chi- 
cago for the formality of ratifying Roosevelt as the party's presidential 
standard-bearer in the approaching election, but newspaper readers 
momentarily were more exercised over something that had happened in 
faraway Morocco. A wealthy American, Ion Perdicaris, had been seized 
and held for ransom by a bandit chieftain, Raisuli. The duty of making 
the usual diplomatic representations fell to Secretary of State John Hay. 

He was completing a draft of his note when Edwin M. Hood 
dropped in on his customary State Department round. Hood, of the 
Washington staff, had been reporting the activities of the government 
for years. He had entree everywhere, was the confidant of many high 
officials, and once in the early days of the McKinley administration he 
had been offered the post of assistant secretary of the navy the office 
Roosevelt held before the war with Spain. Hay and Hood were old 


friends and the secretary welcomed an outside opinion on the message. 

Hood scanned the document. The message was long, formal, and 
full of the phraseology dictated by protocol and diplomatic usage. Hood 
shook his head. 

"Well?" asked Hay. 

"I'm afraid you're slipping, Mr. Secretary," the correspondent 
smiled. "If I were you, Pd boil all this down to five words." 

He produced a pencil and scribbled five words which reduced 
Hay's long note to the simplest terms. He handed his suggestion to 
the secretary: 

"Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead." 

Very much as the cry "Remember the Maine!" captured the pub- 
lic imagination, the terse message to the Sultan of Morocco dramatized 
the "incident." Roosevelt liked the idea so much that he dispatched 
a copy to the Chicago convention. Although the ultimatum to Morocco 
bore Hay's signature, everyone said that only the two-fisted man in 
the White House could be the author of such a laconic line. 

The successful Rough Rider President went back to the White 
House after the election of 1904 with Charles W. Fairbanks, one-time 
Pittsburgh correspondent of The Associated Press as his vice-president, 
and the Washington Bureau settled down to four more years of the 
unpredictable "Teddy." 

This was before the day of modern press conferences, and both 
the President and his Cabinet officers had their own special favorites 
among the newspapermen. Usually they saved the richest news plums 
for these reporters. However, the advantage was not always so attrac- 
tive as it seemed, particularly where the President was concerned. He 
frequently gave certain correspondents important stories credited to "an 
informed authority" or some such anonymous source the President 
could not be quoted directly and when public reaction was unfavorable 
he would disclaim the story and straightaway elect the "offending" re- 
porter to his famous Ananias Club. He didn't call them liars. 

One of the best known members of the Washington staff was John 
Gross. His assignments were diversified, but somehow when a promi- 
nent person was dying John Gross invariably drew the deathwatch. 
Cabinet members, senators, representatives, Supreme Court justices, ad- 
mirals, generals, and a host of retired officials who made Washington 
their home all passed on with John Gross keeping patient watch near 
the sickroom door. Unless John Gross wrote a man's obituary, his 
political prominence was open to question. 


The wife of a former Cabinet officer telephoned one day to say her 
husband was extremely ill. 

"I know you must send someone to the house to get the news," 
she said understandingly, "but please don't send that terrible Mr. 

The editor who took the call expressed surprise at the request. 
He said Gross was well liked, tactful, and considerate. 

"I know," was the reply, "but people say that whenever Mr. 
Gross is placed to watch over a sick man, the patient always dies." 

The editor assured her again that Gross was the most under- 
standing soul he knew and added that most households found him a 
help instead of a nuisance. 

"Oh, then I have done Mr. Gross an injustice," the lady ex- 
claimed. "Please send him." 

Gross got the assignment and the former Cabinet member's wife 
was so impressed by his consideration that she depended on him to give 
out all the news of her husband's condition. Everything went along 
nicely for a few days and then the patient died. 

The hard and fast regulations governing both the content of the 
news report and its preparation sometimes imposed handicaps on the 
Washington staff. The same strict rules applied to the story of a routine 
fatality as to important accounts of Congressional maneuvering on 
major legislation. The precepts ranged from taboos on "all slang 
phrases" and vulgarity down to admonitions against the use of "phone" 
for telephone and similar abbreviations. Such regulations encouraged 
an uninspired style of writing and a sameness of treatment in the daily 
news budgets. 

Exhaustive as the code was, it did not prove equal to all occasions 
and situations arose where the rules were inadequate or precedent was 
lacking. Working at top speed and usually too far from headquarters 
to seek official pronouncement, the perplexed reporter had only one 
choice in such emergencies to use his best judgment and trust that 
the decision was proper. New York would be prompt to let him 
know if it wasn't. 

In 1905 Jackson S. Elliott faced the dilemma. The President was 
away at the time on a combined hunting and speaking trip through the 
Southwest and Elliott went along. The tour was without noteworthy 


incident until the party reached San Antonio, Texas, where state Re- 
publican leaders had arranged a banquet in Roosevelt's honor. 

The affair was held in the patio of a local hotel and, although there 
were no women among the diners, the wives, daughters, and friends of 
many of the men attending listened from surrounding balconies and 
windows. The toastmaster, a man of political importance, took the 
occasion to poke sly fun at the President's frequent attacks on the evils 
of "race suicide." Introducing the chief executive, he made a play on 
the words of an old nursery rhyme. Originally, he told his audience, 
the verse had run: 

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe; 

She had so many children she didn't know what to do. 

But today, he said, the couplet had been revised in the light of 
modern conditions to run this way: 

Now there is a young woman; she lives in no shoe; 
She hasn't any children she knows what to do. 

Elliott was watching the President, whose dislike for anything 
off-color was well known. Roosevelt's jaw snapped and his body stiff- 
ened. He appeared so indignant that Elliott thought for a moment he 
intended to interrupt the speaker. Instead, he turned to the guest at his 
right, opened an animated conversation and paid no further attention. 
Then, when he spoke, he made no mention of the offending toast- 
master beyond deploring the fact that one of the speakers had chosen 
such an inappropriate occasion to recite a rhyme which he said he hoped 
was "homemade." 

Elliott realized the ticklish story he had on his hands. There was 
great interest generally in Roosevelt's reception at San Antonio, and 
member papers in Texas particularly were desirous of a complete ac- 
count. The turn of events heightened the value of the story, but how 
was the correspondent to tell it? Elliott cudgeled his brains for ideas 
on the best approach and the most judicious words. He must not trans- 
gress the bounds of good taste which regulations insisted upon, and 
yet an incident not in good taste was the mainspring of the whole story. 

There was no time for extended deliberations, so Elliott solved 
his dilemma by writing a story based on the President's displeasure with 
certain unfortunate remarks of a crude nature by one of the speakers. 
He appended to the dispatch a private "Note to Editors," giving the 
text of what the offending toastmaster had said. This was primarily 


for the information of editors, but papers were free to use it or not as 
they saw fit. In some places the nursery rhyme parody was printed. 
The policy of the individual member was the determining factor. 

Member newspapers had widely divergent beliefs and policies and 
Washington saw countless examples every day. In that period of con- 
troversial legislation and much-debated crusades, the task of staff men 
in the capital was to report events factually, objectively, and completely, 
without editorializing, without coloring. Member papers might use the 
material as they pleased as long as they did not change the facts pre- 
sented. Given truthful news, they could use their individual editorial 
columns to interpret it, evaluate it, and uphold or attack the issues it 
set forth. 

Frequently there were two or more camps of editorial opinion 
and they all relied on the same factual dispatches for the arguments 
and proofs they cited in support of their positions. In the co-operative 
this multiplicity of political, social, economic, and religious opinion pro- 
vided a constant guard for the integrity of the report. Every dispatch 
was subject to endless scrutiny from all sorts of viewpoints. 

No one better appreciated the value of such a news report than 
publicity-seeking pressure groups eager to have a cause presented in the 
best possible light. Washington swarmed with them and they were 
eternally besieging members of the staff to include favorable material 
or to suppress anything unfavorable. Charles A. Boynton, chief of the 
Washington Bureau, issued explicit instructions on how to deal with 
such individuals: 

If anybody should ever come to you and ask for the publication or sup- 
pression of anything on the ground of some alleged acquaintance or rela- 
tionship with me or with any other official or person supposed to be influential 
in The Associated Press, throw him out of the window and report the case 
to the coroner. 

Theodore Roosevelt's second term was in full career. Washington 
date lines were more numerous than ever and the morgue envelopes 
which preserved the day-by-day history of the President's activities grew 
fatter as new clippings were added by George Wyville, the librarian in 
the New York office who kept the files up to date. At the time no one 
realized it, but the files held one story Roosevelt was to regret politi- 


The piece was written the night of his sweeping victory over Alton 
B. Parker in the 1904 presidential election. Even before the votes had 
been counted much speculation had arisen as to the course of Roosevelt's 
political future in the event he won as expected. Some pointed out that 
he might have three terms without violating the tradition that no man 
be elected to the office more than twice. They argued that, since his 
first term had been as successor to the assassinated McKinley, a victory 
over Parker would mark the first time he had been elected by the peo- 
ple, and therefore he would be free to seek the office again in 1908. 

The outcome of the 1904 election was not long in doubt. As soon 
as returns assured victory, the elated Roosevelt took a few minutes out 
to write a statement for The Associated Press. The first two paragraphs 
voiced gratitude to the American people and a promise to serve them 
well. Then he replied to the 1908 speculation: 

On the 4th of March next I shall have served three and one-half years, 
and the three and one-half years constitute my first term. 

The wise custom which limits the President to two terms regards the 
substance and not the form, and under no circumstances will I be a candidate 
for or accept another nomination. 

Years later he deplored the voluntary promise. Discussing the mat- 
ter with a close friend and adviser, Herman Kohlsaat, he pointed to his 
wrist and exclaimed: 

"I would cut my hand off right there if I could recall that written 
statement !" 


THREE men were on duty in the Associated Press bureau in the West- 
ern Union Building in downtown San Francisco at five o'clock in the 
morning April 18, 1906. 

On the main trunk wire to the East, Chief Operator Robert Geist- 
lich sent the signal for "30" telegraph symbol for "signing off." Then 
he stretched and pulled on his coat to go home. On the circuit serving 
California morning papers another operator, Ben Mclnerney, sent "10" 
the sign for the telegraphers' regular ten-minute rest period. He 
reached for his usual bottle of early morning coffee. Editor John Fin- 
lay was in the midst of a ham-and-egg sandwich. 

"See you tonight," said Geistlich, nodding to the two others whose 
tour of duty had not ended. 

The hands of the clock on the wall moved to 5:10. Mclnerney re- 
sumed sending on the state circuit, methodically relaying the news 
which Finlay selected and edited from the trickle of late dispatches. 

Suddenly the building rocked and trembled, the walls cracked, 
plaster showered down, the ceiling light dropped, and the clock crashed, 
face up, to the swaying floor. 


"Bulletin it! "yelled Finlay. 

He jumped to his teetering typewriter and pounded out: 

"Bulletin: San Francisco, April 18 San Francisco was shaken by 
an earthquake at" he took a hurried glance at the silent clock on the 
floor "5:15 this morning." 

Operator Mclnerney worked with his state wire. Then he jumped 
over to the telegraph instrument on the trunk wire east. He turned to 
the telephone. 

"All dead!" he shouted, grabbing the bulletin and dashing for the 
Western Union office on a floor above. 

Pelted by chunks of plaster, Finlay looked out the window at the 
crumbling city and kept pounding the typewriter keys. 

Mclnerney rushed back into the office and behind him came 


FLASH! 195 

Geistlich, who had dodged the rain of brick and stone to get back to 
the men he had left a few minutes earlier. 

"All telegraph company wires are out!" panted Mclnerney. "I 
left the bulletin in case they ever get a wire through." 

"All right, let's go!" said Geistlich, snatching the copy Finlay had 
written. "If we can get to the Oakland ferry, maybe we can get some- 
thing through on the wires over there." 

Geistlich and Mclnerney raced through a nightmare of demol- 
ished streets, clambering over ruins, and making mental note of the 
devastation as they ran. The downtown area was filling with the panic- 
stricken. Some were mad with fear that the world was coming to an 
end. Everyone who could stampeded for the ferry. Geistlich and Mc- 
lnerney jumped aboard the boat just as she was pulling away. By 6:30 
they reached the deserted office of the telegraph company across the 
bay. Conditions there were almost as bad as in San Francisco. All lines 
were down. They left a copy of the story and headed back to what was 
left of San Francisco. 

When the earthquake shook the city, Superintendent Cowles of the 
Pacific Coast Division was asleep at home. Like thousands of others, 
he was pitched from bed by the first mighty shock. He finished dressing 
as he sprinted through the streets toward the bureau. He reached the 
partially wrecked Western Union building at 5:45. No wires. He hur- 
ried to the Postal Telegraph a few blocks away. Swayne, chief operator 
for that company, was tinkering distractedly with a broken circuit to 

"Barely possible I can get something through soon," said Swayne. 

Cowles wrote a bulletin and stood waiting while the telegrapher 
tested and tested. The click of the Morse was so faint that it was scarcely 
audible above the pandemonium outside. The wire refused to work. 
Cowles called to Swayne to keep trying and made for the Pacific Cable 
Company office in the same building. 

"Your cable functioning?" he demanded. 
. "Seems to be." 

Cowles seized a blank and wrote out a brief message on the dis- 
aster, addressing it to The Associated Press in New York. 

The attendant shook his head. 

"I can't send a cable to New York," he protested. "Our wires are 
under the Pacific to the Far East." 


"Route it around the world!" snapped Cowles. 

"Sony," faltered the clerk, "Fd do it for you if I could, but the 
company doesn't have any regulations covering such an unusual pro- 
cedure, and, besides, I don't know the rate." 

Cowles exploded. 

"Never mind the rules," he bellowed. "I'll pay any rate the com- 
pany sees fit to charge j but, please, for God's sake, send it immedi- 

"I can't, I can't," the man insisted. "You know I would if I could, 
but I've got my own job to think of." 

"Well, then, send it to Honolulu, at least." 

The frightened attendant agreed and Cowles ran back to the 
Postal office where Swayne still was coaxing the wire to Chicago. 
Cowles paced the floor. After a long wait the line came to life. Both 
men hunched closer. 

"Got 'em!" exclaimed Swayne. 

Then first word of the appalling disaster was swiftly tapped to the 
outside world. 

Cowles returned to the ruined office in the Western Union build- 
ing, collected the members of his staff who had arrived and shifted the 
scene of activities to the Postal building. As fast as typewriters could 
hammer it out, the story was relayed. The lone wire was too good to 
last. It failed and the fire which had followed the earthquake was sweep- 
ing closer. The torn pavement outside was almost melted and the 
scorching walls made the building like an oven. The Chicago wire 
eventually was re-established for a brief time, but by eleven that 
morning it was out again. The heat was so intense the building had to 
be evacuated. 

The flames had not yet reached the abandoned Western Union 
building, and, for want of a better place, Cowles and his helpers re- 
turned there. More members of the staff had reached the old office and 
Cowles took a mental roll call to make sure all were accounted for. 

Morse operators? All present Harry Collins, Fred Burnell, W. 
F. Lynch, J. K. Brown, W. Mitchell, and Ben Mclnerney and Robert 
Geistlich, who had returned from their dash to Oakland. 

Editorial men? There was Karl von Wiegand, the future foreign 
correspondent for Hearst newspapers, Hershel McDonald, Robert 
Johnson, E. E. Curtis, and Finlay who had written the bulletin at the 
moment of the quake. 

Where was Jerry Carroll? 

FLASH! 197 

No one had seen or heard from him. He might be one of the 
hundreds who had been crushed under falling walls. Police, firemen, 
and volunteers already were at work in the ruins. They might find him 
later. The staff had no time to search for the missing editor. Their 
urgent job was to find a means for re-establishing contact with the out- 
side world. 

Anticipating that troops would take over control of the stricken 
city, Cowles sent one man to obtain passes from General Frederick 
Funston, commanding officer for the area. He sent others in search 
of a launch to transport men and news to Oakland, now that ferry 
operations had ceased. No launch could be found, but the hurriedly 
procured army passes induced the captain of the government tug 
McDowell to take Geistlich and Lynch across the bay and to stand by 
for any help he could give. In Oakland both Western Union and Postal 
had been busy, and workable wires were set up that afternoon. Official 
communications swamped the improvised facilities, but Associated Press 
dispatches were given right-of-way. 

Back in San Francisco Cowles assigned others of the staff op- 
erators and editors alike to each section of the flaming city to obtain 
every scrap of information and rush it to him for inclusion in the 
"leads" he began to write. 

By one o'clock in the afternoon Cowles was ordered from the 
shattered Western Union building so authorities could dynamite it in 
an attempt to halt the fire. He could not wait until his staff returned to 
headquarters, where all were agreed to meet, so he made his way to 
the office of the Bulletin on Bush Street. There he resumed writing and 
sent off the copy by messengers to the wire offices in Oakland. All he 
could do was to hope the remainder of the staff might find him. 

Dusk fell and still none of the staff had found him. Just as he was 
abandoning hope, he looked up from his work and saw a limping bun- 
dle of bandages hobbling toward him. He peered at the gauze-swathed 
features, heard an attempted laugh, and knew that Jerry Carroll had 
been found. A wall had tumbled on Carroll's home, burying him and 
his wife under an avalanche of bricks and mortar. Dug out by passers-by, 
the editor had spent most of the day getting patched up so that he 
could walk. Then he set out to reach the office. Someone who knew 
Cowles's whereabouts directed him to the Bulletin office. His shoes had 
been burned and his feet were cut by glass and blistered by the hot 

Carroll received an assignment immediately. Cowles sent him out 


to write a "color" story of the disaster. Carroll went back into the streets, 
noting the names of destroyed buildings and the despairing efforts 
to check the flames, which then were roaring into the Chinese section. 
On all sides he heard the cries of injured and homeless, and frequently 
he saw silent rows of blanket-covered dead. In an hour he had the 
horrible picture and he sat down in a Chinatown doorway to write his 
story in the light of a fire that was costing a thousand dollars a second. 
The Associated Press was the only organization to relay news 
of the earthquake that day and night. In the twenty-four hours after 
the first shock the staff wrote and relayed 21,300 words. 

The San Francisco earthquake served to dramatize the need for a 
definite method for rushing out the first brief fact on a news event of 
first importance. In the past the traditional "bulletin" had been con- 
sidered satisfactory, but in a day of many extra editions newspaper 
editors required even quicker notice that a story of extraordinary char- 
acter was breaking. Some old-time telegraphers had developed the habit 
of tapping out the word F-L-A-S-H before the relay of an out-of-the- 
ordinary news item. The custom, however, was haphazard and too often 
abused on cheap sensations. 

The Associated Press put the Flash on a hard and fast official basis 
less than two weeks after the San Francisco disaster. In a general order 
to all its employes throughout the world these instructions were issued 
May i, 1906: 

News matter of supreme importance which would necessitate the issuance 
of extra editions should be sent first as a "Flash" in a message not to exceed 
ten words, and should go on all leased wires. Such "Flash" must take 
precedence over all bulletins, must go upon each wire of a double or triple 
wire system, must be sent instantly upon the development of the news, and 
must never exceed ten words in length. 

Accuracy had been the first watchword. Now speed officially be- 
came the second. 


ROOSEVELT would not run again. This was plain from his unequivo- 
cal election night statement four years before. Although the 1908 po- 
litical picture had been complicated by the panic which broke the pre- 
ceding October, shrewd observers looked for another Republican 
victory when voting time came. William Jennings Bryan was out for 
his third nomination as the Democratic standard-bearer and it seemed 
certain that Roosevelt's mantle would fall either on New York's 
Governor, Charles Evans Hughes, or on the broad 35Opound frame of 
William Howard Taft. 

While the country at large waited for the campaigns to open, 
members of The Associated Press met at the old Waldorf-Astoria in 
New York for another of their annual meetings. Peacock Alley was in 
all its glory and the sight of fashionably dressed women smoking 
cigarettes in public shocked more than one inland publisher. There was 
time for chats with old friends and evenings at the theater. A spirit of 
camaraderie predominated and the members looked forward to these 
gatherings with genuine pleasure. 

Although the members were proud of the association they had 
fostered, they were practical newspapermen and experience had taught 
them the folly of taking things for granted. 

With this in mind, the 1908 meeting unanimously voted creation 
of a special committee of ten members charged with appraising the 
excellences and shortcomings of the entire report, the possibilities for 
extension of the service, and the desirability of any changes in the 

Once the business calendar had been cleared, the members turned 
to the annual banquet, with its speechmaking, and the traditional loving 
cup. Each year there had been something about the occasion which caused 
publishers and editors to remember it. 

Two years before it had been the sparkling address of Mark 
Twain. He said: "There are only two forces that can carry light to 
all corners of the globe the sun in the heavens and The Associated 
Press down here." 



Last year it had been the classic story which passed with chuckles 
from mouth to mouth the story of Sam Davis, a Nevada string corre- 
spondent who interviewed Sarah Bernhardt for the Carson Appeal, his 
own little paper j for the San Francisco Examiner; and for the co- 
operative. The actress liked him so much that, when her train was 
ready to leave, she put her hands on his shoulders, kissed him on each 
cheek, and then squarely on the mouth. She said: "The right cheek 
for the Carson Affeal, the left for the Examiner, the lips, my friend, 
for yourself." Davis displayed no trace of bashfulness. "Madam," he 
exclaimed, "I also represent The Associated Press, which serves three 
hundred and eighty papers west of the Mississippi River alone!" 

And this year it was William Jennings Bryan holding forth in 
his best oratorical form. 

There were endless other topics for informal shop talk. The 
American Mining Congress considered Associated Press metal market 
quotations so accurate that it voted them the standard on which all 
settlements be made in the industry. The news of the birth of an heir 
to the Spanish throne had been whisked from Madrid to Chicago in 
ninety seconds a notable demonstration in swift transmission. There 
was the celebrated Stanford White-Harry K. Thaw murder case and 
the dramatic Hay wood trial in Montana the labor leader for whom 
"T.R." coined the phrase "undesirable citizen." 

Much interest centered on Canada where an embattled group of 
papers had taken first steps in the direction of a co-operative which, 
molded closely after The Associated Press, eventually became The 
Canadian Press. And in the United States another agency was entering 
the domestic field, although as a privately owned commercial enter- 
prise. The Scripps-McRae Press Association, founded in 1897, the 
Scripps News Association, an affiliated combination, and the Publishers' 
Press Association joined forces and formed the United Press Asso- 
ciations. The three previously had divided the country between them, 
covering one another's areas by virtue of a news exchange arrangement. 
In their discussions editors and publishers saw the consolidation as a de- 
velopment which would supply news to papers ineligible or undesirous 
of becoming members of The Associated Press. They saw also that the 
very existence of this agency was irrefutable evidence against any absurd 
charges that their co-operative had monopolistic inclinations. 


When the members departed for home, the Special Survey Com- 
mittee remained behind to work. Headquarters were set up, a program 
drafted, questionnaires prepared, and one committeeman detailed to 
tour the country studying bureau operations at first hand. 

While another presidential campaign occupied the politicians, the 
public found some respite in the great to-do which followed the classic 
"bonehead" play of major league baseball Fred Merkle's failure to 
touch second base in the crucial New York-Chicago game that Sep- 
tember. For days the pros and cons of the discussion occupied enough 
wire space to rival developments on the political front, and the word 
"boner" took its place in the language. 

Then the co-operative's committee put the finishing touches on its 
report and the thoroughgoing study was ready for the Board of Di- 
rectors on December i. 

The integrity and reliability of the news report was rated "ad- 
mirable," but the committee called for the cultivation of a more 
sprightly and concise style and more skillful editing. The report tact- 
fully reminded the members that, since much Associated Press news 
originated in their own offices because of the mutual exchange principle, 
the desired improvement, like charity, should begin at home. 

A second recommendation called for the appointment of assistant 
superintendents for each of the six geographical divisions of the serv- 
ice New England, New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver, and 
San Francisco. Their principal duty was to keep in close touch with 
member papers to ascertain their needs or criticisms. The committee 
saw in these assistant superintendents an opportunity to weld the ser 
vice into a more coherent whole. 

Closely connected with the problem of improving the news report 
was the widespread demand among the members for greater localization 
of their service. At the time the association's facilities were divided into 
three major classifications: There was the main coast-to-coast trunk 
circuit, which carried only dispatches of general importance. Supple- 
mentary to this were the regional wires, which served as the arteries 
for geographical divisions comprising several states. There also were 
the few, comparatively recent, "side circuits," operating off the main 
leased wire or its regional counterpart and serving papers in one state 
or occasionally two. 

Editors in the bureaus controlling these side or state, circuits had 


been able to anticipate the trend toward a more localized report. Serv- 
ing a limited group of papers whose interests were similar, the editors 
of these circuits could prepare a report made up of trunk and regional 
material which met the needs of the locality and at the same time in- 
cluded more state or bi-state news. 

Members who received their news budget only on the main leased 
wires were not so fortunate. They expressed the need for extension of 
facilities to provide more localized news coverage, but the committee 
was not inclined to encourage this agitation, declaring that general news 
alone was the province of the association. The thorough exposition of 
this subject, however, served a purpose. It focused attention on the 
success of the few side circuits in supplying a combination of general and 
state news, and it raised in some minds the thought that a system of 
state circuits which would pay more attention to vicinage news might 
represent the ideal fundamental unit for the organization's future op- 

The committee reminded the members that they were receiving 
a telegraphic service which, taken as a whole, never had been equaled. 
"This report," they noted, "has become the cheapest commodity that 
enters into the making of the daily newspaper." They pointed out that 
the general news of the entire world was delivered to member papers 
at a cost less than that of gathering the news in their own circulating 
areas. Some were assessed as little as 52 cents for each thousand words, 
while the highest rate was $4.60. 

The question of finances likewise was involved in the report. Many 
of the reforms recommended called for additional expenditures and it 
behooved the organization to move cautiously in this respect. Since 
1900 the association had been oscillating annually from surplus to 
deficit a $94,708 deficit for the last half of 1907 was particularly dis- 
quieting and important commitments for the future must be weighed 
with a practical eye on the extra outlay involved. 

If an occasional skeptic in the membership ranks was inclined to 
question the committee's pronouncement on the general excellence of 
the news service, the staff soon afterward supplied a brilliant demon- 
stration on two of the biggest stories in the opening decade of the 
century's history. 

The first occurred during the 1908 Christmas season. On Decem- 


her 28 there was a convulsive earthquake in the Italian province of 
Calabria. The earthquake and the accompanying tidal wave took 200,000 
lives. Joseph Pierce, the correspondent at Messina, perished before he 
could get his story through. In Rome Cortesi left a sickbed to write 
his account of a catastrophe unparalleled in European history. On the 
first five days he cabled 37,780 words. 

Cortesi was Cortesi, and the membership had come to expect 
superlative work from him. It was not always the front-rank men, 
however, who were on the spot the moment important news occurred 
unexpectedly in one place or another. Sometimes it was an obscure 
correspondent an ordinary string correspondent such as Jack Irwin 
on Nantucket Island. 

Irwin was one of those restless men never content to stay in one 
place. An Australian by birth, he had a daredevil disposition which took 
him to many places in search of adventure. He was in Africa during the 
Boer War and saw fighting at Magersfontein and Spion Kop. Eventu- 
ally he came to the United States and was attracted by the wizardry of 
wireless telegraphy. He settled down for a while as an .operator in the 
Marconi station at Siasconset on Nantucket Island, one of the lonely 
outposts which gave the first and last greetings to Atlantic steamers. 
While at Siasconset he became a stringer for the co-operative, occasion- 
ally passing along a small story that came his way, but never anything 
of consequence. 

There was no promise of anything of consequence on January 23, 
1909, as he sat at his key, keeping the early morning tour of duty. 
The Atlantic was a thick white wall of fog which came swirling in, 
blanketing Nantucket. It was 5 140 in the morning. 

A thin, faint signal whispered unexpectedly in Irwin's earphones. 
It was repeated again and again . . . CQD . . . CQD . . . CQD 
the international signal for a ship in distress. 

Two hundred miles out on the Atlantic Jack Binns, an operator 
on the White Star liner Republic y was desperately sending out the call. 
The Republic had collided with the freighter Florida and was sinking. 

Irwin at Siasconset was the first to pick up the call from the sinking 
Republic and her 440 passengers. From that moment on, he kept repeat- 
ing the weak CQD and Binns's subsequent messages, utilizing Siascon- 
set's stronger power to broadcast the calls over a wider area than the 
Republic could cover. Busy as he was, he acted promptly in his capacity 
as a string correspondent, rushing word of the Republic?* peril to the 
Boston Bureau. 


For hours the fate of the Republic remained in doubt while rescue 
ships groped through the fog. The White Star liner sank, but thanks to 
the CQD, only four lives were lost. Irwin continued to relay details 
of the great drama and the country thrilled to the heroism and courage 
of the first \videly publicized ship rescue by wireless. 

In the weeks which saw the Calabrian earthquake and the S.S. 
Re-public disaster, no group among the members studied the survey of 
the Special Survey Committe with keener interest and hope than the 
limited service, or "pony" papers. For many of these small newspapers, 
published in remote inland towns, the earthquake and ship disaster 
stories merely demonstrated again an old handicap which plagued them. 
They could not afford regular leased wire facilities which delivered 
a large volume of news direct to their offices and the exasperating 
delays in receiving abbreviated reports over ordinary commercial tele- 
graph lines persisted even when public interest in the news was at fever 
pitch. The result was that many of these pony members failed to 
obtain enough news with sufficient speed to make a showing with their 

Examining the committee's report, these small members discovered 
grounds for both hope and discouragement. The committee confessed 
that it recognized their plight and wanted to do something about it. 
But the committee could advance no constructive plans to eliminate the 
delays in news delivery. There was no point in further complaints to 
the wire companies. Repeated representations in the past had proved 
futile. The facilities of the wire companies already were burdened with 
commercial traffic which made impossible the promise of split-second 
news service to widely separated small papers. Some solution must 
exist, but it had not been found. 


THE Associated Press man at Dayton, Ohio, had been inclined to 
joke when they showed him the Wright family's prepared statement 
and the telegram which had prompted it: 





52 5P 

"Huh," the correspondent commented. "Fifty-seven seconds! If 
it were fifty-seven minutes it might be worth talking about." 

On the chance that it might be news in some eyes, nevertheless, 
he copied the message and the statement which old Bishop Wright, 
father of the sender, had helped prepare. Many editors snorted as they 
read the dispatch. Perfunctorily it reported that the two Wright brothers 
claimed to have made man's first successful flights in an airplane. A 
large number of papers ignored the news as humbug, others poked fun 
at it, and even some people in Dayton believed it a hoax designed to 
attract attention to the local bicycle business the Wright brothers 

It was the biggest kind of news, however, and except for two 
minor errors it was accurate. The commercial telegraph operator who 
transmitted the message had misread the time of flight, clipping two 
seconds from the actual performance, and had misspelled Orville 
Wright's first name. 

The dispatch from Dayton was one of the two accounts the co- 
operative carried that day on the Wrights. The second, an item of 
some four hundred words, appeared under a Norfolk, Virginia, date 
line and gave a remarkably good description of the test flights. 



People scoffed at those 1903 stories of what Wilbur and Orville 
Wright had done at Kitty Hawk, and for more than four years few 
took much stock in the claims that man could navigate the sky in a 
flying machine. Nevertheless, the Wrights, returning to Dayton, went 
forward with their experiments and the local correspondent, who had 
revised his first notions on the subject, kept anxiously after them. Con- 
sidering the general atmosphere of continuing disbelief, he showed 
unusual zeal, following their tests and asking questions. 

"Any news on the airship today, Wilbur?" 

"No, nothing special." 

"You and Orville been flying?" 

"Just about as usual. Couple of fights." 

"How far?" 

"Halfway down the field." 

"Not so much, eh? Well, you be sure to let me know if anything 
special happens." 

There were stories from Dayton as the months rolled by, yet not 
until May, 1908, when the Wrights conducted a fresh series of flights 
at Kitty Hawk did the world awake to the great news that had been 
happening completely unrecognized. 

The tardy public recognition of aviation news was accompanied by 
a realization that the story of aircraft development had international 
scope. A few months after the Wright brothers returned to Kitty 
Hawk, cables were telling of aerial experiments along a different line 
in Germany, where Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was striving to 
perfect the dirigible. The 24-hour flight of his LZ4 was an epochal 
achievement in the history of lighter-than-air craft, even though the 
cruise ended in misadventure. A staff correspondent, Joseph Herrings, 
almost succeeded in an ambitious plan to cover the entire 3OO-mile test 
flight singlehanded from the ground. 

The zeppelin was docked in a floating hangar on Lake Constance. 
Herrings had been sent to Switzerland to watch developments. No an- 
nouncement was made, and Herrings's inquiries brought vague replies 
that the strange cigar-shaped craft would not be prepared to take off 
for several days. The information sounded unconvincing to the reporter. 
He arranged for a swift motorboat and the fastest automobile available 
and then settled down to watch the hangar in case Count Zeppelin 


decided on an unheralded departure. It was a wise forethought. Early 
one August morning the nose of the zeppelin poked out of the floating 

As soon as he saw the airship being moved out, Herrings tumbled 
into his motorboat and started across the lake toward her. The zeppelin 
took off smoothly, circled and headed toward Constance with the motor- 
boat skimming in pursuit on the water below. The dirigible had not 
picked up speed and the correspondent was able to keep her in sight. 
While the motorboat rushed along, he scratched off a descriptive account 
of the LZ4*s takeoff. By the time the zeppelin's shadow left the lake 
at Constance and headed overland, the reporter had ready the dispatch 
which he hurried to the telegraph office the moment he jumped ashore. 

Then the wild part of the day began. He set out in the waiting 
automobile to continue the breathless chase overland. The LZ4 was 
cruising at a speed of between 35 and 40 miles an hour and a 1908 
model automobile had a hard time keeping up. At towns along the 
route Herrings stopped to pass hurriedly written copy to open-mouthed 
telegraph operators. 

Other correspondents in places over which the zeppelin passed 
also had been systematically reporting its progress and across the sea 
in New York cable editor Harold Martin assembled the dispatches 
into one co-ordinated story. 

All morning Herrings roared across Germany in his reckless chase, 
and on into the afternoon. He managed to keep the zeppelin in sight 
until two o'clock when she disappeared beyond a range of hills near 
Laufen. From correspondents at other points, however, bulletins kept 
flowing in to New York, telling of the ship's continued progress, her 
stop for repairs at Nackenheim, her landing near Echterdingen the 
next day, and her destruction by fire while moored there. 

Perhaps because distance lent enchantment, aeronautical adventures 
and misadventures abroad appeared to command greater attention from 
American newspapers than those at home. Even Wilbur Wright seemed 
to have greater news value when he went to France to demonstrate 
his flying machine to the French government. And when Louis Bleriot 
flew the English channel July 25, 1909, editors in the United States 
hailed the feat as "one of the greatest news events of a generation." 

For a time it seemed likely that aviation would enable man to 


succeed at last in his long attempt to reach the North Pole. Walter 
Wellman, newspaperman and explorer, was convinced that an aerial 
trip to the top of the world was practicable. Using ships and dog sleds, 
he had led polar expeditions in 1894 and again in 1898. Back from 
the arctic, he went to work as a Washington correspondent for one of 
Victor Lawson's newspapers. When he mentioned his daring belief that 
the North Pole might be discovered by air, he found Lawson interested. 

The Chicago publisher discussed Wellman's plans with Frank B. 
Noyes, president of The Associated Press, and together the two decided 
to finance the expedition as a private venture on the part of their 

A dirigible, America, was built in Paris, and Wellman made the 
first aerial voyage over the Arctic Ocean in September, 1907, only to 
have the weather balk a final dash to the pole. By the time Bleriot was 
preparing for the celebrated Calais-to-Dover flight, however, Wellman 
was heading for Spitsbergen and a second attempt to fly to the pole. 
The flight ended in failure when the America was badly damaged 
after a forced landing among ice hummocks on August 15. One of the 
Americans four-man crew was Nicholas Popoff. He was the same Russian 
who had been shot while covering the Russo-Japanese War under the 
pen name of Kiriloff . 

The possibilities of aerial exploration suffered a temporary eclipse 
after Wellman's failure, but before a month had passed the North Pole 
was proving one of the year's biggest and most controversial stories. 
Associated Press wires carried the first bulletin September i. From the 
island of Lerwick, via Copenhagen, came the announcement of Dr. 
Frederick Cook, a Brooklyn explorer, that he had discovered the North 
Pole on April 21. The news touched off a rush of reportorial activity. 
Robert M. Collins, chief of the London Bureau, and R. E. Berry, of 
the Berlin staff, were ordered to Copenhagen where Albert Thorup, 
the resident correspondent, waited Cook's arrival. 

In New York there was skepticism of Cook's claims and the scien- 
tific to-do over the alleged exploration assumed great proportions. The 
explorer was being lionized, interviewed, and toasted in Copenhagen. 
And then in New York on September 6 this telegram was delivered. 




The message immediately created another sensation. The second 
claim to the discovery of the North Pole within a week? A telegram 
flashed back to Indian Harbor, Labrador, asking for verification and in 
it The Associated Press called attention to Dr. Cook's claims. 

The answer came back: 



The new discovery story splashed across front pages within an hour. 
Instructions from New York headquarters went north to W. C. Jefferds, 
correspondent in Portland, Maine, Peary's home town, and to J. W. 
Regan, correspondent at Halifax. With John Quinpool, another staff 
man, they had previously received orders to get ready to search for 
Peary, who had been overdue. The three men hired the Douglas H. 
Thomas y the only oceangoing tug available in Nova Scotia, and set out 
on their hazardous 475-mile voyage to Battle Harbor. Regan's assistant, 
W. G. Foster, made a fourth in the party. 

Before they started Jefferds delivered the news of Peary's dis- 
covery to the explorer's wife, who was at a summer home on an island 
off the Maine coast. She was skeptical because she thought her husband 
would have communicated with her at the same time. However, she 
entrusted the reporter with a message to deliver at Battle Harbor. Her 
daughter Marie the famous "Snow Baby" born in the far North on 
one of Peary's previous arctic trips was so overjoyed that she hugged 
and kissed Jefferds. An hour and a half after the correspondent 
departed the proprietor of the country store on the mainland arrived 
with a telegram from Peary confirming the news Jefferds had brought. 

The Associated Press tug reached Battle Harbor on September 13 
and moored alongside the ice-scarred Roosevelt, Peary's expedition boat. 

Fortunately no communication difficulties hampered relay of the 
story from Labrador. A low-power wireless station sent out the news 
to relay points along the bleak mountainous coast. Thence they were 
forwarded to New York. 


The redoubtable Dr. Cook was aboard the steamer Oscar II > en 
route home from Denmark, and Berry of the Berlin staff accompanied 
him. Controversy raged more fiercely than ever. On special request, 
the Canadian Marconi Company agreed to transmit Peary's version of 
the discovery to Cook in mid-Atlantic, and to bring in the stories Berry 
wrote on the Brooklyn explorer's reaction. When Cook's comment was 
received, it was relayed to the staff at Battle Harbor for Peary's infor- 
mation and reply. 

Although separated by thousands of miles, the rival claimants 
carried on a stubborn debate and the public read the exchange of state- 
ments and contradictions. The four men at Battle Harbor, joined later 
by Carl Brandebury of the New York staff, had the unique story there 
to themselves until a steamer arrived with American and Canadian 

The Peary-Cook dispute made news until a National Geographic 
Society commission sustained Peary's claims as the true discoverer of 
the North Pole. Cook's purported proofs were submitted to the Uni- 
versity of Copenhagen for adjudication and ruled insufficient. 

Aviation bounded back into the limelight, and again it was the 
newspaperman-explorer Wellman who provided a story with no rival 
for drama and suspense. Early in 1910 he was soliciting financial back- 
ing for an unheard-of exploit. He proposed to cross the Atlantic from 
the United States to Europe in the rebuilt dirigible America. Lawson 
could not resist the lure of the great news such a flight might yield 
and once more he advanced funds. The New York Times and the 
London Daily Telegraph likewise became interested and helped to 
raise $40,000. In return the three papers received exclusive rights to 
all details of this first attempt at a transoceanic airship flight. 

From the outset the story presented coverage difficulties for the 
co-operative because Wellman had contracted to give the official infor- 
mation on his venture only to the syndicate financing him. The Asso- 
ciated Press was left to its own devices to get a story which momentarily 
transcended all others. 

Wellman selected Atlantic City as the starting point for the flight 
and workmen began to reassemble the dismantled dirigible as soon as 
it arrived by boat from Paris on August 6. Reporters from the New 
York office wrote reams of copy describing the construction of the 


America, the principle of its "equilibrator," and the lifeboat which was 
to be carried, slung under the car of the airship, well away from the 
inflammable hull of the ship, to accommodate a short-range wireless 
set, a stove, and other equipment. Progress in preparing the America 
was slow. August passed. Then September. Many people were calling 
Wellman a "fake." 

At last, on October 12, Columbus Day, the work was finished. Less 
than sixty hours later, Saturday morning, October 1 5, Wellman shouted 
"Let go all!" to an improvised ground crew and the America disap- 
peared into a dense fog, Europe bound. She carried a crew of five, a 
wireless operator, and a mascot kitten, "Kiddo." The wireless operator 
was Jack Irwin. 

Up and down the coast and in cities abroad the association's forces 
were alert for word of the airship's progress. 

Crouched in the lifeboat precariously suspended beneath the dirigi- 
ble's car, Irwin contacted an Atlantic City station two and a half hours 
after the take-off and the first wireless messages exchanged between a 
shore station and an airship were sent. "Headed northeast. All well on 
board. Machinery working well." Swift bulletins relayed the informa- 
tion. A few minutes later Wellman sent a dispatch in code giving details 
of the flight up to that point, but it went exclusively to the syndicate 
financing him. 

Then silence descended and for twenty-four hours no further 
reports came from the ocean fog which held the America. Men stopped 
one another in the streets to inquire if there was any news. From wire- 
less stations all along the coast, from operators on ships at sea, calls 
went out to the America. But there was no answer. 

Irwin in his swaying aerial lifeboat could hear the calls, but all his 
efforts to raise one of the stations failed. His dynamo stopped working, 
forcing him to switch to batteries and their limited power reduced his 
signal range. One or two vessels were sighted through the fog, but 
apparently they carried no wireless equipment. Finally on Sunday 
afternoon, he got through an "All's well" message to Siasconset the 
America was then off Nantucket and Wellman sent a code dispatch 
to the syndicate enumerating difficulties that were developing. Then 
the long hours of silence returned. 

All Sunday night the airship battled a storm which threatened to 
destroy her. Irwin flashed CQD after CQD, but the distress signals 
were never picked up. The "equilibrator," a long metal device towed 
along the ocean's surface like a huge sea serpent to control the airship's 


altitude and to compensate for changes in her buoyancy, kept pulling 
the America down toward the crest of the waves. The wind changed 
and drove the dirigible southward, off her course. 

Throughout Monday the battle against disaster went on. Gasoline, 
oil, supplies, even parts of the motors were jettisoned to lighten ship 
and keep her from crashing into the ocean. Monday night was the last 
night. The five aboard realized it as they ate a meal of cold ham, 
biscuits, and water. They might be able to keep the airship in flight 
another day, but when the sun set again and the gas cooled, she would 
plunge into the sea. They would have to risk launching the lifeboat 
sometime Tuesday, dropping it from mid-air and running the double 
risk of having it capsize or be smashed by the equilibrator below. 

The wireless operator stood watch in the drifting airship until 
3 A.M. Tuesday, when Wellman relieved him. Shouts roused him some 
time later. A steamer had been sighted. Irwin tumbled down into the 
life boat and started calling, but got no answer. 

Seizing a flashlight, he commenced signaling in Morse code, blink- 
ing out dots and dashes. 

Then, suddenly, the steamer was signaling back by the same 
method. Irwin asked if they had a wireless aboard and the steamer 
she was the Bermuda liner S.S. Trent replied her Marconi man would 
be routed out at once. In a few minutes Irwin was talking by wireless 
with Louis S. Ginsberg, the Trent's operator, arranging the details 
of a perilous rescue. 

Down came the America. The lifeboat's lashings were loosened. 
The last two release hooks were snapped open and the boat plummeted 
into the rough ocean with the airship's crew and Kiddo. It almost 
capsized, righted itself, and crashed into the dreaded equilibrator. 
Seconds later the Trent almost ran them down as she maneuvered and 
they were in danger of being cut to pieces by the propellers. Lines 
finally were thrown down and the America's bedraggled crew was 
pulled aboard the Trent. The abandoned airship drifted away derelict 
over the ocean. 

Battered and weary, Irwin made his way immediately to the 
Trends wireless room. Standing beside the steamer's operator the one- 
time string correspondent stole a march on Wellman by dictating a 
straightforward report of the America's ill-starred aerial odyssey and 
the rescue 375 miles east of Cape Hatteras. 

In a matter of minutes the dispatch reached the New York head- 
quarters of The Associated Press. It was flash news all wires. The two 


American newspapers which had contracted with Wellman for the 
exclusive story of his adventure got their first tidings, not from him 
but from the co-operative in which they held membership. Similarly, 
an Associated Press dispatch, relayed to Europe, gave the London 
Telegraphy the third syndicate member, its first information. 

The America's wireless operator might have signed his dramatic 
dispatch from the Trent "Irwin," and that would have been sufficient 
for the news editor who first read it in New York. Apparently he 
thought more complete identification necessary. After his name he added 
three words, and the complete signature read: "Irwin, Associated Press 


". . . the revenues for the twelve months of 1910 were $2,728,- 
888.64 and the expenses $2,742,492.18." This was another deficit, the 
fifth in seven years. 

The Associated Press had celebrated its tenth anniversary as a 
non-profit co-operative. Its prestige stood high and, as far as externals 
went, the organization's position was an enviable one. Yet there were 
danger signals. 

The financial condition worried General Manager Stone. For the 
most part, his efforts had been concentrated on the performance of the 
association as an impartial news gatherer. The report was the thing 
by which members and newspaper readers alike judged the organization, 
and to the report he devoted his genius. Expense, extension of 
facilities, and costly commitments were no major objects with him 
when it was a question of maintaining Associated Press pre-eminence. 
The results bore tribute to his energetic direction and his unusual per- 
sonality found valuable expression in dramatizing the new principle 
for which the co-operative stood. Yet the demands of actual news 
gathering made it difficult for him to turn his notable abilities to less 
spirited organizational problems. Business details never captured his 
imagination and he was happier in the midst of a great news emergency 
than while struggling with the intricacies of a balanced budget. 

The difficulty of making ends meet while operating a non-profit 
organization on the same assessment basis which went into effect in 
1900, before the demands of news gathering began to increase, was 
acute. The basis of prorating expenses during the first ten years was 
purely experimental. But inasmuch as the formula was based on the 
population in each member paper's circulating area, there was no chance 
of revising figures until the 1910 Federal Census became available. At 
that time Stone and the Board of Directors planned to review the 
existing scales and readjust wherever necessary. In the meantime the 
general manager could do little more than refer the recurrent vexations 



to Treasurer J. R. Youatt for such inconclusive preliminary action as 
could be taken. 

As for savings through a realignment of leased wire facilities one 
of the largest items of expense these possibilities eluded Stone. But he 
did realize that the question of improving the lot of the harried pony 
papers was important. This was essentially a news detail because it was 
necessary that they be served efficiently if they were to remain in mem- 
bership and contribute the important news of their territories. If he 
ever did forget the plight of these papers, it was not for long. Day in 
and day out their messages reached his desk: 

"No telegraph budget today until after we had gone to press." 

"Today's report not only late but garbled." 

"Help. Help. No news telegram today." 

"If we can't get news, how can we pay our assessment?" 

Spurred by these complaints, Stone ventured into the communi- 
cations' field to seek a remedy. He sounded out telegraph companies 
once again on the possibility of an arrangement which would guarantee 
expeditious commercial delivery without an increase in expense. Com- 
pany officials could promise nothing. 

Then he attempted to arrange for "short-hour" leased wire facilities 
over which important news could be speeded to the small papers. But 
wire companies reported this was not feasible except at more expense 
than the papers could afford. 

Just when the pony outlook seemed blackest, help appeared from 
an unexpected source. 

The general manager was at his desk one day shortly before 
Thanksgiving in 1910, when C. H. Wilson, general manager of the 
American Telephone and Telegraph Company, telephoned that he was 
sending over a young man who had some practical ideas about trans- 
mitting news rapidly to small papers in isolated places. 

The young man was Kent Cooper, from Indiana. Stone promised 
to see him, but he was not convinced that the solution of the co-opera- 
tive's problem of delivering world news to distant papers of only 
modest means could come from such an unknown source, particularly 
when it was something that had puzzled the best minds in the trans- 
mission business. Nevertheless, the general manager had an effective 
method of dealing with visitors. He greeted them graciously but with 
his body barring the doorway to his private office while he made tentative 
appraisal. If sufficiently impressed he could step back in his most cordial 


manner and permit them to enter. But if not, he could dismiss them 
without having them suspect that he did not wish to be bothered. 

It was in this way that he greeted Cooper. 

"I understand you have the solution of the problem of getting news 
to small papers which cannot afford leased wires," he said with a 
quizzical smile. 

Cooper replied that he believed he did. 

Stone still stood in the doorway. 

"Well," he said, selecting a point about which a Midwesterner 
normally would not be expected to have first knowledge, "just exactly 
what could you do for Burlington, Vermont?" 

Cooper thought for a moment. 

"You can't serve Burlington economically from Boston, which 
is your nearest New England Bureau," he replied, "because of the 

Stone was surprised that his visitor was that well informed, but the 
Burlington problem still was not solved. 

"So what could you do?" he asked. 

"Well," observed Cooper, "why not serve them by telephone out 
of your Albany Bureau, which is closer? From Albany it would involve 
only 156 miles of wire as against 233 from Boston, and the cost to 
deliver 1,500 words daily over this route would be only $16 a week." 

Stone gave the young man another once over. 

"Come on in," he said. 

Stone did not know it then, but Cooper's experience in newspaper 
work had begun when he was a boy of thirteen the same year Victor 
Lawson and his publishing associates started the "revolution of 1893" 
out of which had come the non-profit co-operative principle in news. 

The son of an Indiana congressman, Cooper began as a carrier 
boy and a year later became a fledgling reporter on the Columbus 
Republican. His editor belonged to the school which believed that 
"names make news" and Cooper's first assignment was to ride his 
bicycle to the railroad station daily and get the names of all arrivals 
and departures. In time he came in contact with the resurgent Associated 
Press and the Chicago Bureau made him a string correspondent at 
Columbus. He continued this part-time work in addition to his duties 
on the local paper until he left to attend the University of Indiana. His 


father died in 1899 and he was forced to leave college to earn his own 

The Indianapolis Press gave him his start at $12 a week. Later 
he joined the Scripps-McRae Press Association and established its 
Indianapolis Bureau. Most papers served from that office were 
small and Cooper came to know the problems which beset them. In 
1905 he struck out for himself with a state or vicinage news service 
of his own, set up with $50 of his own money and a similar amount 
invested by a friend. He incorporated his enterprise as the United 
Press News Association and a year later sold it to Scripps-McRae, 
which merged with two other agencies in 1907 to form the United 
Press Associations. 

Cooper continued as Indianapolis Bureau manager and soon he was 
experimenting with a telephone talking circuit serving news to several 
small papers simultaneously. Up to that time the telephone companies 
had no special press rates but charged on a private-message, point-to- 
point basis. Cooper convinced them that it was to their advantage to 
fix a rate which would enable them to compete with the telegraph as 
a news distribution medium and also demonstrated that the problem 
of linking a number of papers together on a talking news circuit was 

The idea behind the telephone pony circuit was that a press asso- 
ciation employee made up an abbreviated news report in a centrally 
located bureau and then read it over a long-distance line extending into 
the offices of small newspapers several miles to hundreds of miles 
away. In each of the offices the local editor listened into the receiver 
and copied down the news at it was being read. One appealing feature 
was that the receiving editors developed the habit of volunteering to 
the others on the circuit the news of their communities, thus exchanging 
much neighborhood or vicinage news which ordinarily would not have 
found its way into a press association report. 

In spite of the success of these early efforts, Cooper was not satis- 
fied. He knew of the abuses to which commercially controlled news 
had been subjected back before the emergence of the non-profit prin- 
ciple, in news, and he felt that The Associated Press offered unique 
opportunity on the side of truthful, unbiased reporting. He was familiar 
with the practical obstacles which had hindered its expansion into the 
more isolated areas such as those he had learned to serve by telephone, 
and so it was through telephone officials that he obtained his introduction 
to Stone. He began his assignment on December 5, 1910. 


Although the young Indianian had demonstrated his knowledge 
of transmission conditions, he still had to convince Stone that news 
actually could be sent by ordinary telephone to scattered newspapers 
without losing anything in accuracy a question about which the general 
manager had his worst fears. 

"You'll have my resignation if I can't deliver stories by telephone 
more rapidly and with greater accuracy and efficiency than you can 
deliver them by overhead telegraph," Cooper told Stone soon after 
he took up his duties in New York. 

The general manager accepted the stipulation. 

"You are to make your test on two real 'guinea pigs' I'll select for 
you out in Michigan," he said. 

Owing to cumbersome wire systems and the burden of commercial 
traffic, telegraphed delivery of the association's pony news reports to 
the Houghton Gazette and the Marquette Journal had been haphazard 
and uncertain at best. Their news budgets, prepared in the Chicago 
office, averaged five thousand words nightly and the long telegraph 
files were both expensive and subject to frequent garbling. 

Cooper lined up his circuit and looked on as the first telephone 
news report was read to the two papers by an editor in the Chicago 
office. In Houghton and Marquette, miles away, the two member 
editors simultaneously copied down dispatch after dispatch as the man 
in Chicago read the news into the mouthpiece at the sending end. The 
news not only was delivered more rapidly, but a study of the received 
copy showed it was completely accurate. Moreover, one telephone circuit 
linking both papers was less expensive than the double filing necessary 
to deliver the copy to both papers by overhead telegraph. 

Stone was pleased. 

"You win," he said. "Now go to work and serve all the papers 
that have been giving us so much trouble." 

He started to wave Cooper away, but on the spur of the moment 
called him back. 

"Tell me," he smiled, "how in the name of the devil did you 
happen to have the answer on Burlington that day you came to see 
me? You even knew the exact wire mileage from Albany." 

Cooper explained. 

"It was very simple," he said. "I studied the situation before I came 


to see you and memorized the figures on the more isolated places because 
they were the ones I thought you'd be likely to ask about!" 

First in the Midwest, then in the East, the Rocky Mountain area, 
and other sections of the country, Cooper set up the special telephone 
pony circuits to supplant the unsatisfactory commercial telegraph trans- 
missions. Before he had been in the service four months thirty-six 
additional papers were receiving their news over telephone talking 
circuits and the program had only begun. 


WHILE Cooper was improving the lot of the association's smaller 
newspapers Stone and the Board of Directors were occupied with trouble 
that was brewing elsewhere. 

There were alarming charges affecting the integrity of the news 
report and the probity of the general manager. The most serious accu- 
sation was made by Frank B. Kellogg, the government attorney who 
later became secretary of state. He had been engaged in prosecuting 
the Standard Oil Company under the Sherman antitrust law, and during 
that litigation he wrote: 

Melville E. Stone is controlled absolutely by the Standard Oil people. 
He will not, of course, send out any reports of the testimony that he is not 
obliged to, at least that is my opinion from all that I have seen. ... It is 
astonishing that that concern can control The Associated Press. 

John D. Rockefeller's oil empire had been under attack ever 
since the trust-busting era began in earnest with Theodore Roosevelt's 
second term in the White House. Roosevelt's vigorous language put 
the Standard Oil on the defensive in the public eye. The oil company 
had a bad press editorially, and as early as 1905 some of its people 
were suggesting that it "start a backfire" to counteract unfavorable 
publicity. At that time Congressman J. C. Sibley of Pennsylvania, who 
was interested in Standard Oil, wrote confidentially to John D. Arch- 
bold, the corporation's vice-president, proposing a definite plan: "An 
efficient literary bureau is needed, not for a day but [for] permanent 
and healthy control of The Associated Press and other kindred avenues. 
It will cost money, but it will be the cheapest in the end and can be 
made self-supporting." 

No action was taken on Sibley's suggestion and The Associated 
Press, unaware of the possible schemes of lobbyists and press agents, 
continued to report news concerning the oil company in an objective, 
factual manner. 

A few years later, however, Kellogg, as government prosecutor, 
instituted the lengthy proceedings which ultimately brought the dis- 



solution of the parent corporation in the Rockefeller structure, the 
Standard Oil of New Jersey. During this litigation attempts were 
made to influence the report in favor of the company. Kellogg was 
unaware of this when he made his charges against Stone, but it was 
his accusation that started an inquiry. 

At the request of member papers in New York City, the Board of 
Directors appointed a five-man committee, headed by Oswald Garrison 
Villard of the New York Post, for a thorough investigation not only 
of Kellogg's allegations but also of any complaints reflecting on the 
integrity of the news. None of the committee men was a board member 
and the fact that several of them privately disliked Stone was a guar- 
antee that nothing would be left undone to uncover evidence of 

Kellogg's letter attacking Stone obviously was one of the first 
points of inquiry. Attempts to have Kellogg appear before the committee 
proved unsuccessful. The attorney refused and when the Villard com- 
mittee visited him in a body he denied he had written the letter. The 
committee confronted him with the original which bore his signature 
and he reluctantly acknowledged its authenticity. The letter, he said, 
stated his opinion of the situation as he recalled it. He offered to 
produce "proof" of the co-operative's failure to carry adequate stories 
setting forth the government's side of the oil case. 

To obtain this proof, Kellogg had his secretary check on Associated stories appearing in a single state. Minnesota was the state selected. 
The survey disclosed that few dispatches on the subject were printed 
there, and the few appearing had been brief. Kellogg soon found, 
however, that this survey established nothing except the fallacy of the 
conclusion on which he had made his charge of bias. There was little 
interest attached to the Standard Oil case in Minnesota and editors of 
member papers consequently had made sparing use of the stories they 
had received. An examination of The Associated Press files disclosed 
that the case had been reported thoroughly, and a check of papers 
nationally showed there had been extensive use of the material which 
Minnesota editors had trimmed down or discarded. 

This phase of the investigation had no sooner ended than Villard's 
committee learned with surprise from the general manager that a 
correspondent who indirectly covered one phase of the Standard Oil 
case for The Associated Press had been in the pay of a Standard Oil 
press agent, Captain P. C. Boyle, of Oil City, Pennsylvania. Unaware 
of these facts before, Stone volunteered the information as soon as he 


obtained it from Boyle. Some members of the committee were disposed 
to be suspicious. It was common knowledge that Boyle, who held mem- 
bership in the association as publisher of the Oil City Derrick, was a 
friend of Stone. 

The investigators sought information on how the Standard Oil 
case had been covered both in the extended hearings at New York and 
in the final arguments at St. Louis. It developed that Carl Brandebury, 
city editor of the New York staff, had been assigned to the case when 
it opened in New York. He covered forty-four of the ninety-five hear- 
ings and was withdrawn only after all the major witnesses had testified. 
The remaining fifty-one hearings were routine and for coverage on 
these the co-operative depended on the reports of the City News Asso- 
ciation, the local news-gathering agency owned and controlled by the 
New York newspapers. City News maintained its own staff and supplied 
the New York papers and The Associated Press with the daily routine 
and secondary news of the metropolis. Like the co-operative, all but 
one of the New York papers recalled their staff men after the important 
witnesses had been heard and relied on City News. 

Captain Boyle, appearing before the committee, told of his asso- 
ciation with the City News reporter who covered the case. As soon as 
the oil company hearings were under way, he testified, he felt that 
Standard Oil was not receiving fair play in the accounts published by the 
New York papers. He said he felt that the government's case, on the 
other hand, received too favorable attention. "For accuracy in report- 
ing," as he called it, he arranged with the reporter to give the Standard 
Oil's side of the controversy "proper" treatment in the City News 
reports. These, he knew, would go to the local papers, whether or not 
they had staff men present, and he hoped they might influence editors. 

Boyle paid the reporter "never less than $100 a week," although 
he claimed that the results were so negative that the expense was hardly 
justified. When it was pointed out to the witness that The Associated 
Press might have been victimized by misrepresentations in the City 
News report, Boyle insisted he was thinking only of the local papers 
when he retained the City News man. He also declared that the re- 
porter was paid to report the Standard Oil side of the case "accurately" 
and not to distort any facts. 

The City News reporter's status changed when the Standard Oil 
litigation shifted to St. Louis for argument. The involved nature of 
the case made it desirable that the man covering the argument be thor- 
oughly familiar with all the background, and there was no one in the 


St. Louis Bureau so qualified. While Stone was considering the matter 
of the assignment, the City News man offered his services. He said he 
had a vacation coming and that he would be glad to utilize the time to 
cover the brief St. Louis proceedings for The Associated Press. Stone 
felt that this offered an excellent opportunity to arrange for authorita- 
tive coverage since the man was familiar with the case, and so he 
engaged him. Unknown to Stone, the reporter then got in touch with 
Boyle and for $500 promised to "look after" Standard Oil interests. 

Boyle acknowledged this in his testimony, but again insisted he 
was aiming at the local press in St. Louis and not at The Associated 
Press. The local men, he said, would naturally turn to the New York 
reporter, as one well grounded, to clarify the intricate phases of the 
case. He denied that the City News man had made clear his Associated 
Press connection or that this consideration figured in the bargain. He 
said that he had gone to Stone promptly with all this information as 
soon as he learned the general manager was under investigation. 

These facts established, the Villard committee turned to the news 
reports to ascertain what effect the secret Boyle understanding had 
had on the coverage. The findings, however, suggested that Boyle had 
made a bad bargain. The New York reporter's accounts of the New 
York hearings had been rewritten by Associated Press men before relay 
on the leased wires. His stories at St. Louis had contained editorializing 
in favor of the Standard Oil, but the files showed that Melvin Coleman, 
vigilant head of the bureau there, had deleted all such references before 
the copy reached the wires. 

Both Boyle and the City News reporter testified that Stone was 
ignorant of their private arrangement. 

After the Boyle conspiracy had been exposed, the investigators 
turned to less sensational indictments urged against the general manager. 
Foreign governments had bestowed decorations on Stone in recognition 
of his efforts to break down censorship. Some of his critics contended 
that these honors disposed The Associated Press to give preferential 
treatment to news involving governments which hadsj^gggired the 
general manager. 

Another attack centered on the fact that S$nfeJ 
his social acquaintances such men as J. P. M^gar^' 'Judge Elbert^H. 
Gary, head of the United States Steel Corpcfhtip^ayl vdt&fohfr^ 

nent in finance and business. These relatioiH,^ }was^argu$I, ' 

li n\ v V * " ) ^* 

suspicion that the co-operative was primarily ronoCTnea ratl^jgrptectjiig 

the interests with which these men were iaintifafld. otbne's 


arranging the Russo-Japanese peace at the Portsmouth Conference in 
1905 also was criticized as improper activity for a general manager, 
regardless of his good intentions. 

The investigation seemed more and more like a hostile expedition 
looking for anything to discredit the general manager. Stone found 
some consolation in the fact that, although the entire membership had 
been canvassed, no charges had come from its ranks. The accusations, 
both serious and trivial, emanated from private sources. Nevertheless, 
the general manager's position became a trying one, for until the com- 
mittee submitted its findings he lived under a cloud. 

Under the strained circumstances the service inevitably suffered. 
Among the things overlooked was the special work Cooper had been 
doing. His duties had taken him into most parts of the country and 
his study of wire facilities was bringing to light conditions long un- 
noticed. In many places he found that the association was paying for 
wires it was not actually using. In others, mileage could be saved by 
more direct routing of wires, and in still others the association was 
paying higher rates than commercial competitors. In numerous instances 
efficiency and economy could be served by combining or realigning 
existing wire setups. Cooper discovered, too, that outdated or faulty 
mechanical equipment was responsible for costly wire delays and that on 
a number of overtaxed circuits the report should be overhauled. 

Individually the potential economies were not always imposing a 
few hundred dollars here, a thousand there but taken together they 
made a sum of more than $100,000 yearly, no small amount in the 
affairs of an organization with an annual budget of $2,846,812. 

There were the immediate demands of the news report for first 
consideration the coronation of King George of England, troubles 
in Mexico, revolution in China, a Franco-German crisis, and extension 
of the service into South America. But the Cooper plan soon was 
adopted with the active encouragement of V. S. McClatchy, of the 
Sacramento Bee, and Adolph S. Ochs, of the New York Times. By 
1912 the realignment program was in full swing and during a period 
of recurrent deficits the savings were most welcome. Together with 
a revision of the assessment schedules by which the expenses of the 
association were prorated among the member newspapers on the basis 
of population figures compiled by the 1910 Federal Census, these 


savings helped the financial affairs of the association return to an even 

The investigation of Villard's committee entered its closing stages 
and the Board of Directors instituted action against Captain Boyle as 
the owner of a member paper. His admissions involving coverage of 
the Standard Oil litigation had subjected the news report to question. 
The board termed his conduct "most reprehensible," fined him $1,000, 
and publicly rebuked him for his actions. 

After almost a year of testimony, Villard's committee at length 
submitted its final report on the whole investigation. Although the 
language of the report was not friendly to Stone, it vindicated his 
integrity and the integrity of the news report he administered. The 
accusations and unsavory insinuations were considered seriatim and dis- 
missed as unfounded. The committee stated that most of the charges 
against the news report had come from laymen who had jumped to 
conclusions that The Associated Press had suppressed news on contro- 
versial subjects simply because no dispatch appeared in a (certain 
newspaper. In every such instance the committee found that the story 
had been carried fully and factually on the wires serving member 

The investigators termed Kellogg's statement that Stone was 
"owned" by Standard Oil "inexcusably reckless and unwarranted by 
the fact," and added: 

Your committee is convinced that whatever the individual faults of 
reporting may have been, or whatever attempts were made by the Standard 
Oil to color the report, nothing was carried during this long hearing which 
violated the integrity of the service. 

The subsidization of the City News reporter was mentioned at 
some length, and the committee commented: 

It is the best possible testimony to the efficiency and integrity of The 
Associated Press that his efforts were in vain. 

As to charges that Stone's decorations from foreign governments 
or that his personal acquaintance with influential figures led him to 
favor their interests, they declared: 

... it is our judgment that the social relations of the General Man- 
ager with individuals in powerful financial circles and likewise his acceptance 


of decorations from foreign governments without objection from the Board 
of Directors have, not unnaturally, aroused unjust suspicion of the indepen- 
dence and impartiality of his administration of the news service. Nevertheless, 
we are convinced that Mr. Stone has not been influenced by these circum- 
stances in his conduct of the business of The Associated Press. On the 
contrary, we think that he has been indefatigable in developing its services. . . . 
He is entitled to great credit for the present efficiency of the news organiza- 
tion which has been created largely under his leadership and direction. 

The attitude of the committee was that The Associated Press, like 
Caesar's wife, should be above suspicion. The fact that serious charges 
had been preferred aroused great concern, even though the allegations 
had been discredited. It therefore recommended that the general man- 
ager and all those connected with the co-operative in future avoid 
anything that would give even the uninitiated the least grounds to 
question the honesty of the service. It stated: 

We consider that the head of The Associated Press should not only in 
fact be devoted solely to its interests, but that he should also by his personal 
conduct and relations give no ground for a suspicion of his independence 
and incorruptibility as the agent and representative of the Press. 

The committee discouraged both the future acceptance of foreign 
decorations and too great familiarity with individuals who figured in 
controversial news. 

Stone had held his peace. He had welcomed the fullest publicity 
for all phases of his administration, and he had met all criticisms with- 
out resentment. After the official findings had been submitted, he felt 
free to act. The news report had been vindicated, his personal integrity 
had been upheld, and he appreciated the wisdom of the constructive 
suggestions advanced. One thing, however, he said he could not ignore 
Kellogg's accusation that he was owned by Standard Oil. He notified 
the Board of Directors that he intended to sue Kellogg for libel on 
behalf of both himself and The Associated Press. 

Kellogg retracted and apologized. He wrote the general manager: 

At the time I wrote that statement I felt I was justified in making it. 
I have since made further investigation and am now satisfied I was mistaken 
and was not justified in making the imputation upon the integrity of 
The Associated Press or of its General Manager. 

I wish therefore, in justice to you both, to withdraw the accusation 
and to express my sincere regret that I was ever betrayed into what I now 
believe was an act of injustice. 


He also repeated his regrets in person. 

"I was hot when I wrote this letter," he said, referring to the note 
which contained the libelous charges. "I thought I was writing it to 
a personal friend, and I was pretty free in what I said, and I didn't 
look into it very much." 

Stone accepted the apology and the furor of the Standard Oil 
allegations slipped into history. 


ON the eve of the annual meeting of 1912 the Titanic disaster called 
forth every news-gathering resource to obtain a great story against 
overwhelming odds, and the next years, with their wealth of drama 
and excitement, brought still more developments in the methods of 
news collection and transmission. 

The Titanic was the largest ship the world had ever known and 
she was making her maiden voyage. 

Far out on the Atlantic three bells clanged sharply in the night. 
The lookout called to the bridge frantically: 

"Iceberg! Right ahead!" 

Seconds later the big ship trembled as a knife of ice sliced into 
her like some gigantic can opener. The time was almost midnight, 
Sunday, April 14. Many of the 2,201 people aboard did not know what 
the ship had struck. Blue sparks crackled and hissed in the wireless 

Sitting in the supply room of the Boston Bureau, J. D. Kennedy, 
a night telegrapher, heard the first electrifying whisper of calamity. 
It was his lunch hour and he was eating in the supply room so he 
could tinker with the crude wireless set recently installed for emergency 
use. He heard the Charlestown Navy Yard station repeat the call and 
then dashed back to the newsroom, blurting out the story. 

From that moment the Titanic disaster pre-empted the leased 
wires. The service was made continuous for both morning and evening 

Other calls from the Titanic followed the first burst of distress 
signals. Kennedy and other staff men hunched at the wireless apparatus 
and strained ears for the meager bits of information that came through 
the ether. 

"Come at once, we have struck a berg." 

"It's a CQD, old man. Position 41-46^ 5014 W." 

"Sinking; cannot hear for noise of steam." 

"Engine room getting flooded." 

Typewriters rattled out the bulletins. More CQD's, and then the 



Titanic's operator suddenly switched to the newer international call 
of distress: 

SOS . . . SOS . . . SOS . . . 

At 2:17 A.M. the signal stopped. 

After that there were hours of suspense until the Carfathia reported 
she had arrived on the scene at dawn and was picking up survivors. 
In New York the Marconi Wireless Company gave The Associated 
Press the only complete list of those rescued by the Cwpathia and later 
offered the co-operative exclusive rights to all the disaster news its 
facilities could obtain. The general manager felt the story was too big 
for such an arrangement, however advantageous it might be to The 
Associated Press. 

"It is a thing of such widespread interest that you ought not to 
bottle it up at all," he told the Marconi man. 

All that day the news was fragmentary, incomplete, and often 
conflicting. Communication with the Carpathia was sharply restricted, 
for its wireless was heavily overburdened with official traffic. Messages 
late Monday gave the first definite information, and it was not until 
Thursday night, when the Carfathia y with 711 survivors aboard, reached 
her New York pier, that the whole story became known. 

The Associated Press set up an emergency "Titanic Bureau" in a 
hotel facing the pier. Special telegraph and telephone lines were in- 
stalled and they carried two widely praised eyewitness stories written 
for the co-operative by Lawrence Beasley, an Oxford student, and 
Colonel Archibald Gracie, who leaped from the stern of the Titanic 
just as she made her plunge. Dick Lee, ships news reporter for The 
Associated Press since 1878, arranged for both accounts after boarding 
the Carfathia at Quarantine. From others among the rescued, Lee also 
gathered material for a story of his own and produced what was called 
the best detailed narrative of the disaster. 

The sinking of the Titank proved the wisdom of the Board of 
Directors in immediately authorizing what it termed "Extraordinary 
Occasion Service," which was designated EOS for short. Prior to this 
time a member paper had not been permitted to publish after its 
regular morning or afternoon hours of publication, no matter how 
important the news might be. The board realized there were times 
when the character of the news was so momentous that, as a public 


service, all papers should be free to publish it immediately, whether 
it broke within their hours of publication or not. Thereafter all 
dispatches of extraordinary importance were designated EOS and that 
slug told editors that they could publish the news immediately if they 

Soon the board took another step in its program of readjusting 
operation methods to the advanced requirements of news gathering. 
Recognizing that the organization had become too complex to be admin- 
istered by one man, it decided to provide the general manager with 
executive assistance. The administration was divided into three branches: 
News, Finance, and Traffic. The men picked to head these departments 
were to direct all activities in their respective spheres, reporting directly 
to the general manager. Treasurer Youatt was assigned to head the 
Finance Department, Cooper was the choice for Traffic, and a newly 
created post of chief of the News Department went to Charles E. 
Kloeber, who had won his spurs in the Boxer Rebellion. 

At the same time the board remedied another managerial weakness 
by appointing Frederick Roy Martin, editor of the Providence Journal, 
to be assistant general manager, an office vacant since DiehPs resigna- 
tion a short time before. They were grooming him to succeed Stone. 
Martin had been one of the five members of the Villard investigating 
committee and in 1912 the membership had elected him to the Board 
of Directors. He resigned that position to take up his new duties on 
September i. 

With organizational and financial troubles largely corrected, the 
co-operative was amply prepared to cover the famous three-cornered 
presidential election of 1912 in which Woodrow Wilson was victorious 
over William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt's insurgent Bull 
Moose party. Then the news report went on to other things the rati- 
fication of the Income Tax Amendment to the Constitution, another 
revolution in Mexico, suffragette agitation, floods in Ohio and Indiana, 
the death of J. Pierpont Morgan, the landing of American bluejackets 
at Veracruz. 

The return to a balanced budget made possible another innovation. 
The report of the Special Survey Committee back in 1908 had taken 
cognizance of the need for greater concentration on sports news. In the 
past these stories had been handled by the regular news staff and, while 
coverage had been fair, it was not in keeping with the rapidly increasing 


public appetite for detailed sports information. The Sports Page had 
made its appearance before the turn of the century and the volume of 
such news expanded with the heightened interest in Major League 
baseball, horse racing, and prize fighting. The growth of the educational 
system, the fact that the average citizen had more leisure, the improved 
standards of living, all contributed. 

The game of baseball had been invented back in 1839 and had 
established itself so firmly that "Casey at The Bat" was a favored 
recitation well before news gathering itself came of age. Horse racing 
attracted as well, prize fighting was still illegal in some states, though 
gaining in popularity, and generally each nationality had brought with 
it the games of its own homeland during the great surges of immigra- 
tion. The growth of professional sports and the steady rise of amateur 
and collegiate activities were assured. 

Owing to financial stringencies, the co-operative had been unable 
to enlarge its routine sports coverage to any noticeable extent at the 
time the Special Survey Committee made its report. But now the time 
had come when something could be done. A general sports editor was 
appointed to co-ordinate and expand the service. The man selected for 
the job was Edward B. Moss, who had been sports editor of the New 
York Sun for the past eight years. 

Moss set about establishing a small staff to assist him and the leased 
wires began carrying more sports detail stories on all major events, 
expanded boxes, summaries of results, and the like. 

From the outset, this quick and detailed coverage attracted atten- 
tion, in such interesting contrast to what had gone before. Until the 
telegraph and other communications methods had been so highly 
developed, the physical difficulties of speedy coverage had been great 
because, by their very nature, so many of the events were held in 
places where immediate wire facilities were not always available. But 
there still were a few employes who could remember one classic 
example of ingenious earlier sports reporting in spite of communications 
handicaps. It had occurred on July 8, 1889, when prize fighting was 
illegal in most states. It was the last bare-knuckle championship bout 
under London prize ring rules and it was between John L. Sullivan 
and Jake Kilrain. It went seventy-five rounds, lasted two hours and 
sixteen minutes, and was held in the woods near the little town of 
Richburg, Mississippi, in an attempt to avoid legal complications. 

The nearest telegraph office was in New Orleans, a hundred miles 


away, and the problem of relaying the result was accentuated by the 
great public interest in the contest. 

Because it was primarily a mechanical problem, Addison Thomas, 
wire chief of the Western Associated Press Chicago office, was assigned 
to direct the coverage. 

By the time the eagerly awaited day arrived Thomas had made his 
plans. With the co-operation of The Associated Press papers in New 
Orleans, he had arranged for a chartered railroad engine and two cars 
to race the result back to New Orleans ahead of the special fight trains 
on which spectators flocked to Richburg. It was a train reserved for 
the exclusive use of Thomas and the representatives of the interested 
New Orleans papers and it stood with steam up and ready to go on a 
siding a short distance from the ringside. 

But that was not the only preparation needed. Thomas and his 
associates knew that the excited, shoving spectators would jam the 
ringside for the long, knuckle-battering contest, perhaps making it 
impossible for anyone to get away quickly with details to the waiting 
train. And it was necessary to put the news on the train the moment 
the fight was over so that the special could get under way ahead of the 
returning passenger trains. 

They met that situation by obtaining hollow balls which were con- 
structed so that they could be opened in halves and then screwed back 
together. Then, as a quick report was written at the conclusion of each 
round, they put the copy inside the balls, screwed the halves together 
and threw the balls over the heads of the spectators to an assistant who 
caught them on the outside fringe of the crowd. The assistant then could 
rush them to the train at the conclusion of the bout and the special 
would be off in a hurry to the waiting telegraph at New Orleans. 

The plan operated like clockwork. The loaded balls were tossed 
over the crowd and at the end of the battle the assistant rushed to the 
train which quickly got under way. 

The plan, however, had overlooked one detail. There were opposi- 
tion news men present and in some manner they got through the 
crowds quickly. Before the train had raced many miles they were dis- 
covered concealed in one of the two cars of the speeding special. That 
called for some more quick action. 

The Associated Press man hurried up to the engine, cut the two 
cars loose and left the opposition stranded on the tracks. Then the 
engine ran full speed the hundred miles to New Orleans. 

That had been an exciting and ingenious stunt, but by 1913 tele- 


graph lines could be strung direct to the scene of almost any sports 
event, irrespective of locale, and the reports written by the new general 
sports editor and his small staff could go speeding direct to newspaper 

This step in widespread coverage of still another phase of news 
had not been under way long before there came other developments 
in news transmission methods. 

The tide of news by telegraph had continued with the years. Facili- 
ties had been improved, the Morse clicked into virtually every town in 
the country, but the old method was the same. Day in and day out, 
sending operators took dispatches, translated them into the dash-dot of 
code, and the telegraph keys sent the signals on the circuits at a rate of 
twenty-five to thirty-five words a minute. In member newspaper offices 
along the line the Morse sounders clack-clacked busily and receiving 
operators translated the code symbols back into words, copying the 
stories in jerky spurts. The news of more than half a century had been 
handled that way. 

For some time, however, Charles L. Krum, a Chicago cold-storage 
engineer, and his son Howard had been working to perfect an automatic 
machine which would send the printed word by wire at greater speed 
without the intermediary of code. They called their invention the Mor- 
krum Telegraph Printer coining the word Morkrum by combining 
the inventor's name with the first syllable in the last name of Joy 
Morton, a Chicago businessman who financed them. 

Several other automatic telegraphic devices were being promoted, 
but Cooper and engineers in the Traffic Department decided Krum's 
machine held the most promise for their purposes. Tests got under way. 
In the Associated Press headquarters, which had been moved seven 
blocks from the old Western Union building to 51 Chambers Street, 
a sending operator sat at a keyboard similar to that of an ordinary type- 
writer. As he struck the keys, copying the dispatches before him, the 
machine perforated a paper tape with a series of holes, each combina- 
tion representing a letter. The tape fed into a boxlike transmitter which 
transformed the tape perforations into electrical impulses and sent them 
along the wires into the receiving machines in newspaper offices. These 
impulses actuated telegraph relays and set the receiving Morkrum ma- 
chines automatically reproducing the letters which the sending operators 
were typing miles away. 


The tests demonstrated that the Morkrum could transmit news 
hour after hour at the rate of sixty words a minute and the copy was 
delivered clean and uniform. Thus began the slow extension of Mor- 
krum transmission to the whole leased wire system, replacing the "brass 
pounding" Morse keys. It was a transition that required years and until 
it was completed both Morse and Morkrum worked side by side in 
many places. 


There were faint rumblings of unrest abroad, but in 1913 it was an 
incident concerning a simple matter of office routine in one of the asso- 
ciation's European bureaus that set the year apart for the staff itself 
and produced a chuckle wherever the story was told. 

The story began staidly enough with an action by the Board of 
Directors requiring the bonding of all chiefs of foreign bureaus who 
handled funds. Treasurer Youatt diligently mailed out the bonding 
forms which specified that each bureau chief applying for a bond give 
two character references well known in America. 

Like many other men abroad, Cortesi in Rome seriously wrote 
his answers to the endless questions. When he reached the place where 
the character references were to be named, however, a mischievous spirit 
seized him. 

Cortesi mailed the application back to Youatt and forgot it. Sev- 
eral weeks later he had an audience with Pope Pius X and in the midst 
of their conversation, the Pontiff exclaimed: 

"By the way, I have received a letter from an American surety 
company asking for information about you. Why should they apply 
to me?" 

Bewildered for a moment, Cortesi sheepishly remembered the 
bonding application and confessed he had tried to play a joke on the 
treasurer of The Associated Press. He had filled out the reference 
blank as follows: 






Pius assured Cortesi that he would give him a good character. 
That was in 1913 and the spring of 1914 ran on into a summer that 
shook the world. 



The chief of the Vienna Bureau, Robert Atter, cabled: 




"Another mess in the Balkans," readers commented. But that dis- 
patch became the lead to a story that beggared anything that had hap- 
pened before. It saw 65,000,000 soldiers mobilized on battlefields over 
the world and before the war ended there were 9,000,000 dead and 
22,000,000 wounded in armed forces alone. The casualty list of non- 
combatants was as large, if not larger, and the cost was $337,000,000,000. 
It was a story that covered both hemispheres and took four years 
to unfold. 

The cables hummed with the ominous overture. Bureau chiefs, 
staffs and correspondents throughout the Continent worked during the 
days of tension Robert Collins, the chief at London j Atter, at Vienna; 
Roger Lewis, in charge at St. Petersburg ; Seymour B. Conger, at Ber- 
lin 5 Elmer Roberts, at Paris j Ed Traus, at Brussels j Cortesi at Rome, 
and the men assigned with them. At first the story was of Austria's 
diplomatic moves against Serbia. Inexorably it expanded. 

Then came the last week of July and the bulletins flew: 

Austria's ultimatum to Serbia . , . Russia Warns Austria . . . 
Germany Backs Austria . . . Austria Declares War on Serbia . . . 
Russia Mobilizes . . . Germany Begins Invasion of France . . . Ger- 
many Demands Free Passage of Troops Through Belgium . . . Great 
Britain Protests Violation of Belgian Neutrality . . . Britain Declares 
War . . . 


Armageddon had begun. 

As the crisis mounted, The Associated Press rushed some of its 
best men abroad to reinforce the European staff. George A. Schreiner, 
who had been covering a revolution in Mexico, was sent to Belgium. 
Walter C. Whiffen, another of the staff reporting the Mexican troubles, 
went to St. Petersburg. Robert Berry, day cable editor at New York, 
took the first boat for France. Charles Stephenson Smith, of the Wash- 
ington staff, and four others were ordered to London. Assistant Gen- 
eral Manager Martin hurriedly embarked for Europe, carrying $20,000 
in gold in a leather hatbox to tide foreign bureaus over the financial 
stringency which accompanied the outbreak of war. 

Endless gray German columns swept through Belgium and with 
them went Conger of Berlin. Covering the hopeless efforts of the Bel- 
gians to halt the juggernaut were Schreiner and Hendrik Willem Van 
Loon, who entered the foreign service in 1906. The stories Schreiner 
and Van Loon wrote on the destitution and suffering of invaded Bel- 
gium were generally credited with providing much of the initial 
stimulus for the relief funds raised in the United States. 

Without official sanction Smith reached Belgium after the British 
Expeditionary Force the "contemptible hundred thousand" and Rob- 
erts and Berry followed the French. On the eastern front Whiffen 
arrived in time to join the Russians for their early battles, while Atter, 
his colleague from Vienna, reported the same fighting from the Austro- 
Hungarian lines. On the other side of the world A. M. Bruce used 
carrier pigeons, native runners, and the wireless to report the Japanese 
siege of the German fortress of Tsingtao. 

America read of Liege, Namur, Mons, Louvain, Rheims, Lemberg, 
Tannenberg, in lightning succession. Editors and readers alike followed 
the seemingly irresistible German advance which swept almost to the 
gates of Paris before it was rolled back in the First Battle of the Marne 
and the western front settled down to the long months of trench 


THE immensity of the war assignment and all its attendant difficulties 
became increasingly clear. The old barriers of censorship returned, more 
stringent, more unreasoning than ever. Communications were a gamble, 
what with warring governments pre-empting telephone, telegraph, cable, 
and wireless facilities for official and military use. Propaganda mills 
ground out their atrocity stories. Ministries issued communiques which 
could not be confirmed. Except on favorable occasions, none of the 
belligerents welcomed factual, objective, and unbiased reporting. In a 
conflict that was waged with publicity as well as powder, the integrity 
of the news report was a prime consideration. The old adage has it that 
"Truth is the first casualty in any war," and the management labored 
to find the truth. 

The Associated Press obviously could not assume responsibility for 
the correctness of government statements in formal communiques and 
documents. It could and did vouch for the fact that such releases were 
issued and what official was authority for them. In all practical circum- 
stances, effort was made to have staff men either obtain facts at first 
hand or confirm them personally. 

The war staff had no easy time of it. Fortunately only one of the 
staff was wounded during the opening months, but even outside the 
battle zone correspondents were subject to repeated harassment and 
trouble. One of the London staff was arrested as a spy while covering 
the hit-and-run bombardment of English Channel towns by German 
cruisers. That he could read and write German was considered con- 
clusive proof of espionage until higher authorities stepped in. Others 
were "detained" on different occasions by civil or military authorities. 
The German occupation of Belgium forced Schreiner and Van Loon out 
of the country into Holland, where they set up a special bureau to 
handle the exchange of news between the occupied areas, Germany, 
London, and New York. Schreiner later was accredited to the Austro- 
Hungarian armies in Galicia and returned to active duty in the war zone. 
Ill-health forced Van Loon to resign in 1915. 

The belligerents were mindful of the authority which firsthand 



stories by Associated Press staff correspondents carried. When both 
French and German High Commands claimed possession of Hartmans- 
Weilerkopf, an important strategic position in Alsace, Chief of Bureau 
Roberts went to the sector and reported what he saw. The French War 
Office, realizing the value of this impartial testimony, issued a com- 
munique, saying: "The correspondent of The Associated Press visited 
today the summit of Hartmans-Weilerkopf, which the enemy has not 
attacked for the last two days." There were similar cases in both Eng- 
land and Germany. When reports circulated that each of those powers 
had lost well-known battleships during North Sea naval operations, 
Admiralty officials in London and Berlin invited staff men to visit the 
vessels in question and report. 

Abruptly in the spring of 1915 the conflict abroad ceased to be 
remote for Americans. Until 2:08 P.M. on May 7, the national sentiment 
was "Keep out of it." Then came the Lusitania. 

The actual beginning of that story antedated May 7. Six days 
earlier, copy boys in New York headquarters distributed the first edi- 
tions of the morning papers. Editors checked their pages for any local 
news that might not have been included in the report. The attention of 
several was arrested, not by anything in the regular columns, but by 
two advertisements on the ship news pages. The first was a single-column 
display announcing that the Cunarder Lusitania, "Fastest and Largest 
Steamer now in Atlantic Service, Sails Saturday, May i, 10 A.M." 
Directly below was another advertisement, with the one-word heading: 
"Notice!" It was so unusual that a story was prepared, telling how 
the announcement of the Lusitania's sailing that day had been accom- 
panied by an extraordinary warning. The story concluded with its text: 

Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded 
that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain 
and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the 
British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial 
German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or of any of 
her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing 
in the war zone on ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk. 

(Signed) Imperial German Embassy 
Washington, D. C. 

Although Germany had announced in February her intention of 
waging submarine warfare on allied shipping, the May i "Notice!" 


went unheeded. General Manager Stone paid as little attention to it 
as anyone else. His son Herbert was sailing and Stone with his family 
went down to the pier. 

On Friday, May 7, off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, the 
unthinkable happened. At 2:08 P.M. Unterseeboot 20, commanded by 
Leutenant-Kapitan Schwieger, sent a torpedo into the Lusitanta's star- 
board side just aft of the bridge. She went to the bottom in twenty 
minutes. Of the 1,924 persons aboard, 1,198 were lost, among them 
114 Americans. 

James Ryan, resident correspondent at Queenstown, flashed the 
first news to London and then, with W. A. Herlihy, the Cork cor- 
respondent, went to work on the story. Additional staff men were started 
for Ireland. In spite of the magnitude of the news, the censors in 
Whitehall held up the first bulletin fifty-two minutes. 

When the bulletin did reach New York, Stone was at lunch with 
a friend. He hurried to the office. Late that night he knew that his son 
was lost. 

Within a few hours after the torpedoing, the London Bureau, 
co-ordinating point for the coverage, found the demands of the occasion 
far transcended the limits of news requirements. Countless inquiries 
rushed in by telephone and cable from relatives and friends of those 
aboard the Cunarder. In order that there might be as little confusion 
as possible, a card index was started, listing both survivors and recovered 
bodies as they were reported. For days personal inquiries and requests 
kept coming in from America, asking the bureau to confirm identifica- 
tions, to verify reports of the lost, to take charge of the effects of the 
drowned and even to make arrangements for the burial of recovered 

The destruction of the Lusitania and the diplomatic notes between 
the United States and Germany that followed put Washington cover- 
age on something like a wartime footing. The policy of the White 
House assumed tremendous importance and the State, Navy, War and 
Treasury departments became more vital news sources than ever. Neu- 
trality, contraband, diplomatic representations, emergency legislation, 
the need for protection of American shipping subjects such as these 
took a place in the Washington report. 

Among the first major repercussions of the Lusitania affair in 
Washington was the resignation of William Jennings Bryan as secretary 


of state because of his disagreement with President Wilson's firm 
attitude toward Germany. Hood, dean of the capital staff, learned on 
June 8 that Bryan had resigned, but the information was given him 
in confidence and he could not use it. 

Hood walked into a pressroom set aside for the association in the 
War Department building. 

"Boys," he said, "there is a big story here that you have got to get. 
I know what it is but I cannot say a word more than that it is BIG. The 
AP has got to break it. You have to get it. Use your heads and your 

David Lawrence, Stephen Early, Kirke Simpson, and the two 
other staff men he was talking to had never seen Hood so excited. 
There was a dash for the door, each man mentally reviewing the con- 
tacts that might give him some clew. 

Hood let all except Simpson go. "This is not on your War De- 
partment run, Kirke," he explained. "I have got to tell somebody. I 
can't hold it. Bryan just sent for me to tell me in strict confidence that 
he had resigned because of the Lusitania note. President Wilson has 
accepted, but Bryan says announcement or even a hint must await 
White House pleasure. I don't know why he told me, but he did." 

"What can I do now?" Simpson asked. "I can't even tap any 
Cabinet sources because you've tied me up." 

"I know," Hood replied, "but you and I are going now to enjoy a 
rare treat. We are going to stroll about and watch the AP staff work 
like hunting dogs. They'll get it before night and we'll watch them 
do it." 

Hood and Simpson walked the corridors, watching fellow staffers 
hurry from office to office. Other correspondents, sensing the suppressed 
excitement, joined in the blind chase. 

Lawrence paused to reason the thing out. 

First, he thought of the possibility of a rupture of diplomatic rela- 
tions between the United States and Germany. He dismissed that be- 
cause the German note on the Lusitania had not yet been answered 
by thp State Department. It must be something else. What else? Then 
it occurred to him that it might be a story involving Secretary of State 
Bryan because there had been friction between Bryan and Wilson. 
Lawrence played the hunch. He sought out Secretary of War Garrison. 

"What do you think about Bryan's resignation?" he asked. 

Disarmed by the blandness of the question, Garrison told him the 
story. Lawrence hustled off to the White House, confirmed the Presi- 


dent's acceptance of the resignation, and most important, obtained 
permission to release the news. At 5:26 that afternoon the leased wire 
network flashed Bryan's resignation. 

When Germany answered the Lusitania note which caused Bryan's 
resignation, Conger at Berlin transmitted the complete text of the reply 
to the United States in time for member newspapers to publish it almost 
forty-eight hours before it was officially delivered to the State Depart- 
ment. Conger's reportorial activities had been hampered during 1915 
by the new restrictions German authorities enjoined on foreign cor- 
respondents. Newspapermen were barred from the fronts except on 
officially supervised visits. A summary of war news, giving the High 
Command's version, was issued three times weekly by the General Staff 
office in Berlin, and correspondents were held personally responsible 
not only for the dispatches they wrote, but also for headlines and pic- 
tures which might accompany those dispatches when they were printed 
in America. Berlin officials had been irked by headlines and pictures 
unfavorable to Germany's cause, and they would make no exception for 
Conger even though the use of headlines and pictures in member news- 
papers was, of course, beyond his control. 

On the whole, the news during 1915 seemed to favor the Central 
Powers. On the western front a year of costly French, British, and Bel- 
gian attacks had failed to weaken the German positions. In the east 
the ponderous Russian Army had been flung back almost to Riga. The 
belated Allied thrust at Gallipoli produced nothing but a casualty list 
exceeding 100,000. Bulgaria had cast her lot with Germany, Austria- 
Hungary, and Turkey. The Allied nations in the Balkans were overrun. 
Italy had entered the war, but her first blows against Austria had been 
repulsed with the loss of a quarter of a million men. 

The staff suffered its second casualty when Whiffen was wounded 
on the Russian front, which he was covering with D. B. McGowan. 
Cortesi got his baptism of fire with General Cadorna in th&Alps. 
Schreiher reported successes of the Central Powers at the Dardanelles 
and in the Balkans, while Paxton Hibben served with the Allied 
armies that were thrust back into Greece. Thereon J. Damon, the Con- 
stantinople correspondent, wrote the story of the Gallipoli campaign 
and Turkish operations in Mesopotamia. Conger and S. M. Bouton, of 
the Berlin staff, and men from the London and Paris bureaus cabled 


accounts of the costly French and British offensives in France and 
Flanders, where poison gas was used for the first time in modern 

If 1915 had been an epochal year, 1916 outdid its sensations. 
Abroad there was no slackening in the furious pace and at home the 
tempo accelerated under the triple pressure of strained relations with 
Germany, an expeditionary force in Mexico, and the approach of a 
critical presidential campaign. Editors lived in an avalanche of Flashes 
and EOS bulletins. 

Verdun the Somme Irish Rebellion Jutland Trentino 
Russian Successes in Galicia Arabia Pancho Villa U-boat Deutsch- 
land in Baltimore Black Tom Explosion Washington Warns Kaiser 
on Submarines. 

Jutland was the first great naval battle the association had been 
called upon to report since Togo blew the Russian fleet out of the water 
at Tsushima in 1905. The first bulletins, giving the German version 
of the sea fight off Denmark, came from Berlin by wireless. British 
accounts arrived later by cable from London, and member papers all 
over the country scored on "Der Tag" the day the British Grand 
Fleet and the German High Sea Fleet should meet in a fight to deter- 
mine maritime supremacy. 

Der Tag, however, proved indecisive j the German fleet inflicted 
heavier losses, but Britain retained command of the sea. Controversy 
burst forth immediately and the staffs in Berlin and London set to work 
to clarify the conflicting claims as far as censorship would permit. 
For the first time since the war started, Captain Hall, of the Naval 
Intelligence Bureau in London, permitted the association to quote him 
in a statement saying that neither the dreadnought Warspte nor the 
Marlborough had been sunk as the enemy claimed. Then followed an 
authoritative interview with Winston Churchill, former first lord of 
the admiralty, and a naval expert's description of the battle written 
from Admiralty reports. Most London papers reprinted these exclusive 
features, crediting them to The Associated Press. The staff in Berlin 
exhibited similar enterprise. When the German Admiralty refused to 
withdraw its claim that the Warspte had been sunk at Jutland The 
Associated Press sent a correspondent to see the Warspte and inter- 
view her captain who declared, a bit superfluously: "I am still com- 
mander of the largest warship in the world." 

Another of the top-ranking stories that spring was the Irish Rebel- 
lion "Bloody Easter Week" in Dublin. DeWitt Mackenzie arrived 


in Dublin while the Irish Republican forces still held the Post Office 
and Four Courts buildings against the artillery, machine guns, and rifles 
of the British military. 

Mackenzie drove into the city after nightfall and the assignment 
came near costing him his life. Under rigid martial law all civilians 
were forbidden on the streets after six o'clock and troops were ordered 
to shoot violators on sight. The British patrol Mackenzie encountered 
luckily disobeyed instructions and fired over his head. No sooner 
had the auto stopped, however, than an officer rushed up, cursing the 
men because Mackenzie and the chauffeur had not been shot. 

Hands high in the air and a bayonet against his stomach, Mackenzie 
tried to convince the officer he was a newspaper correspondent. But the 
officer thought otherwise. He had already decided that his prisoner was 
a Sinn Feiner with fraudulent credentials, and he ordered him taken 
to the barracks. There the rifles of firing squads were cracking as rebels 
were led out to the barracks wall. 

Mackenzie was doing the most persuasive talking of his life. His 
insistence that he was an American at first did not impress his judges, for 
some Americans were taking active part in the rising. However, there 
was the chance of international complications if a wrong man were 
executed, and the reluctant military finally released him and his 
chauffeur. Mackenzie's freedom was short-lived. The next day police 
interned him for the duration of his stay in Ireland and at the end of 
the adventure he learned with a shock that he actually had carried a 
death warrant with him that night in Dublin. His taciturn chauffeur, 
who had let him do all the talking, was a rabid Sinn Feiner. 

On the Continent the war wallowed on through another year. 
Frederick Palmer, the only American correspondent with the British 
Army on the western front, wrote such graphic dispatches on the great 
Somme offensive and the debut of "tanks" that The Associated Press 
set a precedent by having them copyrighted. With the exception of 
Palmer's copyrighted stories, it was optional with a member paper 
whether any dispatch be printed with credit. 

News from the fronts, however, had no unchallenged monopoly of 
front pages. The slaughter at Verdun dropped to secondary importance 
when Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionist, crossed the border in 
a night raid and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico. 


George L. Seese, of the Los Angeles Bureau, was in Columbus 
when the bandits struck. For several years Mexican disorders had caused 
the loss of American lives and property and had necessitated the special 
assignment of staff men in the turbulent areas. When the situation 
south of the Rio Grande again assumed threatening aspects, Seese was 
ordered to El Paso in case Villa's activities immediately across the 
border in Chihuahua became of major significance. 

Having seen duty in Mexico in 1911, he knew how to keep in- 
formed on Villa's movement. Two days before the raid he received 
information that the bandit leader's forces were in closer proximity 
to the border than usual. He promptly moved to Columbus, on the 
border near the camp of the Thirteenth U.S. Cavalry. Once there, 
he sent for Edwin L. Van Camp, the leased wire operator at El Paso, 
to join him in anticipation of a story. 

In the early morning hours of March 10 the two men were routed 
from their sleep by the crash of shots as Villa's raiders descended on 
the town and the adjacent cavalry encampment. Seese assisted some 
women and children to safety and sent Van Camp through bullet- 
swept streets to the local telegraph office while he went out to get the 
news. When the day leased wires opened Seese and Van Camp had a 
complete story ready, giving an eyewitness account of Villa's foray, the 
list of killed and injured, and details of the cavalry pursuit of the 
raiders into Mexico. 

Seese's presence at Columbus for the raid proved too much of a 
coincidence for army officers on duty along the border. Department of 
Justice agents tried unsuccessfully to learn if he had had advance 
knowledge, but he never would tell them how it happened that he was 
on the exact spot and waiting for the Villa story to break. 

On April 1 8 Morkrum printers and telegraph instruments spelled 
out the bulletin that the United States had threatened to sever diplo- 
matic relations with Berlin unless Germany abandoned her policy of 
unrestricted submarine warfare on merchant shipping. 

There was an apprehensive wait of two weeks. Then the Berlin 
Bureau advised that a reply was in preparation and news circuits all 
over the United States were held fully manned to handle the story 
when it arrived. The first "take" began moving shortly after 7 A.M. on 
May 5. It announced that Germany would comply with President 
Wilson's demands and cease sinking ships without warning. In keeping 
with the practice it had inaugurated, The Associated Press brought in 


by wireless the complete text of the 3,ooo-word note, which temporarily 
forestalled termination of diplomatic relations. 

June added the presidential campaign to the heavy roster of con- 
tinuing stories to be covered for 908 member papers. At St. Louis the 
Democrats renominated Woodrow Wilson with the slogan: "He kept 
us out of war." Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes was 
picked by the Republicans and the country plunged into the closest na- 
tional contest of modern times. 

As the campaign got under way, the name of an old news-gathering 
pioneer was restored to its place on Associated Press rolls. The New 
York Sun y one of the six founders of the original organization, returned 
to the co-operative. For almost a quarter century, ever since the break 
in 1893, the Sim had been conducting a proprietary news-gathering 
agency of its own. When Dana died in October, 1897, Laffan assumed 
complete command of the Laffan Bureau, as the service was called, and 
carried on the undertaking until his own death in 1909. With diminished 
vigor the agency survived for several years until Frank Munsey pur- 
chased the Sun on June 30, 1916, and four days later brought it back 
into Associated Press membership. The rancor and bitterness of the 
feud started two decades before by other owners of the Sim was 
forgotten, and the paper was welcomed back. 

The return of the Sun was not the only memorable event that 
month. The German merchant submarine Deutschland appeared un- 
heralded at Baltimore with a cargo of dyes and chemicals. It was an 
astonishing story and disquieting for those who hitherto had regarded 
submarine warfare as something possible only in European waters. In 
less than two weeks San Francisco flashed the Preparedness Day 
Parade bombing and the name of Tom Mooney first appeared in the 
report. Then the $22,000,000 munitions plant on Black Tom Island, 
Jersey City, exploded. 

After a summer of war news, political oratory, preparedness 
speeches, bombings and explosions, readers turned with genuine relief 
to the approach of the World Series. Debating the relative merits of 
the Brooklyn Nationals and Carrigan's Boston Red Sox was one way 
to escape talk of bloodshed and violence. Sports Editor Moss headed 
the five-man staff assigned to report the series, but it was a Traffic 
Department triumph which made coverage of the 1916 World's Cham- 
pionship games a sensation in the newspaper world. 


Ordinarily the leased wire circuits were broken at strategic points 
in order that the report might be readjusted for regional needs and 
relay. Even when the play-by-play story of the World Series took 
precedence over all other news, this transmission method had been 
followed. As preparations began for the 1916 edition of the baseball 
classic, Cooper conceived the ambitious idea of delivering the play-by- 
play story direct from the baseball park to every point on the main 
leased wire system without any intervening relay or delay. 

Nothing of the kind had ever been attempted before in either 
news or commercial transmission. Cooper's Traffic Department, however, 
set out to make telegraphic history by arranging for an unprecedented 
single circuit, 26,000 miles in length, to operate from the ball parks in 
Boston and Brooklyn into the office of every leased wire member news- 
paper. The plan worked flawlessly. When John A. Bates, the chief 
operator assigned to the World Series staff, tapped out the play-by-play 
story dictated by Moss, operators in member offices across the country 
received the Morse code signals simultaneously. 

Members were impressed by the feat, but one of the greatest ex- 
pressions of praise came from an inventor: 





The World Series opened in Boston on a Saturday and hundreds 
of operators began copying the play-by-play account. The first inning 
and a half had been played and Bates in the press box at Braves Field 
was sending evenly: 


Just as Gardner bunted safely the smooth flow of signals was 
interrupted. Then: 




Frank M. Wheeler, string correspondent at Newport, had tried 
vainly to reach the Boston Bureau by telephone with news that the 
U-53, flying a German man-of-war ensign, had just put into Newport 
harbor. In desperation he ordered the operator at the Newport Herald 
to break in on the play-by-play with a flash and bulletin. This was no 
Deutschland, such as had turned up at Baltimore, but a fighting sub- 
marine. Wheeler was positive of his facts; he had confirmed them with 
Rear-Admiral Austin M. Knight and the U.S. Engineers' office in 

Once he had crowded all the information he had onto the special 
World Series wire, he put out in a motorboat to the U-boat's anchorage, 
exhibited his credentials and was the first person permitted on board. 
Leutenant-Kapitan Hans Rose, her commander, gave Wheeler the story 
of the transatlantic trip, explained that he had entered the port "to pay 
his respects," and asked the reporter to post a letter for him to the 
German embassy at Washington. He said he planned to sail again in 
a few hours. 

It was not pure chance that gave the association immediate informa- 
tion on the U-53's arrival. Conger at Berlin had confidentially advised 
headquarters some weeks earlier that another transatlantic submarine 
voyage was likely and correspondents along the coast had been in- 
structed to watch. 

Wheeler followed the U-53 we ll out to sea by motorboat and was 
the only newspaperman to report the halting of the American freighter 
Kansan off Nantucket Lightship. Although the Kansan was permitted to 
proceed, the news served warning that Leutenant-Kapitan Rose had a 
definite mission off New England. Day and night staffs, twenty men 
in all, were mobilized. All shipping in the danger zone was charted 
so accurately that the Boston staff figuratively watched the liner 
Stephana, first of the U-boat's victims, steam toward her doom. 

The submarine's torpedoes sent five ships in all to the bottom, 
some of them within sight of American shores, but outside the three-mile 
limit. Utilizing wireless stations, marine observers, ships at sea, the 
British Atlantic squadron, American destroyers, shore correspondents 
and staff men, Boston covered the U-53's daring raid with a 10,000- 
word budget in the Sunday night report and 14,000 words on Monday. 
Staff men went miles offshore in fast motorboats to meet rescue vessels 
and get the stories of the survivors. 

Editors called the U-53 the biggest story to develop this side of 
the Atlantic in connection with the European war. It brought the terror 


of submarine warfare into American waters, revived the public indigna- 
tion that had smoldered since the sinking of the Lusitania and imposed 
a further stress on the government's policy of neutrality. 

In this uneasy atmosphere the nation looked ahead to the climax 
of a presidential campaign in which the war had been a major issue. 


ON THE New York Curb Exchange the odds were 10 to 7 that Charles 
Evans Hughes would be the next president. The Republican National 
Committee confidently claimed 358 of the country's 531 electoral votes. 
Political soothsayers prophesied certain defeat for Wilson. The air was 
full of partisan clamor through the final week of electioneering, and 
even a second American trip of the submarine Deutschland failed to 
displace politics as the top story of the day. 

The zero hour was the closing of the polls on the night of Novem- 
ber 7, and The Associated Press had been four years preparing for it. 
The co-operative's new election service, devised and directed by Wilmer 
Stuart of the New York office, faced its first real test on a national scale. 
For months Stuart had traveled all over the country, setting up the 
machinery by states and instructing bureau staffs on how the service was 
to operate. It was painstaking and undramatic work, stressing accuracy 
first and then speed in the collection and tabulation of the vote. 

Until Stuart began his survey, election coverage had little uniform- 
ity in plan or in method. The organization first undertook to report a 
presidential election with some independence in 1888. Before that time 
the management had relied unquestioningly on the returns collected by 
commercial telegraph companies. The ugly charges provoked by the 
famous Cleveland-Elaine contest in 1884 led The Associated Press to 
cover the next national election, as far as possible, on its own resources. 
The procedure was improvised and experimental, varying from state to 
state and often changing between one election and another. All the 
elections covered in this patchwork way were decided by comfortable 
margins j only this kept attention from the inherent weakness in election 
service operations. 

State by state Stuart examined the existing machinery. In some 
the association depended on returns compiled by county clerks or secre- 
taries of state, and the vote totals, while accurate, were likely to be 
extremely slow. In others, notably the Solid South and traditional 
Republican territory, the reports of the dominant party were utilized, 



the figures gathered by the minority party providing the basis for a 
reasonable check of accuracy. Then there were a few states in which 
member papers pooled resources to set up election services of their 
own and the returns, as tabulated, were made available to the co-opera- 
tive. Stuart also found that returns in any election were zealously com- 
pared with the vote polled by the party in the same district in the 
previous election to determine the gain or loss. This made for a cum- 
bersome and confusing procedure, but politicians and editors generally 
were firmly convinced that election returns without these comparative 
figures were worthless. 

After much study Stuart evolved a system, and in the 1904 
Roosevelt election, using New York State as a guinea pig, he subjected 
it to its first limited test. The county was made the basic unit of the 
machine. A correspondent or member newspaper was instructed to 
collect the returns directly from every precinct in the county by tele- 
phone, telegraph, messenger, or other means. These were reported 
cumulatively to a central bureau where a special force of accountants and 
calculators added the votes to those being received from all the other 
counties in the state. The voting results were thus obtained not only 
swiftly, but also with remarkable accuracy. Stuart introduced the system 
experimentally into several other large states for the 1908 and 1912 
elections, and again it functioned with smooth and accurate efficiency, 
justifying a thoroughgoing test on a major scale. The 1916 election 
offered the first opportunity. 

Long before the campaign ended Stuart had perfected the ma- 
chinery for the service in almost thirty states, among them all those with 
large electoral votes and those which surveys listed as doubtful. 

The time-honored practice of carrying the comparative vote of the 
preceding election was discarded much to the horror of those who be- 
lieved there was no way like the old way and the association decided to 
report the election on the principle that the votes spoke for themselves, 
regardless of how rival parties had fared four years before. 

On November 7 the election army swung into action. The East 
came in rapidly. By 6:03 P.M. New York was definitely in Hughes's 
column. Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania were going Republican also. New Hamp- 
shire, too, had Hughes in the lead, but by a surprisingly small figure. 


The first scattering returns from the nearer Midwestern states began 
to trickle in with Hughes ahead. 

By eight o'clock two New York papers which had supported Wilson 
conceded his defeat. Others followed suit. A number of wire services 
flashed a Republican "victory" and bragged of being so many minutes 
ahead of competitors in announcing the result. Presses spewed "extras" 
that carried editorials on the Democratic downfall. Opposition cables 
from abroad gave Europe's reaction to the Hughes "triumph." Wilson, 
who had returned to New Jersey to vote, heard the reports with dejected 
resignation. Theodore Roosevelt said: "It appears Mr. Hughes is 
elected." In the suite on the eighth floor of the Hotel Astor, Mrs. 
Hughes embraced her husband and exclaimed: "Mr. President!" 

All the while 65,000 miles of Associated Press wires carried the 
returns as fast as they were compiled. There were no flashes that the 
election had been decided. No "overwhelming defeat" bulletins. Just 
facts and figures as they materialized. State by state the report carried 
the number of districts counted, the total number of districts involved, 
and the vote. As Democratic chairmen and pro-Wilson newspapers in 
state after state conceded, stories recorded only the facts. 

The storm broke. Messages poured in from member papers, de- 
manding an immediate story on the election's outcome. The Associated 
Press was a laughingstock! Everybody was conceding a Republican 
victory! One news agency after another had flashed the Hughes land- 
slide! The Associated Press was pro- Wilson and too stubborn to admit 
its man had been beaten! The sheaf of angry telegrams on the general 
manager's desk grew larger and the telephone jangled insistently. 

Stone talked with Stuart and together they studied the incomplete 
electoral jigsaw. The East, of course, was clearly Republican, except 
for New Hampshire where a nip-and-tuck fight was in progress. Wilson 
led in Ohio and Minnesota, but the greater part of the midwest appeared 
safe for Hughes. Even with such a commanding bloc of states assured, 
however, the Republicans were still short of mathematical certainty. 
Returns from Rocky Mountain and far western states were too meager 
to be conclusive, and an abrupt change in the tide there could throw 
everything into doubt. 

Women were voting for the first time in many of those states and 
they were an unknown political quantity. Furthermore, the Progressives 
were strong in this area and their support could be decisive. A check 
of available returns showed that Wilson had a nest egg of 157 electoral 
votes, largely contributed by the Solid South. 


"The Associated Press will make no statement on the outcome of 
the election until the result has been definitely decided," the general 
manager said after his conference with Stuart ended. 

In the early morning hours the picture began to change. Missouri 
and Kansas plumped for Wilson. The tide was running strongly to him 
in the Rocky Mountains and the Northwest. And California, which the 
Republicans claimed by 40,000, had started to report. 

California, 1,264 out f 5)9 J 7 precincts: Wilson 60,734; Hughes 
59,OOO . . , 1,557 precincts: Wilson 79,136; Hughes 78,849 . . 
1,784 precincts: Wilson 106,445; Hughes 107,846. . . . 

By 3 A.M. Wednesday the vote, contrary to all expectations, was 
running so unbelievably close in California, Minnesota, West Virginia, 
and New Hampshire states where clear-cut Republican victories had 
been generally anticipated that Stuart's faith in the accuracy of his 
machine faltered momentarily. Urgent instructions were wired to the 
staff to recanvass every district already counted and verify the totals. 
The rechecks left the figure unchanged. Only in California did a 
difference occur and it was a mere 20 votes. 

The "landslide" ceased to be a landslide. 

Toward dawn papers which had been on the street with headlines 
blazoning Hughes's election issued new extras that the result was in 
doubt. Editorials which had been written on the "new president" were 
thrown out and noncommittal substitutes inserted. The enthusiasm of 
"victory" celebrations gave way to misgivings and pay-offs on election 
wagers halted abruptly. 

All Wednesday the suspense and doubt continued. Wilson's original 
lead of 10,000 in Minnesota melted away and Hughes crept out in 
front by 803 votes. Hughes went ahead in New Mexico by 258, and 
in West Virginia by 1,538. In California Wilson's advantage varied 
erratically. In the afternoon it climbed from 1,538 to 2,945, then 
to 4,694, and then slumped back to 1,490. By 2:30 A.M Thursday, with 
5,347 out of 5,917 precincts reporting, the count stood: Wilson 439,896; 
Hughes 438,486. Another lead from San Francisco stressed that most 
of the returns were from an area where the Democrats could hope 
for the greatest support. Very little had been heard from southern 
California or from the northern section of the state. A bloc of more 
than a hundred precincts in Los Angeles, where Republicans hoped for 
gains, had been locked up for a second night. 


The staff in New York labored on into Thursday, poring over the 
latest batches of returns. Wilson started the day in California with a lead 
of more than 3,000 votes, but before noon additional returns from Los 
Angeles and from Alameda County whittled it down to 500. Hughes 
pushed farther in front in Minnesota and New Hampshire flopped back 
into his column. Wilson was ahead in North Dakota and, by the nar- 
rowest of margins, in New Mexico. It was obvious that, without Cali- 
fornia, Wilson would lose. 

In southern California men on horses and mules went out into the 
isolated areas to get news of how the vote had gone. Where storms 
had interrupted makeshift communications with back counties, cor- 
respondents set out on foot to bring in the delayed tabulations. 

With tension at the breaking point, the day wore on. New Hamp- 
shire swung back to Wilson. Hughes edged out in front in New 
Mexico, but then the substantial Democratic votes from the back settle- 
ments arrived by all manner of conveyances and Wilson was never 
again headed. 

Before long the outstanding California districts began to come in, 
at first slowly and then at a quicker pace. District after district from 
southern California served only to strengthen Wilson's lead. By night- 
fall the belated votes of northern California were being tabulated and 
the bulletins flew along the leased wires to the offices of 911 member 
newspapers. Northern California was sustaining Wilson's advantage. 
More districts in. More counties complete. Figures for two-thirds of 
the state were back-checked and found correct. 

But still the election hung in the balance. There had been so many 
lightning changes in the two days since the polls closed that anything 
still might happen. The hours dragged by. More missing districts were 
reported during the evening. In New York Stuart and Stone waited* 
Nine o'clock. Ten o'clock. Eleven o'clock. Eleven-twenty . . . 


The operator manning the main transcontinental wire yelled it 
across the newsroom and began to copy the sudden fast burst of signals. 
Men fell over chairs and wastebaskets to crowd around him as the type 
bars of his machine flipped out the rapid words: 



On the heels of the Flash rode a bulletin giving the vote: Wilson, 
465,194$ Hughes, 462,224. A few minutes later another bulletin 
Chester A. Rowell, Republican state chairman for California, reluctantly 
conceded the state to Wilson "on the face of the returns as compiled by 
The Associated Press." 

The news was rushed to the special wire which had been strung 
to the President's temporary residence in New Jersey and when Joseph 
Tumulty, his secretary, read the first brief report he seized The Asso- 
ciated Press operator and waltzed him around the room in a boisterous 
whirl of jubilation. Wilson had left on the presidential yacht May- 
flower to keep a speaking engagement in New England, so Tumulty 
dispatched a wireless message. 

Toward midnight, while Wilson's staff rejoiced at Long Branch, an 
editor in New York picked up a telephone to break the news to the 
man the nation had hailed as the next president only two days ago. 
Someone in the Hughes suite at the Hotel Astor answered the call. 

"The President-elect," he said officiously, "has retired for the night 
and cannot be disturbed." 

That was too much for the patience of the editor. 

"Well," he replied, "when the President-elect wakes up in the 
morning, tell him he isn't President-elect any more." 

It was several days before every precinct in the country was 
accounted for and the verdict of sixteen million voters confirmed. The 
electoral vote was: Wilson, 2775 Hughes, 254. California represented 
the difference between victory and defeat. Had Hughes carried the 
state, he would have had one more electoral vote than the number 
necessary for election. Political experts, trying to explain away their bad 
guesses, blamed the loss of the state on Hughes's failure during the 
campaign to make peace with Hiram Johnson, the Republican candidate 
for the United States Senate in California, who carried the state by the 
enormous majority of 296,815. 

The 1916 election was a triumph for the efficiency of Stuart's 
service. In several states the pluralities were only a few hundred votes 
and the smallest percentage of error in tabulating the count would have 
given a totally inaccurate result. 

The machinery which had proved so efficient at a time when 
others were busy "electing" the unsuccessful candidate was continued, 
expanded, and refined for other national elections. It became the only 
service of its kind in existence, the only one to operate on a nation-wide 
scale, and the government at Washington placed so much confidence 



in it that it accepted The Associated Press returns as conclusive proof 
of the election of one candidate or another weeks in advance of the 
completion of the official count. 

"He kept us out of war," had been Wilson's 1916 slogan but 
within weeks after his re-election the war clouds became blacker than 
ever. The campaign slogan had been phrased in the past tense. 


Front pages carried staggering news on the morning of March i, 
1917, and from that date events marched to the climax. 

There had been some confidence as the new year began. Wilson 
formally appealed to the belligerent powers "on behalf of humanity" 
to cease the slaughter and agree to a lasting peace. That was on January 
22. Nine days later the White House knew the futility of the proposal. 

Tumulty brought the disillusioning information to the President's 
private office. The Washington Bureau had just rushed a bulletin from 
Berlin to the Executive Mansion. Tumulty laid the slip of paper on 
Wilson's desk and watched him as he read it. 

The President's face turned gray and when he looked up he said: 
"This means war. The break that we have tried so hard to avoid now 
seems inevitable." 

The Berlin bulletin announced that Germany would begin abso- 
lutely unrestricted warfare on all sea traffic to Europe within twenty- 
four hours. When Ambassador von Bernstorff delivered the formal 
note later in the day, Washington already knew its contents. 

On February 3 Wilson went before Congress to announce severance 
of diplomatic relations with Germany and a few minutes later von 
Bernstorff was handed his passport. The big question everyone kept 
asking was: "What next?" 

The experts of the State Department decoding room got the first 
astounding hint of the answer on February 24 and before the month 
ended Hood of the Washington staff learned what the closely guarded 
messages contained. 

Secretary of State Lansing called the reporter at six o'clock the 
night of February 28 and asked him to come to his house. Hood realized 
that something was in the air, for Lansing pledged him to secrecy even 
before their talk got beyond greetings. Then the secretary of state 
proceeded to give Hood one of the most amazing stories of the 
reporter's career a story which, had it not been backed by documentary 
proof, Hood certainly would have branded as outright propaganda 
although it came from a high government source. Coming from Lan- 



sing under the circumstances it still may have been propaganda, but it 
also was authentic news of a most sensational nature. 

The administration, Lansing explained, had obtained a copy of a 
coded German communication from Dr. Arthur Zimmermann, the 
Kaiser's foreign secretary, to Count von Bernstorff, ambassador at 
Washington, for relay to von Echardt, the German Minister in Mexico 
City. The message, the secretary said, was dated January 19 and stated 
Germany's intention to resume unrestricted submarine warfare twelve 
days later, regardless of Wilson's peace moves then being discussed. 

But all that was merely incidental. Zimmermann's coded note 
directed von Echardt to propose to Mexico secretly that she ally herself 
with Germany and make war on the United States if the nation failed 
to remain neutral. Germany would supply financial support and Mex- 
ico's reward would be the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, 
the territory she lost back in the dim, forgotten days when James Gor- 
don Bennett and David Hale were co-operating on the pony express 
shortly before the formation of The Associated Press in 1848. The final 
point in the plan was that Japan should be persuaded to forsake the 
Allies and join in the attack on the United States. 

Lansing produced proof that the information had been in the 
hands of the administration for four days and that its authenticity had 
been established beyond question. How the cipher message was obtained 
and decoded was something that could not be divulged at the time, but 
the secretary in the strongest possible language pledged his word that 
it was genuine. 

Lansing thereupon told Hood he could have the story, but that 
its source could not be disclosed. No administration official could be 
quoted and the origin of the news must be vigorously protected at all 
costs. Lastly, it even might be necessary for the State Department 
to deny knowledge of the document after the story had been published. 
An official release had been considered, but Lansing had advised against 
such a course because it might appear that the government was using 
the news to bring pressure on recalcitrant members of Congress, then 
fighting the administration bill for arming American merchant ships 
against U-boat attacks. 

Hood debated. For The Associated Press to carry such an explosive 
story solely on its own authority was contrary to regulations. Never- 
theless, this news was too big to wait on precedent. 

"I think we can use it," he said. 

Immediately upon leaving Lansing, Hood called Jackson S. Elliott, 


his chief of bureau, and repeated the information he had obtained. 
Elliott weighed the facts, reflected on the responsibility The Associated 
Press would assume by carrying the story, and made his decision. 

"Go ahead. I'll be right down," he said. 

Hood promptly telephoned Lional C. Probert, news editor at the 
bureau. Realizing his own regular assignment to the State Department 
would prove a fatal clew if word leaked out that he had anything to 
do with the preparation of the story, he requested Probert to take it 
over. He told the news editor that Lansing had promised to have the 
text of the intercepted note ready later in a sealed envelope. 

It was a heavy news night, with a dying Congress grinding out 
its final grist in a late session preparatory to adjournment and Wilson's 
second inauguration. Probert looked around the room. Byron Price 
was needed on the desk. The night editor, Horace Epes, already had 
his hands full. David Lawrence was busy. 

Probert saw young Stephen Early. 

"You're to go to Secretary Lansing's home on Eighteenth Street," 
he instructed, "and bring back whatever Lansing gives you. Then you're 
to forget you ever saw the secretary tonight. That's all. No questions." 

Early got to the old red-brick house in record time. A servant 
ushered him into a reception room and left him to catch his breath. 
Presently Lansing came down the stairway. Reaching inside his long 
dressing robe, he drew out a big, unmarked envelope. 

Probert had the envelope the minute Early came back into the 
office. Shirt-sleeved, an uptilted cigar clamped between his teeth, he 
hustled Lawrence, Epes, and Price into an inner office and plumped 
down before a typewriter. There were a few moments of discussion with 
Elliott on the form and wording to be used in the opening paragraphs 
of the story. Then Probert began typing in his one-finger newsroom 

It had been decided not to start the dispatch on the wires until very 
late that night so that other correspondents would be unable to check 
government officials once the news was out. For that reason the need 
for haste was not pressing. The facts were there and Probert went to 
work on them. He made no effort to heighten the story by emphasis 
the material itself was too sensational. Hammering away at the keys, 
he turned out a straightforward, factual story which marshaled every 
fact that could be printed without exposing the source. As Probert's 


typewriter rattled, Price prepared a detailed "Add" which reviewed 
past difficulties with Mexico and the known facts on German activities 
south of the Rio Grande. 

Elliott went off in search of the secretary of state. He wanted to 
talk to Lansing before the story was actually released, particularly in 
view of Lansing's statement that he might have to deny the news after 
it appeared. Elliott found the secretary at a diplomatic reception and 
they retired to an anteroom. 

"You feel, Mr. Secretary, that because of circumstances you may 
have to deny all knowledge of this Zimmermann story?" the Bureau 
chief asked. 

Lansing nodded. 

"Yet you agree for us to carry it?" 


"Then we'll do it on one condition. You will be asked all sorts of 
things about this story at your press conference tomorrow. I don't 
care how you reply. The Associated Press man will ask you three ques- 
tions. We will carry the story if you will answer those questions as I 

Lansing hesitated until he heard the questions, then agreed. 

It was almost midnight when Probert walked into the newsroom 
of the Washington Bureau with the wad of copy in his hand. He had 
written more than two columns. A confidential note had just been sent 
to all member papers notifying them that news of surpassing impor- 
tance would be transmitted shortly. A clear wire and a ready telegrapher 
were waiting. 

Probert dropped the pages before the telegrapher: 






Paragraph after paragraph the story went out over the wires, and 
with it the text of the document which is now known as the Zimmer- 
mann Note. In scores of member offices editors read the dispatch. As un- 
believable as the story was, they were even more astonished at the fact 
that The Associated Press, on its own authority, was making such state- 
ments. It was the first time member papers had been asked to take 
momentous news on nothing more than the co-operative's word, but 
they did have that word, for the story was accompanied by a confidential 
note saying the facts had been thoroughly authenticated. 

No sooner had the story appeared than telephone and telegraph 
wires began to hum as commercial agencies and individual newspapers 
flooded their Washington offices with insistent queries. Unable to con- 
firm the news anywhere, other correspondents called the whole thing 
a fraud. 

The next morning a hundred newspapermen jammed Lansing's 
office to find out about this Zimmermann Note. There were shouted 
questions. Lansing parried and sidestepped. He said he knew only 
what had appeared in the papers. A murmur went through the room: 

"The Associated Press has stubbed its toe!" 

Lansing managed the interview deftly. Just as he was about to 
bring it to a close, The Associated Press man stepped forward and 
quietly posed the only questions asked that day by the co-operative. 

"Mr. Secretary, did you know The Associated Press had this story 
last night?" 

Lansing studied for a moment. 


"Did you deny its authenticity?" 


"Did you object to The Associated Press carrying the story?" 


With that Lansing stepped through the draperies which hid the 
door of his private office and the press conference ended. 

Confirmation was forthcoming later in the day. The Senate, 
aroused by the disclosures, called upon the President for whatever in- 
formation he had. Wilson answered by transmitting a memorandum 
from Lansing that the Zimmermann Note was authentic and had been 
in possession of the administration for several days. But the most con- 
vincing proof of all came when Chief of Bureau Conger cabled from 
Berlin that Zimmermann, the foreign minister, volunteered the admis- 
sion that he had sent the note. As though to justify himself, Zimmer- 


mann ingeniously stressed that "the instructions were to be carried out 
only after declaration of war by America." 

The story of how the United States government obtained the text 
of the Zimmermann note was not made public until years later. The 
British Intelligence Service had intercepted a copy of Zimmermann's 
instructions to von Bernstorff and it was turned over to Admiralty 
experts for decoding. The contents were so astounding that the informa- 
tion was given to the American ambassador at London on February 24, 
and he immediately cabled it to the State Department. The State De- 
partment later said that the necessity for concealing Britain's knowledge 
of German codes was a major reason why Lansing withheld from Hood 
any facts on how the Zimmermann message came into the administra- 
tion's possession. 

The United States entered the World War on April 6, 1917. Presi- 
dent Noyes and General Manager Stone called on Wilson and the sub- 
ject of wartime censorship was discussed. They suggested that any 
American arrangement include provision for competent newspapermen 
on the censorship boards so that the people would be assured of receiv- 
ing all the news the publication of which was not actually injurious 
to the country's interests. 

Army and Navy officials, they pointed out, were instinctively dis- 
posed to suppress almost everything and might automatically forbid dis- 
patches which obviously were of value to the people at home. Wilson 
agreed and to a great degree the suggestion was incorporated in censor- 
ship methods. 

The declaration of war touched off a great surge of patriotism. 
Seen from the headquarters of the association, however, the outlook 
was hardly as bright as orators painted it. Private advices, the reports 
of men on furlough from the front, and what could be read between the 
lines of closely censored dispatches gave a dark picture. Britain's spring 
offensive in Artois had been a costly failure, and the French thrust in 
Champagne had been hurled back with such terrific slaughter that six- 
teen army corps mutinied and refused to attack. The news from Whiff en 
at Petrograd was no less disquieting. The Czar had abdicated in the face 
of revolution and a shaky coalition of moderates were struggling to 
keep Russian armies in action. On the seas submarine warfare was tak- 
ing an appalling toll of shipping. Allied fortunes were at a low ebb. 

America's entry redoubled the importance of news coverage abroad 


The general manager started the first contingent of additional staff men 
to Europe and selected others to sail as soon as troop movements started. 
Overseas the continued collection of news of enemy nations was a definite 
problem. The expulsion of staff men made neighboring neutral coun- 
tries the substitute channels for obtaining the news of the Central 
Powers, and reporters regularly assigned to key neutral centers were 
brought to New York for special instructions. 

Ulrich Salchow, for years correspondent in Stockholm, was one 
of those recalled. When he was ready to embark from Brooklyn to 
return to Sweden, he had trouble boarding his boat. A crowd of Rus- 
sians jammed the pier, listening to a fiery speech from a man who ha- 
rangued them in their native tongue from the ship's rail. Salchow, 
who understood Russian, was surprised by what he heard, yet the 
police and secret-service men present made no move to interfere. 

"I go to Russia to help the revolution," he was yelling. "Russia 
will make peace with Germany. We will see to that, and we will end 
the loss of Russian lives in a war in support of capitalism. I shall be 
back, my comrades, to join you in the destruction of the capitalistic 
system in America. England, France, Italy will fall before our cause. 
Communism is the call for the world revolution." 

Salchow struck up an acquaintance with the speaker when the boat 
left port and told him he marveled that he spoke so plainly in the 
presence of the police. 

"The officers of the law are idiots," the Russian said. "They did 
not know what I was saying." 

The British Intelligence, however, learned what had been said. 
When the ship touched at Halifax two days later the Russian was 
arrested and taken ashore. Unperturbed, he promised Salchow: "I shall 
charm these fools and I will see you in Stockholm." 

Three weeks later the Russian walked into Salchow's office in 

"How in the world did you make it?" asked the correspondent. 

"Easy," the visitor replied. "I merely told them how I was going 
back to Russia to end the revolution and throw the force of Russia 
back into the war wholeheartedly against Germany. That assurance was 
all they wanted. They not only released me, free to take the next ship, 
but they furnished me some funds as a bon voyage." 

The Russian was Leon Trotsky, 


America's first shot of the war was fired April 19, the anniversary 
of the Battle of Lexington. A naval gun crew on the American liner 
Mongolia opened fire on an attacking U-boat in British waters and sank 
her. Captain Rice, the Mongolia's commander, gave the co-operative an 
eyewitness account as soon as the ship reached port an account which 
was such big news that commercial competitors pirated it as soon as it 

By this time piracy of news had reached such proportions that the 
association instituted legal action against the major offender, Hearst's 
International News Service. The piracy demonstrated the need for hav- 
ing the association's dispatches regularly credited, instead of leaving 
the matter to the discretion of individual members, for pirates could 
always offer the defense that they did not know an uncredited item 
was Associated Press news. Accordingly, on April 26 the Board of 
Directors issued orders that all Associated Press matter should be 
credited and that all members should daily carry printed notice of the 
paper's affiliation with the co-operative. 

Besides the problem created by piracy, the association, like so 
many enterprises in different fields, encountered operation difficulties 
as staff men left to join the colors. The Traffic Department suffered 
heavily. The Signal Corps was in need of trained telegraph men 
and within the first months a hundred of the six hundred and sixty 
regular telegraphers had joined. A number of the men were in France 
three weeks after their enlistment. Some two hundred others, unable 
to serve because of age or disability, devoted spare time to the instruc- 
tion of Signal Corps recruits. 

The editorial staff also was involved. Seventy-five men joined the 
armed forces and others volunteered for Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. units 
overseas. Washington lost three front-rank men when Steve Early, 
Byron Price, and W. F. Caldwell enlisted, and other bureaus suffered 
in proportion to their size. 

The first drawing of the draft imposed a tremendous burden on 
wire facilities, already hampered by government demands on com- 
munications. At 9:49 one summer morning, in the public hearing room 
of the Senate office building, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker drew 
out the first draft number 258 and a minute later it went out over 
the news network. To the men numbered 258 in each of 4,500 draft 
precincts it was notice they had been chosen to fight. In all, io,5Qp 


numbers were drawn in the two days of the draft lottery, and the report 
carried every one of them. To handle the story which meant so much 
personally to the able-bodied men of the nation, four special parallel 
trunk wires were set up. From 9:50 A.M. one day until 2:18 P.M. the 
next, the numbers streamed across the continent, until the last one was 
flashed ten minutes after it had been drawn. One Traffic man, John 
Mooney at the Scranton Republican, stayed on duty twenty-six hours 
and fifteen minutes. At 8 A.M. the second day one number ticked off the 
sounder that made Mooney grin it was his own. 

The first troops Regular Army units sailed for France a few 
weeks after General Pershing's arrival in England in June, and Stanley 
W. Prenosil, from the Boston Bureau, made the trip in one of the trans- 
ports. The news of troop departures was suppressed as a military 
measure, but when the first transport reached France with Prenosil 
aboard, he cabled a story that touched off unbounded enthusiasm 
throughout the United States. Phillip Powers of the Paris Bureau also 
sent a story on the landing of the troops on French soil. These dis- 
patches were the only ones that came through. 

Then a tempest burst. The wartime Committee on Public Infor- 
mation criticized the association for carrying the stories. It charged that 
the news had been sent in defiance of censorship regulations through 
the bribery of a telegraph operator. Publication of the dispatches, it 
said, gave the enemy information which jeopardized the lives of troops 
still in the danger zone at sea on other transports. 

Stone instituted an investigation. Prenosil and Powers were in- 
structed to forward sworn statements regarding the charge that they 
bribed an operator to violate censorship regulations, and a request 
was made to the Intelligence Section of the American Expeditionary 
Force for any information its inquiry uncovered. 

Developments proved that the exclusive stories were exclusive only 
by virtue of an accident. Censorship orders had, in truth, been issued, 
directing that all dispatches dealing with the arrival of the first Amer- 
ican units in France be withheld for simultaneous release after the 
last of the transport fleet docked. The Intelligence section reported: 

. . . the fault was not with any correspondent, but with some one who 
permitted these telegrams to go through to London before the word of release 
was given. 


No retraction of the charges came, however, and in less than two 
weeks an even wilder teapot episode occurred. On July 3, after all ships 
of the first transport fleet had safely reached France, The Committee 
on Public Information released in the name of Secretary of Navy 
Josephus Daniels a stirring story of two battles between the troopships 
and destroyers under Admiral Cleaves and enemy submarines. The at- 
tack, the release said, "was made in force, although the night made 
impossible any exact count of the U-boats gathered for what they 
deemed a slaughter." On the authority of the wartime information 
czar, the Daniels story was carried, but it aroused the doubts of staff 
editors informed on submarine warfare. Since U-boats were blind when 
submerged, they traveled alone to avoid the dangers of collision and 
no one had ever heard of an attack in flotilla force. 

A copy of the story was relayed to London and Frank America, 
one of the staff there, sought comment from British naval experts and 
at the European headquarters of the American naval forces under 
Admiral Sims. Two days later New York headquarters received the 


To the general manager and the news editors alike the preliminary 
phrasing of the dispatch proved puzzling. It was marked "confiden- 
tial" but it also bore the censor's release: "Passed for publication USA 
only." After discussion, the conclusion was finally reached that the 
London Bureau had labeled the message confidential because of doubt 
that the censor would permit its transmission for publication. As long 
as the British censor had passed it for publication, they reasoned, there 
was nothing to prevent its use. In a matter of minutes the story was on 
the wire, exploding the original story of submarines attacking in fleets. 

Washington questioned Secretary Daniels about the London dis- 
patch, and Daniels, whose newspaper, the Raleigh (N. C.) News and 


Observer y was a member of The Associated Press, immediately called 
Stone by long-distance telephone. He asked that the story be killed 
quickly. The request was an official demand from the wartime govern- 
ment and Stone had no alternative. A mandatory notice to kill the story 
went out immediately, but in most places the dispatch was in print. 

Once more the Committee hurled its charges. The London dispatch 
was damned as "a cruel lie ... the work of a correspondent in search 
of a story, and the British Court of Inquiry branded him a liar and 
expelled him from the fleet." President Wilson was so incensed that 
he said he never again would speak to Melville Stone. Daniels was 
too philosophical to quarrel, but he told Stone that Admiral Cleaves, 
like Wilson, would never forgive him either. Stone expressed his re- 
grets, but explained that the story had come from a staff man and 
The Associated Press believed it. 

Another investigation was ordered and while it was in progress 
Stone attended a reception in honor of one of the Allied missions 
which had arrived in New York to help co-ordinate war efforts. 

"Mr. Stone," said a voice at his elbow, "is there any reason why 
you and I can't have a cocktail together?" 

The general manager found himself facing Admiral Cleaves, who 
had just returned from convoying the first troopships to France. 

"Mr. Stone," said the admiral, "I owe you a debt that I never can 
repay. I mean for denying that silly story given out from Washington 
respecting two fierce battles with submarines. I am a plain common 
sailor and not given to that kind of statement. I could not be responsible 
for the hysterical rhapsody. Of course, the order to all our boats was 
that if anything like a periscope appeared to fire at it, and that was 
done. The officers on the individual boats saw evidences of periscopes 
and torpedoes and took a shot at them. That was the whole story." 

The investigation abroad upheld the truth of Frank America's 
dispatch. He had obtained the information from officers at Admiral 
Sims' base, where convoy destroyers frequently took on supplies. Pub- 
lication of the story in the United States, however, was a mistake. 
America had meant the information to be confidential, but the censor's 
stamp, "Passed for publication USA only," which should not have 
been transmitted, was incorporated as part of the cabled message. As 
for America himself, the British Admiralty exonerated him and he con- 
tinued welcome at Admiral Sims' headquarters. 


Not long after the submarine episode the general manager went 
to Europe to supervise arrangements for the increased news demands 
that would arise when American troops began active fighting. He 
toured the lines, sloshing through muddy trenches with a sergeant of 
marines as his guide. The costly British Passchendaele offensive was 
bogging down in the quagmire of Flanders. Bled white by heavy cas- 
ualties, the French had reverted to defensive tactics, and on the eastern 
front the last fitful Russian drive flickered out under the hammering 
of German counterattacks. 

Shifting his men to meet the war situation as it existed, Stone 
sent Charles T. Thompson to the Italian front. Because of the growing 
acuteness of affairs in Russia, Charles Stephenson Smith, correspondent 
at Peking, was ordered to Petrograd to relieve Whiffen. Robert T. 
Small, with the British in Flanders for some time, was transferred to 
Pershing's headquarters where he was later reinforced by Norman L. 

Just before his reassignment, Small almost lost his life in the 
Somme during the limited advance which took Peronne. Crossing a 
ruined bridge he plunged through a camouflaged section into the river. 
A party of British engineers rescued him. 

SmalPs successor with the British and Belgian forces was DeWitt 
Mackenzie, the only American correspondent to see what was happening 
in the Egypto-Arabic theater of war. Captain John Yardley, D.W.O., 
one of England's World War heroes and then aide-de-camp to the 
British commander in chief in the Near East, said of his work: 

It was well known to us at General Headquarters that Mackenzie's dis- 
patches, not only from Egypt, but from other theaters of war, were the most 
potent written, for they lifted the veil, and revealed to the American public 
the true facts. 

As the autumn waned, William Gibson, an operator, was killed in 
London during an air raid and Frank America had a narrow escape 
when a zeppelin bomb burst so close that he was knocked down and 
covered by falling debris. 

In London Stone devoted himself to a firsthand study of the cha- 
otic cable conditions which were playing havoc with efforts to get news to 
the United States promptly. Government messages took precedence and 
their volume was extremely heavy. "Urgent" rates no longer existed, 


so the association began filing a large number of dispatches at the full 
commercial rate of 25 cents a word. This boosted cable tolls to $2,000 
a day, but failed to improve conditions materially. Western Union de- 
clined to guarantee delivery of any press messages in less than forty- 
eight hours, and the French cable company refused newspaper dispatches 
because it was unable to provide satisfactory service. 

Stories sent at the full commercial rate often took from seventeen 
to fifty-two hours in transmission. Frequently dispatches filed at the 
slower ly-cents-a-word press rate arrived in New York long before full- 
rate stories. Communications with Russia were wholly unpredictable. 
Some stories never reached New York at all, and many times instruc- 
tions from New York never reached Petrograd. One message from 
the Russian capital to New York was sixty-two days in transit. Through- 
out the remainder of the conflict the erratic cables destroyed many clean 
beats and on any number of occasions gave scoops to dispatches which 
normally should have been hours behind. 

Back home in the United States, the nation was trying to forget 
its war worries momentarily by reading of the World Series, and again 
Cooper lined up his 26,ooo-mile circuit to report the Chicago White 
Sox-New York Giants games direct from the ball parks. Despite the 
keen competition of other news, the baseball classic could still command 
position on American front pages, and it had one less story to contend 
with that October, thanks to one of the co-operative's staff. 

Upheavals in Mexico no longer made the stories they once did 
now that America was embroiled in Europe, but Pancho Villa continued 
active in Chihuahua and was anxious to impress the United States by 
defeating President Carranza. An attack on the federal-held town of 
Ojinaga seemed to offer a good opportunity, and Villa laid plans for an 
assault early in October. Just as he finished preparations, Norman 
Walker, a staff correspondent, reached his camp. Villa had known the 
reporter during several years of assignments south of the Rio Grande, 
and therefore confided his plans to Walker and asked if he considered 
the date propitious. 

Smiling, Walker told Villa he could not have chosen a worse time. 
The World Series, he pointed out, was just starting and what space 
American newspapers had for news other than baseball would be pre- 
empted by war dispatches. 


"If you wait until after the World Series," Walker said, "you 
might make the front pages." 

Villa waited, and when he finally took Ojinaga he did make the 
front pages. 

But there was far greater news that October than the 1917 World 
Series or a postponed Mexican battle. On October 24, in a thick fog 
intensified by snow and rain, a spearhead of six German and nine Aus- 
trian divisions smashed through on the Caporetto sector and the entire 
Italian front collapsed. Thompson was caught in the rout which 
streamed back toward the River Piave in confusion. The second day 
of the swift Austro-German advance found him on the crumbling front 
at Gorizia, which was being mercilessly pounded by massed enemy 
artillery. He had mounted the highest available rampart to get a better 
view of operations, when a shell burst near by, burying him and sev- 
eral companions under an avalanche of earth and mud. Rescuers dug 
out the party. Thompson was the only one wounded j a piece of shrap- 
nel had hit him in the head. The wound was dressed at a first-aid 
station and he returned to his task of reporting the offensive which 
hurled the Italians back more than sixty miles and at one time threat- 
ened the utter destruction of their armies. As it was, General Cadorna 
lost 800,000 effectives. 

On the heels of the Italian breakdown came the black news from 
Russia. For weeks the cables that got through from Whiffen, Chief 
of Bureau Smith, H. L. Rennick, and other members of the staff at 
Petrograd or at the Russian front had been alarming. They told of 
rioting, unrest, demonstrations for a separate peace and the ugly 
atmosphere pervading the country. The report began to mention the 
unfamiliar names of Nikolay Lenin and Leon Trotsky, Salchow's 
shipboard companion of a few months earlier. When Associated Press 
dispatches described how Russian troops were shooting their officers and 
parading under red flags to shouts of "Down with the war!" the State 
Department at Washington felt sufficiently concerned to issue a counter- 
statement that diplomatic advices from Russia indicated no grounds 
for worry and that full confidence continued in Russia's loyalty to 
the Allies. 

The bloody Russian Revolution which broke on November 7 
proved how well the Petrograd staff had been reporting true condi- 
tions. Throughout the Red Terror the men daily took their lives in their 
hands when they got their news and arranged for its transmission. Smith 
saved an American consular official from being bayoneted by a berserk 


soldier and was promptly felled by a clubbed rifle. Soldiers pounced 
on him and beat him up badly. Another member of the staff was shot 
in the knee by a sniper. But the news came out the spread of the 
revolution, the conclusion of an armistice between the Central Powers 
and Russia, and finally on December 27 the full text of the treaty of 
Brest-Litovsk, first Teutonic peace terms formulated since the begin- 
ning of the war. 

Just as the Board of Directors opposed carrying the by-lines of 
staff men, it likewise vetoed any wartime relaxation in the hard and fast 
rules governing the handling of cabled dispatches. The policy was to 
carry nothing under a foreign date line which did not come by cable, and 
the board ordered that this regulation continue to be strictly observed. 
Even when half of a story arrived in the day report and the other 
half at night, there was to be no rewriting of the previously published 
portion so that the night report might have a slightly different lead 
from that carried on the day wires. The practice was sharply at variance 
with that of commercial agencies and individual newspapers, for many 
regularly rewrote and expanded the cables they received, incorporating 
matter the original dispatches did not contain, drawing conclusions 
from war maps, and giving the stories a literary polish not likely to 
appear in copy written in haste under fire. 

The only concession made to the war was the introduction of 
Undated War Leads, written in New York, which rounded up all in- 
formation into one comprehensive story. Undated Leads subsequently 
became the approved newspaper method of handling any major story 
involving a multiplicity of date lines and developments. 


General Manager Stone returned from Europe late in the year to 
an America which had settled down in earnest to the serious business of 
being at war. New York was singing "Over There," "Tipperary," and 
"Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," a catchy air written by 
a Camp Upton sergeant, Irving Berlin. The advertising signs along 
Broadway were darkened by order of the federal fuel administrator. 
People joked about wheatless Mondays, meatless Tuesdays, sugarless 
coffee, and coalless furnaces. Herbert Hoover had become the nation's 
food czar, and wartime Prohibition was around the corner. 

The war moved on into 1918. The collapse of Russia had freed 
thirty German divisions from the eastern front for service in France, 


Every sign pointed to a gigantic struggle for a decision on the western 
front. Charles Kloeber, chief of the News Department, had relieved the 
general manager in Europe as active director of the staff, and Cooper, 
the Traffic Department head, went abroad to attempt improvement in 
the erratic cable conditions. American troops were almost ready for battle 
lines and once they went into action there would be an additional heavy 
burden on the jammed cables. 

Early in March confidential advices began to trickle into New 
York headquarters that a German drive on the western front was immi- 
nent. Soon after the first advices there came a publishable cable: The 
German High Command had invited neutral correspondents to start 
for the west "to witness the German offensive." The dispatch aroused 
little attention. Military authorities in Washington expressed the opinion 
that an Allied offensive was more likely, and the public looked on the 
story as a Teutonic ruse. Nevertheless, Jackson Elliott, who had been 
brought from Washington to command the News Department in 
Kloeber's absence, took all precautions and ordered preparation of a 
background story outlining the exact military situation in France so 
that it would be ready for use if the Germans unleashed their drive. 

The advance information from neutral sources proved all too cor- 
rect. At 9:30 A.M., March 21, the leased wires hummed with a bulletin 
from Mackenzie telling of the pulverizing German bombardment on 
the sixty-mile Arras-Cambrai-Saint-Quentin front. Other cables added 
further details: The enemy was hurling a force of approximately half 
a million men against the British. An hour and a quarter after the first 
bulletin there came further confirmation of the importance of the 
offensive. From Amsterdam Correspondent Thomas Stockwell for- 
warded a dispatch quoting the Kaiser as saying: "We are at the de- 
cisive moment of the war, and one of the greatest moments in German 

The tremendous drive was the beginning of LudendorfPs March 
break-through and the sagging British lines were thrust relentlessly 
backward. As Ludendorff hammered out an ever-deepening salient into 
the Somme sector, the cables on March 23 brought from Roberts in 
Paris something so improbable that news editors in New York hesi- 
tated to use it. The story stated that a heavy siege gun had been 
bombarding the French capital throughout the forenoon, firing at fif- 
teen-minute intervals. What made the news almost incredible was the 
fact that the office war maps showed the nearest German lines to be 


twenty-six miles away a far greater distance than the range of any 
known artillery piece. 

The dispatch was withheld and a hurried check made through 
Washington with War Department ordnance experts. They called the 
story absurd. To bombard Paris from such a distance a gun would have 
to hurl its projectile at least twenty miles into the air, and no such 
weapon was known to exist. 

Stone was in St. Louis at the time and Elliott passed the dilemma 
to him. The story gave Stone pause. If the news were not true, he 
realized that the consequences would be most serious. On the other 
hand, he knew Roberts was not a man to lose his head. The times given 
in the dispatch showed the correspondent had waited five hours after 
the start of the bombardment before filing his story, and that was evi- 
dence he had not acted on the spur of the moment. Lastly, the cable 
had been passed by the French censor. Stone made his decision: 

"Release Roberts story. We'll stand pat on it." 

The appearance of the news that day provoked an outburst of scorn 
and disbelief. Commercial agencies ridiculed the notion of such a siege 
gun, calling it an "absurd invention" and a "plain blunder." 

At a dinner that evening Stone was publicly twitted. 

"Well," he said good-naturedly, "back in New York I have a 
friend, the Reverend Dr. Minot J. Savage, who holds with a Cape Cod 
farmer that the religious faith of the Evangelical Christian is 'believin' 
in the thing that you know ain't so.' Such is my position. I believe this 
story 'that I know ain't so,' because The Associated Press says it." 

For forty-eight hours the co-operative "stood pat," and then the 
critics, military and journalistic, belatedly discovered that the facts set 
forth were correct. Not airplanes, but a monster long-range gun had 
been bombarding Paris. 

Cable tolls more than doubled as the German March offensive 
smashed forward forty miles before Mackenzie and Roberts cabled that 
the break-through had been finally halted. From the Paris Bureau came 
equally significant news: Ferdinand Foch had been appointed to co- 
ordinate Allied operations, his first step toward becoming generalissimo 
a few weeks later. 

There was little respite for Mackenzie. Hardly had LudendorfPs 
offensive been checked on one sector than Germany loosed a new drive 
at another part of the British-held front and shook eleven divisions into 
the clear in an April break-through which menaced the vital Channel 
ports. It was then that the report carried General Haig's famous order: 


"There must be no retiring. With our back to the wall and believing in 
the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end." 

American divisions by this time had taken over three front-line 
sectors, mostly quiet in character, and four correspondents were as- 
signed to cover them Norman Draper, John T. Parkerson, Samuel F. 
Wader, and Philip M. Powers who had served at one time or another 
on every front in Europe except the Dardanelles. Wader wrote the 
story of the first real engagement of American troops on April 20 at 
Seicheprey, when the Germans took the town and held the position for 
half a day before they were dislodged. It was a month before cables 
told of the capture of Cantigny, which served to atone for the initial 
reverse of United States arms at Seicheprey. 

While the British were battling desperately to halt the year's 
second "big push" by Ludendorff and conditions in France grew more 
critical, the members of The Associated Press convened in New York 
for the annual meeting. This was no routine assembly. Melville E. 
Stone, now seventy, had completed a quarter of a century of service as 
general manager and they gathered to fete him. The aging Victor Law- 
son was there to pay him tribute, and there was praise, too, from Adolph 
Ochs, Noyes, and others of the group that had fought with him in behalf 
of honest news gathering during the turbulent 1890*8. Stone spoke of 
the testimonial celebration as "a fine funeral," but even this attempt 
at levity could not conceal how deeply he was touched. 

The war seemed far away during the festive celebration, but before 
many weeks had passed Stone was packing his bags to resume direction 
of the report in Europe. Matching their March and April drives, the 
Germans broke through again in May, this time on the French Chemin 
des Dames front which Berry covered, and the gray tide rolled on 
toward Paris as it had in the crucial autumn of 1914. Philip Powers and 
Burge McFall, formerly of the Washington staff, accompanied the 
Second Division at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood early in June 
when United States regulars and marines dramatically stopped the Ger- 
man left at the Marne. The brilliant counterattack of the Second Divi- 
sion marked the debut of large-scale American action on the western 
front and the cables carried every word censors' blue pencils permitted 
to go. By the time Stone arrived in Europe the May break-through had 


been completely halted, more American divisions were going into the 
lines and the stage was almost set for the Second Battle of the Marne. 

The association's entire attention, however, was not focused on 
France. Much closer to home a covert bloodless war was being waged 
by the Central Powers in South America, and in it the name of The 
Associated Press had suffered. 

Immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, Germany 
had invaded the Latin-American nations with a government-subsidized 
propaganda service which masqueraded as a news agency under the 
name of Prensa Asociada Spanish for Associated Press. Supplied to 
South American papers more or less gratis, the news was strongly pro- 
German and the directors of the service cultivated the belief that the 
dispatches actually came from The Associated Press. Until the United 
States entered the war, the propaganda was directed against the Allies, 
but in April, 1917, the service extended its operations to minimize and 
deprecate America's part in the conflict. 

The tardiness of The Associated Press in expanding into South 
America was due primarily to an old agreement between the major 
news-gathering organizations of the world. It dated back to the days of 
William Henry Smith. Under this pact the Reuter Agency had Great 
Britain, her colonies, Egypt, Turkey, China, and the countries within 
Britain's sphere of influence. The Havas Agency of Paris took for its 
territory France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Central and South 
America. The German Wolfe Bureau was given jurisdiction over the 
Reich, Scandinavian countries, Holland, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and 
the Balkans. The Associated Press had the United States. Foreseeing 
that closer relations between the United States and South America 
were essential, Stone declined to agree in 1912 to a long-term extension 
of the agreement, but the war in 1914 interrupted plans for a definite 

Havas, therefore, continued to serve South America, although its 
war news was almost as one-sided as the German Prensa Asociada. Con- 
trolled by the French government, Havas carried no news of enemy suc- 
cesses, enemy communiques, or similar material. When South American 
papers, desirous of getting both sides of the story on an important 
event, demanded American Associated Press dispatches, Havas repre- 
sentatives in New York abstracted the required copy from the co-opera- 
tive's report, in contravention of the existing agreement, and relayed it 
to Havas men in South America. Except for these occasions when actual 
Associated Press news was demanded, South American papers were 
largely dependent on Havas and Prensa Asociada. Furthermore, Havas 


was interested solely in distributing news in South America and not in 
gathering South American news for the rest of the world. To get any- 
thing approaching adequate coverage, The Associated Press had found 
it necessary to assign its own staff men to the continent. 

With Prensa Asociada redoubling its efforts after America's entry 
into the war, it was obvious to the Board of Directors of The Associated 
Press that they could not combat such an agency through the medium of 
Havas. The State Department, concerned over the influence wielded by 
the German propaganda service, urged The Associated Press to give 
the nation's Latin-American neighbors factual news both about the war 
and the United States. Notice accordingly was served on Havas that the 
co-operative would terminate its agreement, and on June 8, 1918, 
Cooper sailed for South America. 

News of Cooper's coming preceded him. When he reached Val- 
paraiso, the first person to seek him out was an agent of Prensa Aso- 
ciada. The man came to the point at once. He wanted to negotiate a 
contract that would give Prensa Asociada exclusive South American 
rights to the name of The Associated Press and distribution of its news 
report. He named an attractive figure. Cooper told him Prensa Asociada 
might multiply its offer a thousand times, but neither that sum nor any 
other astronomical amount could buy The Associated Press. 

Cooper spent three months in South America. He found the im- 
portant newspapers anxious to obtain a genuine Associated Press report. 
They were disgusted with both Havas and Prensa Asociada and they 
had lost reliance in the accuracy of one American commercial agency 
because of such major blunders as the reporting of the fall of Soissons 
thirty days before the city actually fell. Cooper left behind a discredited 
Prensa Asociada which collapsed a few months later. 


In the busy cable room in New York the flood of cables was end- 
less. On July 1 5 Ludendorff launched Germany's final bid for victory 
in a great Friedensturm, or "peace offensive," on the Marne. Burge 
McFall, James P. Howe, Norman Draper, and Samuel Wader were 
with the A.E.F. divisions which helped turn the tide. Roberts and Berry 
were on the French front to the American left, and in Paris Stone him- 
self could hear the thunder of artillery in the battle that was the begin- 
ning of the end. 

After the second Marne the tide flowed back, and in France alone, 
from the North Sea to Switzerland, operations became so continuous 


that no one man, however capable, could hope to cover them adequately. 
The story called for a tried and co-ordinated staff, each man contributing 
his part to the broad sweep of a narrative that pounded toward its 
climax. As the repeated Allied counterblows beat Ludendorff stagger- 
ing back, only those in the cable department in New York knew from 
day to day which of the men on the front did the outstanding work in 
any one twenty-four hours. 

Dispatches from Stockwell in Holland and Bouton in Sweden gave 
added significance to the German retreat when they told of seething 
unrest on the home fronts of the Central Powers, mutinies in the Ger- 
man fleet, the insistent demands for peace. And there were many more 
reports of the Central Powers' reverses in the Balkans, Whiffen's 
stories on the White Army in Siberia, Smith's cables from the turmoil 
of Petrograd, the news Rennick sent from the Allied anti-Bolshevik 
forces at Archangel, Frank King's dispatches from another Allied com- 
mand at Vladivostok, and all the rest of the heavy transoceanic tide of 

The pins on the map moved. 

American First Army Destroys Saint-Mihiel salient . . . British 
Take Nazareth . . . Hindenburg Line Broken . . . Bulgaria Surren- 
ders . . . Argonne Forest . . . Germany Asks Peace Terms . . . 
Kaiser's Abdication Demanded . . . Italians Crush Enemy on Austrian 
Front . . . Ludendorff Resigns . . . Americans Take Sedan . . . 
E.O.S. Bulletin . . . E.O.S. Bulletin . . . 

In France, McFall and Powers "captured" the German stronghold 
of Stenay, entering the town alone well before the advancing troops they 
had accidently outdistanced. In Belgium, Mackenzie appealed directly 
to Field Marshal Haig when no transportation was available to enable 
him to keep pace with the rapid British gains. To his bewilderment he 
got not one but seven touring cars. From a temporary post in neutral 
Denmark, Bouton slipped across the German frontier and started on 
his risky way to Berlin. And to the southward W. C. Hiatt followed 
the fleeing, disorganized Austrians in a strenuous race to be the 
first newsman to reach Vienna. 

The general manager returned to the United States November 3, 
two days before Germany was informed that the Allies had designated 
Marshal Foch to receive delegates and communicate armistice terms. 
The pins kept moving on the big cable department map. On the 53,000- 
mile leased wire network 1,033 newspapers were waiting around the 


NOVEMBER 7, 1918. 

The lunch-hour crowds flowed tranquilly along Broadway and Park 
Row. Then suddenly everyone seemed to go mad in a frenzy of hys- 
terical noise. With incredible speed the tidings raced through New 
York. Church bells clanged, whistles shrilled, and a storm of ticker tape 
and paper swirled down. 

They could see all this happening from The Associated Press win- 
dows at 51 Chambers Street. Below, City Hall Park swarmed black 
with people. Crowds were climbing on top of surface cars, stalled in the 
pack of humanity which jammed Broadway to the right and Park Row 
to the left. Urchins scaled the scrubby trees behind the Post Office, 
waving flags which had materialized from nowhere. Office buildings 
disgorged an elbowing tumult of men and women into the bobbing sea 
of heads. 

The men who looked down from 51 Chambers Street wore wor- 
ried expressions. They knew what had touched off the explosion of noise 
and emotions, and with that knowledge had come a hopeless, sinking 
feeling of defeat. Even before the jubilant clamor shattered Broad- 
way's lunchtime serenity, a dumbfounded editor tore across the news- 
room with the message which told the story. Inarticulately he thrust 
it into the hands of Elliott, chief of the News Department. 

Just five words which had come pounding through from an alert 


Elliott frowned, unbelieving. In a trice another urgent message 
was on his desk "Opposition Has Armistice" and the wires were 
buzzing with a dozen more. They all were the same. 

The Associated Press was beaten on the biggest story of the war! 

The moment of sick paralysis ended in an instant, and then there 
was Elliott's voice, tense but unexcited: 

"Get cables after London and Paris! Full rate!" 

"Open a line to the State Department! Pll talk to Frank Polk!" 

"Bring me a map!" 



He kept rapping out instructions to check every possible source. 
An oppressive silence descended on the newsroom like some physical 
weight, magnifying the staccato of the Morkrum battery, the impor- 
tunate voices of the men working telephones, the monotonous rattle of 
Morse keys. In the Cable Department tight-lipped editors hung over 
every incoming news wire. A staff man, back from lunch, burst into the 
office, hurrahing that the Armistice had been signed, but the look on 
every face smothered his jubilation. 

Elliott sat grimly at the desk which had become the focal point 
not only of the office but of the entire domestic service. By leased wire 
and telegram a storm of complaint and criticism was rolling in. 

Why didn't The Associated Press have the Armistice? Badly 
beaten here . . . The Associated Press is pro-German withholding the 
news . . . Resigning our membership as soon as possible . . . 

The stacks of outraged communications grew with the minutes. 
The telephone clamored repeatedly and Elliott listened to the abuse 
and imprecations which members near and far shouted into his ear. 

To all verbal inquiries, he gave the same stock answer, repeating 
it quietly, almost by rote: 

"We have no news that an armistice has been signed. Our men 
abroad are on the job. The State Department has made no such an- 
nouncement. When The Associated Press gets the news, we will carry 
it, but not before!" 

All the while the clock hands crept onward, and the thunderous 
roar that beat in from the sunlit early afternoon was an incessant 
reminder that deepened the gloom of the newsroom. 

One by one, each source failed to provide the story. Elliott talked 
with Undersecretary of State Polk: the State Department knew nothing 
. . . Collins in London could not confirm . . . Still no word from 
Paris . . . 

The chief of the News Department bent over the large-scale map 
spread on the desk. Around him was a knot of intent men L. F. Cur- 
tis, Elliott's assistant j Harry Romer, day cable editor j Harold Martin, 
news superintendent for the Eastern Division} and M. A. White night 
general editor. With a pair of dividers Elliott measured off miles on 
the map while Romer thumbed through a thick file of cable dispatches, 
meticulously checking time elements or facts concerning the projected 
visit of German plenipotentiaries to Foch to negotiate an armistice. 

The opposition flash had stated flatly that the armistice had been 
signed at n A.M., yet the big map emphatically told the group at 


Elliott's desk that it was impossible. Romer produced his cables. At 
12:30 that morning the German High Command had wirelessed Mar- 
shal Foch the names of its emissaries and requested that he designate the 
point along the front where they would be permitted to enter the 
Allied lines. Foch's reply, sent at 1:25 A.M., informed the enemy that 
the party would be passed through the French outposts near the 
Chimay-Fourmies-La Capelle-Guise road. While this exchange oc- 
curred, and for at least three hours longer, the German emissaries were 
known to be still at German General Headquarters in Spa, Belgium. 
Moreover, the latest advices, although without specific timing, had the 
general Allied advance smashing forward unchecked. 

The map gave the rest of the story. The air-line distance between 
Spa and Foch's headquarters in the forest of Compiegne was roughly 
105 miles. By road it would be almost half as far again, and a speedy 
automobile trip was the remotest of possibilities. Heavy shellfire and 
aerial bombardments had been smashing the roads behind the German 
front, and those in any sort of repair were clogged with troops, supply 
lorries, and great quantities of equipment the Germans were trying to 

Elliott shook his head. 

"It couldn't be done," he said. "The Germans could not have 
reached there from Spa in time to sign an armistice at that hour." 

The clocks kept moving, the bedlam of noise from the streets beat 
against the windows, and the tension of uncertainty tightened. It 
couldn't be true, it wasn't true, yet ... 

The general manager had been at lunch with President Noyes 
when the first report flew through downtown New York. They battled 
their way through the delirious crowds to reach the office. Stone's first 
question was on the story. 

"How did we make out?" he asked Elliott. 

"We didn't, Mr. Stone. We don't have the story." 

"No, Mr. Stone, and I'm convinced the story is wrong, that no 
armistice has been signed." 

Elliott quickly sketched everything that had been done since first 
word had come of the opposition's flash. Stone nodded as he heard the 
exhaustive check made in all conceivable quarters and was impressed 


by the evidence found in the map and in the hours of the Franco- 
German exchange of messages early that morning. 

"What have you put out on the wire?" the general manager 

"Nothing, sir." 

"H-m. We should carry an informative note giving members the 
status of this thing as we know it." 

He thought a moment. 

"Put out a Note to Editors at once, and one every half hour until 
we get to the bottom of this. I want to see all copy. Go ahead." 

The informative message hit the wires as soon as Elliott finished 
writing it. In member offices people read: 




By that time even the man in the street had come to know that The 
Associated Press had not carried any news of an armistice. In some 
cities this failure acted as a brake on demonstrations after the first 
spontaneous outbursts. 

In San Francisco, Mayor James Rolph, addressing an exuberant 
crowd which descended upon the City Hall, said: "The United Press 
has been informed that the armistice has been signed. I have received 
no confirmation of this from The Associated Press, and until I do I 
suggest that celebration plans be suspended." A few minutes later, 
speaking to the San Francisco Bureau by telephone, he declared: "I 
will wait until I hear from you before giving the order for any peace 

In New York, however, the reaction assumed an ugly character 
and an angry phalanx of demonstrators marched on 51 Chambers Street. 
The cry of "Damned Huns" went up to the windows and fists were 
brandished when one bibulous patriot shouted: "Come on, let's clean 
out the rats." Upstairs, Elliott told a reporter to call police headquar- 
ters and arrange for a detail to guard the building. 


Still no word, and still no halt in the succession of heated tele- 
grams, messages, and telephone calls. Not even the Hughes-Wilson 
election had provoked such a violent outpouring. 

Then the suspense snapped. For more than an hour City Editor 
Carl Brandebury had been sitting with an ear glued to a telephone 
receiver on the line which had been kept open to the State Depart- 
ment in Washington. Undersecretary Polk had promised word as soon 
as any definite information came from abroad, and the department was 
working the cables unsparingly. Brandebury watched the clock hands 
tick toward 2:15. The receiver clicked in his ear. 


The shout brought Stone to the door of his private office. 

"Polk will be on here in a second!" 

Everyone watched Elliott's face as he jammed it close to the 
telephone mouthpiece to shut out the noise of the room. Everyone 
watched his pencil fly across a piece of copy paper. 

"Bulletin! All Wires! Bulletin!" 

Telegraphers waited, ready fingers hovering over suddenly idle 

Copy boys scrambled across the room. 

Filing editors grinned with relief. 

Morse keys vibrated and the sounders chorused: 



All other events that day were anticlimactic. It did not even seem 
important that Elliott and his aides had their dinners interrupted the 
same evening in Whyte's Restaurant and were hurried through a back 
door to save them from attack by a bellicose group of drunken revelers 
who brandished water carafes. 

The end came four days later. Everyone knew then that the Ger- 
man emissaries were conferring with Foch. Everyone knew that the 
long-awaited news was only a matter of hours. When the regular 
"Good Night" was given on leased wire circuits at 2:30 A.M., November 
n, operators remained at their keys, lights burned on in newspaper 
offices, and composing room crews waited in readiness. It might come 
any minute. 


From Washington. Two words. 2:46 A.M.: 

F-L-A-S-H F-L-A-S-H 

Then the first bulletin: 










The first whistles started to shriek. Bonfires flared. Gongs clanged. 
Cannon boomed. And papers slithered in a damp flood from the whirl- 
ing plates. 

Extra . . . Extra . . . Extra . . . 

Washington functioned with the smooth precision of a highly 
geared machine. Before sunset that day the bureau poured 11,582 
words onto the leased wires. Treading on the heels of the first Washing- 
ton bulletins came the rush from abroad which swept in on the Cable 
Department. Paris. Berlin. Amsterdam. Hohenzollern in Holland. 
Rome. Vienna. The Front. A.E.F. . . . 

The emotional jag of November 7 was a mere rehearsal for the 
paroxysm of jubilant celebration which took the country by storm. This 
time it was real. This time it was authentic. This time there was no 
question of the facts. 

As the cheering, screaming throngs took possession of the streets 
once more for a hysterical holiday of triumph and relief, telephones 


jangled in a thousand editorial rooms. Readers who had been misled 
November 7 wanted to know if they could trust this latest news. 

At a desk in the office of the Tribune Herald at Rome, Georgia, 
J. D. McCartney sat before a telephone, answering the endless queries. 

"Yes, madam, it's right this time. . . . Yes, it's correct. . . . It's 
all in the extra that's on the street now. . . . Oh, no, no doubt what- 
soever. . . . Yes . . . Yes . . . Yes . . ." 

It was a boring job when everyone else was out celebrating. 

Another call. A staid, elderly woman by the tone of her voice. 

"Who says the Armistice has been signed?" she asked briskly. 

"The State Department at Washington," intoned McCartney for 
the hundredth time. 

"Oh, pshaw!" the voice exclaimed impatiently, "Does The Asso- 
ciated Press say it?" 


WITH twenty-five miles of delirious noise New York welcomed the 
first troops home from France on December 23, 1918. That same day 
Mr. Justice Pitney in Washington delivered an opinion of the United 
States Supreme Court. The case of The Associated Press versus the 
International News Service had been in litigation for two years before 
the decision was handed down. 

Back in the rough-and-tumble days of early nineteenth century 
journalism when Hale and Hallock were outdoing the New York har- 
bor news combine, competitors regularly filched news from the Journal 
of Commerce. Bennett and, later, Greeley both suffered at the hands 
of news thieves, but in that era the tendency was to look upon piracy 
as an oblique compliment. Some editors even boasted in print that rivals 
found it necessary to steal their news in order to keep pace. "We rather 
like it," Greeley acknowleged. 

This attitude did not long survive the period of individual jour- 
nalism. Although outright news piracy came in time to be looked upon 
with disfavor, the practice continued uncurbed and for a long while no 
consistent efforts were made to stop it. 

As newspaper production methods speeded up and transmission 
facilities improved, the operations of the pirates assumed more dam- 
aging proportions. Editors saw their news, gathered at considerable 
effort and expense, regularly pirated by agencies of various types which 
made no comparable attempt to cover the world. Most of these agencies 
were short-lived in spite of their wholesale appropriation of dispatches, 
but the evil remained. At first individual publishers hoped that the 
national copyright laws might be extended to protect the contents of a 
daily paper. Congress, however, showed no disposition to oblige, and 
the bill died in committee. 

Ignoring previous failures, The Associated Press in 1899 desig- 
nated a special committee to investigate the possibility of having a news 
copyright law enacted. The committee's work proved ineffectual. 

The World War tremendously stimulated the activities of the 



pirates. Without an extensive news-gathering organization abroad, it was 
impossible for some agencies to cover the conflict adequately or 
promptly, so the appropriators of news began to prey more than ever 
on the reports of The Associated Press. If the news thefts were to be 
stopped, the organization would have to strike at the practice itself and 
not at the devices by which it was carried on. 

Late in 1916, because of what it termed "continued garbling of 
messages and breach of faith," the British government debarred Inter- 
national News Service from securing any news in Great Britain or from 
using cable lines running from Great Britain. France, Canada, Portugal, 
and Japan followed suit. The actions were based on the publication in 
the United States of stories purporting to be International cable dis- 
patches which contained statements not appearing in the cables passed 
by the censors. The prohibitions became effective November 17, and 
after that date the agency was denied the opportunity to obtain or cable 
the news from any one of the five countries. Despite this, International 
continued to supply this news regularly and promptly as if it were 
being normally received by cable. 

A discharged employee of the International News Service at Cleve- 
land confided to Traffic Chief Cooper that an editorial man of the 
Cleveland News was selling the Associated Press war news to the com- 
mercial agency at so much per week. Cooper went to Cleveland, got 
written statements, and dictated affidavits to which the signatures were 
affixed. He returned to New York and told Stone: "Here's the basis 
for your legal test of the property right in news." 

Armed with these affidavits, The Associated Press took its case 
into the Federal District Court at New York on January 4, 1917, and 
petitioned Judge Augustus N. Hand for an injunction restraining Inter- 
national from further piracy. 

International News Service contested the action, disclaiming all 
guilt of pre-publication piracy. 

An injunction granted by Judge Hand, as modified by the Circuit 
Court of Appeals, covered all points raised by The Associated Press. 
International News Service then took the fight before the United States 
Supreme Court. There the contest centered on a single issue: Whether 
the commercial agency had the right to appropriate Associated Press 
dispatches once these items had been printed. The Supreme Court held 
that it did not, thereby establishing the property right in news. 

For The Associated Press in particular and for news-gathering 
enterprise in general, the decision was a major triumph. The Board of 


Directors spoke of it as a victory that "may well be celebrated." A 
mutual, permanent injunction was obtained. 

As a supplementary action the Board of Directors renewed its 
insistence that all Associated Press news be properly credited, so that 
no pirate could plead ignorance of its origin. Accordingly all members 
of the co-operative began to credit the news, either with the established 
line, "By The Associated Press" or with a logotype (JP) which 
could be carried in the dateline of each story. The logotype became the 
more popular method and in time The Associated Press came to be 
known universally as "AP." 

General Manager Stone learned of the Supreme Court decision 
in Paris where he had gone December 3 to organize the special staff 
being assembled to cover the most momentous peace conference of 
modern history. The conference was not to open until January, but 
already delegations were foregathering to study the intricate and com- 
plex problems left by the war. 

The Paris Peace Conference proved an unparalleled assignment. 
The subject matter presented a distinct departure from the accepted 
range of news in prewar days. There were questions of economics, 
ethnography, geography, history. Experts collated masses of material 
on Mandates, Demilitarization, Self-determination, War Guilt, and 
Reparations. The place of a League of Nations in postwar civilization 
was envisaged and discussed. 

The fact that secrecy shrouded so much of the negotiations imposed 
a heavy handicap on all efforts to obtain complete, accurate, and honest 
accounts of what was happening. The world-wide interest was tremen- 
dous, for mankind looked hopefully to the peace conference to lay the 
foundations for a new era of international order on the wreckage of 
"the war to end war." 

For all its surpassing importance, however, the conference was 
merely a news island in a troubled Europe. At Rome, Thomas Morgan 
heard members of the Italian Parliament sing the "Red Flag" and hiss 
the King. Bouton and Enderis in Berlin had days of street fighting to 
report as Communists and Independent Socialists loosed a determined 
effort to seize the government. W. S. Hiatt, the correspondent with the 
most luxurious mustache in the service, led a peripatetic existence from 
Warsaw to Prague, back to Poland, to Galicia, and then to the Ukraine 
as the news currents shifted. The virtual state of war in Ireland sent 


Guy Moyston and Thomas W. Morris from London to join W. H. 
Brayden, resident correspondent at Dublin. Nor was that all. There 
were the armies of occupation along the Rhine, the patient watch at 
the gates of the Kaiser's refuge in Holland, the luckless campaigns of 
White Russian armies, the revolt in Hungary, and the ferment in the 
Near East. 

In the Cable Department at New York the expectation had been 
that, with the end of the war, European news would gradually revert 
to the proportions of the days of 1914. On the contrary, before the 
Peace Conference was well under way it became apparent that Europe 
had assumed a new and vast importance in American affairs. The multi- 
colored pins on the big Cable Department map moved as frequently 
as they had before the Armistice. The staff abroad was greater than at 
any time during the war years, and still growing. 

In recognition of this great development, the general manager ap- 
pointed Charles T. Thompson to assume immediate supervision, under 
the chief of the News Department, of the service from Europe and 
Asia. In spite of the costly burden of all the extensive war coverage and 
the even heavier expenses of the exacting postwar period, however, the 
co-operative could boast that it had been able to deliver an outstanding 
report to member papers without once raising assessments. Commercial 
agencies, on the other hand, had found it necessary to levy additional 
charges on clients for the reports they furnished. 

In all, war coverage expenses totaled $2,685,125.12, and meeting 
that bill without assessment increases was quite an achievement for an 
organization with an annual income from all sources of approximately 
$3,000,000. Foreign Service costs for 1913, the lasfc prewar year, were 
$225,543. From August I, 1914, when the war broke out, until the 
end of the year a matter of only four months expenses were $258,- 
551. In 1915 the figure was $518,875, or more than double. The bill 
for 1916 was $541,935$ for 1917, $564,604. Large-scale American par- 
ticipation in 1918 boosted costs for the final year to $801,157 or almost 
one-third of the entire annual news budget. 

Owing to the war, the domestic branch of the service had been in 
temporary eclipse, but by 1919 it was resuming its place. The greatest 
immediate expansion occurred in the Southern Division with extension 
of wire circuits, enlarged bureaus, and reorganized facilities. The re- 
turn to something approaching a peacetime footing was accelerated by 
the return of editorial and traffic employees who had left their desks 
or telegraph keys to join the armed forces. 


Like the draft drawing of 1917, the news of the home-coming 
troops in 1919 provided a succession of stories which intimately touched 
the lives of millions of readers. So numerous were special coverage re- 
quests that The Associated Press in co-operation with the War Depart- 
ment worked out a detailed system to handle the service. Each day the 
report carried a cumulative abstract of the homeward bound troops, 
giving the names of the transports, dates of sailing, ports of embarka- 
tion, the number of troops on each ship and their units, the ports of 
debarkation and the names of the camps to which the men were to be 
sent before departing for demobilization centers. Two staff men from 
the New York office were assigned to meet the incoming ship and one 
of them was Stanley W. Prenosil, who had sailed with the first A.E.F. 
transports for France two years before. 

The general news of the domestic scene had a tenor of unrest 
and uncertainty. Labor disturbances were widespread, and the curve of 
unemployment mounted as industrial production was sharply slashed 
from the peaks of wartime pressure. Boston had its celebrated police 
strike which projected Governor Calvin Coolidge into the national lime- 
light. The high cost of living added to distress, and there were endless 
items dealing with arrests, speechmaking and legislative action concern- 
ing the postwar "Red scare." 

From a coverage point of view, the Boston police strike showed 
all the difficulties which arose in so many of the labor controversies that 
year. Feeling ran righ and contending forces read every line of news 
with hypercritical eyes. When the strike ended, James H. Vahney, 
counsel for the policemen's union, in an unsolicited statement, praised 
the Boston Bureau for "utmost fairness," and Governor Coolidge wrote 
his appreciation of the "efficient and faithful" manner in which the news 
had been treated. 

Men who returned to their positions with The Associated Press 
that year after the war found that a forward-looking step had been taken 
in their absence. The Board of Directors had established a comprehen- 
sive system of employes' insurance, pensions, disability and sick benefits. 
Heretofore only commercial and industrial corporations with large 
financial resources had undertaken to set up such a plan for the welfare 
of employes, and the introduction of the idea into the field of journal- 
ism on an extensive scale aroused considerable comment. 

Until the evolution of the organization into a non-profit co-opera- 


tive, the lot of men who made news gathering their career had been 
a precarious one. The precursors of the modern press association gave 
scant thought to the welfare of employes. Sickness or disability was 
looked upon as an individual's private concern. Long and faithful serv- 
ice was of little help to men whose value had been impaired by age. 
As for death, it was a calamity survivors had to meet with such savings 
as the deceased had been able to build up from salaries which never 
had been extravagant. 

Under President Noyes and General Manager Stone the co-opera- 
tive began to recognize the association's responsibility toward employes. 
In spite of the deficits and financial stress of the first decade of the cen- 
tury, the board made numerous individual provisions for pensions, sick 
pay, and disability allowances. Adolph Ochs, of the New York Times, 
consistently advocated the most liberal attitude. There was no well- 
formulated, universal policy, however. Each case was considered sep- 
arately on the special set of facts involved. 

When the association's fortunes became financially stabilized 
shortly before the World War, the board gave more thought to the 
establishment of a workable plan. Traffic Department Chief Cooper, 
who had been an advocate of such a system since his second year in the 
service, began a study of various actuarial plans and devised the pro- 
gram which the board put into effect on July i, 1918. Besides sick pay 
and disability allowance, the plan provided for pensions for retiring 
employes and death benefits to surviving families. By the start of 
1920 the plan protected 1,038 employes, editorial, clerical, and traffic 

In April, 1920, Melville E. Stone relinquished active duties as 
general manager to take an extended leave of absence at his own request 
for reasons of health. The Board of Directors appointed the assistant 
general manager, Frederick Roy Martin, to be acting general manager 
in Stone's absence, and the next day brought further administrative 
changes. Cooper was promoted to assistant general manager 5 Jackson 
Elliott became general superintendent in immediate charge of the news 
report j Milton Garges succeeded Cooper as chief of the Traffic De- 

And so it was 1920. The war was done, peace treaties had been 
signed, but the man in the street summed up the times with a rare apt- 
ness when he used the new slang phrase, "the cockeyed world." Na- 


tional Prohibition was ushered in. New England buzzed about Ponzi's 
extravagant financial manipulations. The KuKlux Klan rode again. 
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford got married. F. Scott Fitz- 
gerald wrote of the younger generation. A mysterious explosion rocked 
Wall Street, killing thirty-eight. And a cause celebre began with the 
arrest of two Italian workmen, Nicola Sacco and Bartolommeo Van- 
zetti, for a fatal Massachusetts holdup. 

Abroad the turmoil never slackened. Gabrielle d'Annunzio seized 
Fiume, the port denied Italy in the peace settlement, and Morgan of 
the Rome Bureau buried himself under the coal of a locomotive tender 
to get into the city and obtain the first authentic news. Germany bat- 
tled through another revolution, the Kapp uprising, and automobiles 
placarded "The Associated Press of America" were passed through the 
lines by both rebel and government factions. An amazing Red army 
smashed the Poles back to the very gates of Warsaw, and James P. 
Howe found himself with a 35omile front to patrol. In the Near East 
Allied armies occupied Constantinople, and Charles Stephenson Smith 
saw Turkey's new man of destiny, Mustapha Kemal. 

The Black and Tan terror was loose in Ireland, and four staff cor- 
respondents carried on in the face of unconcealed hostility from both 
Crown and republican forces. At Amerongen in Holland Rennick and 
Berry alternated in the patient wait for a moment that never came 
the opportunity to interview the secluded ex-Kaiser. Experts struggled 
with the question of what reparations the Central Powers should pay, 
and Correspondent Kloeber in Vienna found himself covering Sir Wil- 
liam A. Goode the British reparations commissioner for Austria but the 
same "Billy" Goode whom Diehl had assigned to Admiral Sampson's 
flagship back in the days of the Spanish-American War. Monarchist 
uprisings in Portugal, maneuvers for King Constantine's return in 
Greece, the White Armies in the Ukraine, agitation in Italy, pleb- 
iscites in the Balkans the bulky log ran on from day to day. 

The only sustained break in the heavy character of the news came 
with the Olympic Games at Antwerp where Correspondent Salchow of 
Stockholm doubled in brass by winning the world's figure skating cham- 
pionship on the ice and serving on the four-man sports staff which cov- 
ered the events. 

Throughout the year in Europe the coverage of Russia's news re- 
rri^ined a continual source of concern. Since the enforced departure of 
the Petrograd staff late in 1918, the association had no regular corre- 
'spbjidents in the vast country, except for those with the Allied forces 


operating against the Bolsheviks. Attempts to reach some agreement 
with the government encountered a succession of failures. Maxim Lit- 
vinoff, commissar of foreign affairs, refused to grant visas to any cor- 
respondents not "of known sympathy" with Soviet rule. This imposed 
an impossible condition for The Associated Press. For a time an im- 
provised service of fair regularity was maintained by a special under- 
cover correspondent, Mrs. Marguerite Harrison, but eventually she was 
imprisoned and the news halted. Thereafter the association was forced to 
rely on staff correspondents assigned to strategic spots along Russia's 
borders and such news as could be smuggled out of the country from 
time to time. 

America was again preoccupied with the concerns of a presidential 
year. The bitterly debated League of Nations issue, the disillusionment 
which accompanied postwar reaction, and the temper of political feelings 
gave the contest an unusual character and placed a premium on accurate, 
factual reporting. 

The conventions were the first Stone had missed as general man- 
ager since the McKinley-Bryan nominations in 1896. Acting General 
Manager Martin took charge of the staff first at the Chicago gathering, 
which selected Warren G. Harding, and then at the Democratic con- 
vention in San Francisco, where James M. Cox was chosen. But he was 
not the familiar figure that the old chief had been. The fact proved em- 
barrassing to J. C. Godfrey, one of the operators on the traffic force at 
the Chicago convention. Arriving early in the press section the opening 
day, he found a man sitting quietly there, apparently a spectator who 
had wandered into the wrong benches. As Godfrey tested and checked 
the telegraph wires, he ordered the stranger about casually, telling him 
"ease over here," "slip over there," and "you'll have to move." The 
spectator obliged without comment. Then Godfrey began talking by wire 
to the Chicago Bureau where the convention hall circuits fed onto the 
news network. 

"Any AP man there?" asked the bureau. 

Godfrey turned to the man sitting near by. 

"You happen to be an AP man?" he asked. 

"Yes, sir." 

Impressed by the politeness, Godfrey 

"Yes, one fellow here. Guess he's a r <j 

He turned to the man again. 

"This guy wants to know your name," | 
the Morse key. 


"Fm Mr. Martin," said the acting general manager of The Asso- 
ciated Press. 

Before the electorate cast the ballots which produced the great 
Coolidge-Harding landslide in November, the country or at least the 
part of it that read the sports pages was shocked by the sensational 
Chicago "Black Sox" scandal, which exposed the "throwing" of the 
World Series baseball games between Chicago and the Cincinnati Reds 
the previous autumn. Charlie Dunkley and Don M. Ewing of the Chi- 
cago staff "broke" the story that Eddie Cicotte and Joe Jackson, two of 
the best known Chicago players, had confessed, and it was Ewing who 
witnessed the moving scene outside the criminal courts building where 
several hundred small boys loyally waited for their idol, Joe Jackson, 
to appear after testifying before the grand jury. 

Ewing left with Jackson and as they made their way through the 
hushed crowd, one tiny youngster timidly stepped up to the outfielder 
and tugged at his sleeve. 

"Say it ain't so, Joe," he pleaded. 

Joe Jackson looked down. 

"Yes, kid, I'm afraid it is." 

The crowd of little fans parted silently to make a path. 

"Well, Pd never thought it," gulped the youngster. "Pd never 
thought it." 

The Chicago story of Joe Jackson's disillusioned admirer and the 
pathetic "Say-it-ain't-so-Joe" entreaty that became a national expression 
were typical of the humanizing sidelights which were appearing occa- 
sionally in the report. Not yet numerous enough to be considered essen- 
tial, they indicated a definite trend. 

Superintendent Elliott summed up the record in the accounting of 
operations submitted to the Board of Directors a few weeks before 1920 
passed into history. Discussing the march of events, he said: 

A notable feature of our news service of late has been the large number 
of remote and rather inaccessible points, far removed from the old news 
centers, which seem to have developed into important news fields Athens, 
Constantinople, Warsaw, Fiume, Lucerne, Geneva, Riga and Dublin. This 
has given an exceptional diversity of datelines, and has led to the more gen- 
eral use of AP dispatches from the outlying points, as individual newspapers 
have their staffs concentrated at the old centers London, Paris and Berlin, 
and are dependent on The AP when important news breaks elsewhere. . . . 

This general policy of covering news from the scene of action is a trans- 
formation from the old system of covering practically all news largely from 


London and Paris. Editors no longer want news filtered through the old 
capitals. They want it direct from the scene. 

To the man in the street the news was still of a "cockeyed" world. 
In Chicago a staff correspondent eluded a cordon of guards and inter- 
viewed the legendary John D. Rockefeller in his long underwear. The 
first Prohibition agent was slain in New Jersey. Cortesi watched the rise 
of a black-shirted Fascist party recently founded by a prewar Socialist 
named Mussolini. And in the beer halls of Munich a former corporal 
harangued crowds, denouncing the Versailles Treaty, the French, the 
Jews, the capitalists. Handbills identified the speaker as Herr Adolf 

President-elect Warren G. Harding only recently had coined the 
phrase: "Back to normalcy." 


AROUND the long conference table, members of the Board of Di- 
rectors were discussing the possibility of increasing employes' insurance 
benefits when Stone entered the room. He was almost seventy-three, 
yet he seemed almost as alert and commanding as ever. 

"At my time of life," he said, "it must be obvious to anybody that 
in the comparatively near future my career must be over. I should be a 
fool if I hung on here as general manager like the Old Man of the 
Sea until an hour when death thrust someone suddenly into my posi- 

"That is why I asked for a leave of absence last year so it could 
be determined whether the personnel that I had gathered around me 
was capable of running the service. Not alone whether they were capable 
of running it, but whether the Board of Directors felt they were capable 
of running it. And not alone that the Board of Directors felt that, but 
the membership of the association. 

"Now I have purposely avoided going to the office. They have 
consulted me from time to time. I have the very warmest regard for 
the personnel here. The responsibility is upon you. It must be you 
who exercise the judgment, but my own feeling is if you agree with me 
that Mr. Martin has shown a capacity, that these other gentlemen have 
shown a capacity to carry on the work, then I think it is due Mr. Martin 
that he be made, not the acting, but the real general manager. I should 
like to resign." 

In a few minutes the thing was done. Melville E. Stone ceased to 
be the general manager of The Associated Press. But the board was 
not willing that resignation should sever all his ties. President Noyes 
proposed that the office of counselor be created and that Stone be ap- 
pointed to fill it. There were some feeble attempts at levity which did 
not quite come off. 

"The title of counselor suggests a fountainhead of wisdom," ob- 
jected John R. Rathom of the Providence Journal with mock serious- 



"Mr. Stone is not rejecting that," smiled Noyes, and the resolu- 
tion was unanimously adopted. 

Henceforth it would be Counselor Stone. 

That same day, April 29, 1921, Frederick Roy Martin was ap- 
pointed general manager. Theoretically, the assignments of the execu- 
tive family lapsed with the naming of a new general manager, but Mar- 
tin immediately reappointed Assistant General Manager Cooper and 
Traffic Chief Garges, and within two weeks Jackson Elliott was raised 
from general superintendent to be a second assistant general manager. 

Like Hale, Hallock, and Craig, Martin was a New Englander by 
birth. A man of independent means, he had devoted himself to news- 
paper work since his graduation from Harvard in 1893 the same year 
Stone, his predecessor, took the helm of The Associated Press of Illinois. 
For six years Martin worked in Boston. Then he joined the Providence 
Journal and presently became its editor and treasurer. During his ad- 
ministration the paper's prestige, circulation, and finances advanced ma- 
terially and Martin's reputation gained such influence that in April, 
1912, he was elected to the Board of Directors of The Associated Press. 

The most immediate administrative problem of the new general 
manager was the steady loss of able and experienced staff men. The 
wartime development of propaganda had been an object lesson to busi- 
ness, big and small, in the possibilities of publicity, and trained news- 
papermen were eagerly sought as press agents. Most attractive salaries 
were offered sometimes double what a man earned with the co-opera- 
tive and some men on the staff were sorely tempted. In a period when 
the cost of living soared to uncomfortable heights, it was difficult to 
refuse the commercial propositions, in spite of the fact that so many of 
the positions were obviously transitory. 

Martin, Stone, Cooper, and Elliott brought the matter to the 
attention of the board and urged that the management be given a free 
hand to readjust salaries in order to anticipate or at least meet the bids 
of commercial enterprises for staff men. The point carried and the raids 
on the personnel were checked to a degree. Another aspect of publicity's 
development, however, continued a nuisance. The postwar crop of press 
agents utilized all sorts of artifices in their attempts to get publicity 
stories on the leased wires, and endless vigilance was required to keep 
the report free from advertising matter skillfully disguised as news. 

The character of contemporary news, moreover, left no space in 
the report for anything not essential. Even the humanizing little features 
had to compete against a welter of prime dispatches. Congressional de- 


bate on a soldiers' bonus and tax legislation kept Washington busy. 
Sports had the "Battle of the Century" when Jack Dempsey and 
Georges Carpentier met at Boyle's Thirty Acres. Rum Row set up busi- 
ness off the coast. The depression which began in 1920 sagged toward its 
low, with 5,735,000 unemployed. The demand for economic, business, 
and financial news continued without abatement, necessitating further 
expansion in that department of the report. A number of members were 
especially insistent that the association enlarge its Wall Street coverage 
to include stock and bond quotations, together with a longer list of other 

The story, however, which made 1921 so memorable for the news 
report belonged to Kirke L. Simpson of the Washington Bureau. 

But for the impressive solemnity of the occasion, Simpson's assign- 
ment might have been considered routine. The nation was bringing its 
Unknown Soldier home from France to a final resting place in Arling- 
ton National Cemetery, and Simpson was assigned to write the stories 
on the final obsequies for the nameless man whom the country paused to 

Simpson was only one of the scores of newspapermen many of 
them journalists of reputation who stood under the sodden skies in 
the gray, chilling rain at Washington Navy Yard on November 9 when 
the Olympia, Admiral Dewey's flagship at Manila Bay, slowly swung 
up the Potomac bringing the dead Unknown home from the wars. 
Minute guns boomed in salute. 

Simpson wrote the first of his seven Unknown Soldier stories that 
afternoon. The next day he described the steady tide of humanity which 
flowed in silence past the catafalque under the vast rotunda of the Cap- 
itol. Then on the third anniversary of the Armistice there were the 
final ceremonies at the Unknown's tomb on the wooded ridge high above 
the Potomac. Simpson's first story read: 

Washington, Nov. 9. (By The Associated Press). A plain soldier, 
unknown but weighted with honors as perhaps no American before him be- 
cause he died for the flag in France, lay to-night in a place where only mar- 
tyred Presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, have slept in death. 

He kept lonely vigil lying in state under the vast, shadowy dome of the 
Capitol. Only the motionless figures of the five armed comrades, one at the 
head and one facing inward at each corner of the bier, kept watch with him. 

But far above, towering from the great bulk of the dome, the brooding 


figure of Freedom watched too, as though it said "well done" to the servant 
faithful unto death, asleep there in the vast, dim chamber below. 

America's unknown dead is home from France at last, and the nation 
has no honor too great for him. In him, it pays its unstinted tribute of pride 
and glory to all those sleeping in the far soil of France. It was their home- 
coming to-day; their day of days in the heart of the nation and they must 
have known it for the heart beat of a nation defies the laws of space, even of 

Sodden skies and a gray, creeping, chilling rain all through the day 
seemed to mark the mourning of this American soil and air at the bier of 
this unknown hero. But no jot of the full meed of honor was denied the dead 
on that account. From the highest officials of this democratic government to 
the last soldier or marine or bluejacket, rain and cold meant nothing beside 
the desire to do honor to the dead. 

The ceremonies were brief to-day. They began when the far boom 
of saluting cannon down the river signalled the coming of the great gray 
cruiser Olympia. The fog of rain hid her slow approach up the Potomac, 
but fort by fort, post by post, the guns took up the tale of honors for the 
dead as she passed. 

Slowly the ship swung into her dock. Along her rails stood her crew 
in long lines of dark blue, rigid at attention and with a solemn expression 
uncommon to the young faces beneath the jaunty sailor hats. Astern, under 
the long, gray muzzle of a gun that once echoed its way into history more 
than twenty years ago in Manila Bay, lay the flag-draped casket. Above, a 
tented awning held off the dripping rain, the inner side of the canvas lined 
with great American flags to make a canopy for the sleeper below. At atten- 
tion stood five sailors and marines as guards of honor for the dead at each 
corner and the head of his bier. . . . 

They were simple stories, unpretentious in style. The exigencies of 
wire conditions kept them comparatively short and they were written 
with the haste news usually dictates. Yet for all that, Simpson's accounts 
of those three solemn days seemed to catch the spirit of all that lay in the 
tributes to the Unknown Soldier. The restraint, the emotion, the sin- 
cerity with which he wrote made his words a fitting commentary. 

Not in a long time had any news story made such a deep impres- 
sion on millions of Americans. The co-operative's general offices were 
overwhelmed by the outpouring of praise. Editors, public officials, 
clergymen, professors, schoolteachers, former staff men, average news- 
paper readers, wrote in to express appreciation. From all sides came 
inquiries as to the identity of the author the stories carried no by-line 
and so insistent was the demand that the general manager, relaxing 
the age-old rule of anonymity, disclosed Simpson's name. To meet nu- 
merous requests, The Associated Press published a special booklet con- 


taining the seven Unknown Soldier stories. In Illinois and other states 
superintendents of public instruction issued a similar brochure for class- 
room use. Permission was granted for republication of the series in 
school readers. From pulpits ministers extolled the simple beauty of the 
work, and students in public speaking learned the sentences by heart. 
The requests for copies continued for the next eighteen years. 

Simpson's brilliant handling of the Unknown Soldier assignment 
was formally recognized when he was voted the Pulitzer prize, the first 
press association man ever to receive the award. 

The day after the Unknown Soldier was entombed, the Interna- 
tional Arms Limitation Conference called by Secretary of State Hughes 
met in the capital and Simpson was one of the twelve-man staff or- 
ganized for its coverage. The conference made diplomatic history when 
Hughes proposed a ten-year naval holiday and the scrapping of sixty- 
six capital ships in the interests of world peace. 

The heart of the Hughes proposal was that the foremost naval 
powers United States, Great Britain, and Japan "freeze" their navies 
at the ratio of their existing strength, one to the other. For several days 
news writers generally groped for some terse expression to describe the 
formula, which provided for fleet equality between the United States 
and Great Britain, and a Japanese navy of 40 per cent less strength. A 
number of different phrases were tried but none proved apt. 

Simpson was specializing in the technical aspects of the conference 
and on November 1 8 he talked over the American proposals with Rear 
Admiral Sir Ernie Chatfield, chief British technician. In the course of 
that talk Chatfield referred offhand to the Hughes' "big three" formula 
as the "50-5030 ratio" plan. Simpson, writing his story that night, 
simplified Chatfield's chance description by eliminating the zeros. The 
paragraph in which the well-known phrase first appeared read: 

It is certain that British naval experts regard their country as already 
committed, through Mr. Balfour's speech of acceptance, to what might be 
called the "5-5-3 ratio" of naval strength as between Great Britain, the 
United States and Japan. That is regarded by both British and American 
experts as the heart of the matter. 

The expression, "5-5-3 ratio," was invariably used thereafter. Other 
correspondents picked it up and soon it appeared also in the official 
press statements released by the conference itself. 


The basis on which Japan ultimately agreed to the Five-Power 
Navy Treaty negotiated at Washington was described in the report 
weeks before the conference got under way. When the Japanese delega- 
tion sailed for the United States, it was accompanied by Joseph E. Shar- 
key, chief of bureau at Tokyo. One night, as the boat fought its way 
through a typhoon, Admiral Kato, Japan's chief plenipotentiary, sent 
word to Sharkey that he would like to see him. 

"I am disposed," began the admiral when Sharkey reached his 
cabin, "I am disposed if you fancy it has news value to tell you the 
basic principle of the Japanese policy at the Washington conference." 

Sharkey fancied it would have news value. 

"All right," said Kato. "Here it is in a few words: Japan will 
agree to negotiate an arrangement concerning capital ships, provided 
the United States agrees not to increase the fortifications of her posses- 
sions in the Far East." 

There was a little more, but that was the crux of the story. It 
created a stir in Washington. Many congressmen commented that the 
condition was utterly impossible of acceptance, but eventually it was 
incorporated in the naval and political accords reached at the confer- 

Sharing interest with the disarmament conference were the nego- 
tiations in London looking to the end of the bitter warfare in Ireland 
between the Sinn Feiners and the military forces of the British crown. 
For the better part of three years the men on that assignment had 
worked under nerve-racking peril and difficulty in an atmosphere of 
ambushes, raids, killings, and reprisals. 

Like so many of his colleagues, Guy Moyston, of the London Bu- 
reau, led a hectic life the many months he spent in Ireland. Mistaken 
for an English agent one night when he arrived late in a rural town, 
he was awakened to find himself blinking sleepily into the muzzles of 
Sinn Fein rifles and revolvers. On another occasion a British patrol 
arrested him and hustled him off at bayonet point to Bridewell prison 
in Cork. Information found in his possession on the attempted assassi- 
nation of the commander of the crown forces in Southern Ireland gave 
rise to the suspicion that he was a rebel dispatch bearer. His arrest 
turned out to be a fortunate happening, for upon his release he en- 
countered a talkative constable who supplied him with additional 
details of the assassination attempt the British wanted to suppress. 


Moyston sought for weeks to arrange for an interview with Eamon 
De Valera, the President of the Irish Republic who, like so many active 
in the rebellion, was "on the run." Negotiations were highly dangerous. 
They involved secret meetings with outlawed members of the Irish 
Republican Army whom the Black and Tans were ready to shoot at 
sight, and the men with whom he dealt would not have hesitated to 
kill him on the least suspicion of treachery. The efforts to arrange the 
interview seemed foredoomed to failure, but Moyston kept trying. 

Another meeting was arranged. Moyston found two men in trench 
coats and low-pulled caps waiting for him at the rendezvous. In a trice 
he was blindfolded, bundled roughly from the house, and thrust into 
a waiting automobile which set off at breakneck speed. Moyston could 
feel the bulky shoulders of his two guards against him as the car 
careened along. Many an informer and government spy had been taken 
out like this and his body found later with an I.R.A. death warrant 
pinned to his coat. There was no quarter in the fierce warfare and there 
was no assurance that the men in the automobile had not decided that 
Moyston was a secret agent with fraudulent credentials. One bogus 
correspondent had fled Dublin just in time to escape execution. 

It was a torturing ride until the swaying automobile eventually 
skidded to a stop. Hands gripped Moyston's arms and hurried him 
stumbling along an unseen path. He tripped through a doorway and 
into a room. There the blindfold was whipped away and he found him- 
self standing before a spare, scholarly figure. 

The man was De Valera and it was only then that Moyston knew 
for certain that the brusque handling to which he had been subjected 
was all incidental to obtaining his long-sought interview. 

A truce halted the fighting during the negotiations at London 
which led to the establishment of the Irish Free State. The co-operative 
had a staff of thirteen men, Moyston among them, covering the various 
phases of the conference which led to the signing of the Anglo-Irish 
Treaty, a highly controversial subject even in the United States. The 
story on the signing of the agreement was complete enough, but it by 
no means spelled the end of extraordinary staff arrangements in Ire- 
land. The treaty created a schism in Irish ranks and the country plunged 
into a civil war which made the task of coverage just as hazardous as 


Throughout the year leased wire facilities were steadily enlarged 
to cope with the burden of news which assumed heavier proportions. 


The cable report approximated 6,500 words each twenty-four hours, 
and a survey showed that the co-operative brought in an average of 
fifty-eight foreign items daily as compared with eleven for commercial 
agencies. Although the service from the Orient increased considerably, 
Europe remained the major continent in the foreign report, what with 
the nightmare of German inflation, the beginning of the Fascist regime 
in Italy, the crushing Greek defeat at the hands of Kemal, the League 
of Nations, and the perennial maneuverings of Old World diplomacy. 

The domestic report had its own sensations with the bloody Herrin 
mine war, New Jersey's spectacular Hall-Mills murder case, and the 
beginning of the grim gang wars which marked Prohibition. The pattern 
of news was unpredictable flappers, the crystal radio set craze, dawn 
of the night club era, Gallagher and Shean, and Abie's Irish Rose. 

The year saved its greatest journalistic surprise until the last weeks 
when it made a 4,ooo-year-old Egyptian king the most exceptional news 
carried in many a day. The tomb of King Tutankhamen was found De- 
cember i near Luxor, Egypt. Experts termed it "the greatest archaeo- 
logical discovery of all time," and so closely did people follow the story 
that reference to "King Tut" cropped up daily in ordinary conversation. 

A syndicate headed by the London Times had paid $100,000 to 
the British archaeologists excavating at the tomb site, and the contract 
carried exclusive rights to all news and photographs. No other corre- 
spondents had the right to enter the rockhewn royal tomb while the 
scientists were cutting through the wall which was believed to separate 
the richly furnished anteroom from the actual mortuary chamber where 
they hoped to find the sarcophagus and mummy of the King who ruled 
in the fourteenth century before Christ. 

As far as the archaeologists were concerned, Valentine Williams 
was merely one of some forty correspondents who had no choice but 
to wait daily in the blazing heat outside the hidden tomb and labori- 
ously piece stories together from such scraps of information as could be 
coaxed from secondhand sources. All firsthand news went to the Lon- 
don Times syndicate. 

That the archaeologist expected any day to broach the rock wall 
into the mortuary chamber ceased to be news 5 it only served to deepen 
the gloom which pervaded the press corps. On February 16, 1923, Wil- 
liams was racking his brains for some forlorn plan to circumvent the 
syndicate's monopoly on the story. He happened to notice an Egyptian 
official who had just emerged from the vault. 

Paying no attention to the newspapermen at the tomb entrance, 


the Egyptian walked over the sands to a water cooler set up about two 
hundred feet away. Williams recognized him as one of the party which 
had entered the excavation with the archaeologists more than an hour 
earlier. He watched the man for a moment and decided that he, too, 
needed a drink of water. Casually he strolled after the Egyptian with- 
out attracting the attention of rival correspondents. 

Williams smiled disarmingly and the Egyptian nodded. They had 
a drink of water together. The desert heat made one thirsty. 

"Excuse me, sir," said Williams idly, "a controversy has arisen as 
to whether you found one coffin or two coffins inside the tomb. Can you 
put me straight on it?" 

He drew another drink of water. 

"Two coffins!" exclaimed the official. "Why, no. Of course not. 
We found only one coffin!" 

"Oh," said Williams innocently. "The coffin of King Tutank- 

"Yes," said the unsuspecting Egyptian, "we believe it is. The 
royal seal on the coffin is still intact and the sarcophagus bears the 
hieroglyphic cartouche of Tutankhamen." 

Williams nodded understandingly. 

"And you believe the coffin contains the mummy of the King?" 

"Yes, we have every reason to think so," replied the unwitting 
official, describing the scenes within the tomb. 

"Oh, thank you very much," Williams said politely. 

As soon as the Egyptian returned to the tomb, the correspondent 
was racing over the Theban plain in a small automobile to the nearest 
telegraph office. 

In a matter of minutes London had the flash: 


The news shot over the cables into New York. Long before the 
archaeologists emerged from the tomb to prepare their official com- 
munique, member papers had the story of how, for the first time in 
history, a royal Egyptian sarcophagus had been discovered intact and 
unprofaned by thieves or vandals. 


Although it captured popular imagination to an unusual degree, 
the news of King Tutankhamen's tomb provided little more than a 
diversion in the news log of the months immediately preceding the 


1923 annual meeting. Of more significance were the dispatches from 
James P. Howe, Thomas Topping, Walter Hiatt, and Clifford L. Day 
when French and Belgian troops occupied the highly industrialized 
Ruhr Valley to enforce German reparations payments. Joseph Sharkey, 
assigned to the League of Nations at Geneva, reported the efforts of 
the Lausanne Conference to conclude a lasting peace for the turbulent 
Near East. And at home the Lick Observatory announced that it had 
confirmed Professor Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. 

Looking behind the externals of the news service, the members 
could gauge the extent of the association's postwar expansion. The leased 
wires crisscrossing the continent totaled 92,000 miles, with an operator 
at every eighty-five miles along the circuit. The threads of the vast 
web linked 1,207 members with the fifty-five domestic bureaus which 
served them and, by cable, with the twenty-seven American-manned 
bureaus abroad. Employes numbered almost two thousand, annual ex- 
penditures exceeded $6,000,000. Member papers published in every 
one of the forty-eight states, in Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto 
Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Central and South America, and the news ap- 
peared in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Jap- 
anese. Telegraph keys, Morkrum machines, telephones, cables, and wire- 
less sped the general report, totaling 75,000 words daily, over more 
than a hundred different channels. 

The Board of Directors had an impressive statistical summary to 
marshal in the annual report presented to the 1923 meeting of the mem- 
bership. President Noyes, who had just returned from a round-the- 
world tour, told of the firsthand study he had made of news conditions, 
particularly in China and Japan. Then President Harding addressed 
the gathering on national and international affairs. 

Two months after Harding spoke at the annual luncheon he left 
Washington for a trip to Alaska. The country was singing "Yes, We 
Have no Bananas" that summer, talking about marathon dances, or 
discussing Rudolph Valentino's latest movie. Few, even among the in- 
formed, knew definitely the proportions of the political scandals brew- 
ing in the Veterans' Bureau, the Interior Department, and other gov- 
ernmental quarters at Washington. Perhaps Harding had a feeling that 
all was not well. Stephen Early and E. R. Bartley, the staff men 
assigned to accompany the party, remarked how weary the President 

The first four weeks of the trip were humdrum. The special train 
rolled across the country, the President made set speeches, audiences 


applauded politely, and nothing unusual happened. When Alaska was 
reached, Harding seemed to grow more tired and dispatches spoke of 
concern over the President's health. The concern deepened on the 
return trip when Harding was stricken at Seattle, July 27. His physician 
attributed the attack to ptomaine poisoning. The President insisted that 
the journey be resumed, however, and the party arrived in San Fran- 
cisco on July 29. There Harding took to his bed and his condition 
failed to improve over the weekend. 

Early and Bartley understood the gravity of the situation. Hard- 
ing's condition had not yet become critical, but the circumstances war- 
ranted preparedness. Paul Cowles, superintendent of the Pacific Coast 
Division, cut short his vacation. Members of the San Francisco staff 
were assigned to work with the Washington men, and a special wire 
was looped to the seventh floor of the Palace Hotel, ten feet from a 
private back stairway leading to the presidential suite on the floor above. 
The coast traflic chief, Percy Hall, took charge of the telegraphers at 
the improvised headquarters. "Never leave the wire unmanned for a 
second," were his orders. "The man who leaves this room without 
permission leaves the service." 

On Monday night Harding's condition took a turn for the worse. 
Bronchial pneumonia developed and Early, keeping watch outside the 
sickroom, saw worried doctors come and go. On Tuesday the Presi- 
dent's heart weakened and fears for his life became acute. Telegraphers 
ate their meals while they kept Morse keys clicking off the news. Every 
minute of the day and night someone was on duty at the chief execu- 
tive's bedroom door. 

Dispatches Wednesday were better. The President had shown 
"remarkable improvement." By the afternoon Dr. Joal T. Boone, one 
of the White House physicians, announced the crisis had passed. The 
ranks of reporters assigned to the story by individual newspapers began 
to dwindle. 

For The Associated Press, however, Superintendent Cowles was 
not at all satisfied. Even after the encouraging bulletins Thursday after- 
noon, he thought it wise to consult San Francisco physicians for their 
private opinions. They told him that any patient with symptoms similar 
to those described in the presidential bulletins was far from out of 
danger. Any reduction in staff precautions was out of the question after 
Cowles received that information. 

Thursday night Early waited at his post a few feet away from the 


President's door. Many members of Harding's party were out attend- 
ing social functions in the city. The last word from the sickroom had 
been reassuring and most correspondents had not yet returned from 
dinner. On the Pacific Coast it was about seven-thirty. 

Just then the door of the room flew open and Early saw Mrs. 
Harding's white, distraught face. 

"Call Dr. Boonej call Dr. Boone!" she was crying. "Find him and 
the others quick!" 

Attendants scurried to find the physician, and Early, after con- 
firming what he sensed had happened, went racing down the back stair- 
way to the seventh floor. Standing over the operator, he rapidly dic- 
tated a series of bulletins which told that the President's condition had 
taken a sudden turn for the worse. It was the first intimation that the 
President's life was in danger. 

A few minutes after the first rush of bulletins, Early was back 
again in the wire room, breathlessly dictating: 



The flash gave official Washington the shocking news. In the 
confusion at the hotel in San Francisco those in Harding's party forgot 
to send any notification to the capital. Vice-President Coolidge was away, 
vacationing at his father's home in Plymouth, Vermont. 

But Plymouth had not been neglected in the association's precau- 
tions. Days earlier, when Harding had been stricken, W. E. Playfair, 
night editor in Boston, had been sent to the Coolidge homestead with 
instructions to remain close to the vice-president in case an emergency 
arose. He found two of Boston's string correspondents, Arthur Granger, 
of Rutland, and Joseph H. Fountain, of Springfield, Vermont, already 
there, and they worked under his direction as Plymouth's importance 
waxed, then waned with the tenor of the bulletins from the San Fran- 
cisco sickroom. The little farming hamlet had no telephone or telegraph 
lines, and to get out the news it was necessary to go to Rutland, the 
nearest leased wire point, or eleven miles to the slightly nearer com- 
munities, Bridgewater and Ludlow, where telephones were available. 

It was a telephone call to Ludlow from the Boston Bureau that 
told Playfair of Harding's death and started him over dark country 
roads to the Coolidge farm. The vice-president had gone to bed and 
Playfair gave his news to the elder Coolidge who seemed awed by the 
gravity of the moment. Other reporters started to arrive, among them 


Granger and Fountain. The backfire of automobiles shattered the still 
of the night. Coolidge and his wife came downstairs. 

"Good morning, Mr. President," someone said. 

Coolidge did not reply. 

"Is this information authentic ?" he asked. 

Technically still vice-president, Coolidge issued his first statement 
as the nation's leader: 

Reports have reached me, which I fear are correct, that President Hard- 
ing is gone. The world has lost a great and good man. I mourn his loss. He 
was my Chief and my friend. 

It will be my purpose to carry out the policies which he has begun for 
the service of the American people and for meeting their responsibilities 
wherever they may arise. 

For this purpose . . . 

As soon as the statement was issued in the hushed farmhouse room, 
Playfair left for Ludlow to telephone it to Boston. Granger remained 
behind to gather additional details. Then he was off to Bridgewater. 
Other correspondents departed in haste to get their own stories in, but 
Fountain remained behind. Coolidge had not yet been sworn in as 
president and it was Fountain's assignment to stay there until he was. 

At 2:43 A.M. on August 3, 1923, by the light of a kerosene lamp, 
Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office as President of the United 
States, repeating the words as his father read them. Seven persons wit- 
nessed the ceremony. The only newspaperman among them was Joseph 
H. Fountain. 


Harding's death was the forerunner of a freshet of big news which 
continued until the end of 1923. George Denny, the veteran of the 
Russo-Japanese War who had replaced Sharkey as bureau chief at 
Tokyo, covered the earthquake which struck Japan on September i, 
taking almost 100,000 lives. There also was the Dempsey-Firpo 
fight, one of the early events in the so-called "Golden Age" of 
professional sports. The six-man staff was directed by a new general 
sports editor Alan J. Gould, who had been appointed to the post in 
March when Moss resigned. Two days after the fight interest centered 
on the New York pressmen's strike which left the metropolis without 
its regular papers for a week. Then Washington took first place in the 
domestic report with the startling disclosures of the Teapot Dome 
scandal investigation, and in the cable news there were dispatches from 
Elmer Roberts at Munich describing an abortive beer-hall Putsch to 


overthrow the government in Germany. The uprising lost its news 
value after one of its leaders, Adolf Hitler, was sentenced to five years' 

With the coming of the new year the association's headquarters 
was moved from downtown New York, where so much bygone jour- 
nalistic history had been made, to larger offices at 383 Madison Avenue, 
in the midtown area. The transfer of operating equipment, the change- 
over of wire circuits controlling the leased network, and other details 
of the move presented a complex problem, but the new quarters were 
occupied on March 2 without interruption in the service. 

The presidential campaigns and election called for the dominant 
news-gathering efforts in 1924 when the country, swept along by the 
tide of increasing prosperity, rallied to the call: "Keep Cool with 
Coolidge." The convention staff had it lengthiest assignment in his- 
tory at the marathon Democratic sessions in Madison Square Garden, 
where Alfred E. Smith lost his first bid for the nomination in an atmos- 
phere of bitterness and acrimony. The leased wires flashed the No- 
vember verdict: a landslide for Coolidge and his running mate, Charles 
G. Dawes. 

As the headlines of 1924 told their stories, an important adminis- 
trative change was brewing in the co-operative. Vague intimations 
reached some of the staff and the better informed members late in the 
year. Confirmation came on the eve of the 1925 annual meeting. Fred- 
erick Roy Martin submitted his resignation as general manager, effec- 
tive the end of April. Private publishing opportunities had presented 
themselves, and Martin also had other interests which demanded greater 
attention. With a tribute to his service, the board accepted the resigna- 
tion which closed the shortest administration since the days of Alexander 
Jones in the middle of the previous century. 

The unanimous choice of the board, Kent Cooper stepped in as 
the new general manager. Frank B. Noyes, whose twenty-fifth anni- 
versary came the same year, later said of the appointment: "No 
chronicle of my connection with The Associated Press would be com- 
plete without a record of the fact of the importance of my service in 
bringing forward and encouraging the energies of Cooper through a 
long series of years, of my recommendation that he be made general 
manager and of my profound satisfaction at his subsequent fulfilment 
of my every hope." 

Under ordinary circumstances such an important administrative 
change might have been expected to monopolize the attention of an 


annual meeting, but 1925 was not an ordinary year. Since it was Noyes's 
twenty-fifth anniversary, the uppermost thought of the publishers who 
attended in record numbers was to memorialize the occasion. 


For a quarter of a turbulent century the quiet, distinguished-look- 
ing publisher of the Washington Star had guided the destinies of the 
organization. Year after year with unfailing regularity he had been 
re-elected. Managerial changes occurred, directors came and went, but 
Frank Noyes continued. There were many among the membership who 
could not remember a time when he was not president of The Asso- 
ciated Press, and there were others who had come to consider him an 
indispensable personality in the life of the association. 

Of medium stature, military in bearing, he was outwardly a stern 
but nevertheless benevolent leader among his fellow publishers. In an 
even, well-modulated voice he could parry distasteful questions or sud- 
den stabs of wit. At annual meetings he spoke in conversational tones 
and his words flowed with an ease that frequently confounded some of 
the more fiery and excitable members. His opening lines frequently 
gave listeners the impression they were in for a deadly serious dis- 
course, yet within minutes he was quietly employing a sense of humor 
that was as compelling as it was unexpected. The fund of stories from 
which he drew to illustrate any pertinent point were so apt, his selec- 
tion of words so precise, that any utterance, no matter how impromptu, 
assumed a quality of polish that invariably left listeners in open ad- 

Yet active as Noyes was in the inner councils of the association, 
well known as he was in high places, he studiously avoided any public 
act which conceivably might be construed as reflecting a viewpoint of 
the nonpartisan news-gathering agency he headed. He diplomatically 
abstained from speaking on controversial subjects, and on only one 
occasion during his entire regime was a member of his own craft able 
to obtain a headline from him. 

On that occasion Noyes was vacationing in Florida and one of the 
local papers sent around a cub reporter an inquisitive little lady who 
charmingly peppered him with questions on politics, world affairs, and 
his own personal preference in the fields of music, the arts, and the 

"My dear child," he said, "I am sorry, but I really can't talk on 
any of those subjects." 


The young reporter was determined. She asked her questions over 
and over again until finally, in an effort to have her understand fully 
why he felt he should not express opinions for publication, he tried 
again to state his position. 

"You see," he explained, "as head of The Associated Press I try 
to maintain a detached neutrality on all public matters because ours is 
a factual organization and anything I say personally might be open to 

He paused, mentally framing a definition, and then there was a 
barely perceptible twinkle in his eye. 

"Because of my position," he smiled, "I suppose that for the past 
thirty-five years I have been somewhat of an intellectual eunuch." 

The young interviewer heard him through, graciously thanked 
him for his kindly reception, and made her departure. Noyes thought 
no more about the incident until shown a copy of the reporter's paper 
the next day. There on the front page was the young woman's story, 
one sentence of which read: 

"The president of The Associated Press says he is an intellectual 

One of Noyes's greatest contributions during that first quarter 
century was the way he maintained the association's stability in the in^ 
evitable conflicts of interest which arose between the large and the small 
papers making up the membership. He said: 

There have always been two schools of thought as to the membership 
makeup of The Associated Press. One has held to the desirability of having 
a large membership consisting of a great number of small papers and a small 
number of large papers. 

On the other hand, there were those who believed that the membership 
should be confined to the larger papers. 

The Board of Directors almost unanimously has believed in the theory 
of the large organization, and has consistently and scrupulously sought to 
conserve the interests of the smaller units of the membership. 

The annual meeting was held April 2, 1925, and applause swept 
the room when Ralph H. Booth, of the Saginaw (Mich.) News-Courier, 
on behalf of the membership, presented the president with a golden 
bowl to commemorate the anniversary. 

The cheering of several hundred members failed to drown the 
voice of Victor Lawson, calling for the floor. The old fighter had lost 
much of his vigor, but he still could command attention. 

"An ideal is the very essence of any great endeavor inspired by a 


sincere purpose," Lawson said, addressing Noyes. "The conception of 
an Associated Press as a national co-operative news-gathering and dis- 
tributing agency, charging itself in the conduct of a business enterprise 
with the high responsibility of a great public service in the preservation 
of the sources of public information and opinion free from the pollu- 
tion of selfish commercialism and political ambition, depended for its 
permanent realization upon a loyal and continuing devotion to the com- 
mon good. This high conception of public duty has been from the first 
the common bond of the membership of this association, and in response 
to which you have accepted and discharged the constant and exacting 
duties of your leadership." 

He paused, then added: 

"You have served a great and righteous cause, the cause of Truth 
in News, and served it faithfully." 

Visibly touched, Noyes for once found it difficult to phrase his 

"This is indeed for me a day of fulfillment," he said. "I would 
not, even if I could, conceal how deeply I am affected by what has been 
said here and by those outward and visible signs of your friendship and 
good will. While no one realizes better than I do that much that has 
been said by my dear friends who have spoken applies to the sort of 
president that I should have been and not to what really I have been, 
still the words of over-appreciative friendship and tenderness are very 
dear to me precious beyond any words of mine to express. . . ." 

To the right of the dais the stenographer, who was keeping the 
usual transcript of the proceedings, listened to the spontaneous outburst 
which broke loose as Noyes concluded, and conservatively entered in his 

"Great applause." 


A QUARTER of a century of tremendous progress had transformed 
the newspaper world into a marvel of high-speed efficiency. Dispatches 
were turned into type with amazing rapidity. The total circulations of 
American newspapers mounted close to 40,000,000 daily and the in- 
come of newspaper enterprises topped $900,000,000 annually. 

The afternoon papers, which assumed during the World War a 
position they had never held before, continued to advance in the en- 
suing years. Sunday editions grew thicker. Chain organizations extended 
their holdings and consolidations strengthened the publishing field. 

In content and appearance the majority of papers strove to be as 
attractive as possible. The development of photo-engraving processes 
made good news pictures possible. Typography and format style re- 
ceived a larger share of attention in the interests of reading ease, and 
increased departmentalizing added noticeably to newspaper appeal. 

Day-to-day news continued the essential commodity and its volume 
kept increasing as the world turned. If anything, the swift march of 
mechanical progress had made news a more perishable commodity than 
ever. In keeping with the pace of newspaper manufacture, communica- 
tions moved toward greater perfection. The enormous expansion of 
telephone systems brought many previously remote regions within the 
periphery of speedy news gathering. Technical advances had given 
both telegraph and cable lines higher standards of reliability and effi- 
ciency. Radio, that comparative newcomer in the communications fam- 
ily, provided still another channel. Even such a pedestrian department 
of news dissemination as the mail services found a brisker gait, for 
postal deliveries were quicker and air mail could be enlisted whenever 
haste was essential. 

The advent of this high-speed day produced a series of opportuni- 
ties and needs which The AP had been tardy in realizing. Many of its 
members felt there had been a failure to catch the complete significance 
of all the changes taking place in the newspaper world. In the past the 
news had been the only important thing, regardless of its presentation. 
Now editors and readers were critical of the manner in which a story 


was told. They wanted their news written in the most interesting, vivid 
style, not only on isolated occasions but as a regular thing. There was 
redoubled insistence that the brighter and curious side of life be re- 
ported 5 the fads and foibles of an era were as much a part of its history 
as were its politics or perils. The long predominance of foreign news 
on front pages had diminished, and as balance returned neighborhood 
news came back to its own and the automobile had given neighbor- 
hoods a wide area. Not only had people become picture minded but they 
also liked diversions, as the interest in feature material testified. 

It was at this time that Kent Cooper took over as general manager. 
He was loyal to the principles for which the nonprofit co-operative stood 
in the field of news and he already had declined offers by commercial 
news agencies which would have brought financial rewards many times 
beyond what he ever could hope for with The AP. Now that he had 
been given his opportunity, he stated his creed: 

I believe there is nothing so fascinating as the true day-to-day story of 
humanity. Man, what he feels, what he does, what he says; his fears, 
his hopes, his aspirations. And, as truth is stranger than fiction, nothing can 
be more engrossing than the truthful portrayal of life itself. The journalist 
who deals in facts diligently developed and intelligently presented exalts 
his profession, and his stories need never be colorless or dull. On the other 
hand, the reporter who resorts to the rouge pot to make his wares attractive 
convicts himself of laziness and ineptitude. The head of another press associa- 
tion once said that it was always proper to qualify the news with color in 
order to stimulate reader interest. This I deny. Artificiality and super- 
ficiality in news writing not only are unnecessary, but ultimately must have 
a baneful influence on the reader. Simple honesty and good business demand 
from the newspaperman an uncolored tale of what is. That is my creed. 

Zealously adhering to the principle of factual reporting, neverthe- 
less Cooper had little patience with the old myth that impartiality 
postulated drab, tedious writing. The official drive for livelier, more 
interesting presentation of the news was a foregone conclusion. That a 
definite part of the staff was ready for such a change was demonstrated 
by the promptness of the response. The stiff and sometimes stodgy writ- 
ing habits were not to be rooted out overnight, but the process had been 
started and it continued without relaxation as part of the fundamental 
policy of the new regime. 

The second emphasis concerned itself with extending the variety in 


the report. Human-interest stories ceased to be regarded as decorative 
and were given due, if belated, recognition. One of the first manifesta- 
tions of the new trend was the special daily wire feature called "Flashes 
of Life." It was a series of brief items side-lighting the humorous and 
the unusual in everyday existence. 

At the outset, these departures did not meet with universal ap- 
proval. One publisher warned tartly: "We will soon be devoting our- 
selves entirely to trivialities." The Board of Directors thought differ- 
ently, encouraging the trend until the proportion of humanizing stories 
in the report had risen to a respectable level. 

The transformation attracted so much journalistic attention that 
papers commented editorially, among them the Kansas City Star which 

The AP Reports The Human Spectacle 

Until recently The Associated Press has conceived its field to be restricted 
to the chronicling of serious and important news. From its standpoint, a catas- 
trophe, an election, a congressional debate, the death of a distinguished man, 
an important trial, pretty much exhausted the topics of human interest. 

Until recently. An attentive reader of The Star must have noticed a 
change in the last few months. The Associated Press by-line now is appearing 
over dispatches that are gay as well as grave. . . . The Associated Press 
has begun to live up to the Greek philosopher's saying that nothing human 
is alien to him. It has not lowered its standards. It has simply enlarged 
the field of its interests. It is striving to report every phase of the human 

The transformation has been due to the vision and imagination of 
Mr. Kent Cooper. 

This "vision and imagination" was by no means an overnight 
development. The disclosure of the idea of humanizing the news report 
went back to 1916 and a flagman's shanty along a railroad right-of-way 
between Utica and Syracuse in New York. 

Melville Stone was general ^ manager then and, together with 
Cooper, he had entrained one winter night to attend a meeting of 
Canadian Press members in Toronto. While the two men sat reading 
in a smoking compartment the train came to a stop between the two 
upstate cities. The older man and his young assistant speculated on the 
cause of the stop and soon Stone closed his book with the suggestion 
that they alight and determine the trouble. 

They climbed down the steps into a cold rain and looked up and 
down the tracks. There was nothing in sight but a lighted flagman's 


hut and Stone suggested they go there to inquire. Inside they found 
three railroad employes around a stove. From the gruff greeting there 
was no doubt but that the two passengers were considered intruders. 
But the cool reception did not abash Stone. A man of exceptional per- 
sonality and charm, he observed that one of the men was chewing to- 
bacco. The general manager did not make a habit of tobacco in such 
form, but he nevertheless asked if he might borrow a chew. The plug 
was grudgingly offered and he bit off a sizeable piece. 

Stone then stood chewing his wad and conversing lightly with his 
newly made acquaintances. Within a few minutes he had the three 
railroad employees and Cooper so engrossed in his humorous anecdotes 
that the train was pulling away unnoticed. 

Stone and Cooper hurriedly swung aboard and in the corridor of 
their car they met a former Canadian premier who was an old acquaint- 
ance of the general manager. The next ten minutes were given over 
to a serious discussion of international affairs the World War and the 
probability of conditions at its termination. The discussion with the one- 
time Canadian official was totally unlike that in which Stone had just 
indulged with the tobacco-chewing workers in the stove-heated shanty, 
yet the general manager seemed equally at home with what interested 
each, talking in a language both could understand. 

Stone and Cooper resumed their seats in the smoking compart- 
ment and the assistant then took over the conversation. They laughed 
over the shanty episode and Cooper ventured a thought. 

"These two little incidents I have just witnessed have a direct 
bearing on what I think The Associated Press news report should be," 
he said. "I think it should be at home and welcome in both such circles 
as you yourself have been welcomed tonight." 

The two men discussed the suggestion late into the night and as 
the general manager said good night he turned to Cooper. 

"Well, if I were a younger man I might try your idea as an 
experiment," he observed. Then he added with a wry face: 

"But that certainly was strong tobacco!" 

Cooper little thought that within a decade he himself would be 
trying to make all the news completely at home to both such circles on 
a world-wide scale. 

Reporting the human spectacle, however, sometimes brought hu- 
morous repercussions. On one occasion the cables carried a short on the 


fact that soup was disappearing from the menus of many European 
hotels. Widely used, this harmless enough little piece aroused the in- 
dignation of one large soup manufacturer who protested that the co- 
operative was attacking the soup industry. 

From the long-range point of view, Cooper's most significant de- 
cision perhaps was to concentrate on the development of state services. 
A number of factors were involved, notably recognition of the future of 
vicinage news, the consequent extension of news-gathering facilities, and 
a shift in the basic operating methods of the co-operative. 

Although it represented a logical step in the modern co-operative, 
State Service development had been slow. When member papers showed 
considerable desire in 1908 for a more localized report something 
possible only through the creation of State Services, or "side circuits" 
as they then were called the Special Survey Committee that year dis- 
couraged the idea, holding that the co-operative's sphere was news of 
general interest only. Nevertheless, the success of existing side circuits 
helped to keep the idea alive. 

The movement took on fresh vigor in the postwar years and no 
difficulties were placed in the way of the members in some areas who 
expressed a desire for the development of state services to supplement 
their general report. On the contrary, there seemed reason to believe 
that the projects received enthusiastic, if unofficial, help from some 
members of the management's staff. 

By the time he became general manager, Cooper found Noyes and 
others on the Board of Directors sympathetic to the State Service- 
vicinage news trend and soon the possibilities were receiving the active 
stimulus needed. The state was made the basic unit of domestic opera- 
tions, and in each a strategic bureau was designated to serve as the 
control point. These bureaus siphoned off dispatches of general im- 
portance from the regular report and used this material in conjunction 
with news of more local origin to build up a special report for the 
state circuits they operated. Bureau chiefs were appointed to supervise 
activities and to act as the general manager's personal representative in 
each of the states. The enlarged scope of operations necessitated a cor- 
responding increase in staff personnel. 

The full development of the state services had a salutary effect 
on the attitude of members. Where the organization as a world-wide 
enterprise might be too vast to encourage active interest or personal 
enthusiasm, the more compact state organization represented something 
tangible and close to home. Members showed interest in the betterment 


and success of these smaller units and one manifestation was the general 
introduction of periodical state meetings at which members gathered 
to discuss news in terms of the circuits which served their newspapers. 
For the General Service, considered in its strictest sense as a budget 
containing only the most important news, the strengthening and the 
extending of state services had an obvious advantage. If each unit 
covered all its own news thoroughly, from small events to great ones, 
there was little likelihood that the General Service would fail to receive 
promptly any important news with an interest that transcended state 

Another innovation was the appointment of a science editor to 
specialize in the news to be found in laboratory research and experi- 
ment. The new general manager had been impressed by the possibilities 
in this field for news gathering, not in the random manner of the past 
when a single important discovery or invention momentarily attracted 
popular attention, but rather in a regular day-to-day manner. He talked 
of the possibility to the president of Stevens Institute of Technology. 

"People even sleep better because of the scientific study of bed- 
springs," he said. "Don't you agree there is a field for science news in 
language all newspaper readers will understand?" 

"Yes," said the professor, "but you'll need a scientist as a reporter." 

Cooper considered that. 

"No," he decided j "instead of trying to make a reporter of a 
scientist, we'll make a scientist of a reporter. We'll get a man who is 
smart enough to know science, but who also knows how to write for 
the average newspaper reader." 

The appointment of a science editor followed. John Cooley did 
pioneering work and, after him, Coleman B. Jones. The science editor 
responsible for the development of the new department to full stature 
was its third editor, Howard W. Blakeslee, a man with a wide range 
of experience in all phases of the service. He developed into a science 
specialist of top rank, winning university degrees and a Pulitzer prize. 

Coincident with the expansion of the scope of the news report, the 
new general manager made another departure from precedent. He 
began the practice of using "by-lines" over stories of unusual interest 
and importance. In the past the writer of any AP story had been 
anonymous, but Cooper felt there was advantage to both The AP and 
the staff to have the man identified with the work he did. The practice 


applied only on outstanding cases and the papers receiving the by-lined 
stories could carry the name of the author or not, as individual policy 

In the midst of all this activity, planning, and improving, The 
AP lost one of its great figures. On August 19, 1925, Victor Lawson 
died. If David Hale could be called the father of The Associated Press, 
then Victor Lawson was its foster father, for without him the co- 
operative principle never would have been preserved. The membership 
and the newspaper world at large mourned him as one of the foremost 
figures ever produced by his profession. 

In the ranks of the staff, too, old familiar figures were disappearing. 
Dick Lee, ship news editor for forty-seven years, died within a few 
weeks after illness forced him out of harness. A legendary character, 
he always insisted on working seven days a week and until the end 
he refused all offers of assistance. 

The younger staff men who were replacing such older hands as 
Lee experienced a hectic summer in 1925, particularly in the sweltering 
heat at Dayton, Tennessee, where the Scopes Evolution Trial made the 
strangest news of the year. The epic legal battle between Clarence 
Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, the Bible's champion, kept four 
staff correspondents busy from dawn until midnight or later. W. F. 
Caldwell, news editor of the Southern Division, who was credited with 
being the first newsman to see the possibilities of the story when Scopes 
was arrested, supervised the coverage, assisted by Brian Bell, W. B. 
Ragsdale, and P. I. Lipsey. Bell, who had been on the story even before 
Scopes' indictment, became so well known that when the trial ended 
in a flood of oratory Judge Raulston called on him for some expression 
for the court record. 

"Mr. Bell," he asked, smiling toward the AP table, "won't you 
say a word?" 

"No, sir, judge," was the good-natured reply. 

There was no dearth of provocative material in the record the 
times produced. There were the navy air disasters: the Shenandoah and 
the rescue of Commander Rodgers from the navy airplane PN-9-No.i 
after his attempted flight to Hawaii. Florida was having its fabulous 
land boom and the Miami Daily News printed the biggest newspaper 
yet in journalistic history 504 pages. Crossword puzzles had become 
a national mania, and football fans chanted the praises of that "galloping 


ghost" from the University of Illinois, Red Grange. There was the 
8-51 submarine disaster off Block Island, the great anthracite coal strike 
in Pennsylvania, Germany's entry into the League of Nations, and the 
passing of baseball's immortal Christy Mathewson. 

The report itself was feeling a new exterior pressure and by 1926 
it became serious. Postwar disillusionment, moral relaxation, the Pro- 
hibition era, and the cult of ballyhoo had generated influences which 
were producing deleterious effects in American journalism. One mani- 
fest tendency was the dramatization of cheap heroics and the sensa- 
tionalizing of crime. Old standards of delicacy disappeared in some 
published accounts of unsavory scandals. Some newspapers began hippo- 
droming events out of all proportion to their objective news value. 

To preserve the balance and sanity of the report in the midst 
of such an atmosphere required ceaseless care. The Board of Directors 
and the general manager reiterated the standing instructions against 
the glorification of criminals. The norm of good taste was reaffirmed for 
all stories whenever the subject matter transgressed the limits of common 
decency. Artificial sensations were ruthlessly dealt with and hysterical 
sentimentality got short shrift from staff editors. Some members, who 
preferred the gaudy, theatrical trappings of the journalistic moment, 
may not have been pleased with the attitude of the administration, but 
the vast majority considered it a levelheaded stand. 

When the nineteen-year-old Marion Talley made her operatic 
debut on February 17, the Metropolitan broke tradition by permitting 
the installation of a special news wire. For the first time in the history 
of the opera the clicking of a telegraph key mingled with coloratura 
arias. The wire was set up in the conductors' room on the stage level 
across a narrow passage from the wings. S. A. Dawson wrote the story 
of Miss Talley's performance and reception. Ethel Halsey, the first 
woman reporter on the New York staff, obtained interviews with Mrs. 
Talley and later with the young opera star. 

Unknown to the glittering audience of 4,100 which jammed the 
opera house and the crowd of 5,000 gathered outside, it was Charles 
M. Talley, the star's father, who started the story of the debut onto 
the leased wires. A former Associated Press telegrapher, he returned 
to the Morse key and tapped out the first story. 

As the news beginnings indicated, it was to be a year of infinite 


variety. "Daddy" Browning, fifty-one, wed "Peaches" Heenan, fifteen, 
and Germany elected General von Hindenburg president. Swimmers 
conquered the English channel and Joseph Stalin was rising to power 
in Soviet Russia. President Coolidge's father died in Vermont and a 
New York jury heard all about the nude chorus girl in Earl Carroll's 
bathtub. Mabel Walker Willebrandt directed the newest federal drive 
for enforcement of the Volstead Act, and the Charleston dance craze 
seemed likely to stay. 

May produced, among a welter of other things, the biggest story 
from England since World War days the British General Strike. 
Harry H. Romer, of the New York cable staff, happened to take a 
European vacation that spring and it turned out to be a busman's holi- 
day. He landed in England on May 3 the day the first of 4,000,000 
workers walked out and within an hour he was busy in the London 
office. The bureau chief, Charles Stephenson Smith, mobilized a staff 
of twenty-five for the emergency which turned Great Britain upside 
down, brought troops in full field kit into the streets, and put volunteers 
to work manning the nation's vital services. 

Assigned to labor headquarters, James P. Howe, the former A.E.F. 
war correspondent, bought out a little notions shop in order to have 
exclusive use of the nearest telephone. The small bewhiskered shop- 
keeper sat behind the locked front door, waiting to pull the bolt and 
admit Howe the moment he appeared. 

Bureau Chief Smith and Frank King were at No. 10 Downing 
Street on May 12 for the meeting between Prime Minister Stanley 
Baldwin and the Council of the Trades Union Congress which ended 
the strike. Bowler hat and notes in one hand and the inevitable London 
umbrella in the other, King won the race to get first word to the wires. 

Before the echo of the General Strike died, news exploded on 
another European front. Marshal Josef Pilsudski staged the swift coup 
d'etat which made him undisputed master of Poland, When Pilsudski's 
forces seized power on May 15, Louis Lochner of Berlin was ordered 
to Warsaw to assist the residential correspondent, Marylla Chrzanowska, 
who was in the midst of the fighting which accompanied the coup. 

Flying to the Polish frontier, Lochner got a foretaste of the 
difficulties surrounding the story. Not only had the strictest military 
censorship been invoked, but the border itself was closed. Lochner 


smuggled himself across the frontier and by various means made his 
way to the Polish capital, which was swarming with Pilsudski's troops. 
It was Sunday, May 16. 

All that day Lochner and Miss Chrzanowska pursued the grizzled 
old marshal. Pilsudski remained inaccessible. Guards watched every 
approach to his headquarters. Soldiers surrounded his car as he hurried 
from one place to another. Secret police pounced on anyone who dared 
approach too close to the prime minister's palace, another center of 

By nightfall the palace had assumed greater importance than ever. 
In spite of the secrecy, Miss Chrzanowska had ferreted out the news 
that the first meeting of the new Cabinet was in session, with Pilsudski 
presiding. Lochner and the resident correspondent succeeded in talking 
their way into the palace. There they encountered fresh obstacles. 
Palace flunkies declared they were responsible with their lives for 
Pilsudski's safety. Furthermore, no foreigner could be tolerated in the 
building. The newspaper pair found themselves back on the street. 

Lochner's companion remembered another entrance and they tried 
again. Their exit was hurried and unceremonious. The supply of palace 
doors had not been exhausted however. The pair entered the third 
time, the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth, only to be ejected. The guards 
were becoming ugly. 

The two weary correspondents happened to encounter a director 
of the Polish Telegraphic Agency whom they knew. He offered to get 
them back into the palace for the seventh time. 

For two hours Lochner and Miss Chrzanowska sat in the palace 
rotunda. Presently there was a commotion. The guards started disap- 
pearing through a swinging glass door leading to the right wing. 
Pilsudski must be leaving. The two correspondents dashed after the 
guards. In a few more seconds the opportunity would have been lost. 

"Please, Mr. Marshal," Miss Chrzanowska was pleading in Polish, 
"don't refuse just one little request by my American colleague." 

"My dear lady," Pilsudski said, "Pm extremely tired. I want to 
sleep, sleep, and sleep again. For three days I have not been to bed." 

He looked haggard and worn as he stood there in the loose-fitting 
blue-gray uniform of a Polish legionnaire. 

Lochner spoke up. 

"But America takes the liveliest interest in Polish events and is 
anxious to know the truth." 

"You must understand," Pilsudski replied, "that I must consider 


what I say, and in a moment like this Pll either say something stupid 
or pronounce an aphorism. I'm a specialist in aphorisms, you know. 
Sometimes I can roll off aphorisms one after another, but today I'm 
too tired even for aphorisms." 

Lochner persisted. 

"May I know for my American readers whether you are of the 
opinion that stable conditions will now result for Poland after your 
coup d'etat?" 

An animated light came into the dictator's eyes. 

"Why, that's been the purpose of all this. That's what I've been 
working for all this time and I've accomplished it. In fact, I'm quite 
surprised we succeeded so quickly. Everything went like a stroke of 

It was because of that final phrase that the brief chat became known 
as the "lightning interview." 

"Just one final question," urged Lochner, walking briskly at 
Pilsudski's side as the marshal hurried from the palace. "May I say, 
as coming from you, that you consider the country pacified and further 
ructions unlikely?" 

Knitting his shaggy brows and snapping his jaws, Pilsudski an- 
swered with a single English word. 


Telephone communication to points outside Poland was still sus- 
pended. There was no doubt the censor would hold up the story. 
Lochner left immediately for Germany, got across the frontier and 
telephoned to Berlin the only statement Pilsudski made for publication 
in the first five days of the coup. 


Competing with the London and Warsaw date lines were dozens 
of top-flight stories. Sinclair Lewis created a domestic furor by refusing 
the Pulitzer prize for his novel Arrowsmith. The dirigible Norge 
reached Alaska after carrying the Nobile-Ellsworth-Amundsen party 
across the North Pole from Spitzbergen. The Norg^s flight gave the 
co-operative a barren territory of some 4,000,000 square miles to watch. 
Aimee Semple McPherson, the California evangelist, announced that 
she had been kidnaped and held for ransom in Mexico. Philadelphia 
opened its Sesquicentennial Exposition. And in Morocco Abd-el-Krim, 
the Riff rebel chieftain, surrendered after his long, amazing war on the 
French and Spanish armies. 


During these busy months the service also was developing stories 
which could not be classified as spontaneous news, yet were important 
or unusual enough to command preferred positions in newspapers. 
Cooper himself took the lead in developing these stories, arranging 
for a series of notable interviews. The first was with Golfer Bobby 
Jones. Of greater historical value, however, were the extended interview 
with Mussolini and the much-discussed story on Calvin Coolidge. 

White House precedent was against an interview quoting the 
President of the United States and Coolidge at first was against it. 
Nevertheless, Cooper set to work. 

Invited to lunch with the President, he ended by spending the day. 
He found the so-called "silent New Englander" engrossing. He had 
the assistance of Mrs. Coolidge and the presidential adviser, Frank 
W. Stearns, but it finally became evident that the trio were not making 
much progress in their attempt to show the President he would be 
performing a service to newspaper readers generally by permitting an 
extended interview. Cooper pointed out that few actually knew the 
President of the United States and still Coolidge smoked his cigar and 
was adamant. Cooper tried one last time. 

"Mr. President," he smiled, "do you know that all sorts of stories 
are going the rounds about you that they are going the rounds because 
people don't really know you." 

He glanced disarmingly across at the President and asked: 

"Would you like to hear one of the latest?" 

The President hunched slightly forward in his chair. 

"Yes," he said. 

"Well," Cooper began, "they say that a raw young congressman 
called on you and said: <Mr. President, the folks back home don't know 
much about my job here. They think you and I are great buddies, that 
we rub elbows every day and that you call me in for advice whenever 
you have a problem of any sort. Of course, that's not the case, but it 
would help me no end if I could have some memento or souvenir 
from you to show them when I go back for the elections.' 

"So, Mr. President," Cooper continued, "they say that you asked 
what he would like and he replied: 'I don't want anything very valu- 
able, Mr. President, just a band off one of your cigars would do.' 

"With that, Mr. President," Cooper concluded, "the story is that 
you pulled out your big box of cigars, carefully removed one of the 
bands and handed it to the young congressman. Then you put the 


cigar back in the box and put the box away that you didn't even give 
him the cigar!" 

Coolidge pondered and for a fleeting moment the usual mask of 
seriousness appeared to drop. Then he was in character again. 

"Well, Mr. Cooper," he said, smiling faintly, "that congressman 
only asked for the band, not for the cigar!" 

The Coolidge story appeared in the co-operative's report a short 
time later, authored by Bruce Barton at the request of Cooper. It filled 
five columns in the New York Times, was used in virtually every 
member paper, and in editorial circles it created a sensation. It gave the 
country a picture of the Coolidge so few knew his home life, his 
philosophy, and the human side of his official character. 

In the field of spontaneous news Florida produced one of 1926*8 
biggest emergencies. On September 18 a tropical hurricane roared up 
the east coast, smashing a score of communities. 

The first stages of the storm were reported in dispatches which 
flowed northward to divisional headquarters at Atlanta. Then one after 
another the Florida wires began to fail. The last bulletins gave Atlanta 
an inkling of the story's proportions scores dead, hundreds injured, 
thousands homeless, and vast property damage. The final wire went 
out as the full force of the hurricane struck. At Atlanta the south circuits 
were silent. 

As the hurricane slashed through Florida, staffers were already 
pushing their way into its wake to get the news. In the state and outside 
its borders, the association threw every available resource into the 
breach. At the first warning, Chief of Bureau O. S. Morton at Jackson- 
ville ordered men at once into the region and Atlanta started additional 
reinforcements by airplane, train, and automobile. Traffic Department 
crews tackled the complicated task of restoring shattered wire facilities. 
No one knew what had happened to Correspondent Mitchell at Miami. 

Mitchell was all right, struggling to get out his story. When the 
hurricane tore out the last wire to Miami on that disastrous Saturday, 
he and telegrapher Howard Switzer braved the storm to search for 
an automobile to carry them north. Luckily they secured a truck, and 
Reese T. Amis, telegraph editor of the Miami Daily News y joined them 
as they set out. 

Progress was slow over the flooded, debris-littered roads. Rain- 


whipped darkness added to their difficulties. Many times the truck was 
forced to leave the highway and crawl through fields or woods. Water 
sloshed over the running boards. Each hamlet they passed showed 
increasingly greater damage. Pressing doggedly on past Hollywood, 
the party found the highway blocked by a barricade of trees snarled 
with telephone and telegraph wires. The truck mired down at midnight 
in a ditch six miles from Fort Lauderdale and the trio struck out on foot 
in the heavy rain. 

While Mitchell, Switzer, and Amis were trying to get north from 
Miami, R. S. Pickens and M. B. Alexander of the Atlanta staff were 
flying south through the turbulent edges of the storm. Their goal was 
Miami and they made a pact to stay with the plane "till she crashes." 

Alexander never forgot the wild ride. 

"Through crosscurrents, air pockets, and up and over storms' edges 
we went until the big one near Lake City, Florida," he related. "There 
in a semicircle ahead was the blackest cloud we ever saw. White streaks 
of wind-driven rain were illuminated by vivid flashes of lightning and 
suddenly the little plane quivered, dipped, dropped, and then under 
the pilot's masterful handling righted herself and climbed. We fought 
varying degrees of tropical hurricane for over two hours and finally 
won out when the wind changed and headed for Pensacola to continue 
its work of destruction." 

The daredevil pilot brought the ship down in a water-covered 
pasture bordering a swamp. The men waded to a highway and pushed 
on to Miami. They found streets blocked by trees, fallen timbers, and 
ruined homes. The stench of dead fish made the air nauseous. Searching 
parties looked for bodies. There was no safe drinking water and the 
food was impossible. 

Miami was merely part of the story. At Moore Haven alone no 
had been killed. Stephen Early, who had been sent from Washington, 
and A. R. Bird, correspondents at Orlando, worked toward the wrecked 
community from different directions. 

After many detours, Early's automobile got within five miles of the 
town, and there the road vanished under water. He drove on cautiously 
through the black, stinking liquid that concealed the highway. The posts 
near the road edges were the only guides to keep the car from plunging 
into the drainage ditches along the sides. The engine finally quit and 
the reporter found a truck, which eventually splashed its way into town. 

The return trip was a nightmare. A mile after the start, the truck 
swamped and there was no choice but to wade through the dark to 


higher ground. Early thought of saving his already bedraggled clothes. 
Before plunging from the truck, he bundled them up, and stood there 
in shirtail and underwear. The truckman handed him creosote and 
coal oil to smear on as protection against insects and the foul water. 
Not long after Early left the truck he lost the clothes he thought of 
saving. For four miles he labored through surging waters and finally 
reached the automobile he had abandoned hours earlier. The balky 
engine started and Early drove back to Sebring where wire facilities 
were being restored. 

All that week the staff worked to bring the nation the news of a 
disaster which took 372 lives, injured 6,281, and left 17,884 families 


THE co-operative could no longer ignore the fact that spot news 
represented only a part of the content of the modern newspaper. 
Features and spot-news pictures were important. If the association 
expanded the scope of operations to include supplemental services in 
these auxiliary .fields, its value to member papers would be greatly 

In both prewar and postwar newspapers, extensive use of feature 
material marked a definite journalistic trend. Editors had come to the 
conclusion that it was no longer enough for newspapers to be informa- 
tive. They must entertain and divert as well. At first only the larger 
publications had money and facilities for experimenting, and they did 
most of the pioneer work. The development of feature syndicates was 
a logical sequel. One of the earliest, in the modern sense of the word, 
was organized by George Matthew Adams in 1912 at the suggestion 
of Victor Lawson, and a mushroom growth in the field followed. By 
the mid-twenties commercial companies were supplying papers generally 
with budgets ranging from comic strips and popular fiction to picture 
matrices and personalized columns of comment by leading writers. 
With a large clientele, the syndicates, for a given price, could supply 
subscribers with quantities of feature material which no average paper 
could duplicate. 

A goodly portion of the budgets furnished by these commercial 
syndicates duplicated in subject matter, although not in treatment, the 
material carried in the co-operative's General Mail Service, which for 
years had been sent to members as a supplement to the wire report. 
There was this difference, however. Instead of appearing on dreary 
mimeographed paper, the commercial features were presented on neatly 
printed proof sheets with headlines already written. And most im- 
portant, the features were accompanied by attractive pictures, line draw- 
ings, or layouts, all designed to make them as visually pleasing as 

This illustrated material was popular from the start. The syndicates 
were profit-making ventures, and the greater the margin of profit the 



more satisfactory the business. There was no rigid rule of thumb 
governing the prices charged for budgets. Some salesmen, working on 
commission, often charged any price they could get. When any feature 
became valuable to a paper, prices were frequently raised and a publisher 
had the choice either of losing a circulation-getting attraction or of 
paying more money. 

As these practices grew, members who had been victimized began 
to wonder if their co-operative could not enter the feature field in a 
thoroughgoing way and produce just as good a budget on a non-profit 
basis. If this could be done, they realized, it would give them good 
supplemental material at actual cost and would protect them against 
arbitrary withdrawals of features once they had been established. 
Strangely enough, however, they did not seem to recognize that in 
the General Mail Service the association possessed the complete ground- 
work for an efficient feature department. All that was lacking was the 
vision, initiative, and the modernizing touch to effect the transformation. 

Cooper, as an assistant general manager, saw the great possibilities. 
But he knew that the association at that time had not sufficiently adjusted 
itself to postwar conditions to develop the plan. He stopped in at the 
Chicago Bureau one day during the course of an inspection trip. A 
young editor was busy preparing an issue of the General Mail Service. 
Looking over his shoulder, Cooper saw the stacks of mimeographed 
copy paper. 

"Looks pretty dull, doesn't it?" he commented. 

The editor shrugged. Single-spaced typewriting, mimeographed on 
coarse paper did not, after all, make an exciting appearance. 

Cooper examined several sheets and dropped them back on the 

"Well," he said with characteristic directness, "what would you 
think of illustrating it?" 

"I'd think very well of it." 

The assistant general manager ventured a prediction. 

"Before long you will be doing it." 

Shortly after this incident Cooper became general manager, pressed 
the matter with the board, and was directed to proceed. One of his first 
steps was to bring the mail editor from Chicago to organize the Feature 
Department. The young man was Lloyd Stratton, a Kansan who had 


joined the service in 1920. His earlier newspaper experience had been 
in the Middle West except for a wartime interlude in France where 
he drove an ambulance until it was hit by a shell, sending driver and 
wounded alike to the hospital. 

The first Feature Service release printed proof sheets and matted 
illustrations was mailed to 1228 members without assessment. The 
package contained a letter from the general manager, explaining the 
plan on which the service would operate and the assessment base for 
its financing. The assessments were nominal as compared with the 
prices of commercial syndicates, which ran to many dollars a week 
in some cases. The maximum assessment for the proof -sheets was 
fixed at $6 a week for papers published in areas of more than 100,000 
population. From the maximum, the charge scaled down to $i a 
week for papers in cities of less than 20,OOO. The assessment for 
mats of illustrations, an optional part of the service, was eventually 
fixed at $3.50 weekly for all. 

Editors on member papers opened the package containing the first 
release and promises of support poured in to the general offices. Of 
the entire membership, only 78 papers declined to participate. 

Like the history of news gathering, the development of pictorial 
journalism had its own story. Benjamin Franklin made the first attempt 
to provide illustrations with reading matter when he printed his famous 
cartoon in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754. War with France was 
rumored, and to heighten the effect of his editorial appeal for a united 
common defense Franklin inserted a cartoon showing a snake cut into 
eight parts. The parts represented the various colonies and the caption, 
"Join or Die," dramatized the need of the moment. 

The value of the cartoon impressed other colonial editors and they 
copied the idea, using Franklin's snake with variations. When the 
Boston Massacre occurred in 1770 Paul Revere made an engraving of 
five coffins to illustrate the Boston Gazette?* account of the funerals for 
the victims. 

Since the first cartoon was employed to reinforce editorial opinion, 
it was perhaps natural that editors came to look upon such illustrations 
solely as an editorial medium. On a few occasions they purported to 
represent a news event, though the emphasis was always on editorial 


James Gordon Bennett was probably the first to use a real news 
illustration. In 1835 he published a picture of the old Merchants' 
Exchange which had burned down in the great fire of that year. 
Mechanical difficulties with the presses of the day made for poor, 
smudgy reproduction and often the identity of the rough illustrations 
could be determined only by reference to the printed caption. Indeed, 
when the Herald appeared with a supposed drawing of General Jack- 
son's funeral, in 1845, rival papers pounced on Bennett, charging that 
the same engraving already had done duty as an illustration for Queen 
Victoria's coronation, the funeral of General William Henry Harrison, 
and the Croton Water Celebration. 

While Bennett's efforts may have been worthy of some note, the 
real pioneering work in depicting spot news occurrences was not a news- 
paper enterprise. The credit belonged to Nathaniel Currier. As a boy of 
fifteen he began his apprenticeship with a Boston firm of lithographers 
in 1828, the same year Hale and Hallock were making news-gathering 
history in Manhattan. Currier came to New York and set up a small 
shop in Printing House Square, the journalistic heart of the city. The 
newspaper atmosphere had its influence and when the steamboat Lex- 
ington burned with heavy loss of life on Long Island Sound in 1 840, 
Currier tried an experiment. A theatrically graphic picture of the 
disaster was drawn and three days later Currier had prints for sale 
on the streets. They were snatched up eagerly. 

The 1840 steamboat disaster decided the future of the Currier 
lithographing establishment. Illustrations of spot news became its 
specialty. Currier recruited a staff of artists who rushed to the scene 
of any news event in the vicinity, sketched the general details, and 
afterward completed the more careful drawings from which the litho- 
graphs were made. 

Currier was joined by James Merritt Ives and the firm's name 
became Currier & Ives. For the next three decades they flourished as 
printmakers to the American public. Pictures were sold by direct mail, 
by representatives in the principal cities, and by peddlers who hawked 
them through the streets. Prices ranged from 6 cents for a small print 
to $4 for a large picture in full color. Prints on spot-news events were 
usually available in New York a day or two after the news appeared 
in the papers. The success of the firm gave unmistakable proof of the 
great popular appeal of pictorial reporting. 

Even before young Currier began issuing his dramatic news-picture 
prints, Daguerre's experiments in photography had produced the first 


unheralded examples of the pictorial reporting process which ultimately 
exerted such a profound effect on the concept of complete news pres- 
entation. Although Samuel Morse and a few others later became 
interested, the possibilities Daguerre opened up were not apparent when 
the Frenchman announced his discovery in 1838. By the time of the 
Mexican War in 1 846, however, photography had advanced sufficiently 
to produce the first actual pictures of a major news story. Although the 
few daguerreotypes taken of American staff officers and troops had no 
particular spot-news value, they were part of the history of pictorial 

So few people saw the Mexican War daguerreotypes that they 
made little impression on the journalistic consciousness of the day. The 
accepted pictorial record of the war was a series of illustrations prepared 
at the direction of George Wilkins Kendall, the only reporter to 
accompany the American Army. 

The undeniable popularity of news illustrations encouraged the 
appearance of illustrated weeklies in the next decade. Frank Leslie's 
Illustrated Newspaper was founded in 1855 and Harper's Weekly 
entered the field as a competitor in 1857. The weeklies covered a wide 
range of subjects "current events of interest and importance, art and 
story illustrations, portraiture, the humor and comedy of social life, 
and foreign and domestic politics." The illustrations were all line 
drawings, and both publications maintained large staffs of artists and 
wood engravers. 

When the Civil War came, the artists of the illustrated weeklies 
did the pictorial reporting for the country at large. Their "on the spot" 
sketches were scanned almost as eagerly as newspaper dispatches, and 
army officials regarded the artists as an integral part of the press corps. 
The weeklies continued to be the sole publications which attempted to 
provide news pictures. The only initiative demonstrated by newspapers 
was in presenting maps of major battles and campaigns. One wood 
engraver on the New York Herald was considered phenomenal because 
he was able to turn out a half-page war map in twenty-four hours, but 
sometimes as many as twenty men worked on a single map to complete 
the engraving in half the time. Cartoons disappeared almost entirely 
during the Civil War and were not restored generally as a regular 
feature until the New York World revived the idea in the i88o's. 


The most important single event of the war years was the per- 
formance of photography as a vital medium for recording news. The 
work of Matthew B. Brady in compiling a photographic history of the 
conflict remains one of the greatest achievements in the annals of 
photography. Although these photographs made a vivid record for 
posterity, the pictures had comparatively small circulation at the time. 
Very much as Currier & Ives lithographs had been sold to supplement 
the current news, prints and stereographs made from the Brady 
negatives were offered for sale to the general public. 

Newspapers generally continued to regard illustrated news as 
something alien to their activities. However, the New York Daily 
Graphic, the first American daily to use illustrations regularly, appeared 
in 1873. The paper's existence was bedeviled by mechanical and financial 
difficulties arising from printing problems. Illustrations were black-and- 
white line drawings exclusively, for no practical process had been 
discovered to make possible reproduction of the intermediate tones 
found in photographs. 

Stephen H. Horgan, a photographer in charge of the Graphic's 
engraving and mechanical equipment, made the experiments which led 
to the appearance of the first halftone photograph in an American 
newspaper. The Graphic printed the picture on March 14, 1880, but 
Horgan's successful employment of the screen process failed to clear 
the way for regular use of pictures generally. 

When Joseph Pulitzer acquired the New York World in 1883 
he transplanted the illustrated weekly technique to daily journalism. 
He engaged two artists and they depicted the day's important news in 
drawings. The pictorial departure had a magic effect on the World's 
circulation, but Pulitzer feared large use of pictures tended to lower 
the paper's dignity and he ordered the woodcuts gradually eliminated. 
The order was rescinded quickly when circulation declined propor- 

The effect of Pulitzer's experiment attracted attention and other 
large papers imitated his methods. Stone borrowed a member of the 
World's mechanical force to help him introduce the idea in the Chicago 
Daily News. Victor Lawson saw a great future for such a news medium, 
but Stone was skeptical. 

"Newspaper pictures are just a temporary fad," he remarked, "but 
we're going to get the benefit of the fad while it lasts." 

The fad was far from temporary and before long many papers 
were printing black-and-white line drawings of important events. Pho- 


tography meanwhile had made tremendous strides and by the end of 
the eighties action pictures were an established reality. Various difficul- 
ties, however, continued to delay the wide employment of the halftone 


In theory there was little difference between the collection and 
distribution of news pictures and the collection and distribution of 
written news dispatches. The AP was in a position to gather news pic- 
tures as well as news, but the membership as a whole showed no great 
interest at first. The prevailing opinion seemed to be that news pictures, 
for some obscure reason, did not represent a proper field for the co- 
operative. Many publishers held to this view, even though they felt 
that news pictures were a necessity for their papers. 

When a News Photo Service was first suggested at an annual 
meeting it was decisively voted down. The agitation continued. Most 
larger papers were indifferent, for they already had their own picture 
arrangements, but the smaller papers needed some sort of service. 
Commercial picture syndicates had entered the field and the news- 
picture situation had become similar to that governing the operations 
of the commercial feature syndicates. Prices were high and the attitude 
of the syndicates frequently was one of arrogance and independence. 

Cooper wanted to extend the work of the co-operative to pictorial 
reporting. He saw that the news photo had scarcely begun to come into 
its own and he was convinced that there had been a change in the 
majority opinion that pictures were not properly a press association 
concern. More than anything else, he wanted to extend the non-profit 
co-operative principle into this increasingly important phase of news 

"It is my feeling/ 7 he told the Board of Directors in 1926, "that 
The Associated Press should do anything that is a proper news activity 
whether it be in pictures or in written news." 

Nor was that all. He added: 

"I visualize the day when we will be sending pictures over our 
own leased wire system, just as we now send the news." 

That seemed much too visionary at the time, but the board agreed 
that a mail News Photo Service should be established. President Noyes 
saw the possibilities. 

"We are going to recognize frankly," he said, "that the whole 
trend in newspaper work is toward making the picture a news medium. 


There will be developments all along and we ought to be prepared to 
meet them." 

It was with this view that the management approached the task 
of building up the AP News Photo Service as an integral part of the 
co-operative's broadened news-gathering activities. 


THE News pattern was spoiling for a change. Crime, scandal, and 
ballyhoo had been writing a lopsided amount of top news of the 

The spring of 1927 produced one forceful demonstration of this 
popular preference in news. It was a story which came out of Paris a 
story that in itself had a most unusual background and was destined to 
go down in any serious history of the times. 

Smith Reavis, a member of the Paris staff, had a note on his 
datebook showing that April 6, 1927, was the tenth anniversary of 
America's entry into the World War. In charge of the news desk, it 
was his job to plan the daily report from the French capital. He noted 
the penciled memo a few days in advance and decided to try for a 
message of peace from Foreign Minister Aristide Briand for relay to 
member papers in the United States. 

He sought out the foreign minister and outlined his conception 
of the sort of message that should appeal to the public of America. M. 
Briand listened and at length promised to prepare something. 

Sitting at his desk on the morning of April 6, Reavis found the 
promised statement in his mail. He hurriedly scanned the message and 
came upon this significant paragraph: 

"If there were need of it between the two great democracies 
[France and the United States] in order to give high testimony of 
their desire for peace and to furnish a solemn example to other peoples, 
France would be willing to enter into an engagement with America 
mutually outlawing war, to use your [Reavis's] way of expressing it." 

The dispatch Reavis wrote that day was credited with laying the 
groundwork for the famous Kellogg-Briand Pact to outlaw war. But 
so preoccupied was the country that the story was little more than a 
lost chord in the whole blatant symphony of national interest. It found 
its way into State Department files, however, and months later Presi- 
dent Coolidge started a series of representations which quickly developed 
the idea of a world-embracing peace treaty. 

Though time proved it just another scrap of paper, virtually every 



civilized nation signed the pact that was evolved. Secretary of State 
Kellogg received the Nobel peace prize and the French government, 
in a book outlining the background of the treaty, officially gave the AP 
correspondent credit for the idea. 

Reavis's story was big news, but at the time many people were 
reading about something else. 

That "something else" was the sordid drama of the Snyder-Gray 
murder case a crime which received greater space and display in 
American newspapers than the sinking of the Titanic. Hordes of 
curiosity seekers descended on Long Island City for the trial, and 
"special" writers turned the court proceedings into a Roman holiday. 
In this hippodrome atmosphere the co-operative's responsibility was to 
report the case as completely as its news value warranted and yet 
preserve the proper balance of decency. Brian Bell's handling of the 
trial, in which so much testimony was unprintable, brought praise from 
thinking editors. 

The Snyder-Gray trial ended on May 9, but the news spotlight 
remained focused on Long Island. At Roosevelt Field two planes were 
awaiting favorable weather to take off in quest of the $25,000 prize 
which Raymond Orteig had offered back in 1919 for the first non-stop 
flight between New York and Paris. There was the America with 
Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd and an expert crew. There 
was also the Columbia piloted by Clarence Chamberlin and Lloyd 

Another story in the making, but no one seemed particularly 
excited about it. 

Then suddenly things changed. On May 1 2 the Spirit of St. Louis 
flew in unheralded from the Pacific Coast. Charles A. Lindbergh was at 
the controls. No one had ever heard of him, his chances seemed slim, 
but there was something about him that captured the imagination of 
a public wearied by the tawdry series of sensations of recent years. 
Almost overnight he became the symbol of something new. 

From that point on the story was "made." The uncertainty as to 
which plane would be the first to take off whetted popular interest. 
There was the spice of great danger. The French aces, Nungesser and 
Coli, had been lost on a Paris-New York flight for the Orteig prize. 
There was high adventure. And there was Lindbergh. 

Bell and James MacDonald kept the vigil at Roosevelt Field. 


There were days of rumors and reports, but weather conditions kept 
delaying the starts and heightening the suspense* 

At dawn on May 20, Lindbergh glanced apprehensively at the 
water-splotched runway and studied the weather reports. Rain had been 
falling and there was a murky sky. It seemed a poor day to start, but 
reports said the unfavorable weather was only local in character. The 
flier was not long in making up his mind. 

"This is the day," he said. 

Five hundred people had waited through the night on the chance 
that one flier or another might take off. MacDonald and Bell were at 
Lindbergh's elbow as the tall flier prepared to climb into the cockpit. 
Commander Byrd arrived to wish his rival well. 

"Good luck to you, old man," Byrd said. "I'll see you in Paris." 

The crowd milled round. 

"Are you only taking five sandwiches?" someone asked. 

"Yes," smiled the flier. "That's enough. If I get to Paris I won't 
need any more, and if I don't get to Paris I won't need any more, 

At 7:52 A.M. Lindbergh lifted the Spirit of St. Louis into the air. 
In a hangar near the end of the runway Bell dictated the flash which 
went out over the wire. For tense seconds the fate of the flight hung 
in the balance. The plane, loaded with 458 gallons of gasoline, rose 
sluggishly, fighting for altitude. The crowd waited to see if the ship 
would be able to clear the string of telegraph wires which skirted the 
far edge of the field. Then there was a gasp of relief. 

Bell stood beside his special wire describing the beginning of the 




MacDonald kept feeding Bell additional information. The dicta- 
tion continued: 




MacDonald shouted: 

"He's cleared the trees and is disappearing into the northeast!" 
BelPs story flowed on. 



After 7:52 that morning Lindbergh was the only news the nation 
wanted. The whole country was gripped by a common emotion. 

In the New York office George Turner, the city editor, working 
with W. W. Chaplin, logged the flight on a chart designed to show 
hour by hour the plane's position if it kept to its course. Boston reported 
the first stages of Lindbergh's progress as he headed north through 
New England, and then The Canadian Press followed him up the 
coast until he passed Newfoundland and headed out to sea. 

The world waited in vain that night for some further word. In 
the Yankee Stadium forty thousand boxing fans at the Sharkey-Maloney 
fight rose in silence when Joe Humphreys, the veteran announcer, 
asked prayers for Lindbergh. 

A few hours later in the New York office Tom O'Neil, the early 
report editor, was casting about for some fresh, vivid phrase that would 
do justice to the flier who was somewhere out over the sea. Finally a 
thought came to him and he typed out the words: ". . . the Lone 

The second day wore on toward noon. Along the coast of Ireland 
at thirty-six strategic points correspondents watched for the high-wing 
monoplane bearing the license markings NX-2H. Each man was 
instructed to telephone London as soon as he sighted and positively 
identified the Spirit of St. Louis. The precautions proved worth while. 
When Lindbergh made landfall at Dingle Bay, County Kerry, Stephen 
Williamson called London, and within minutes after the plane had 
been sighted the leased wire network in the United States hummed with 
the flash that Lindbergh was over Ireland. 

The bulletins came faster after the Spirit of St. Louis passed over 
Dingle Bay. 


Lindbergh flying high over Plymouth, England . . . Lindbergh 
makes French coast at Bayeux . . . Lindbergh reported passing Cher- 
bourg . . . 




For Paris the Lindbergh story had begun days before the flier 
hopped off from Roosevelt Field, but most of the background never 
found its way into print. The loss of Nungesser and Coli on their 
Paris-New York flight on May 9 had shocked the French people. As 
hope for the rescue of the two popular aviators dwindled, the fantastic 
rumor began to circulate that they had been killed by Americans in 
order to keep them from stealing the glory from the fliers poised at 
Roosevelt Field. At first it was whispered by French housewives and 
servants as they did their marketing. Then it spread in ever-wider 
circles, stirring up an undertone of resentment and animosity. Parisians 
manifested an ugly feeling for American tourists and on one occasion a 
crowd forced the newspaper, Le Matin, to take down the United States 
flag displayed at the building. 

In some quarters the temper reached such a pitch that it aroused 
Myron T. Herrick, United States ambassador to France. He feared for 
the safety of any American flier who might reach Paris. He telephoned 
the AP bureau and asked John Evans to cable a story so emphatic that 
it would arouse the government at Washington to cancel all permission 
for the projected flights. 

Evans listened. He was familiar with the wild rumors and mention 
of them had already been made in the bureau's cable dispatches. An 
unqualified story of the type Herrick proposed, however, would violate 
service regulations. Evans offered to prepare a story quoting the 
ambassador's strong language, but Herrick seemed unwilling to com- 
mit himself that far. After discussion, he authorized a carefully guarded 
statement which failed to throw any new light on the situation. 

At Le Bourget Flying Field outside of Paris, Evans and the six-man 
staff assigned to cover Lindbergh's arrival found Herrick's anxiety had 
not diminished since the telephone conversation a few days before. The 
ambassador was present ostensibly to greet Lindbergh, but Evans 


learned that he privately feared his real task would be to protect the 
flier from rough treatment at the hands of a hostile crowd. 

Evans, however, had noticed a distinct change in popular feeling 
since Lindbergh headed out over the ocean from the North American 
continent. Little by little animosity gave way to grudging concessions 
of admiration and then to worried solicitude for Lindbergh's safety. 

There was only a small knot of people at Le Bourget when Evans, 
Tom Topping, Hudson Hawley, Edward Angly, Sam Wader, and 
George Langelaan arrived in the afternoon, but by nightfall 25,000 
were on hand. There was only one public telephone at the airdrome, 
but one of the men had been able to arrange for the use of a direct line 
from a private office in the administration building. 

All the while Evans kept his fingers on the pulse of the waiting 
people, and the reports he got from the men he assigned to circulate 
among the throngs left no doubt in his mind as to the popular feeling. 
All hostility had disappeared. There was admiration now and genuine 
hope that nothing would stop the flier short of his goal. 

Then the drone of a motor was heard. Landing lights flooded the 
field and once more the searchlight swept the sky, groping until it 
picked out a swift silver monoplane. 

In an instant the plane disappeared from the searchlight's glare, 
but not before eyes caught the license markings NX-2I i. 


Evans flashed the word to Paris that Lindbergh was over Le 
Bourget and dictated two hundred words describing the scene. Then the 
telephone line suddenly went dead. The minutes that elapsed between 
the time Lindbergh was sighted and his landing were frantic for Evans. 
A tremendous story was breaking and his line of communication was 
gone. Luckily, the erratic telephone came to life again a few minutes 
later and Evans picked up with the flash of Lindbergh's landing and a 
running account of the frenzied welcome. 

Lindbergh's New York-to-Paris flight ushered in a whole new 
cycle of news. The headlines belonged to aviation and there seemed 
no end to the stories. There was Byrd's flight to 
and Chamberlin's long hop to Germany. Brock 
made a fifteen-stop air jaunt from Harbor Gracj 
was rescued at sea near the Azores when he 
forced down. In the Pacific, Maitland and 
from Oakland to Honolulu. The FrenchmJ 


spanned the South Atlantic to Brazil. There were altitude flights, 
endurance flights, speed flights, and stunt flights. The volume of 
aviation news carried on the leased wire system set a record that was 
not surpassed for years. 


THE nation had reached the threshold of a fabulous era, but there was 
no hint of anything startling on August 2, 1927, when President 
Coolidge held his regular Tuesday press conference at Rapid City, 
South Dakota. The conferences had produced nothing noteworthy in the 
seven weeks the chief executive had been vacationing in the Black Hills. 

Between occasional puffs on a long cigar, Coolidge discussed the 
threatened failure of the Arms Limitation Conference at Geneva, the 
encouraging business conditions, governmental problems, Walter John- 
son's twentieth anniversary in baseball, and a number of other subjects. 

"If the conference will reassemble at twelve o'clock I will have a 
statement," he concluded. 

That announcement caused no stir. Francis M. Stephenson, the 
staff man assigned to Coolidge, thought the President probably had 
something to say which would be of interest to the financial world. 
There was a three-hour time difference between Rapid City and New 
York, so any Coolidge announcement at noon would not reach Wall 
Street until after the markets had closed at 3 P.M. 

Promptly at noon Stephenson and his colleagues returned to the 
school building in which the President had set up summer headquarters. 
Coolidge waited for them in a classroom which served as his private 
office. In his right hand he held a bunch of paper slips. 

"If you will pass in front of me," he told the reporters, "I will 
hand these to you." 

The slips, Stephenson found, had been folded twice so that their 
message was not visible. He opened his and read it: 


There were exclamations of surprise. The question of Coolidge's 
standing for re-election had been discussed in some quarters, but without 
particular urgency because his term had a year and a half to go. 

"Is there any other comment, Mr. President? Any amplification?" 

Coolidge shook his head. 




Stephenson dashed for his wire. The bulletin he sent touched off 
a rush of activity. There were "follows" from a score of cities. Wash- 
ington reported that political leaders now regarded Secretary of 
Commerce Herbert Hoover as a leading contender for the Republican 
nomination in 1928. And in his California home Hoover cautiously told 
a staff man: 

"It is too soon to discuss it. I must think over the President's 

While the country speculated over the proper interpretation of 
the phrasing of the President's statement, W. E. Playfair of the Boston 
staff, the same man who had covered Coolidge the night Harding died, 
kept watch over a far more contentious story. It was the case of Nicola 
Sacco, the shoemaker, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the fish peddler. Play- 
fair had been assigned to the story in 1920 when Sacco and Vanzetti were 
arrested on a charge of complicity in a fatal holdup. Then it was just 
another crime story, of little interest beyond New England. Killings 
in payroll holdups were not uncommon. Sacco and Vanzetti were con- 
victed on a charge of murder and the long fight to save them from 
the electric chair saw their case become one of the most controversial 
and highly publicized in the history of American jurisprudence. 

Playfair was at the State House in Boston early on August 3. 
Governor Alvan T. Fuller, who had conducted a final investigation 
of the case with a special advisory committee, had promised to give 
his decision during the day. Some expected that he would announce 
clemency, or even pardon. There was world-wide interest in the decision 
and on the floor above the Executive Offices the gallery of the Massa- 
chusetts House of Representatives had been converted into a pressroom. 

It was nine o'clock when Playfair took up his watch at the 
governor's offices. The day dragged along and night came. Still no 
announcement from the governor. More hours of waiting. 

It was almost 1 1 130 when the governor's secretary, Herman Mac- 
Donald, appeared with sealed envelopes containing the long-delayed 
decision. Playfair took one of the first and ran to the press gallery on 
the floor above. A telegrapher was ready. 




The decision had world-wide repercussions. There were bombings 
in New York and Albany. The American flag was burned before con- 
sulates abroad. A protest strike was called in Czechoslovakia. Appeals 
for clemency poured into Boston. There were attempts to picket the 
State House. The men were to die at Charleston Prison at midnight 
of August 12. 

Prison regulations limited the press to one representative at the 
execution and that assignment had been given Play fair in 1921 when 
Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted. Ever since Massachusetts took 
executions from the hands of county sheriffs in 1901 and turned them 
over to the warden of the state prison, the warden's practice had been 
to invite an AP man to be the newspaper representative in the death 
chamber. The custom had the approval of the state's newspapers and 
the only condition the wardens imposed was that the AP man supply, 
without reservation, all the details of executions to other reporters as- 
signed to the stories. 

It was through Playfair's eyes that the whole world watched the 
condemned men go to the electric chair. But they did not die the night 
of August 12. At 11:12 P.M., less than an hour before the time set for 
the electrocutions, a circuit court judge intervened and a ten-day reprieve 
was ordered. The news reached the prison at 11:25, J ust as Playfair 
was about to start for the death chamber with Warden William Hendry. 

The reprieve brought no relaxation of tension. The Sacco-Vanzetti 
defense organizations opened a new series of desperate legal efforts to 
save the two men. One by one their forlorn hopes shattered. 

Playfair found Charlestown Prison a veritable fortress the night of 
August 22. All near-by streets were roped off, searchlights cut swaths 
through the darkness, tear gas and machine gun squads stood ready. 
An uneasy feeling pervaded the prison. The dispatches which had 
come into Boston that day were disquieting street fighting in Paris 
and in Geneva bomb threats. 

Warden Hendry ordered all newspapermen to be on hand by ten 
o'clock. For almost two hours there was nothing to do but wait in the 
Prison Officers' Club which had been converted into a press and wire 
room. All windows had been nailed down, and the room was stifling 
in the August heat. Then Playfair left with a guard for the death 

Sacco was the first to go. He walked the seventeen steps from his 
cell -to the chair in silence. As they strapped him in, he cried out in 
Italian: "Long live anarchy!" Then in broken English he spoke again: 


"Farewell my wife and child and all my friends," There was a 
moment's silence. The executioner was ready. "Good evening, gentle- 
men," said Sacco. He was pronounced dead at 12:11 A.M. 

A messenger brought Playfair's bulletin on Sacco's electrocution 
to the pressroom. It was for all the other reporters, as well as for the 
co-operative. In the death chamber Playfair was listening to Vanzetti's 
farewell words: "I wish to forgive some people for what they are now 
doing to me." Then it was all over. 

The schoolroom at Rapid City and the death chamber at Charles- 
town Prison made news, but they did not indicate the fantastic days 
ahead. As conditions changed, the co-operative had to prepare itself 
better than ever to separate the wheat from the chaff. It was a difficult 
task because too frequently events that seemed legitimate news were 
more artificial than spontaneous, and already in one field the fabulous 
days had come. 

One month after the Sacco-Vanzetti executions there occurred at 
Soldier Field, Chicago, an event quite unlike anything before. Some 
150,000 persons paid in a gate of $2,650,000 to watch Gene Tunney 
and Jack Dempsey battle for the World Heavyweight Championship. 
At the ringside, the association had the largest staff ever assigned to a 
sports event General Sports Editor Alan Gould and a dozen other 
sports and feature writers. Ten people died of excitement while listening 
to a radio broadcast of the fight, and for days thousands debated the 
pros and cons of a referee's decision allowing Tunney a "long count" 
because Dempsey had neglected to retire to a neutral corner after the 

Perhaps the so-called "golden age" of sports, with its hysterical 
following, its parade of heroes, and its incredible gate receipts, was a 
good advance indication of the dizzier golden age of prosperity which 
followed. At least it hinted at the strange psychological ferment at 

In Wall Street during the autumn of 1927, although business 
generally appeared to be losing headway and the rediscount rate was 
lowered to assist agriculture and industry, the market developed a 
buoyant trend upward. Motor and radio stocks seemed to catch the 
public fancy. The AP Financial Service recorded the day-to-day fluctua- 
tions without comment or editorializing, letting the facts speak for 


themselves. By the closing months of the year the association's aver- 
age for sixty selected issues on the New York Stock Exchange a quick 
index of market conditions stood in the vicinity of $70. 

When the moderate rise began, the Wall Street Bureau was 
considered equal to any predictable emergency. Stanley Prenosil, finan- 
cial editor, headed a staff of eight specialists, and George A. Wyville 
directed the work of the tabulators, checkers, and operators who pre- 
pared the quotations of the stock, bond, and other markets for trans- 
mission. Until late in 1927, three-million-share days on the New York 
Stock Exchange had been rarities, but as the market pushed higher 
that trading mark was passed and the Wall Street staff felt it was 
working under abnormal conditions. 

"What," someone asked, "would ever happen with a four-million- 
share day?" 

Nothing better demonstrated the absorbing public interest in 
industrial news than the debut of the new Model A Ford in December, 
1927. During the months when Ford was developing the automobile 
which was to replace the old Model T, people devoured every rumor 
on the forthcoming car. So tremendous was the pressure that the news 
report carried a description of the new Ford and the price list as soon 
as the information was released. 

Under any other circumstances, such material would have been 
barred from the wires as advertising, but the strange alchemy of the 
times made it news of national interest. In New York an estimated 
one million people tried to get into a showroom for a glimpse of the 
automobile the day it was first displayed. In Detroit, Cleveland, 
Kansas City, and other cities police reserves were called out to control 
the crowds which fought to see the car. 

By early 1928 papers considered stock market fluctuations an 
essential part of their news report. The general manager was urged to 
enlarge the size of the Wall Street staff and to develop further the 
entire financial and commodity market service. The Traffic Department 
wrestled with the problem of arranging wire facilities so that a heavier 
list of daily quotations could be delivered with a minimum of delay. 
Financial writers were assigned at Washington, Chicago, and San 
Francisco to supplement the Wall Street Bureau. 

The new year brought scattered warnings that the market's advance 


was too swift. The news wires told of the $500,00x3,000 increase in 
brokers' loans, but from Washington came other stories quoting Presi- 
dent Coolidge as saying that he saw "nothing unfavorable" in this 
enormous use of credit for "natural expansion of business." 

There were 1,228 members receiving AP service as 1928 began. 
The leased wire web which linked them covered 160,000 miles, and 
an average of more than 300,000 words of news was written and de- 
livered each twenfy-four hours. The staff had increased 33 per cent in 
three years. 

In the supplemental Feature and News Photo services there had 
been sustained progress. The Feature Service had been expanded to 
include a special budget in Spanish for Latin America. The Photo 
Service had started its own corps of photographers Berk Payne, at 
Washington, and N. B. Harris, at New York, were the first two staff 
cameramen engaged and news pictures were made available to the 
smaller members through inauguration of a matted news photo service. 

If the management had one major problem in the general report, 
it arose from the welter of crime news, much of it linked with Prohibi- 
tion. Advocates of the Eighteenth Amendment protested whenever the 
news showed Prohibition in an unfavorable light. Similarly, anti-prohibi- 
tionists grew angry every time they felt the case against Prohibition 
was not presented in the strongest possible way. Every questioned item 
was investigated as a matter of course and it was invariably established 
that the criticism came from those who felt that the story should have 
taken the side for which they stood. 

All signs indicated that the problem of Prohibition and crime news 
would increase rather than lessen, and the approach of a presidential 
campaign served warning that the Prohibition issue would add to the 
difficulties in the heat preceding a national election. 

The stock markets kept advancing claim to recognition as big news. 
Members of the Wall Street staff, who had wondered what a four- 
million-share day would be like, found out in March. Trading exceeded 
that amount and made Stock Exchange history. Brokers' loans continued 
to climb, and some papers which had ignored quotations in the past 
began to print the lists of stock prices to meet the public demand. 
Before the World War five hundred words a day had sufficed to de- 
scribe gyrations on the Exchange. Now it was a dull day when the Wall 
Street Bureau produced less than five thousand words, and on "big 
days" the total climbed to eight and ten thousand. 

The record of the first months of 1928 was as varied as any other 


period which the service had taken in stride. There were the Snyder- 
Gray electrocutions and the exile of Leon Trotsky from Russia. Sports 
fans discussed Heavyweight Champion Gene Tunney's interest in 
literature, music, and other fine arts, and the annual aviation fever be- 
gan with the conquest of the North Atlantic by two Germans and an 
Irishman in the Junkers plane Bremen. 

At the annual meeting of the co-operative that spring, the most 
important business was the unanimous action to arrange the voting 
power of the membership more equitably by a better distribution of the 
association's bonds. An additional bond issue was authorized so that all 
members might subscribe in proportion to the amounts they contributed 
in weekly assessments. The bonds carried voting privileges in election of 
directors. One of the reasons why an inequitable distribution had arisen 
was the fact that the Board of Directors had felt itself without authority 
to redistribute bonds held in the treasury after being redeemed because 
of membership consolidations or other reasons. Thus, until the change 
was voted, newly elected members were unable to participate in the 
bondholding privilege. As far as the actual operation of the co-operative 
was concerned, the change was largely technical in its effects and the 
administration continued along established lines. 

The Republicans nominated Herbert Clark Hoover for president 
at Kansas City and the Democrats selected Alfred E. Smith in the 
June heat at Houston. At both conventions Byron Price, the chief of 
bureau at Washington, headed a specially chosen staff of seventy-five. 
As the campaign got under way, two men and one woman were assigned 
to each of the presidential nominees, and one reporter to each of the 
vice-presidential candidates. 

It was not long before the usual criticisms and complaints began 
to reach Cooper from both sides. Republicans charged The AP either 
was purposely making Smith seem more interesting, or that the re- 
porters assigned to his party were more able than those with Hoover. 
The critics were not mollified when it was pointed out to them that 
Smith talked freely with correspondents and permitted the use of 
question and answer quotations while Hoover imposed a strict regula- 
tion that nothing he said was to be quoted without specific permission. 
One member of the Board of Directors said of this type of criticism: 


"It's the Republicans' fault if Smith is making more news and delivering 
more speeches." 

In the heat of the campaign, however, the Smith adherents were 
just as vociferous as their Republican foes. They charged the co-opera- 
tive with aiding Hoover's candidacy by reporting the slang Smith used 
or quoting his words and expressions when they were not polished. The 
whispering campaigns, the religious issue, the activities of the Ku Klux 
Klan, all contributed to the difficulties which attended a fair, accurate, 
and unbiased account of the contest. 

The campaign ended November 5. The air rang with the slogans 
on the prosperity and Prohibition issues with catchphrases such as "a 
chicken in every pot, two cars in every garage." 

Thirty-six million Americans cast their votes and in New York on 
election night the Board of Directors room was transformed into a spe- 
cial election headquarters where a picked staff, working under the im- 
mediate supervision of Price and Assistant General Manager Elliott, 
tabulated the returns and prepared the election leads. 

Cooper, studying the figures as they were brought to his office, was 
leafing through a fresh batch of returns when his door opened. Looking 
up, he was surprised to see the white-haired figure of Melville E. Stone. 

"Well, I just couldn't stay away," the former general manager 
explained apologetically. 

For a while the two men sat talking. Then Stone took his leave. 
He stood for a few minutes on the busy news floor and made his way 
to the board room where the election staff was hard at work. His entry 
passed almost unnoticed and he found a chair in the corner of the room. 
Elliott saw him and nodded a greeting. For a long time the old man 
watched the scene. Finally he motioned to Elliott. 

"Isn't this beautiful, Elliott?" he exclaimed. "Here is the staff of 
The Associated Press doing the same work that has been done in our 
organization in preceding elections over a long period. The staff is 
made up of new blood, young men whose faces are new to me, and yet 
nothing is changed. It is just like every preceding election staff an 
efficient group carrying on without fluster or bluster." 

He studied the room again and nodded his head. 

"No," he repeated, "nothing is changed, nothing is changed." 

A few months later Stone died and messages of condolence poured 
in from the world's great and near great who had known him. He was 
buried in Washington Cathedral in the crypt set aside for the nation's 
distinguished dead. He had said he wished to be buried as a plain 


citizen, but the cathedral's trustees offered his family the privilege of 
having him entombed there, alongside the vaults of Woodrow Wilson 
and Admiral Dewey. 


The Wall Street Bureau was the first to feel the effects of the 
Hoover landslide. Markets bounded upward at the opening bell on 
November 7 and stories of the broad advances competed for preference 
on leased wires already crowded with election material. The "prosperity 
bull market" had begun its spectacular career. Before the month ended, 
trading on the "big board" reached the unprecedented daily total of 
6,900,000 shares, and transactions in other markets mounted accord- 

It was only a beginning, but on December i the bureau's files 
showed how great the gains had been since the last day of trading in 
1927. Montgomery Ward, which sold then at 119, had skyrocketed 
to 434. Radio had soared from 90 to 382, General Motors from 138 to 
211, Wright Aeronautical from 81 to 263, Adams Express from 185 
to 390. Other issues followed these bell-wethers with large gains. 
Brokers' loans, an index of speculation, exceeded $6,OOO,OOO,OOO, an in- 
crease of approximately $2,000,000,000 in the space of eleven months. 
Call money rates had climbed as high as 8 and 9 per cent. 

Economists and Wall Street spokesmen told reporters that 1929 
would be a most prosperous year. Financial analysts expatiated on the 
"new business cycle." Sports reported the death of Tex Rickard and 
the mass funeral service for him at Madison Square Garden, where his 
last "gate" was a big success. The Philadelphia Bureau reported that 
the National Association of Merchant Tailors, in convention assembled, 
gravely decreed that the well-dressed man should have at least twenty 
suits, a dozen hats, eight overcoats, and twenty-four pairs of shoes. 
And in her New York night club, Texas Guinan sounded one ironic 
keynote for the year when she hailed patrons with the rowdy greeting: 
"Hello, sucker!" 

So the great news year of 1929 began. The foreign report told of 
Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance campaign in India, the War Rep- 
arations Conference at Paris which was drafting the Young plan in an 
effort to remedy Germany's financial problems, and the signing of the 
Lateran Treaty at Rome, ending a half century of estrangement be- 
tween the Vatican and the Italian government. The cable dispatches 
shared front pages with domestic stories of Anne Morrow's engage- 


ment to Colonel Lindbergh, Chicago's St. Valentine Day massacre, and 
the skyward progress of securities and commodity markets. 

Through the spring and on into the summer the Wall Street Bu- 
reau chronicled the sustained advance of security prices. The booms 
of the past seemed insignificant by comparison. Public participation in 
the market had never been so tremendous. From the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, ticker tape quotations had become the symbols of sudden and 
easy wealth. Where once people had bought newspapers to read of 
politics, war, achievement, or disaster, now they looked first for the 
closing prices. 

As the market soared upward, a handful of experts sounded stern 
warnings that the orgy of speculation was headed for disaster. These 
represented the other side of Wall Street's amazing story, and the 
report carried them just as it did the counter forecasts of bankers who 
saw boundless prosperity ahead. 

The scattered warnings went unheeded. A few of the more vigor- 
ous ones caused the market to sell off the Wall Street euphemism for 
such recessions was "technical reaction" but they had no lasting effect. 
The market broke sharply in March when the unprecedented total of 
8,246,740 shares were traded in one day and call money catapulted to 
20 per cent. Recovery was swift, however, and prices soon poked back 
into higher levels. After that, public and professional confidence in the 
future of the market was stronger than ever. It survived a sinking 
spell in May, and then once more pushed upward resolutely to greater 

On September 3, 1929, The AP average of sixty selected stocks 
reached an all-time high of $157.70, more than double the $70 level 
of late 1927. Sales that day were a mere 4,438,910 shares. By mid- 
September the co-operative's average began to drop and by October it 
was sliding several dollars a day. The Wall Street staff was unable to 
find any genuine alarm in brokerage circles. The slow decline was re- 
garded as a repetition of the March break which the market had soon 
overcome. Brokers realized that the drop in prices was eating away 
the slim margin on which billions of dollars' worth of stocks were held, 
but the consensus was that the technical reaction could not possibly 
go much further. The report quoted their views. 

On October 24 "Black Thursday" a torrent of liquidation hit the 
market and hammered stocks down $5,000,000,000. One issue plum- 
meted 96 points. The trading floor was a bedlam and tickers fell far 
behind transactions, adding to the confusion as the Wall Street Bureau 

M I I I C 


struggled to keep abreast of the selling. Trading smashed all previous 
records with a total of 12,894,650 shares and it was nightfall before 
the last quotations were cleared on the special financial wires. 

Five days later came the deluge which completely swamped wire 
facilities and all but engulfed the staff in its effort to report what was 
happening. Tickers were useless, grinding out prices which were hours 
behind actual trading. On the Stock Exchange transactions totaled 
16,410,030. Curb sales exceeded 7,000,000. Out-of-town and foreign 
markets were demoralized. 

The crash began as soon as the Stock Exchange opened on October 
29 and it quickly became apparent that the regular Wall Street staff 
could not cope with the collapse. Claude A. Jagger, acting as financial 
editor, recruited reinforcements from the New York city staff and as- 
signed them throughout the financial district. Men were stationed in the 
office of J. P. Morgan, in all the big banks and brokerage offices, with 
the regular members of the Wall Street staff working in key positions 
at the various markets. Jagger, a seasoned financial writer, did the 
main story of Wall Street's biggest day. He alone wrote 8,000 words 
before the day finished. 

Those 8,000 words told the story of collapse which wiped out bil- 
lions of dollars' worth of open market values and swept prices down in 
panic. They told of wild scenes on the Stock Exchange floor as huge 
blocks of stock were dumped on the market ; of the tense, white-faced 
customers in board rooms watching paper fortunes melt away; of the 
solemn conferences of bankers and stock exchange officials ; of the sober 
crowds which gathered in the streets of the financial district 5 of broker- 
age clerks at telephones demanding "More margin, more margin !" 


THE big story was a thousand stories. Some were columns long, some 
a few sentences. The date lines were legion. The basic subject matter 
was monotonously unvaried a deepening world-wide depression. The 
domestic report told recurrently of fresh lows in security and com- 
modity prices, of tobogganing earnings, of bank closings, mounting un- 
employment and distress. The news by cable added other details 
Europe's precarious financial condition, slackening of industry, the de- 
struction of world markets, and the intricate problems of international 
indebtedness. Individually most of the dispatches had no surpassing sig- 
nificance y collectively their weight was staggering. 

During 1930, as the world slid deeper into the economic morass, 
the report was studded with accounts of political unrest. In South 
America an epidemic of revolutions kept correspondents working under 
pressure and peril. When the Vargas rebellion broke out in Brazil, 
E. M. Castro of the Rio de Janeiro staff, raced through the bullet- 
splattered streets to flash the beginning of the insurrection. Paul San- 
ders, the bureau chief, was routed from his typewriter by a fusillade 
of shots which peppered the office walls. A zealous Boy Scout, intent 
on rescuing the Brazilian flag on the building, had climbed up past the 
office window in human-fly fashion, drawing the fire of a rebel detach- 
ment in the street. Censorship added to difficulties, as it had in Peru, 
the Argentine, and other South American countries. 

Chief of Bureau Morris J. Harris at Shanghai had the upheaval 
of China's civil war to report, and in India there were the violent dis- 
orders of Gandhi's civil disobedience campaign for national autonomy. 
In Germany Hitler's National Socialist party made tremendous gains 
in the September election, becoming for the first time a powerful bloc 
in the Reichstag. There were reports of impending revolution. The un- 
easiness subsided after Chief of Bureau Lochner obtained from Presi- 
dent von Hindenburg a statement affirming confidence in Germany's 
continued stability and discounting the possibilities of a radical dic- 

Although member papers were feeling the pinch of economic con- 



ditions smaller publications had been complaining as early as the au- 
tumn of 1929 there was no suggestion that service be curtailed. The 
insistence was that the report be maintained unimpaired. This was 
particularly true of the financial service, even though the market col- 
lapse had robbed security and commodity prices of their 1929 circula- 
tion-building magic. 

The daily ledger of the depression made a drab background, but 
the report had colorful contrasts. The most picturesque copy in many 
months came from Addis Ababa where Haile Selassie, "Conquering 
Lion of Judah, the Anointed of God, and the Lord of the World," 
was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia with barbaric ceremonials and splen- 
dor. The extraordinary coronation in Africa meant a change of scene 
for Jim Mills, roving correspondent of the Foreign Service. After 
five years in the Balkans, he had been sent to Moscow as chief of 
bureau in 1924 for a three-year tour of duty during which he covered 
all parts of the Soviet Union. Then he came back to Middle Europe, 
once more as chief of bureau at Vienna, with Austria, Czechoslovakia, 
Hungary, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, and Rumania for his 
territory. During this period he secured interviews with King Constan- 
tine of Greece, King Boris of Bulgaria, King Alexander of Yugo- 
slavia, Queen Marie and King Carol of Rumania, and King Zog of 
Albania. After two years in the post, he was reappointed to Moscow and 
was finishing his second year there when he was ordered to Africa for 
the coronation of Haile Selassie on November 2, 1930. 

The ceremonies, which lasted a week, were an ordeal, even for a 
seasoned reporter like Mills. The rites began at four in the morning 
and the heat in the small, stuffy cathedral became unbearable as the 
day wore on. The air was foul with the smoke of mutton-fat candles, 
the nauseating odor of strange incense, and the overpowering stench of 
Ethiopians, greased from head to foot with rancid butter and animal 
fat. American and European guests needed surreptitious recourse to 
flasks of brandy in order to stand the torture. But Mills survived. 

Early in 1931 the foreign report produced one of those teapot 
tempests which demonstrated the scrutiny to which dispatches were 
subjected by editors and public alike. The news was the address of Pope 
Pius XI during ceremonies dedicating the Vatican radio station, HVJ. 
An international hookup of 250 stations had been arranged to carry the 
Pontiff's message of peace and good will to all parts of the world. 


Andrue Berding, the new bureau chief at Rome Cortesi had just 
retired was at the Vatican for the dedication and the papal broadcast. 
After the Pope had begun his talk, Berding hastened to the Vatican 
telegraph office with a copy of the speech. The Pope made his address 
in Latin, but the prepared copies were in Italian. Berding translated the 
text into English and filed it page by page at the telegraph office. Pres- 
ently he came upon a Biblical quotation. There was no time to rush 
around the Vatican looking for a Bible, so without hesitation he trans- 
lated the passage into simple, direct English. 

The story did not end there, however. Soon Berding received a 
sheaf of letters from Catholics in the United States, saying, in effect: 
"You have made the Pope quote the Protestant version of the Bible!" 
Accompanying the letters was the general manager's request for an 
explanation. Embarrassed by the complaints the bureau chief checked 
on the Biblical passage the Pope had used. He consulted the Catholic 
version of the Bible, then the Protestant version. The critics were wrong. 
The quotation, as Berding had translated it, did not appear verbatim in 
either. It was his own version, and he wrote the general manager that 
he felt it was as good as either of the other renditions. 

All this while the many-sided story of economic distress kept un- 
folding. The news was even gloomier than in 1930. Big corporations 
announced pay cuts, hunger marchers paraded, Treasury statistics 
showed an alarming increase in money hoarding, the army of unem- 
ployed grew larger, bank failures averaged almost a hundred a month, 
and the price of wheat in the Chicago grain pit sank to the lowest levels 
since 1896. From South America cables brought tidings of fresh revo- 
lutions. Madrid reported the overthrow of King Alfonso and the 
setting up of a Spanish republic. Dispatches from London, Berlin, 
Vienna, and other European centers set forth the unchecked develop- 
ment of the financial crisis which menaced the Old World. 

On June 20, 1931, the report announced a proposal by President 
Hoover for a one-year moratorium on all payments of war reparations 
and intergovernmental debts the administration's effort to avert a 
catastrophe, inevitable if financial collapse occurred in Germany and 
Central Europe. The next day Washington quoted Secretary of State 
Henry L. Stimson as saying a personal appeal from President von Hin- 
denburg of Germany had figured importantly in Hoover's decision. The 
contents of Hindenburg's letter, however, were not disclosed. Hoover 
regarded them as confidential and all efforts to obtain the document 
proved unavailing. 


Failing in Washington, the association turned to Berlin. Cooper 
cabled Lochner to secure the text of Hindenburg's appeal. Lochner 
afterward called the assignment the most difficult he had ever received. 

He sounded out Foreign Minister Julius Curtius. 

"As far as I am concerned," the Cabinet official said, "there is no 
objection to giving publicity to the letter. But the letter is addressed to 
President Hoover and international courtesy demands that your Amer- 
ican President, rather than we, give it out. Besides, this is really a 
matter which, so far as Germany is concerned, only President von Hin- 
denburg can decide." 

Lochner went to the presidential palace, but got nothing there. 
After days more of trying, he gave up hope. He received instructions 
to accompany Chancellor Heinrich Bruening and Foreign Minister 
Curtius to London for the Seven-Power Conference on the financial 
woes of Europe. 

The departure for London was only three hours distant when 
Lochner met a government official just back from vacation. There were 
a few words of greeting, and then the official said enthusiastically: 

"That was certainly a great message your President Hoover ad- 
dressed to the world on the moratorium. I read about it when on leave, 
but now I must find out just how it came about." 

Lochner listened with a poker face. 

"By the way," he interposed idly, "I have never seen President 
von Hindenburg's appeal to Hoover published anywhere, yet I under- 
stand it is a deeply moving document. Can't you have a copy made 
and send it to me at London? It seems to me your president should get 
some credit for the part he played." 

To Lochner's joy, the German did not summarily reject the idea. 

"Pd rather not send you the text direct because it might be mis- 
construed," the official said. "Pll simply address an envelope to your 
wife here in Berlin, and when she opens it she will find the text." 

Several nights later Lochner was at a typewriter in the London 
Bureau tapping out his story on the progress of the Seven-Power Con- 
ference. The telephone operator told him Berlin was calling. 

It was Mrs. Lochner with the 5OO-word German text of President 
von Hindenburg's letter. 

Quitting London with the German delegation two days later, 
Lochner picked up an English newspaper. It carried a dispatch from 
New York saying The AP had succeeded in obtaining for exclusive 
publication the text of President von Hindenburg's letter to President 


Hoover. The paper reprinted most of the message. Mischievously, 
Lochner passed the paper over to Curtius and indicated the article. 

"Herr Reichminister," he said in tones of injured innocence, "that's 
what happens when you and I leave the country!" 

In spite of the Hoover moratorium, Europe's economic condition 
failed to improve. Germany's difficulties became so acute that the gov- 
ernment was forced to close all stock exchanges and banks. Heavy with- 
drawals of gold from London by frightened Swiss, Dutch, and Belgian 
bankers impaired England's financial stability, and on September 21, 
1931, the country abandoned the gold standard. The cables were heavy 
with the story and its international repercussions. 

Because of its sheer magnitude, its endless ramifications and baffling 
complexity, the depression produced no one dominant figure who drama- 
tized the tremendous story. It was another field of events which gave 
the report one of the period's most vivid personalities Mahatma 
Gandhi. The graphic dispatches of Jim Mills, who had gone to India 
from Africa, were in part responsible. 

Mills managed to win the confidence and respect of the homely 
little 62-year-old Hindu. It was his reportorial treatment of Gandhi as 
an intensely appealing human character, rather than as a fanatic or freak, 
that won the holy man's trust. Gandhi informed him in advance of 
every move he planned to make, and the co-operative was able to supply 
its members with prompt and complete coverage on all important de- 
velopments in India's struggle for independence. 

Mills traveled throughout India with Gandhi, reporting the prog- 
ress of the civil disobedience movement, riots, and bloodshed. When 
Gandhi went to London in September, 1931, for the India Round 
Table Conference, Mills went with him. The conference failed and 
Mills was forewarned that Gandhi's return to India would be the signal 
for a spirited resumption of the civil disobedience campaign. 

The British authorities in India moved swiftly to meet the new 
challenge and on January 3, 1932, Gandhi confided to Mills that he 
expected to be arrested again. Seated at a spinning wheel in the tattered 
tent he had pitched on the roof of a Bombay tenement, Gandhi pre- 
dicted that a reign of terror would follow his imprisonment. 

Jim Mills was there when the police arrived at three o'clock the 
next morning. 


"They are coming! They are coming!" the leader's disciples cried. 

Gandhi, roused from sleep, was told the police were outside. "Usher 
them in," he said sleepily. "They are welcome." 

A few minutes later the Mahatma repaired to another part of the 
roof where he prayed silently with his followers and wrote a few 
notes of farewell. Then, spying Mills, he motioned him to approach. 

"I do not know when, or whether ever, I shall see you again," 
he said in a low voice. "The Associated Press has reported the political 
situation in India as no other news organization in the world has cov- 
ered it. Therefore, on the threshold of prison, I give you and The Asso- 
ciated Press a farewell message. It may be that I shall die in prison. It 
may be I shall never see you again. Therefore, I want to thank you 
and The Associated Press for the thorough and impartial way in which 
you have always reported my activities and the progress of the Indian 
Nationalist movement. 

"I hope that after I am gone The Associated Press will continue 
to inform the American people of the exact situation in India, telling 
them what we as Indian Nationalists are trying to do to emancipate 
India. But at the same time I would ask you to do the fullest justice 
to the British side of the controversy. For I do not wish to hurt as 
much as a hair on any English head." 

With that, Gandhi placed himself in the hands of the police who 
whisked him by automobile to the Yeroda Prison at Poona, seventy-five 
miles away. 

On this occasion, while the events of an outside world crowded one 
on the other, the Mahatma remained in jail for months. There was great 
secrecy when he was unexpectedly given his freedom. To avoid atten- 
tion the release was effected after midnight and Gandhi, with his pots, 
pans, and goat's milk, was taken by car to a distant railroad station. He 
reached the platform, squatted down, and pulled his clattering posses- 
sions about him. Peering into the darkness, he discerned someone ap- 
proaching. With a toothless smile, he recognized a familiar figure. 

"I suppose," said he, shaking his head in mock resignation, "when 
I go to the Hereafter and stand at the Golden Gate, the first person 
I shall meet will be a correspondent of The Associated Press." 

To the general public the news-gathering activities of The AP at 
any given time represented the sum total of its operations. Outside of 


journalistic circles, few knew in 1932 that the Board of Directors and 
the management faced an acute administrative problem which directly 
involved continued news gathering. Two years of depression had sharply 
reduced the financial resources of the member papers, and the member 
papers defrayed the cost of the entire service. Some had been forced to 
suspend publication, a few had consolidated, and a number were barely 
able to meet their weekly share of the association's expenses. The board 
and the general manager were fully aware of the distress and knew the 
papers looked to them to do everything possible to ameliorate the situa- 
tion. The gravity of matters could not be exaggerated. Unless mem- 
bers were able to meet their weekly assessments, the association would 
not have sufficient funds for news operations, and hundreds of employes 
would be without jobs. 

One publisher, thinking to be helpful, approached the general 
manager with a suggestion for a flat 20 per cent reduction in all assess- 
ments. It required a lot of explanation to convince him there was no 
such easy short cut to a lightening of the financial burden. 

In the first place, the member learned, more than 60 per cent of 
all the association's expenses went for domestic wire charges. Of that 
amount, at least half was obligated under unexpired contracts and could 
not be touched. The remaining wire costs could be slashed to effect the 
desired assessment decrease, but this would entail an arbitrary curtail- 
ment of the leased network. 

The next major budget item was the 20 per cent spent on the For- 
eign Service and incoming news. Here again, the member found himself 
unwilling to urge retrenchment. He knew that if the co-operative 
diminished the outlay for the foreign service it would jeopardize its 
position in that field. Similarly, if the reductions were made at the cost 
of national and state news, papers might get slightly lower assessments 
but, on the other hand, they would be forced to spend several times the 
amount saved to supplement an incomplete report. 

The only other sizable item on the balance sheet was 1 1 per cent 
for salaries and all administrative and office expenses. Obviously not 
even a 10 per cent assessment reduction was possible here, without 
virtually wiping out all payroll, office maintenance, and administrative 
costs. During the discussion on the subject of salary cuts, it was pointed 
out to the member that if all salaries in the service were reduced 20 
per cent, the decrease would range from 10 cents weekly in small 
places to $10 or $15 in the largest cities. 

The publisher who came to New York to suggest an easy way to 


lower assessments was a much better informed man when he left. As 
far as he could see, the books held no promise of any major savings. 
For the first time, he appreciated the tremendous problem with which 
the board and the general manager were grappling. 

After a study of the problem, the Board of Directors delegated 
General Manager Cooper to devise, if possible, a retrenchment program 
which would permit a minimum monthly refund of 10 per cent on 
assessments. The assignment was the most formidable administrative 
task Cooper had undertaken since 1912 when he turned a threatened 
deficit of $50,000 into a $100,000 saving. 

No department, domestic or foreign, escaped scrutiny in the 
search for economies. Wherever possible, transmission facilities were 
realigned or rerouted so that each mile of wire delivered the maximum 
of service and linked as many papers as practicable. This was a start. 

The greater portion of transmission savings, however, came from 
the duplexing of existing wire circuits. Duplexing was a communica- 
tions development whereby one wire could carry two sets of signals 
simultaneously, without interference. This, in effect, made one wire do 
the work of two, for the impulses which actuated either Morkrum 
printers or Morse sounders were transmitted in separate harmonic 
channels, rendering the wire, for practical purposes, almost the equiva- 
lent of a double circuit. This increased the cost of each wire, but the 
amount involved was less than the price of two outright wires. 

Quite apart from the immediate retrenchments realized, the thor- 
oughgoing survey of wires and transmission equipment led to one de- 
velopment of long-range value. W. J. McCambridge, a man who had 
come up from the ranks to become chief of the Traffic Department in 
1928, got to thinking of the advantages a research and experimental 
laboratory might yield. The more he considered the idea the more it 
impressed him. The possibilities, he saw, were endless. In all likelihood, 
a laboratory could work out a number of mechanical refinements to 
meet the present need for economies. McCambridge knew how pressing 
that need was. Equally important, however, was the fact that the co- 
operative would have a unit constantly seeking to invent and perfect 
equipment for the future. 

McCambridge had no trouble in getting approval for his idea. 
His department contained many men of high scientific and technical 
ability, and from among them he recruited the nucleus of an able labora- 
tory staff. Laboratory enterprise on the part of a press association was 
something quite novel, yet the experiment attracted scant attention. 


The economy hunt went on. An additional necessary saving was 
effected by a 10 per cent reduction in the salaries of the entire personnel. 
Cooper authorized the cuts reluctantly. He always had thought staff 
salaries were lower than he would like to have them, and only the 
emergency compelled his consent to a decrease in the existing scale. It 
was the only reduction ordered during the whole depression period. 
Cooper, incidentally, was the first to have his salary reduced. Before 
directing action on the staff payroll, the Board of Directors reduced the 
general manager's salary by a like percentage. 

Further decreases in operating costs were worked out by a one-year 
postponement of the annual allotments to the Emergency Reserve Fund, 
the Employes Benefit Fund, and the fund set aside for amortization of 
telegraphic and traffic equipment. All three reserves were in sound finan- 
cial condition and payments could be suspended temporarily. Econo- 
mies ran from pencils, paste, paper clips, and paper towels up to bigger 
items. Typewriters which ordinarily would have been replaced were 
made to last a little longer. Office furniture which had seen its best days 
continued to do duty. Telephone and telegraph tolls were watched re- 
lentlessly and even the outlays for postage were challenged. 

The program was helped by a sizable personal contribution from 
President Noyes. For several years it had been the custom of the board 
to vote him annually an honorarium of $10,000 in appreciation of the 
amount of time and money he spent in discharging his duties as the un- 
salaried head of the co-operative. From 1932 on Noyes declined the 

Member newspapers received the benefits of the economies in two 
ways. Assessments generally were adjusted downward although in 
most cases the 1930 census figures actually called for increases and, 
retroactive to January i, 1932, a part of these lowered assessments was 
returned to members in regular weekly refunds. 

In the first thirty-three months of the emergency budget's opera- 
tion, the membership received $1,391,066.78 in cash refunds and 
$1,184,220.48 in outright assessment reductions. 

The emergency depression measures wisely did not ignore ade- 
quate provisions for the association's expansion and growth. Arrange- 
ment was made for the continued support of two new subsidiaries The 
Associated Press of Great Britain and The Associated Press of Ger- 
many news and photo organizations which had been set up abroad 
in 1930. 

In spite of the steps that had been taken, some members were 


unable to weather the economic collapse. Others found it necessary to 
substitute pony reports for leased wire service. 

The big story that was a thousand stories went on through the 
months and the dispatches kept adding somber footnotes. 

Unemployed demonstrators converge on Washington . . . Farm- 
ers' Holiday movement spreads . . . Bankruptcies . . . "Frozen" 
credits . . . Currency hoarding . . . Depression . , , 


IN THE Newark Bureau it was the quietest night in months. Against 
one wall a battery of four Morkrums droned along. The last top items 
of news had been cleared on the New Jersey wires much earlier. The 
best story in the report seemed to be the by-lined account of Morris 
J. Harris on the fierce fighting at Shanghai in the undeclared Sino- 
Japanese War. The state budget offered nothing better than a fire at 

At the filing editor's desk, Gregory Hewlett sifted through a thin 
pile of secondary material edited for relay on the double circuit which 
served the state's morning papers. At the state news desk, the night 
editor, W. A. Kinney, relaxed in his chair. His desk was clear, all the 
night report stories were up, and the few early report items had been 
written. Dull nights like this were few and far between. 

The Morse wire clicked off a message. Hewlett read it and pushed 
it across the news desk. 

"The nightly Lindbergh rumor," he announced. 

Kinney glanced at the message. It was from the Atlantic City Press. 

"Hear Lindbergh in accident near Hopewell," it read. "Any- 

The night editor did not bother to comment. Ever since Colonel 
Lindbergh had taken up residence in the state, the bureau had been 
plagued with requests to check reports that this or that had happened to 
the famous flier. After two years of that, another query did not cause a 
great stir. Lindbergh's unlisted telephone number was in the card index 
as a matter of fact, it was only within the past week that the number 
of his new estate at Hopewell had been substituted for a temporary 
Princeton one but the office order was that the colonel must not be 
bothered in checking such reports. The telephone number was for extra- 
ordinary emergencies only, and there never had been occasion to use it. 

The time was almost 10:40. The Morse operator, George Wil- 
liamson, copied down another message and passed it to the filing editor. 

"Here's another one," Hewlett called over to Kinney, now on his 
way to the telephone booth which shut out the drumming noise of the 



Morkrums. "Paterson wants to know if there's anything to Lindbergh 
being in a crash somewhere." 

The night editor went into the telephone booth and picked up 
the receiver. 

"Market 2-5400," he told the operator. 

That was Newark Police Headquarters. If anything important was 
happening in the state, they invariably knew it there quickly. 

Headquarters listened patiently. 

"No. Nothing tonight. Switch you to the teletype room, but if they 
had anything we'd know before this. Hold on." 

The teletype room, where police communications were received, 
had no information. 

"The only State Police stuff we've had in the last hour has been 
routine stolen cars and a few alarm cancellations. They'd have had 
anything like that before this. Yes, a couple more phonies, I guess . . . 
Wait, there's something starting to come in on the State Police printer 

Then the detective's voice exploded in Kinney's ear. 

"My God! Listen, AP! Here's the State Police alarm. The Lind- 
bergh baby's been kidnaped!" 

The editor listened as the detective read the text of the alarm and 
then bolted out of the booth. Pulling up a typewriter, he yelled at the 
top of his voice. 


He didn't think of a flash. Just get the news out. A straightaway 
bulletin. Hang it right on the State Police flier. 

The typewriter banged out the words: 


NEWARK, N. J., MARCH 1 - (AP) - THE 


Hewlett ripped the paper out of the machine as soon as the last 
typebar hit, and Kinney darted back into the telephone booth, fumbling 
hurriedly through the card index for Lindbergh's private number. In a 
moment Hewlett joined him, and sat down at the other telephone. 


"I'll get after Breckinridge and Hopewell police," he said. 

When Kinney finally got through to the Lindbergh home, he heard 
a voice filled with both hope and anxiety. He recognized it immediately. 
He had covered Lindbergh on numerous assignments before. 

"Colonel Lindbergh, this is The Associated Press in Newark. We 
hesitate to bother you at such a moment, but we've just received the 
State Police alarm that your son has been kidnaped." 

The colonel interrupted. 

"I have no statement to make at this time," he said. 

He didn't say it the unworried way the editor had heard him say 
it often before at the airport. There was time for only a few other 
quick questions before the conversation ended, but by then the Newark 
editor was convinced the kidnaping report was true. 

Hewlett called Colonel Lindbergh's attorney, Henry Breckin- 
ridge, and got positive confirmation of the story. Then the Hopewell 
police were reached. An officer had been sent up to the remote white 
house in the gloomy Sourlands, but until they heard from him there 
was no further information. 

Hammering away at typewriters, the two men pieced out the story 
as fast as they could. 

As the story began to roll, Newark raised the other New Jersey 
bureau, in the State House at Trenton, so that staff men there could be 
started for Hopewell, which was much nearer that city than Newark. 

In Trenton Sam Blackman hustled over to State Police headquar- 
ters. The lieutenant on duty told him that Colonel Lindbergh per- 
sonally had called in the report of the kidnaping, but that was all they 
knew. Troopers already were at the estate in the Sourlands. Blackman 
started for Hopewell with Frank Jamieson, the correspondent in charge 
at Trenton. Jim Lawrence was assigned to the police headquarters and 
W. F. Carter manned the State House Bureau so that the men could 
relay their news through Trenton in case Newark's telephones were 

To know that Jamieson and Blackman were racing toward Hope- 
well gave a lift to the men in Newark, but it might be an hour before 
the first word was received from them. 

Hewlett remembered a young woman who happened to be a friend 
of Anne Lindbergh's sister. Maybe she had heard something. The call 
woke her. Hewlett started to tell her. 

"Oh," she exclaimed, "and Anne is expecting another baby!" 

Things like that kept happening. 


Another try at the Lindbergh telephone number produced a quickly 
interrupted few words with the state trooper who answered, but the 
brief seconds developed that an unspecified ransom had been asked, 
and a note found. 

Newark then called the estate of Mrs. Lindbergh's mother at 
Englewood and told Mrs. Morrow that The AP felt it might be helpful 
in the search for the stolen baby if she would supply a description of 
the child for immediate nation-wide distribution. She agreed and ex- 
pressed her thanks for the suggestion. 

The Lindbergh house in the Sourland mountains was a difficult 
place to find that dark, blustery March night, but Jamieson and Black- 
man had the experience of two previous trips over the winding, bumpy 
road. They had written stories of the flier's isolated estate before he 
took up residence. 

Whateley, the butler, answered the door. He recognized Black- 
man but the smile of other visits was gone. 

"What about the baby being kidnaped?" Blackman asked. 

"All we know," the servant said sadly, "is that the baby isn't here. 
Colonel Lindbergh is out on the grounds, but you can come in and 

Jamieson went off in search of the police. Blackman started back 
toward Hopewell looking for a telephone. By the entrance to the Lind- 
bergh estate, about a half mile from the house, he found the home of 
a baker. None too happy at being roused from bed at midnight, the 
man grumblingly permitted the use of his party-line telephone. Black- 
man talked to Newark Whateley's few words proved to be the first 
positive statement obtained from a member of the Lindbergh house- 
hold and then started back up the dark muddy lane. 

From the blackness of the estate's entrance four figures emerged 

"Are you troopers?" Blackman hailed. 

A tall, hatless man answered him. 

"I'm Colonel Lindbergh." 

"I'm Blackman of The AP." 

The aviator shook his head. 

"I'm sorry, Blackman, but I can't say anything now." 

Accompanied by two of the troopers, Lindbergh strode on up the 
lane toward the house. Blinking flashlights marked the progress of the 


three men. Then the reporter became aware that one trooper had re- 
mained near the gatehouse. 

"Let's see your police card," the officer asked. 

His electric torch flickered briefly as he examined the credential. 
Then he flashed it for a moment on Blackman's face. 

"O.K., AP, Pll tell you the story, but you don't know where you 
got it." 

While Blackman scribbled notes, the trooper told what had hap- 
pened, filling in numerous gaps in the story which Newark had so 
quickly assembled by telephone. 

He told how Betty Gow, the nurse, had found the child's crib 
empty at ten o'clock. He told of the discovery of the $50,000 ransom 
note and its cryptic signature, of the mud tracks on the nursery floor, 
of the footmarks in the soft earth below the window, and of the three- 
piece wooden ladder and the chisel which had been abandoned near 
the house. 

Blackman sprinted back to the baker's house. He told his story 
over the telephone to Newark where the two men, working in relays, 
rushed a New Lead onto the wires with Blackman's by-line. It was 
not until two hours later that the State Police held a press conference 
at which some of the details of the kidnaping were disclosed. 

Overnight, Hopewell, a quiet country town, became the news center 
of the world. The shocking story aroused universal anxiety and horror, 
not only in the United States but in foreign countries. To cover develop- 
ments at the scene, the co-operative assembled a special staff. New 
Jersey contributed Jamieson, Blackman, Lawrence, and Kinney. New 
York sent Robert Cavagnaro, Morris Watson, Lorena Hickok, and 
Katherine Beebe, as well as cameramen Joe Caneva, Tom Sande, and 
Walter Durkin. 

In reality, those at Hopewell represented only a small portion of 
the news force which had a part in the story. No one knew in what part 
of the country, or even in what part of the world, the next "break" 
might occur. Every staff man considered himself assigned to run down 
any lead which might have a bearing on the case. Hundreds of date 
lines supplemented the stories from Hopewell. There were dispatches 
on the reaction of foreign capitals, on official activity in Washington, on 


police operations in a score of cities, and on the epidemic of crank 
"clues" which began almost immediately. 

At Hopewell it soon became apparent that the story would be ex- 
tremely difficult to cover accurately and promptly. State Police sur- 
rounded their activities with secrecy. Silence shrouded every develop- 
ment detectives thought important. The police issued official com- 
muniques from time to time, but the information was carefully selected 
and usually dealt with exploded clues or secondary detective work. 

For every line of news written there were hours of wearisome, un- 
productive digging. Men were kept on duty at the gatehouse of the 
estate, watching the mysterious goings and comings of uncommunica- 
tive officers. Endless time was spent on hopeful amateur detective 
work in the vicinity. And there were the frequent wild rides over back 
roads at breakneck speed to run down "hot tips" which never survived 

But there was real news somewhere behind the barriers which 
police had raised, and the job was to get that news for the report. The 
New Jersey members of the staff had numerous contacts because of 
their service in the state and these were quietly canvassed in the hope 
that some reliable channel of information could be found. 

Correspondent Jamieson in particular had built up a long list of 
confidential news sources during many years of reporting governmental 
and political activities. Enlisting the co-operation of an official not con- 
nected with the state government, he ultimately was able to improvise 
a roundabout but effective and trustworthy way of learning what was 
happening behind the scenes. 

He reported the receipt of additional ransom notes, the entrance 
of Dr. John F. ("Jafsie") Condon as an intermediary in negotiations 
with the kidnaper and Colonel Lindbergh's personal activities in the 
hunt for his stolen son. His sources of information varied, and the 
news might come at any hour of the day or night. To protect the identity 
of his sources, Jamieson was forced to take every precaution. He used 
out-of-the-way telephones, arranged for hurried meetings in hotel rooms, 
and engineered "casual" encounters in places where conversations could 
not be overheard. 


In spite of the most intensive man hunt in police history, days 

passed without recovery of the baby or the apprehension of the kidnaper. 

There was a flurry of activity when the $50,000 ransom was paid 


at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx the night of April 2, 1932, and 
when Colonel Lindbergh searched in vain off the Massachusetts coast 
by air for the boat on which the baby was said to be held. The failure 
to recover the child turned Lindbergh to John Hughes Curtis, the Vir- 
ginia boatbuilder who claimed to have been in contact with a band of 
kidnapers. Confidential information from police sources had led the 
staff at Trenton to doubt the veracity of his stories, but events in the kid- 
naping had been so unpredictable that anything might happen. The boat- 
builder's movements were watched as closely as possible. 

Another month passed with its series of perfunctory police com- 
muniques and occasional alarms. The story had become almost routine 
when the air suddenly became tense again with a new epidemic of reports 
that an important "break" might soon occur. Colonel Lindbergh, with 
Curtis, was on a yacht off the New Jersey coast, combing the sea for 
the vessel on which the Virginian said the baby would be found. 

At the State House in Trenton, May 12 droned along uneventfully 
until late in the afternoon. Then without warning Lieutenant Walter 
Coughlin, the press liaison officer of the investigation, announced that 
Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, superintendent of the State Police, 
wanted all newspapermen covering the story to be at the Lindbergh 
estate in an hour. No reason was given for the abrupt summons but 
everyone felt it meant an announcement of exceptional importance. 

It was after five o'clock and Jamieson decided on a course of 

"Sam," he instructed Blackman, "you go on down to Hopewell. 
Pm going to try to get Governor Moore. If anything big is doing, 
Moore will know about it. I'll get down to Hopewell then as quickly 
as I can." 

Blackman remembered that the nearest telephone to the Lindbergh 
estate was in the house of the baker he had routed out of bed the night 
the baby was stolen. The man worked in Trenton, so Blackman called 
him at the bakeshop and arranged to hire his telephone at Hopewell 
for as long as necessary. That done, he started over the familiar road 
to Sourland Mountains. At the baker's house he stopped and telephoned 
New York, explaining the desirability of keeping an open line in readi- 
ness for whatever Schwarzkopf's press conference might produce. New 
York put a member of the local staff on the wire to chat with the 
baker's wife and read her news items so that the line would be kept 
busy until needed. With the nearest line of communication assured, 
Blackman continued up the lane to the Lindbergh estate. The State 


Police headquarters had been set up in the garage and correspondents 
were already gathering there. 

Back in Trenton, Jamieson had no immediate success in his efforts 
to reach Moore. The governor was motoring to his home in Jersey City, 
some fifty miles away. The governor's own office seemed to guarantee 
the greatest privacy, so Jamieson sat down there and started telephon- 
ing. He tried to get the governor in Jersey City but without success. 
Instructing the operator to keep trying until she reached the governor, 
he called several private sources that might conceivably have an inkling 
of what was behind the summoning of reporters to the Lindbergh estate. 
No one knew. 

The minutes ticked by in the quiet office. Jamieson sat and waited. 
The governor was his only hope. If Moore did not reach Jersey City 
soon, Jamieson would never be able to get to Hopewell for Schwarz- 
kopf's conference. The telephone rang. 

"On your call to Jersey City," the operator said, "we are ready." 

"Hello, Governor," Jamieson began in his cheery way, "this is 
Frank Jamieson." 

"Yes, Frank, what's on your mind?" 

"Governor, has there been any big development in the Lindbergh 
case? Colonel Schwarzkopf has called all the boys to the Lindbergh 
estate for a press conference within the next hour and it makes us think 
he has something important to say." 

"I haven't heard of anything, Frank," Moore answered. "Up until 
the time I left the State House there was no indication anything excep- 
tional had happened or would happen." 

Jamieson knew the governor had followed the case with intense 
interest. He suggested: 

"Couldn't you get in touch with Colonel Schwarzkopf and find 

"I'll do that immediately," Moore said. 

"And, governor," Jamieson asked, "will you call me right back if 
it's anything? I'm phoning from your office." 

"I'll call you right back," Moore promised. 

As soon as Moore hung up, Jamieson picked up a second telephone 
and put in a call for New York. 

Hastily sketching the situation, he said: 

"I don't know what's coming, but it might be big. We'll keep this 
line open, so when the governor calls back on the other phone, I can 
shoot you the stuff without delay." 


More minutes of waiting. Then the other telephone jangled. It 
was 6:10 P.M. 

"Hello! Hello!" 

"Hello, Frank? This is Governor Moore. It's horrible news. The 
Lindbergh baby has been found dead " 

Jamieson shouted: 

"Hold it, governor, hold it!" 

Snatching up the other telephone, he fired the words over the 
open line to New York. 



Back on the governor's telephone, he heard Moore, obviously 
affected, relate all he had learned of the finding of the body that after- 
noon in a thicket just off the Hopewell-Princeton highway, only five 
miles from the Lindbergh home. The correspondent halted him occa- 
sionally in order to relay the details to New York over the other line. 

Once the conversation had ended and the last facts were repeated 
to New York, Jamieson tumbled into a taxi for a mad ride to get to 
Hopewell in time for the press conference. 

In the garage on the Lindbergh estate the temporary press head- 
quarters buzzed with speculation on the nature of the information 
Schwarzkopf had to reveal, and a half a mile away near the estate en- 
trance the baker's wife sat listening to news items still being read to her 
over the telephone line Blackman had opened to New York. 

Jamieson arrived just in time to get into the garage before the 
doors were closed. He greeted acquaintances with a disarming smile as if 
nothing had happened. 

After the garage doors had been locked, Colonel Schwarzkopf ex- 
plained that he had ordered the action because he wanted no news- 
papermen to leave the building until he had concluded his announce- 
ment. Then at 6:45 P.M. he began a lengthy statement. The State Police 
superintendent read slowly, pausing to make sure reporters had time 
to copy the words verbatim. 

And all the while from New York to California, the presses of 
member papers were already rolling, and the flood of extras was 
hitting the streets. 

When the garage doors were flung open, there was a pell-mell 
scramble for the nearest telephone. But the nearest telephone was at 
the baker's house, and Blackman had tied it up an hour earlier. Not 

KIDNAP - 373 

only that, it was on a party line and as long as it was busy other tele- 
phones in the vicinity could not be used. Jamieson and Blackman 
alternated, dictating Schwarzkopf's official statement. 

A few rivals later reproached Governor Moore for giving Jamieson 
the news. Moore reminded them that the AP correspondent was the 
only one to get in touch with him in quest of the information, and that 
there had been nothing to prevent others from making a similar 
effort. "He caught the train," the governor said. "The others stood 
waiting on the platform and let it go by." 

Jamieson's work throughout the eleven-week search for the stolen 
child won him the Pulitzer prize for the outstanding example of do- 
mestic reporting in 1932. 

After the finding of the murdered child, John Hughes Curtis was 
indicted for obstructing justice by his tale of negotiations with an 
imaginary gang of kidnapers. Lawrence and Kinney reported his trial 
and conviction at Flemington the last week in June, and the first full 
chapter of the bewildering Lindbergh kidnaping mystery reach its con- 
clusion. The crime was the first of a series of spectacular kidnapings 
which scourged the country through the early thirties. But no one for- 
got Hopewell. There was always the chance that sometime, somewhere 
the Lindbergh case might break open again with the capture of the 


AT ALMOST any other time the news of the smashing Japanese ad- 
vance into the Jehol province of Manchuria would have been the domi- 
nant story in the report. For days Jim Mills followed the Mikado's 
legions on the unsheltered top of an ammunition truck the best trans- 
portation he could wheedle from the army. He lived on hardtack and 
melted snow except when bitter tea was obtainable at dirty Chinese 
inns. An occasional rear-bound truck or airplane was his only means of 
communication, and many of his stories were lost entirely, probably 
thrown away by negligent couriers. Nevertheless, Mills plowed on 
through to Jehol City to write of the final phases of the campaign. 

The conquest of Jehol, however, was all but eclipsed by the suc- 
cession of grave domestic events which filled the report through Feb- 
ruary, 1933. 

From the Detroit Bureau: Michigan declares an eight-day bank 

From Baltimore: Maryland banks closed for three days. 

From St. Paul: Minnesota places two-month ban on mortgage fore- 

From Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Delaware: Banks authorized to re- 
strict withdrawals. 

Staff men all over the country saw long queues standing outside 
banks, waiting to withdraw savings. State by state, the story almost 
defied writing. The causes of the hysteria were obscure. Its spread had 
been stealthy. Its manifestations were unpredictable and deceptive. Sta- 
tistics on the amount of money in circulation provided the only clue to 
the extent of hoarding, but any attempt to compute exact figures was 
conjecture. No one could report authoritatively on the psychology of 
fear, the fatalism, and the air of gloom. Bread lines, idle factories, and 
empty shops were so commonplace that they had long since ceased to 
be news in themselves, yet each contributed to the strange thing hap- 
pening in the country. It was a struggle to keep the report factual with- 
out being alarmist, on the one hand, or without attempting to minimize 



conditions, on the other. Stripped of atmosphere and emotion, the con- 
firmable facts were eloquent and ominous. 

Against such a gray national background Chief of Bureau Price at 
Washington marshaled his staff to cover the inauguration of Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt as President of the United States. In spite of anxiety 
and faltering confidence, the capital tried to be gay. After a dozen lean 
years of absence from power, the occasion was a great one for Democrats 
and each state sent its delegation of high officials and party stalwarts to 
participate in the ceremonies. Over the web of wires went story after 
story telling of the arrival of inaugural parties from Texas, from 
Pennsylvania, from California, from New York . . . 

Chaplin, city editor in New York, picked up another batch of copy, 
including a secondary Washington dispatch. It concerned the New York 
delegation to the inaugural, and one line noted that the newly elected 
governor, Herbert H. Lehman, was not among those present although 
it was the afternoon preceding inauguration day. Earlier announcements 
that Lehman would attend made his absence conspicuous. It might be 
that illness had interfered with the governor's plans. In that case there 
should be an item for the report. Then again it might be something 

"Here, take a look at this," said Chaplin, handing the flimsy copy 
to a member of his city staff. "Better check the Lehman residence 
and see what's the matter." 

The telephone at the governor's New York home was answered 
promptly. The reporter thought it was the butler. 

"May I speak to Governor Lehman's secretary?" 

"He isn't here just now," the voice answered. "Who is calling, 

"This is The Associated Press. We wanted to ask the governor's 
secretary . . ." 

"Well," said the voice, "this is the governor. Perhaps I could help 

Momentarily surprised to find that Lehman himself had answered 
the telephone, the reporter began inquiries. Why had the governor 
changed his plans for attending the inauguration? 

"Oh, so that's what you want to know?" was the light reply. 
"There's really nothing to it. Some personal matters arose unexpectedly 
and I had no choice but to stay and attend to them." 

"Then there is no chance that you will be able to get away in time 
for the inauguration?" 


"No, Pm afraid not." 

"And purely personal matters are detaining you? Nothing con- 
cerning state business?" 

"Oh, no!" 

"Or the banking situation? We understand that withdrawals have 
been particularly heavy today in some parts of the city." 

"Oh, everything seems quite all right. Nothing to worry about. 
There have been withdrawals in some cases, but the banks seem to be 
meeting demands very nicely." 

The conversation ended there, but it was enough to send the staff 
into action. New York and Washington proceeded on the theory that a 
banking crisis in New York was keeping Lehman away from the in- 
augural. A reporter was sent to the governor's residence. Wall Street 
was enlisted to uncover whatever information might be available at the 
Federal Reserve Bank or the offices of leading financial figures. A mes- 
sage went to Albany suggesting that the bureau there start working on 
the superintendent of banks' department. In Washington other staff men 
buttonholed Treasury officials. 

Through the afternoon, into the evening, and on into the night 
Governor Lehman held conferences at his Park Avenue home. Bank 
officials came and went. Finally at 4:15 A.M. on Saturday, March 4 
Inauguration Day Governor Lehman issued a proclamation. A re- 
porter darted for a telephone. 



On the heels of the New York announcement, Harrisburg came 
through with news of a similar proclamation in Pennsylvania. Then Illi- 
nois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. 

Over 200,000 miles of leased wires shuttled dispatches telling of 
a national crisis which found all banks closed or operating under sharp 
restrictions. From every important foreign date line, the cables brought 
the reaction to the financial paralysis which had gripped the United 

Perhaps not since Gobright reported the beginning of Abraham 
Lincoln's second term in the dark days of the Civil War had an inaugu- 
ration assignment been so important. The staff gathered the story of the 


capital on March 4, 1933 the end of the last "lame duck" session of 
Congress at noon, the swearing-in of president and vice-president, the 
1 7-minute inaugural address pledging swift and decisive action, the color 
of the traditional parade, the new First Lady, the somber crowds, and 
the quiet departure of Herbert Clark Hoover. 

That night, Francis M. Stephenson, assigned to the White House, 
got little news although he waited hours at the entrance of the presi- 
dential offices in the west wing of the executive mansion. There was 
a short story from Stephen Early, who had become Roosevelt's press 
liaison secretary, but nothing from the White House itself where there 
was much coming and going as lights burned late into the night. 

The next day Sunday. Guests argued with hotel managers to cash 
checks. Others counted the money in their pockets, grinned and accepted 
their predicament in a spirit of adventure. Tension began to appear. 
At the White House Stephenson resumed his vigil with a hundred 
other newspapermen. It was not until a few minutes before Sunday 
midnight that the news came and Stephenson shouted over a telephone: 



The holiday, subsequently extended beyond its original time limit, 
created a story of vast proportions, demanding accurate, complete, and 
prompt coverage. Not only in Washington but in each of the forty-eight 
states banking and government officials worked with their tremendous 
problem. The news was of vital concern to everyone, from the banker, 
wondering when his institution could reopen, to the storekeeper, harassed 
by the lack of small coins for making change, to the jobless depositor, 
dependent upon his savings for food and shelter. 

In the beginning the major part of the news burden fell upon 
Washington as the administration worked out plans for a reorganization 
of the country's banking system. This news had right of way, and, with 
rare exceptions, member papers received the information long before 
state banking departments were officially advised by telegrams from 
Secretary of the Treasury W. H. Woodin. 

New York took over the task of co-ordinating the story of the 
banking situation as it changed throughout the nation. Each state pro- 
duced detailed stories on its own condition and the reconstructive steps 
being taken. In addition, the controlling bureaus regularly sent a synop- 
sis of the latest developments in their territories. From this material 


New York prepared frequent undated leads which presented the na- 
tional picture in broad outline so that readers might get a general pic- 
ture before reading the dated stories which gave particularized news on 
the crisis. 

As the progressive resumption of banking operations began, these 
leads supplied an accurate guide to the day-to-day conditions. With bu- 
reaus reporting frequently, the leads announced how many of the 
country's 17,600 banks had reopened, how many were state and how 
many were national institutions, the number operating on restricted or 
unrestricted basis, and the number remaining closed. 

With few exceptions, official statements issued throughout the 
emergency, especially the national and state regulations governing bank 
reopenings, were transmitted in full on the wires. To clarify the numer- 
ous steps being taken to end the crisis, Washington turned out inter- 
pretive stories which explained the facts in language the man in the 
street could understand. 

The banking crisis and the Roosevelt inauguration marked the 
beginning of a rush of events which imposed an unparalleled load on 
the Washington staff. Governmental activities moved at a speed un- 
precedented even in wartime. 

The New Deal had arrived and story followed story. 

Special Session of Congress . . . Emergency Financial Powers 
Given President ... 3.2 Beer Legalized . . . Civilian Conservation 
Corps Authorized . . . Farm Relief . . . Home Mortgage Refinan- 
cing . . . Securities Control . . . Nation Abandons Gold Standard 
. . . Industrial Recovery . . . NRA . . . 

News gathering in Washington entered a new chapter. A vast 
program involving far-reaching economic, industrial, and social changes 
was being launched and what happened in Washington affected the lives 
of citizens more directly than ever before. The reading public wanted 
to know more about the how and why of what was happening in the 
capital. It wanted to be told not only a law's national significance, but 
also what it would mean in their communities. 

This need influenced the co-operative to set up a full-fledged Wash- 
ington Regional Service. The purpose was to give the general report a 
counterpart which would follow governmental news from the view- 
points of the various states. It was the principle of vicinage news applied 
to the whirl of events on the banks of the Potomac. 


The idea was not born of the moment. In a limited way Paul Weir 
of the Washington staff had explored the field informally over two 
decades by developing stories of special interest to individual members 
on census returns and crop reports. Then in 1929 the pioneering work 
was put on a definite basis when the management, as an experiment, 
sent a correspondent to Washington to concentrate exclusively on gov- 
ernment news affecting New Jersey. William Wight, of the Newark 
Bureau, got the assignment and became the co-operative's first regional 
reporter of capital news. The success of the experiment led to similar 
arrangements for several other states but it was not until 1933 t ^at the 
Washington Regional Service assumed major proportions. 

The enlargement of the regional staff enabled Washington to con- 
sider major stories from the two approaches which papers desired. A 
public works program might be a national story in the sense that it 
represented a detail of governmental economics. At the same time it 
was an important local story in every community which was to receive 
or hoped to receive an allotment. Under the new order the Washington 
Bureau could make a bifocal examination of the facts and gauge its 
coverage accordingly. 

Besides the great volume of front-page news from Washington, 
another major story developed with unlooked-for speed. At the outset, 
1933 had promised to be an off year for the Election Service, but the 
rapid progress of the movement for the repeal of the Prohibition 
Amendment to the United States Constitution altered the situation. 
From early in April, when Michigan started the parade of states voting 
for repeal, until the end of the year, the Election Department was es- 
pecially active. In all, forty-three special election services were set up. 

The 1933 annual meeting saw the membership adopt tentative 
regulations to govern the use of the association's news in radio broad- 
casting. The subject had been recurring in official and unofficial discus- 
sions for ten years. From the time radio appeared there had been a 
cleavage of opinion respecting its relation to newspapers and the co- 
operative. Some regarded the new medium as a partner in their pub- 
lishing enterprises and became active in the operation of broadcasting 
stations. They favored considerable latitude in the use of the news report 
on the air. Others and at first they were in the majority were inclined 
to regard radio as a competitor in the field of both circulation and adver- 


rising and did not want to make any of the report available for broad- 
casting purposes. 

Before the 1925 annual meeting the Board of Directors had for- 
bidden any broadcasting of AP news, whether general or local. The 
board penalized two members who transgressed, one of them being Vic- 
tor Lawson. The enormous interest in broadcasts of the 1924 presi- 
dential election returns caused members to question the wisdom of the 
ruling and to consider the advisability of permitting a restricted use of 
the report in broadcasting news of special, outstanding events. At the 
1925 meeting the board was permitted to allow the broadcasting of 
news whenever it was of transcendent importance. The management 
supplied radio stations with AP returns in the 1928 and 1932 presi- 
dential elections, as well as numerous E.O.S. bulletins on extraordinary 
news. < 

At the 1933 meeting the subject was thoroughly examined again 
and a resolution was adopted setting forth the co-operative's current 
policy. The resolution stipulated that no news, regardless of its source, 
be made available for chain broadcasting. At a small extra assessment 
member papers might broadcast news of major importance with credit 
to The AP and the member paper. With minor changes, those regula- 
tions governed the association's relations with radio for the next several 
years, but eventually the great majority of members saw the advantage 
of a more liberalized policy and AP news began to take its place on 
the air. 

By 1933 daily operations had become so complex, the members had 
become so numerous, that too frequently the co-operative was taken 
for granted even by those it served and the management was left with- 
out much positive help from the membership at large. 

Occasionally, nevertheless, the times produced some man or group 
of men of high editorial integrity who became fired with the necessity 
of active support of the practical ideal on which the modern association 
had been built, and sought to kindle the same active interest among the 
hundreds of others who daily looked to the co-operative for the news 
which constituted the "life blood" of the daily newspaper* 

Such a man was produced in 1933 an ^ out of his efforts grew one 
of the healthiest journalistic influences of the times. He was Oliver 
Owen Kuhn, managing editor of the Washington Star, and he came 
forward with a suggestion that the managing editors of all AP papers 


meet annually to discuss newspaper trends and to study at close range 
the activities of the unsung organization which supplied the bulk of 
their news. The gatherings were to be entirely divorced from the cus- 
tomary annual meetings of the publishers in whose name membership 
was held, and were to discuss practical newspaper problems rather than 
policy or theory of operation. 

General Manager Cooper saw so much potential value in the first 
such meeting held at French Lick in the autumn of 1933 that he 
sent the heads of all departments to listen to the discussions and to 
answer questions. One after another these key men explained how 
domestic and foreign news was collected, how the market and finance 
reports were compiled, how news was obtained in Washington, the trend 
in sports, and other kindred subjects. The discussions included the de- 
velopment of the News Photo and Feature services, the mechanics of 
news dissemination, wire facilities, and the scientific advances which 
might be expected. 

Kuhn himself was named general chairman, a position to which he 
was unanimously re-elected until his death in 1937, and the members of 
the first executive committee were M. V. Atwood, of the Gannett news- 
papers ; C. H. Heintzelman, of the Coatesville (Pa.) Record; M. H. 
Williams, of the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram-Gazette, and J. E. 
Murphy, of the Baltimore Evening Sim. 

In spite of the heavy emphasis on affairs of national government, 
the report had its share of dramatics and unexpected stories. The Reichs- 
tag burned in Berlin. One-eyed Wiley Post flew alone around the 
world in less than eight days. Cuba plunged into revolt and Seymour 
Ress, a staff cameraman, narrowly escaped a Havana firing squad be- 
cause he photographed the fight. The same months produced a fresh 
series of front-page kidnapings, and there was a matter-of-fact reminder 
of 1932*8 celebrated case in a short piece from Washington stating that 
the Lindbergh mystery had been turned over to the Department of 
Justice for renewed investigation. 

But the New Deal and its efforts to bring about a return of pros- 
perity continued the standout news of the domestic report. As the daily 
file of the Financial Service indicated, conditions had improved con- 
siderably since the bleak days of February and March, but the depres- 
sion was not over. Harassed by problems seemingly more complicated 
than ever, many member newspapers struggled to regain some of the 
ground lost during four years of economic reverses. Few publishers 
were willing to risk heavy financial commitments even though in one 


field of news particularly there was a crying need. The great public 
interest in pictorial journalism had made spot-news pictures just as im- 
portant as the written word in rounding out coverage on almost any 
news event. Yet there was no practical way of rapid transmission of 
pictures to newspaper offices over the country once the pictures had 
been taken at the scene of one event or another. 

Cooper understood the situation existing in the newspaper field, 
but he was also convinced that the co-operative could not survive as a 
static organization. Unless it kept abreast of the times, unless it antici- 
pated them whenever possible, it was certain to deteriorate. Even the 
forced postponement of improvements under the "deep depression" 
economy program had not met with Cooper's entire approval, for in 
the long view the postponements meant lost time to an organization 
for which split seconds were vital. His responsibility was to plan not 
only for the present but for the future. 

The moment, he realized, could not be worse for advancing a pro- 
gram that would be as revolutionary as had been the introduction of 
the Morse telegraph almost a hundred years before. The tendency was 
to worry about the present and let the future even the immediate 
future take care of itself. There had been an earlier failure by others 
who attempted to solve the picture problem, but he was convinced that 
The AP could and should go ahead. To wait until business conditions 
became prosperous might mean waiting too long. 

He wanted to send pictures into member newspaper offices by wire 
just as the news was sent. 


WHEN American newspapers first began to print news pictures from 
halftone engravings, Kent Cooper was an unknown cub reporter. Pop- 
ular photography was a novelty. The black box camera recorded scenes 
for the family album, and tintype snapshot men still did a thriving 
business at fairs and amusement parks. 

As a youngster Cooper had sat for hours studying cardboard views 
through the stereoscope which was as essential then in any well-furnished 
parlor as the horsehair sofa and antimacassars. His entry into journal- 
ism coincided with the beginnings of modern newspaper photography. 
The more he thought of pictures the more convinced he became that 
they would play an increasingly important part in the newspaper of the 

All through his developing newspaper career he had felt that 
a way must be found to deliver pictures to newspapers as quickly as 
the written word. At first that seemed almost impossible. Ever since 
the early fifties inventors and scientists had labored to perfect some 
reliable method for telegraphing pictures. A few experimental systems 
were devised, but they were either impractical or fell far short of 
solving the problem. 

The laboratories of communications companies persevered and 
finally were able to announce the development of equipment which 
would transmit pictures by wire. A commercial system was set up by 
The American Telephone & Telegraph Company in the early twenties, 
and opened irregular operations with combination sending-and-receiv- 
ing stations located in eight of the metropolitan centers. 

The first news of the engineers' success excited Cooper, but critical 
examination of the invention disappointed him. Almost an hour was re- 
quired to prepare a picture for sending, the speed of transmission was 
slow, and the delivered picture invariably came out blurred, fuzzy, and 
indistinct. Detail disappeared and the total effect was a vague shadow 
of what the original had been. 

The experience of the News Photo Service, after its formation in 
1927, brought home more forcefully the handicaps which beset the 



prompt handling of pictures on a national scale. If photos were sent by 
fast train mail, they took eighty-five hours to cross the continent. Even 
using air express, it was twenty-four hours and airplane schedules were 
at the mercy of weather, particularly in winter. Telephoto transmis- 
sion might expedite fuzzy reproductions of an important picture to the 
few cities which happened to have receiving stations, but then the 
problem of delivery to subscribers elsewhere began all over again. 

Nevertheless, telephoto remained the only wire transmission 
method and the News Photo Service had no alternative but to use it 
whenever a picture had such news value that the few editors benefited 
were willing to sacrifice quality in favor of speedier delivery. The asso- 
ciation set up divisional distribution centers at Chicago, Atlanta, and 
San Francisco, but there was little acceleration of picture delivery as a 

Telephoto's continued unsatisfactory operation could have but one 
result even in a picture-conscious era. In June, 1933, the A. T. & T. 
abandoned the system after spending $2,800,000 in an attempt to make 
it work and the delivery of all pictures once more became a matter 
of railroad timetables and airplane schedules. The problem was right 
back where it had been before the introduction of telephoto. 

Cooper refused to abandon hope that engineering research would 
win out. This time he did not have long to wait. Toward the end of 
1933 Bell Laboratories reported that, after ten years of experiments 
along entirely different scientific lines, it had developed a completely 
new picture-sending apparatus. The company claimed that the new 
machine could send pictures by wire at two and a half times the speed 
of the telephoto and that the transmitted picture was so nearly per- 
fect it was hard to detect the difference between it and the original. 

In common with all other news-picture organizations, the AP 
Photo Service was informed. Costly experience in the business of com- 
mercial picture transmission had convinced the sponsors -that the han- 
dling of pictures as news was essentially a newspaper enterprise, and so 
it offered to let anyone interested take over the mechanism for its 
own use. 

The new equipment fired Cooper's imagination. Here seemed to 
be the scientific miracle he had been awaiting. He had President Noyes 


watch a demonstration between San Diego and New York and Noyes 
was amazed at the fidelity of the transmitted picture. 

The other picture agencies also inspected the apparatus. Hearst's 
International News Photos, Times Wide- World, and Acme, the com- 
mercial picture agency controlled by the owners of the United Press 
Associations, were not interested in the telephone company's proposal. 
In the depths of a depression there was no eagerness to sponsor such 
a project. 

But Cooper was working. He conferred with Norris Huse, his pic- 
ture chief, and with AP laboratory experts who had examined the equip- 
ment from a scientific standpoint. He already had told the Board of 
Directors what he had in mind. 

A nation-wide network of leased wires flashing AP pictures to AP 
newspapers twenty-four hours a day! 

Pictures moving into newspaper offices simultaneously with the 
news, appearing in print side by side with stories of the same events! 

It would cost money, he acknowledged, probably more than a 
million dollars a year. The wire tolls alone would be $560,000 an- 
nually, but it was an opportunity for The AP to blaze the trail into a 
new era of journalism. 

Some members of the Board of Directors were inclined to consider 
it an impossible undertaking, particularly during the continuing depres- 
sion, but they saw nothing to be lost by authorizing Cooper to sound out 
likely subscribers. 

Cooper selected Photo Editor Norris Huse for the "impossible" 
task. A list of potential subscribers in twenty-five key cities was pre- 
pared and Huse set out to interest the members in those places in the 
possibility of high fidelity pictures on an exclusive AP network. The 
cost to each prospective subscriber was based on the same pro-rata prin- 
ciple the co-operative had used so successfully in computing other assess- 
ments over a period of years. 

The first member to pledge participation in the outlined service 
was the Baltimore Sun. 

Huse next called on the Washington Star, the paper owned by the 
co-operative's president. In view of Noyes's warm personal approval 
of the idea, Huse expected that interesting the Star would be a mere 
formality. Instead, he found that Noyes had told his managers nothing 
about it. He wished them to form their own judgment without being 
influenced by his opinion. After the States managers had heard the 
details, however, they became enthusiastic. 


One by one the key papers pledged support until the roster was 


The success of all preparatory moves was more than anyone dared 
hope for. Huse had demonstrated ably. He brought back to New York 
pledges of participation from more than thirty papers, a sufficient num- 
ber to underwrite a minimum of five years of operations at a total cost 
of between five and seven million dollars. 

The news of what The AP intended to do began to leak out and 
a number of the members became agitated at the reports they heard. 
Controversy developed as to the desirability of the association's com- 
mitting itself to such an undertaking. The division of opinion became 
sharper as the weeks passed. 

Led by the Hearst and Scripps-Howard members within the ranks 
of the co-operative, a sizable bloc of vigorous opposition took form. It 
was more militant, better organized, and more capably led than any 
previous uprising. The insurgent forces went out industriously to recruit 
adherents. All sorts of charges flew that the management proposed to 
squander funds on an impracticable, visionary scheme $ that A. T. & T. 
was trying to foist its obsolete telephoto equipment on the association $ 
that, even if the apparatus worked, only a few wealthy papers could 
afford the advantage j that the vast majority of the membership never 
would receive any benefit. 

More than six hundred representatives of AP papers poured into 
the new Waldorf-Astoria for the annual meeting in April, 1934, and 
most of those who could not attend were represented by proxy. The 
conflict brewing was the big attraction. 

No sooner had President Noyes called the meeting to order than 
the battle began. John Francis Neylan, California lawyer and general 
counsel for the Hearst newspapers, fifteen of which held memberships 
in the co-operative, took the floor. Standing beside his seat in the front 
row, he demanded a showdown on the whole proposition of AP's 
projected establishment of a wire picture-transmission network and 
charged that the telephone company which had perfected the equip- 
ment was attempting to salvage the money it had invested in experi- 
ments over a period of years by persuading The AP to take over the 

Neylan professed to have only the best interests of the association 
at heart, but there were doubts about his altruism. The Hearst papers 


and their Scripps-Howard allies had their own picture services to con- 
sider and protect. If The AP Photo Service could make a success of 
telegraphing pictures, rival agencies would find themselves hopelessly 
outdistanced in delivery and would be forced to enter the business of 
picture wire transmission in order to keep pace. It was to the advantage 
of these agencies to see that AP did nothing to disturb the existing 
equality of competition. 

Neylan made a brilliant field marshal for the opposition. He called 
upon the board to furnish the membership with all details of the enter- 
prise. It affected the association's financial credit, he asserted, and it 
never should have been sanctioned without the approval of an annual 

"Up to the present time," he shouted, "only a handful of AP 
members have even had unofficial knowledge of the undertaking, and 
none had official word." 

President Noyes informed him that an illustrated booklet, An- 
nouncing AP News Pictures by Wire y was ready for distribution to the 
members at the meeting. Then he called on the general manager to 
report on what had happened. 

Cooper outlined the growing popularity of pictures as a news 
medium and explained the impossibility of printing them along with 
the news they illustrated so long as no speedy delivery system was 

"There are no exclusive rights to the proposed wire picture service 
as against any member of The Associated Press," he said. "It is avail- 
able to any member, any time. Personally, I hope to see the entire 
membership benefit by the thing. To my mind, it is the newest and 
biggest departure in newspaper work since words were first tele- 

Replying to Neylan's demand that all financial details with the 
telephone company be disclosed, he said: 

"I am sure our competitors would like to know all about it." 

He pointed out that there had been no departure from precedent 
in making preparations for the new service. In every instance, dating 
as far back as 1908, the management had submitted its plans for supple- 
mental services to the Board of Directors. Then when approval had 
been obtained, member participation on a sufficient scale had been 
sought to finance the cost of the projected service. 

"I think the News Photo Service of The Associated Press, alone, 
from one angle, the Feature Service from another, and the Financial 


Service from another, have made membership ten to one hundred 
times more valuable," he concluded. "If we had let our competitors do 
all these things, I don't think there would be any Associated Press 
today. This idea of pictures by wire can go. It will go in some form. 
If not by us, then by our competitors, or by anybody else who wants to 
take it up and do it." 

Neylan returned to the attack with all his oratorical skill. Twitting 
the management as inexperienced in the field of photo distribution, the 
Hearst lawyer reminded his audience again that every other picture 
agency had been offered the same opportunity to take over the equip- 
ment which was the storm center of the present fight. 

"Is it not strange," he inquired, "that all these institutions, which 
had had so much more experience in the matter of photo service than 
The Associated Press had, went into this matter thoroughly and refused 
to take up the white man's burden of the A. T. & T.?" 

Neylan's attack occupied all but a few minutes of the morning ses- 
sion. By the time the members filed out for the annual luncheon, it 
was obvious that the future of the co-operative's administration was at 
stake. If Neylan could rally a majority, it would mean in effect a repu- 
diation of the Board of Directors for having given the general manager 
authority to proceed with the new supplemental service. It was a 
crucial situation. 

Clark Howell, publisher of the Atlanta Constitution and one of the 
elder statesmen of the board, took the floor in the afternoon session. 
He told the membership that, although for the present he did not 
intend to take the service for his own newspaper, he was convinced of 
the association's wisdom in entering the new field. 

"Let me say," he declared, "that if Mr. Hearst's organization, or 
any other organization, had got to this first and had made the proposi- 
tion to establish a service of this kind, then you would have been right 
to have criticized your general manager for his laxity." 

The chair recognized Fred Schilplin, of the St. Cloud (Minn.) 
Times and Journal Press y a representative smaller paper. He went to 
the heart of the matter. 

"Summing this thing all up," he said, "about all I can get out of 
it is that a group of member newspapers, which is probably able to do 
it even in these reconstruction times, has undertaken to underwrite 
this experiment. We wish them all success. I don't see anything else 
to it. I don't see that any of this means that they are going to get a 


larger assessment out of us. Eventually we are going to get some of 
the benefits out of it." 

President Noyes took this opportunity to remind the members that 
the spearhead of the opposition was the Scripps-Howard and Hearst 
group of papers, interested in their own picture agencies and reluctant 
to support any service which would be in competition. 

"Pm sure," he commented, "that Mr. Neylan wouldn't expect 
The Associated Press or the general manager to base his activities on 
what was especially pleasing to Mr. Hearst's picture service or the 
Scripps-Howard picture interests." 

Turning to a point of vital interest to the smaller papers which 
had to have their pictures delivered to them in matted form because 
they could not afford to operate their own engraving plants, Noyes 

"I also want to say that, because of this service, the users of the 
picture mat service will be immensely advantaged. There is an element 
of time against them now, in that a mat can't be made and delivered 
by mail as quickly as a photograph can, but because of this new service 
every one of them will benefit by faster service." 

Roy Howard, chairman of the Executive Committee of Scripps- 
Howard papers which controls the United Press Associations, then took 
the floor. He made no fevered emotional appeal in urging his objections 
to the new service. He said its inauguration would increase the costs of 
newspaper production and urged its rejection for that reason. 

Mechanically the new process might be all that was claimed for it, 
he conceded, but operation of the system would be tremendously ex- 
pensive and, moreover, there were not enough important pictures to 
justify it. 

The bitter crossfire of arguments had lasted all day, and as the 
debate neared its close the scraping of chairs and the hum of conversa- 
tion in the crowded audience showed that the membership was im- 
patient to have the question put to a vote. It was almost evening, how- 
ever, before the last man had been heard and Frank S. Hoy, of the 
Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal, moved to establish the attitude of the 
meeting on the controversial issue. His resolution was that the act of 
the Board of Directors in arranging for the new service be ratified and 
confirmed. The motion evoked applause, but the opposition, fighting 


to the last ditch, proposed that the entire membership be polled by 
mail instead. The suggestion was lost by a decisive 5-to-i margin and 
then President Noyes put the question of ratifying the board's action. 

There was a chorus of "Ayes." 

The immediate threat to the projected wire picture service was 
routed by the overwhelming vote of confidence, but its foes left the 
meeting as determined as ever in their opposition. Some predicted the 
service would "die within a year." Others were frankly skeptical that 
it would perform better than the discarded telephoto. The evidence of 
laboratory experiments and tests between two points might be com- 
pelling, but conditions would be vastly different operating a system with 
twenty-five stations and a transcontinental network of wires. Then, 
too, there was the formidable task of getting equipment manufactured 
and installed, and of training personnel. 

The responsibility for perfecting the complicated arrangements 
necessary to start the unproved wire picture system rested jointly on 
the Photo Service staff and the Traffic Department's force of engineers, 
and they had a huge job cut out for them. They hoped to have the 
system in operation by a tentative fall starting date, but the months 
passed and it did not seem that their goal would be reached. As they 
redoubled their efforts news continued to follow its age-old pattern. 
Much of it was ephemeral, and much was surrounded by the drama 
which marks the making of history. 

For five busy weeks that summer hour-by-hour dispatches from 
Europe wrote the running story of history-in-the-making on a spectacu- 
lar scale. When Chancellor Hitler made the great "blood purge" of 
disloyal elements in his National Socialist party, Chief of Bureau Loch- 
ner circumvented official government attempts to prevent dispatches 
from leaving Germany with the first news for ninety minutes after its 
release. He had arranged beforehand to have London telephone Berlin 
every half hour in the event the bureau failed to hear from him. The 
precaution enabled him to get off his news on an incoming call at the 
very time the Nazis were refusing transmission of all outgoing press 

After the blood purge there was the drama in Vienna where the 
assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss in an abortive Nazi Putsch on Aus- 
tria gave Chief of Bureau Wade Werner and Robert F. Schildbach a 


succession of tense days. Then the date lines shifted abruptly back to 
Germany and a telephone whisper that "a very old gentleman is ex- 
tremely low" gave Lochner his first hint that President von Hinden- 
burg was dying. 

In spite of the close surveillance of secret police, G. O. Beukert 
of the Berlin staff got prompt news of the old field marshal's death at 
Neudeck a few days later and rushed it through to Lochner a minute 
before the sole Neudeck-Berlin telephone line was cut off for an hour 
by government order. Hindenburg's passing cleared the way for Hit- 
ler's final assumption of supreme power in the Reich, and the corre- 
spondence from the Berlin Bureau began a fresh and amazing chapter. 

There were no doldrums that year "in the domestic report. Staff 
men at San Francisco donned trench helmets and gas masks to cover 
the longshoremen's strike which paralyzed West Coast shipping. Chi- 
cago bulletined the death of John Dillinger, Public Enemy No. i, at 
the hands of federal agents. The Jersey staff produced another front- 
page story when the luxury liner Morro Castle burned at sea with a 
loss of 134 lives. 

Then, without warning, came the news break for which editors 
had waited two and a half years the arrest of a Bronx carpenter 
named Bruno Richard Hauptmann in possession of ransom money paid 
in the Lindbergh kidnaping case. 

While the news moved, preparations went ahead for the intro- 
duction of the telegraphed picture service. Major stories such as the 
violent West Coast strike, Dillinger's death, the Morro Castle disaster, 
and, above all, the arrest of a suspect in the Lindbergh mystery, accen- 
tuated the acute need for faster picture delivery. Member editors wanted 
all the pictures they could obtain on these top-ranking stories, and trains, 
planes, or special messengers could not deliver them swiftly enough to 
meet the rapidly changing newspaper needs. 

The intention to start operations of the new picture system in that 
fall of 1934 turned out to be optimistic. Manufacture of equipment had 
been slow. The installation and outfitting of the twenty-five sending and 
receiving stations over the country required from two to three weeks 
each. Training personnel to handle the mechanism proved more difficult 
than anticipated and a hundred and one other problems had to be met. 

The fall months passed without inauguration of the service, and 
the vigorous opponents recalled their earlier predictions. The suspicion 
grew that, under the demands of actual working conditions, the new 


equipment was not performing with the precision it had shown in the 
ideal surroundings of the laboratory. 

The untried service, however, had acquired an official name 
Wirephoto. After weeks of search for some distinctive word or com- 
bination of words which would tersely describe pictures by telegraph, 
Norris Huse hit upon the designation. The name for the revolutionary 
new service was all very well, but the big question was yet to be an- 

Would Wirephoto really work? 

It was almost 3 A.M. on New Year's Day, 1935, and AP Wire- 
photo storm center of debate was ready for its crucial test. 

Engineers in the wire control room at New York headquarters 
made last-minute adjustments on the eight-foot panel containing bulbs, 
wires, indicators, and wavering needles. Around them stood intent mem- 
bers of the staff, smudgy copy boys, radio announcers, busy newsreel 
camera crews, and a cluster of smartly turned out New Year revelers. 

Attention was focused on an odd machine which seemed out of 
place in the newsroom atmosphere. The contraption rested on a heavy 
metal base in the center of the floor and supported a horizontal cylinder. 
Nearby was the large panel with its glowing bulbs, a bank of dials, a 
telephone, and a loud-speaker. Next to the panel stood a power unit 
enclosed in a latticed cage of thin steel. 

The technicians bent over the machine. The onlookers talked in 
whispers. Along a special io,ooomile network of leased wires, other 
engineers and technicians stood over machines in twenty-five cities from 
coast to coast, all waiting to see if Wirephoto could send high fidelity 
pictures over a nation-wide circuit just as news was sent. 

The picture selected for the first sending reported headline news. 
A transport air liner had crashed deep in the snow-covered Adiron- 
dack Mountains. Searchers had combed the wild country on foot and 
by air for days trying to find the wrecked plane. Finally one party, 
after floundering through heavy snows in subzero weather, reached the 
spot where the ship had crashed. A staff cameraman snapped the scene 
as the half-frozen survivors greeted their rescuers. 

Rushed to New York and the darkrooms, the wet picture came 
out of the developing tank and passed the photo desk for an identify- 
ing caption. Then it went to the experts at the new black machine. They 


took the picture an ordinary print wrapped it, face up, around the 
horizontal cylinder and snapped the cylinder back into place. 

Out across the continent in Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, 
Kansas City, Boston, Syracuse, and Philadelphia, in twenty-five cities 
attendants also made their receiving machines ready. 

At New York, engineer Harold Carlson gave the photo-encased 
cylinder a final glance and stepped to the control board. He nodded to 
an assistant at the network telephone and out of the loud-speakers in all 
twenty-five cities came the announcement: 

"This is New York calling all points. The first picture will be a 
shot of the plane survivors just rescued in the Adirondacks. Are you 

Carlson clicked a button. The picture was on its way over the wires 
to papers in cities from 100 to 3,000 miles away. 

The cylinder revolved under the small hoodlike housing which 
contained a photoelectric cell the "eye" which was transmitting the 
photograph. From the machine came a high-pitched, harmonic whistle 
the sound generated when the network was in use for transmission. For 
eight minutes the penetrating whistle continued, then faded and ceased. 

The moment the cylinder stopped rotating in New York, the re- 
ceiving cylinders halted simultaneously in the twenty-five cities of the 
network. Attendants carried the cylinders into darkrooms, negatives 
were developed and within another few minutes picture editors had on 
their desks the finished photographic print of the air disaster scene 
which New York had transmitted. 

In quality and fidelity the received pictures were so remarkable 
that only an expert could detect the difference between them and the 
original on the sending cylinder. There was no trace of the blurs, fuzz, 
and streaks which had made the old commercial telephoto so unsatis- 

The first transmission was followed by an air shot of the wrecked 
transport and then by a series of photographs which gave a pictorial 
account of the New Year celebration. New York sent the boisterous 
scene at Times Square. Los Angeles took the circuit to contribute a 
picture of the stars in Hollywood welcoming 1935. Miami added a 
picture of the holiday gaiety on the beach front. Photos of half a hun- 
dred news events were transmitted. They went racing across the coun- 
try even as the news circuits were carrying the dispatches they illus- 


Skeptics who had contended there were not enough important news 
pictures to justify a Wirephoto network found no consolation in the log 
for the ensuing months. The day after the new service began operation, 
the trial of Bruno Hauptman for the Lindbergh kidnap-murder opened 
at Flemington, New Jersey. Wirephoto subscribers all over the coun- 
try were able to publish the pictures of what was happening at Fleming- 
ton the same day the events took place, and to publish them side by 
side with the news stories on developments in the most publicized court 
case in the history of American jurisprudence. It was a compelling 
demonstration of the new service's ability to deliver pictures day after 
day on a story which monopolized front pages. 

In the succeeding weeks and months there was no lack of material 
a new session of Congress convened at Washington ; Amelia Ear hart 
flew nonstop from Honolulu to California; G-men killed Fred and 
"Ma" Barker, long-sought criminals, in a furious gun battle in Florida; 
a new ship disaster took forty-five lives off the Jersey coast; the navy's 
dirigible Macon broke up and sank at sea near Point Sur, California; 
the Pacific Northwest had its Weyerhaeuser kidnaping, and in New 
York James J. Braddock staged the sports upset of the year by coming 
back from the has-been ranks to win the World Heavyweight Boxing 
Championship. The trunk circuits brought the written stories and the 
Wirephoto network simultaneously flashed the pictures. 

The forty-six papers subscribing to Wirephoto represented only a 
small fraction of the association's 1,340 members, but General Manager 
Cooper had promised from the very first to make the new service benefit 
the hundreds of papers which could not afford its initial expense. The 
vast majority of members had no engraving plants of their own, and 
they depended on matted pictures for the photographs they printed. 
The AP already was supplying these members with such a service, 
matted at strategic centers in the country and distributed by mail, bus, 
train, or airplane, as the subscriber desired. Until the advent of Wire- 
photo, the pictures from which these mats were made were collected 
by the old slow methods. With Wirephoto, pictures of outstanding news 
from all over the country could be assembled with unprecedented speed 
at the widely separated matting points. At Cooper's direction, the Photo 
Department made preparations for a high-speed mat service, called 
Telemats, to be produced from pictures transmitted by Wirephoto. 



There was now no question about the merits of Wirephoto. It 
justified the great claims made for it, and it introduced a new stimulus 
into the field of newspaper enterprise. Nevertheless, its opponents made 
one last attempt to halt its progress at the 1935 annual meeting even 
after the service got under way. Again they called for the membership 
to discredit the Board of Directors and the management, but again 
they were voted down. 

Out of their oblique onslaught, however, came one salutary de- 
velopment. Seeking to gain the favor of the smaller members, they 
introduced a resolution calling for more representation of the smaller 
members on the Board of Directors. Until that time, the board had 
been composed of fifteen members, selected from among the various 
categories of membership. The opponents to Wirephoto proposed that 
the number be increased to eighteen, giving the small members three 
additional representatives on the board. It was a plan the board already 
had under consideration and eventually it was put into effect. 

As for the Wirephoto controversy itself, it slipped into the asso- 
ciation's historic files with one parting thrust by a representative of one 
of the smaller papers whom the opponents had thought to win over to 
their program of opposition to pictures by wire. Carl L. Estes of the 
Longview (Tex.) News, listened to the 1935 debate, seconded a 
motion to table one of the opposition's proposals, and declared: 

"I've had enough of this self-appointed, self-anointed shepherd 
of the little fellow. The issue at stake is one of progress. Somebody 
has got to pioneer pictures by wire. If The Associated Press paid every 
dollar in its treasury to sponsor this thing, I, as one of the smallest 
newspaper publishers in the country, think it would be money well 

Pictures by wire had come to stay. Day in and day out the system 
was delivering pictures simultaneously to the receiving stations over 
the country in only eight minutes each, but the news log of 1935 still 
had to produce the transcendent story which would dramatize Wire- 
photo unforgettably in the minds of the public as a whole. Then it 

Harold Turnblad, chief of bureau in Seattle, was about to leave 
the office late the afternoon of August 16 when a report arrived from 
a correspondent at Fairbanks, Alaska. Wiley Post, the round-the- 
world flier, and Will Rogers, the humorist philosopher, had taken off 


by plane for Point Barrow, five hundred miles away near the rim of the 
Arctic Ocean. That night the editor on duty kept in frequent touch 
with the United States Army Signal Corps office in Seattle on the chance 
that some word might come through from one of the Signal Corps 
outposts in the remote reaches of Alaska. There was no news. When 
the editor left at the end of his tour of duty, he instructed the night 
attendant to keep calling the Signal Corps hourly until the first day 
editor reported at 6 A.M. 

Turnblad was fast asleep when the telephone beside his bed rang 
at daybreak. Drowsily he reached for the phone and heard an apolo- 
getic voice which he recognized as that of Captain Frank E. Stoner of 
the United States Army Signal Corps. 

"I hate to wake you up," the officer began quickly, "but we've 
just received word that Post and Rogers were killed last night near 
Point Barrow." 

The words jolted Turnblad wide awake. 

"Say that again!" 

As soon as Stoner hung up, Turnblad called the bureau. 

"Put on a flash!" he shouted. 



As Turnblad and his staff went into action to develop further 
details of the disaster the string correspondents in Alaska reported to 
Seattle things were happening at the lonely spot where Rogers and 
Post met sudden death. At Point Barrow the co-operative had two 
stringers a medical missionary, Dr. Greist, and a grizzled trading post 
storekeeper named Brower. As soon as the first reports of the crash 
reached Point Barrow, Dr. Greist and Brower set out for the scene with 
an ordinary folding camera, the kind so frequently used to record 
family outings or picnics. 

The news that Will Rogers and Wiley Post had been killed hit 
the nation hard. No one had to tell Photo Editor Wilson Hicks in 
New York that here was the greatest picture story of the year if only 
pictures had been taken at the scene of the crash in Alaska. 

Then came a message. The two stringers at Point Barrow had 
taken pictures and they were on their way to Fairbanks in the same 
plane that was carrying the bodies of the humorist and his flier com- 
panion from Point Barrow. 


A relay of planes was arranged to speed the negatives from Fair- 
banks to San Francisco, then the nearest station on the Wirephoto net- 
work. While the leased wires were carrying stories based on informa- 
tion supplied by the medical missionary, the trading post storekeeper, 
and other correspondents, the precious negatives were on their way. 

In New York Hicks remained at the Wirephoto control board. 
At last the loud-speaker of the network came to life. It was Sears, 
photo editor at San Francisco FX by the call designation given to 
bureaus. He told Hicks that the Post-Rogers negatives had arrived, 
were in the darkroom being developed, and that the first would be 
ready for transmitting within a few minutes. 

The loud-speaker died for a time and then Sears was on the pic- 
ture network's telephone circuit informing all points that the first pic- 
ture was ready for sending. 

News that the Post-Rogers pictures were about to be transmitted 
flew about the newspaper offices and editorial workers left their desks 
to crowd about the receiving equipment. 

In San Francisco, Sears pushed a button and started the sending 
drum rotating. In eight minutes the receiving machines halted in unison, 
negative cartridges were rushed into darkrooms for developing, and 
soon the first picture was in print in subscribing newspapers through- 
out the country. 

Through the night other pictures of the tragedy moved over 
the network shots of the wrecked plane, of the bodies being loaded 
into a whaleboat, of the Eskimo tent where Post had come down to 
ask directions a few minutes before the fatal crash. Subscribing member 
papers printed them side by side with the front-page stories which 
gave columns to the tragic death of two of America's beloved figures. 

Wirephoto had scored a smashing coup on a story of surpassing 
reader interest. The pictures found their way into thousands of private 
scrapbooks, readers wrote letters to editors commenting on the speed 
with which the pictures had been obtained and printed, and the name of 
Wirephoto took on a new magic whenever people saw it on pictures of 
other news events. 

Nor were the two Alaskan stringers forgotten. The two men who 
had helped make the Post-Rogers coverage so spectacular were sent 
checks for $500 each and appropriately enough they also were given 
a dozen rolls of film for their all-important little box camera. 


SMALL towns often produce well-remembered date lines. There was 
Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925 with its Scopes "monkey trial." In 1932 
came Hopewell and the Lindbergh kidnaping. Two years later it was 
Callander, Ontario, and the birth of the Dionne quintuplets. And in 
1935 it was Flemington and Bruno Hauptmann. 

From the time of Hauptmann's arrest until his trial opened on 
January 2, the report had carried a tremendous volume of copy on the 
Bronx carpenter accused of kidnapping and murdering Charles A. Lind- 
bergh, Jr. Hauptmann was front-page and every scrap of news about 
him was snapped up. Long before the first juror was chosen it was evi- 
dent that coverage of the trial would have to be both superior and 

The mention of Flemington subsequently came to have many con- 
notations. For some it meant one of the most widely publicized and 
controversial criminal cases in court history. To AP men, however, 
Flemington was synonymous with the most mysterious blunder in the 
association's records. For a long time staffers winced when they heard 
the name spoken. 

Preparations and planning for covering the trial began weeks in 
advance. The staff news, photo, and traffic was selected. Flemington 
was to operate as a full-sized, specially constituted bureau. 

As chief of bureau at Newark, the strategic center for New Jer- 
sey, Henry E. Mooberry headed the trial staff of seven reporters. 
O. K. Price was in charge of the special Traffic force assigned to handle 
the transmission of copy. Working space in the cramped courthouse was 
at a premium, but The AP obtained the use of half the sheriff's private 
office, which was located immediately outside the courtroom door. 

The trial opened January 2, 1935, and while court was in session 
the Morkrum in the sheriff's office raced along at sixty-five words a 
minute, pouring the running story directly onto the news network. 

As the end of the trial approached, Mooberry became extremely 
anxious to have the seven weeks of outstanding work on the story cli- 
maxed by the speediest possible flash on the jury's verdict. He antici- 



pated difficulty in getting the verdict promptly. In all likelihood, the 
courtroom doors would be locked from the moment the jury returned 
until after it was discharged. Anyone who devised a way to circumvent 
the locked doors would be assured a beat on Hauptmann's fate. 

The problem of reporting the verdict became a major concern in 
the bureau chiePs mind. There was the established method written 
copy coming out from the men assigned in court, just as throughout the 
trial. That guaranteed the cardinal consideration accuracy but it 
might mean sacrificing speed if the anticipated difficulties arose. Moo- 
berry knew that others were exerting every resource to circumvent the 
barriers of closed courtroom doors and he disliked the possibility that 
someone else might stage a last-minute coup which would detract from 
the acknowledged superiority of the report he had directed throughout 
the trial. 

The intense importance attached to the announcement of the 
Hauptmann verdict in the public mind strengthened Mooberry's pur- 
pose. He determined upon an alternate method of getting the verdict 
out of the courtroom. 

Without writing to New York for authorization and approval, he 
worked out plans for the use of a short-range radio set. The arrange- 
ment called for Ralph Smith, a Traffic mechanic and amateur radio 
operator, to be in the courtroom with a portable set concealed under his 
overcoat, while Price, the Traffic chief, was to station himself at a re- 
ceiving set in a locked storeroom in the attic of the building. Price had 
borrowed a teletype and installed it there and it could be connected to 
the same trunk wire as the Morkrum in the sheriffs office. As soon as 
Price received the short-wave signals from Smith, he was to cut in on 
the wire and flash the verdict. Control of the wire would then revert to 
the Morkrum downstairs without outsiders in the sheriffs office being 
any the wiser as to what had been sent. 

February 13 was the last day of the trial and the long siege of 
work. Pressure and nerve strain were almost finished. In spite of the 
general atmosphere of public hysteria pervading the courthouse, it 
promised to be the easiest day of the trial nothing like the hectic ses- 
sions when Lindbergh was on the witness stand, or Hauptmann, or Dr. 
"Jafsie" Condon. 

The jury retired at 11:15 A.M. and the long wait began. State 


troopers cleared the courtroom of all spectators except newspapermen. 
Outside in the streets crowds gathered around the courthouse and the 
adjoining county jail where Hauptmann paced his cell. The day dragged 
on into the afternoon, and the afternoon into the night. 

In mid-evening Mooberry summoned Price and Smith to his desk 
and gave them each a small card bearing the code signals for the var- 
ious verdict possibilities. It had been agreed in advance that, for safety, 
the signal must be repeated five times and carry a prearranged signa- 
ture. Any message not fulfilling all those requirements was to be 

The bailiffs detailed to guard the jury sent for the sheriff. Tension 
rose in the courtroom. There was a commotion at the doorway leading 
to the jury room. At 10:20 the sheriff came out. He announced the jury 
had agreed upon a verdict. 

The two staff men assigned to do the running story wrote identical 
flashes that the jury was ready to report and sent the copy flying out 
of the courtroom by messenger boys. Each had been instructed to do 
independent running stories. This was a routine precaution against any 
loss of copy in the confusion outside the courtroom. With duplicate 
flashes, bulletins, and running being sent out, there was a good chance 
that at least one complete set could be counted upon to reach the news 
desk unless all copy was stopped completely. 

Immediately after the sheriff's announcement, state troopers took 
command in the courtroom. The doors were locked and the window 
shades drawn. At every door and window a trooper mounted guard. 
"No one will be permitted to leave this room until dismissed by the 
court," newspapermen were told. 

At 10:28 P.M. the bell in the courthouse cupola began to toll its 
traditional signal, that a murder case jury was returning to the box 
with a verdict. 

In the locked courtroom, every member of the staff was at his post. 
Two men waited at the locked doors ready to write the flashes they 
hoped to be able to slip out across the sill. The two men assigned to 
the running bent over their duplicate stories. A relay of messengers 
lined the aisles to pass each sheet back as soon as it was torn from the 
thick yellow pads. Overcoated and perspiring, Smith with his con- 
cealed wireless set stood near the rear benches. Beside him stood a 
newsman, pencil and paper ready to scribble off the verdict whicl> the 
operator was to tap out in code on the hidden sending key in his 


Only a wall separated Mooberry in the sheriff's office from the 
courtroom, but he might have been in another world. The regular run- 
ning story began to come out, describing preparations for the arrival 
of the jury, Hauptmann, and Justice Trenchard. Mindful of what had 
happened during the judge's charge that morning when copy was held 
up almost a half hour, Mooberry looked for a time lag of at least 
several minutes between events in court and the appearance of copy. 
Unknown to Mooberry and everyone else outside, however, the troopers 
behind the locked doors were making no attempt to halt news copy as 
they had done in the morning. The running story was being slipped 
over the doorsill with only negligible delay. 

Hunched at his desk, Mooberry worked fast, editing the copy 
shuttled in to him by the messengers posted outside the courtroom door. 
Although he watched closely, he found no indication yet as to the size 
of the presupposed time lag. The copy was preliminary descriptive and 
recorded nothing requiring a time element, something the two men 
had been instructed to incorporate on all major developments. As 
rapidly as the bureau chief finished with one piece of copy, he passed 
the "take" over to the Morkrum in the corner where Sam Patroff, 
the operator, kept feeding the story onto the trunk wire. 

Everything was going smoothly like clockwork. 

Patroff's fingers suddenly jerked off the keys as if they were hot. 

"He's breaking, Henry," he whispered. "He's breaking!" 

Mooberry jumped across to Patroff 's side. Price was cutting in 
from the attic. 

Here it came! 



The Morkrum pulsed, idle for a second, then the typebars flipped 
up against the printer paper in a quick flurry. Price timed his flash 
10:31 P.M. 

For one jubilant moment Mooberry hung over the machine. From 
coast to coast, in bureaus and member offices, that flash had just ham- 
mered out on hundreds of Morkrums as fast as the letters fed onto the 
circuit from the secret machine in the attic at Flemington. 


The verdict was out! All over the country! And the courtroom 
doors were still locked! 

The bureau chief turned back to his desk. His immediate job was 
cut out for him. By the time Patroff took back control of the wire, 
Mooberry had a bulletin ready amplifying the flash into terse, readable 
newspaper copy for waiting telegraph editors and composing rooms. 
Then the extras could roll. Crowding on the heels of the bulletin came 
bulletin matter explaining that, under New Jersey law, a recommenda- 
tion of mercy made life imprisonment mandatory. 

Borne along by a great emotional lift, Mooberry pieced together 
the story, combining the explanatory, or "stock," material he wrote 
himself with the available running copy which had been flowing under 
the locked courtroom door. The courtroom copy was still entirely de- 
scriptive of the scenes preceding delivery of the verdict. A few minutes 
ticked by without bringing any confirmation of the verdict through 
the regular channels. To Mooberry, that was understandable enough. 
The duplicate running had mentioned the State Police guards at all 
doors. Apparently the troopers were holding up copy as they had done 

The bureau chief looked up from his work to see Price hurry into 
the office. 

"You're sure you're right, aren't you?" he asked in a whisper 
when the Traffic chief reached his side. "The verdict came awfully 
quick." He paused and voiced the faint suspicion which had begun to 
worry him. "Almost too quick." 

"Sure, Henry, sure." Price was tense but positive. "I got the sig- 
nals. The number was 4, and 4 means life." 

With Price watching over his shoulder, Mooberry returned to the 
scrawled running account which had been coming out under the court- 
room door. In the light of Price's positive assurance, this copy lagged 
at least eight minutes behind actual proceedings. That wasn't bad. Price 
read a few pages, and left to return to the attic. 

The office boy darted in with another batch of courtroom copy. 
Mooberry had his thick black pencil poised to continue editing. Then 
he froze. Time elements had begun to appear in the "takes" time 
elements impossible to reconcile with the secret wireless verdict which 
had been flashed at 10:31. Frantically Mooberry scanned the next pages. 
Perhaps one of the men had made a mistake in noting the time. A glance 
dashed that desperate hope. Both sets of running copy carried the times 


of events in court, and the times tallied. At 10:31, the time of the attic 
flash, the jury's verdict had not been delivered. 

In that numbing moment Mooberry reacted instinctively. His 
pencil jabbed down on a clean sheet. 



Functioning like an automaton, the bureau chief got off the bulletin 
obligatory after all kills a bulletin calling editors' attention to the 
transmission of a mandatory kill and directing that the erroneous copy 
be destroyed promptly. Regardless of everything else, the error must 
be caught and killed without delay. 

The seconds seemed ages, but it was barely a few minutes before 
the office boy was thrusting a sheet of paper into Mooberry's hand. 



That was from McGrady. Identical written flashes from Ferris, 
Lawrence, and Kinney arrived almost simultaneously. 

No doubt now. The correct verdict was: Guilty Death. 

The accurate verdict went out at 10:46 exactly one minute after 
the nervous jury foreman announced it from the box. 

The established method had done the job accurately and with all 
the speed one could ask. 

The erroneous flash had stood eleven minutes. In New York, edi- 
torial and traffic men alike had been clustered over the Morkrums 
when the typebars printed the four false words. All the main wire cir- 
cuits had been hooked up directly to Flemington so the news would 
have instantaneous distribution. 

Then the Kill. Members of the New York staff went about their 
duties with set faces. No one felt like talking. Elevenjrjiflutes was an 
infinitesimal speck of time for an organization 
seven years, but this error seemed almost a 

The circumstances prevailing that niglj 
opportunity to obtain the details behind the 
verdict had been killed, the first conside 
story cleared quickly and smoothly. 


Not until the next day did amazed executive editors begin to learn 
of the disastrous secret scheme which had caused the false flash. Assist- 
ant General Manager Elliott instituted an investigation as soon as he 
received intimations that irregularities were involved. The co-operative 
had rigorous rules against the use of special transmission systems 
in reporting news, unless specifically authorized by New York, and 
what had been done at Flemington was, bluntly, a flagrant violation of 

On his own initiative and without authorization, the bureau chief 
had gone ahead with a scheme which placed heavy reliance on a make- 
shift signal system. The indictment did not stop there. The scheme 
required a special installation of radio and telegraph equipment, some- 
thing strictly forbidden except with the approval of a Traffic Depart- 
ment executive. Other regulations had been ignored in the unauthorized 
use of the borrowed teletype, the extension of the news wire to the 
attic location, and even the unauthorized employment of a second 
operator to check the verdict signals. New York learned that Traffic 
Chief Price had hired a second operator to help him detect the wireless 
signals in the attic room and this act assumed further gravity when it 
was learned that the man employed was a former Traffic man who had 
been dismissed from the service some time before. 

Mooberry offered no defense for proceeding without approval on 
a plan which flouted so many regulations. All his thoughts had been 
concentrated on getting the verdict the instant it was announced. The 
consequences left him dismayed. 

"It is almost impossible," he wrote General Manager Cooper, "for 
me to express my feelings on the situation into which I have thrown 
you and The Associated Press." 

The general manager waited until all the facts had been examined 
and then took action. There was no alternative but to discipline the 
three men involved in the unauthorized undertaking. Price was dis- 
missed, Mooberry was suspended, and Smith was transferred to work 
in another part of the country. 

What had happened in the attic storeroom during those fifteen 
eventful minutes immediately preceding the announcement of the 
Hauptmann verdict? 

Even after the investigation, no one knew for certain. When Smith, 


the mechanic, left the courtroom on the .verdict night, he encountered 
Price coming down the stairs from the top floor. "I got a couple of 4*8 
and went ahead," Price explained. In the next breath he was telling 
the mechanic that he wasn't positive the signals he received had been 4*8. 
They might have been letter V's, a somewhat similar combination of 
dots and dashes. He said, however, that the second operator with him 
in the attic had identified them as 4*8. The code signal whether 4 or 
V recurred only twice and bore no signature, he acknowledged, but 
he sent the fatal flash on the strength of that reception. The prearranged 
code was: i for the death verdict j 4 for guilty, life imprisonment 5 7 for 
acquittal j 9 for disagreement. 

Having cleared the number 4 flash, Price made his trip downstairs 
to see Mooberry, became uneasy after seeing some copy and returned 
to the attic. Resetting the dial to the wave length Smith was to use, 
he received the correct verdict signal and then heard it repeated. By 
that time, however, a correct flash in writing had reached Mooberry 
from the courtroom. 

The origin of the mysterious signal 4 could not be traced. At 
first some of the staff suspected that it might have come from other 
portable equipment which had been smuggled into the court by the 
representative of one of the metropolitan papers. The man who operated 
it was detected after Hauptmann's sentencing, was arrested and later 
released. His set, however, proved to be for voice transmission and not 
Morse code. 

The erroneous flash was a sensation not only in the pressrooms at 
Flemington but in newspaper offices over the country. The same edi- 
tions which blazoned the Hauptmann death verdict also gave promi- 
nence to accounts of the flash which caused so much confusion. 

The Associated Press had made a mistake and that was news. 

That some member papers would be highly exercised was to be 
expected. What was totally unlocked for, however, was the spontane- 
ous outpouring from those who took the occasion to reiterate their con- 
fidence. While regretting the mischance, they praised the over-all 
coverage of the trial and the efficiency with which the association gath- 
ered the news of the world day after day, year after year. A letter 
from George B. Armstead, managing editor of the Hartford Cowrant, 
the country's oldest daily newspaper, was typical of many. Addressing 
Cooper, he wrote: 

It must be grand to preside over an organization so far famed for 
accuracy and speed that when it makes a slip, it becomes a national sensation. 


We all regret for your sake and that of the men on the story that luck went 
against you, but it does serve to point out the great record of The Associated 
Press and the tremendous impression its accuracy has made throughout the 

Nevertheless, the memory of the false flash remained with the 
staff. Realization that the slip was due to the zealousness of an indi- 
vidual rather than to any weakness in the established system only served 
as a poignant reminder that, in such an era of rapid transmission facili- 
ties, the human element became an increasingly significant factor in 
the quick marshaling and distribution of eagerly awaited fact. As long 
as that human equation was involved there would remain the possi- 
bility that some error of individual judgment, some well-intentioned 
act, might produce an unwanted result. But no amount of effort to 
minimize such possibilities could be overemphasized in an organization 
so conscious of its unique position in a nation's daily life. 


WAR clouds had been gathering over East Africa for months. There 
had been a frontier "incident" in December, 1934, when Italian and 
Ethiopian patrols clashed at Ualual in disputed territory between the 
boundaries of Italian Somaliland and the primitive kingdom of Haile 
Selassie, the Conquering Lion of Judah. By midsummer of 1935 Pre- 
mier Benito Mussolini had more than 240,000 troops and labor bat- 
talions concentrated in Italy's East African colonies adjoining Ethiopia. 
The League of Nations threatened to invoke sanctions against Italy if 
II Duce's legions invaded Ethiopia. Great Britain massed naval might 
in the Mediterranean area at Suez and Gibraltar. 

Once it became apparent that Mussolini was not likely to abandon 
his Ethiopian plan, The AP ordered Jim Mills to Addis Ababa to report 
developments there and to be on the spot if war should come. For 
Mills it was another out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire assignment. He 
had just finished covering the revolt in Crete and Greece which resulted 
in the flight of Venizelos and the restoration of King George. 

Mills arrived at Addis Ababa early in August. He found it the 
same sprawling collection of dirty huts and haphazard buildings he 
had seen five years earlier when he reported the spectacular coronation 
of Haile Selassie. The news in the African capital was neither abundant 
nor weighty. Ethiopia was anxious to bring about a peaceful settlement. 
Mills renewed his acquaintance with the Emperor and secured several 
exclusive interviews with him and with Everett A. Colson, Selassie's 
American financial adviser. He also watched the bands of fierce native 
warriors troop into the city in their dirty white shammas, savagely eager 
for the conflict their monarch wished to avoid. 

Little happened in the barbaric city that escaped Mills's attention 
and he was on hand when a plane flew in from Egypt with Francis W. 
Rickett, a British promoter with an extraordinary career. Mills knew 
him of old. Rickett had become known as the "Lawrence of Finance" 
because of his operations in Asia and Africa. His arrival touched off a 
flurry of rumors among foreign newspapermen in Addis Ababa: He 
had come to arrange a gigantic munitions deal. He was entrusted with 



a secret political mission bearing on the Italo-Ethiopian crisis. He had 
been called for a mysterious conference with the Emperor. The reports 
were endless. 

Suave and debonair, Rickett dismissed all such talk with a tolerant 
smile. There was nothing spectacular behind his visit. He said he had 
come as a representative of the Coptic Church of Egypt for a "benevo- 
lent" purpose. The Egyptian Patriarch of that church had instructed 
him to learn how the Copts of Egypt could best help their Ethiopian 
brethren in the event of war. As proof of his mission he exhibited a 
letter from the Patriarch to the Abuna or "Pope" of the Coptic 
Church in Abyssinia. 

Rickett managed to disarm suspicion in the press corps. He was 
taken at his word and attracted no special attention thereafter. 

Mills, however, was not satisfied. He could not believe that a man 
of Rickett's caliber would be in Addis Ababa to find out whether the 
Egyptian Copts should send money, ambulances, airplanes, doctors, or 
what not. The more he speculated the more he became convinced that 
something else was afoot. He discovered that he was not the only 
skeptic. There was one other Sir Percival Phillips of the London 
Daily Telegraph. 

Over the rare luxury of a bottle of cold beer, the two corre- 
spondents compared notes in the humid privacy of their hotel rooms. 
They were agreed that Rickett was in Ethiopia for no trivial, "benevo- 
lent" reason. Mills and Phillips made their plans. The only way to find 
out just what Rickett was doing was to keep an eye on him all the 
time, wherever he went. 

During his first week in Addis Ababa, Rickett saw the head of 
the Coptic Church, the Emperor and the imperial advisers. Every place 
he went he found himself encountering either Mills or Phillips. At 
first he pretended not to notice their interest in his movements, hoping 
to throw them off the trail or at least discourage them into abandoning 
their sleuthing. But the effort was futile. 

Rickett stood up under the surveillance for a few days, then made 
overtures for a truce. Slipping into Mills's hotel room one night the 
British promoter laid his cards on the table. 

"You two have been following me for over a week now. In an- 
other day or two the rest of the reporters are going to wake up to the 
fact. That is apt to spoil everything for you as well as for me. What 
I have to do here makes it imperative that I act quietly and unob- 


cc Well, that's your worry," said Mills noncommittally. <c Why come 
to us about it?" 

"I have a proposal to make. If you'll stop shadowing me, within 
a few days I'll give you one of the biggest stories that ever happened " 

Mills and Sir Percival exchanged glances. The idea of any Ethi- 
opian story being of the "biggest-that-ever-happened" variety was a bit 
too much for them. They said so. However, they wanted the story be- 
hind Rickett's mission and now they knew how to get it. 

"I'll go along," said Mills. 

Sir Percival nodded agreement. 

A few nights later Addis Ababa slept under a clear sky. The full 
moon shone down on deserted streets and dark houses. In the Em- 
peror's palace four intent figures moved to and fro. They were Francis 
M. Rickett, Haile Selassie, Everett A. Colson, and George Herouy, 
son of the Ethiopian foreign minister who acted as interpreter for the 

Haile Selassie yawned. He looked strained, worried and tired. For 
the past two weeks he had been up every night until long after mid- 
night, negotiating with Rickett. Because of the need for secrecy about 
the bold coup by which he hoped to forestall an Italian invasion, the 
Emperor and those negotiating with him had worked only after the 
city was asleep. 

Rickett handed the Emperor a folio of typewritten sheets. 

"There is the revised contract, your Majesty," he said. 

The document represented the seventh revision. The Emperor 
examined it page by page, announced his approval, and affixed the im- 
perial seal. 

Mills and Phillips waited in their hotel room. They knew this 
was the night. Rickett had told them to be ready for the story that was 
to be the "biggest that ever happened," but they still did not know what 
it was. 

Then the dapper Englishman appeared. He burst into the room, 
smiling and elated. Mills and Phillips were on their feet. 

"Here it is, signed, sealed, and delivered," he said triumphantly, 
throwing the document on the table. "It will make history. It may even 
make war. It may indeed make peace. In any case, it will be a triumph 
for American and British capital and industry." 


Mills and his colleague pounced on the papers and began to study 
them in the lamplight. The two correspondents were astounded by what 
they read. 

Haile Selassie had signed over to the Standard Oil Company and 
some British interests the exclusive rights for the exploitation of all 
Ethiopia's oil and mineral wealth in an area three times the size of 
New England, and for the amazing period of seventy-five years. The 
agreement assured the Emperor of an annual return far greater than 
the whole yearly national income of his kingdom. It granted the Amer- 
ican-British interests the right to build railroads, pipe lines, bridges, 
refineries, new highways, ports, whole cities, and a hundred other great 
developments. It involved the ultimate investment of several hundred 
million dollars. 

Sir Percival smothered a gasp. He turned to Mills. 

"This thing is so gigantic," he said, "I'm afraid to send it to my 
paper. They won't believe it." 

Mills, too, was awed by the contents of the contract. 

"But it's signed and sealed by the Emperor, the minister of mines, 
and Rickett," he pointed out. "There can be no question of its authen- 

"You can accept it as Scriptural truth," Rickett declared. 

The significance of the document was all too clear to the two corre- 
spondents. In signing away the richest part of his domains, the Emperor 
had a shrewd motive. With this great area in the hands of powerful 
American and British interests, he believed Mussolini would never 
attempt to challenge their claims under the concession, nor even dare 
to invade that section of Ethiopia, for fear of antagonizing the two 
great powers. 

Rickett said he was dog-tired after the negotiations of the past two 
weeks. He was going to bed, but he'd entrust the main points of the 
concession to them until daybreak so that they could prepare their dis- 
patches. He asked them to frame a brief communique, based on the 
contract, so that the government could release it as an official announce- 
ment when the proper time came. 

"I'm leaving by airplane for Cairo the first thing in the morning," 
he explained. "Be sure to have everything ready before I go." 

Mills and Sir Percival went to work. First they prepared the 
"official communique" a hundred-word statement reciting the broad 
general facts of the historic contract. Then they devoted the next few 


hours to their own dispatches and to plans for keeping the explosive 
story a secret from competitors. 

The government wireless station sole link between Addis Ababa 
and the outside world opened at dawn and Mills filed a i,6oo-word 
story. Sir Percival sent off a story of similar length to his paper in 
London. After Rickett departed, Mills secured the complete text of 
the concession, a 2,oooword document, and dispatched it by wireless, 
giving a copy to Sir Percival. Getting out the story was comparatively 
costly 25 cents a word. Under normal circumstances Mills would have 
sent his dispatch at the even more expensive "urgent" rate, but he and 
his British colleague had agreed to mark their stories for release the 
next day, August 30, so that The AP and the London Daily Telegraph 
would be able to break the news simultaneously. 

By nine o'clock that morning, Addis Ababa time, Mills had his 
complete story cleared. With Sir Percival he spent the next few hours 
in nervous anxiety lest any hint of it leak out. Their fear was justified. 
Word did leak out, and the rest of the press corps went rushing about 
the city seeking confirmation of the report and details. Some fifty 
correspondents descended in turn upon the Emperor, the minister of 
mines, the foreign minister, Mr. Colson, the American legation, the 
British legation, the Abuna of the Ethiopian Church. All sources, how- 
ever, disclaimed knowledge and refused to comment. Some, like the 
American and British legations, professed complete ignorance of the 
concession, which was literally true. Other legations termed the reported 
story pure invention. 

Halfway across the world the first "takes" of Mills's dispatch 
began arriving in New York. The time difference between New York 
and Addis Ababa made it eight hours earlier in the American metrop- 
olis, and the result was that the story reached the cable desk well over 
a dozen hours before the stipulated time set for its release in the night 
report of August 30. Working against the clock as he did, Mills had 
written his dispatch hurriedly, but there could be no mistaking the 
significance of the facts he had set down. 

The story was promptly brought to the attention of Smith Reavis, 
then in charge of the Cable Department, and Milo Thompson, execu- 
tive assistant to the general manager. 

Both Reavis and Thompson were accustomed to the shocks and 
surprises in the daily news of the world, but they were astounded by 


this Cf break" in Ethiopia. They saw the importance of the transaction 
Mills described. They studied the story and its accompanying text. 
Then a series of editorial conferences started. One of the first subjects 
raised was the question of trying the two logical domestic sources for 
"follows" the State Department at Washington, for comment on the 
international aspects of the Rickett concession, and the Standard Oil 
offices in New York, for a statement of the corporation's plans in the 
matter. The idea was weighed arid tabled. Any attempt to develop 
follows might result in the story's leaking out before time came to 
release it in the night report. Mills had said it was exclusive, so both 
Reavis and Thompson felt the wisest course was to keep it a secret 
and not try any follows until the story actually began to move out on 
the wires. 

As for the story itself, the more it was studied the more formid- 
able it became. Even though it came from Jim Mills, a staff man of 
twenty-five years' service, some of the men found the news almost too 
overwhelming for belief. Reavis and Thompson had confidence in Mills, 
but the dispatch was something that must be confirmed and double 
checked thoroughly before a single word was transmitted. They con- 
sulted the general manager and he sent an urgent message. 

The government-owned wireless station in Addis Ababa closed 
down for the night at seven o'clock. At five minutes before seven Mills 
was handed the general manager's query. The message said it was 
imperative that the authenticity of the story be confirmed beyond 
conceivable doubt and that headquarters have complete proof for every 
statement in the dispatch as well as the specific source of all the in- 

Mills finished the cable, upset and bewildered. All day long he had 
been looking forward to the nightly closing of the wireless station, be- 
cause then, if the Rickett story should come out into the open, competi- 
tion would have no means of communication for a dozen hours. Now 
five minutes before the station's closing time came this bombshell 
from headquarters. 

Mills made quick calculations. Unless he got a reply off to New 
York before 7 P.M., he would have to wait until 7 A.M. and that 
would be ii P.M., New York time. It meant losing almost a whole 
day. Hatless and coatless, he sprinted for the telegraph office. The 
operators were getting ready to go home when he burst into the station. 
In two minutes he scribbled off an "urgent" to "Kenper, New York." 
He told the general manager that all the details in the dispatch had 


come "straight from the horse's mouth" from Rickett himself} that 
the actual text of the concession had been given him personally by 
Colsonj and that he had personally seen the original of the contract, 
bearing the seals and signatures of those involved. 

Front pages the next morning splurged a world copyright story 
Mills's detailed disclosure of the now historic Rickett Oil Concession. 

Haile Selassie's desperate attempt to halt an Italian invasion with 
the fantastic concession proved a failure. At 5 A.M. on October 3 the 
gray-green columns of Fascist Italy crossed the Ethiopian border from 
Eritrea and the undeclared Italo-Ethiopian War was on. 

Andrue Berding, chief of the Rome Bureau, was in the field to 
report the first stages of the main Italian advance. The assignment was 
afterward taken over by a new recruit in the Foreign Service, Edward J. 
Neil, a breezy young man with prematurely gray hair, an infectious 
smile, and an engaging personality. Another seasoned newspaperman 
from New York, Mark Barron, covered the secondary Fascist thrust 
northward from Italian Somaliland. Joe Caneva, one of the top-rank- 
ing cameramen on the staff, was the first American photographer on the 
scene. He followed II Duce's legions on a moth-eaten donkey. In Addis 
Ababa, Mills was joined by Al Wilson, of the London Bureau, who 
had been ordered to Egypt when the massing of the British naval force 
at the Suez Canal aroused danger of an open clash with Italy. 

After Wilson's arrival, the AP establishment in the Ethiopian 
capital went on a semi-permanent basis. Mills and his London colleague 
leased a little cottage which formerly had housed the Austrian legation. 
The cottage was only two blocks from the wireless station, and it 
boasted a small truck garden and a barnyard of ducks, chickens, pigeons, 
and rabbits insurance against any food shortage. Wilson lined up string 
correspondents in the major Ethiopian towns and helped Mills arrange 
with foreign free-lance photographers for pictures. The cottage head- 
quarters accumulated a staff of eight Ethiopians and Arabs who acted 
. as messenger boys, runners, and men of all work. Airplanes were hired 
to ferry out pictures, and the two-man Addis Ababa Bureau soon found 
itself acquiring a truck, an automobile, and a motorcycle. 

Once hostilities started, the topic in Addis Ababa was the Em- 
peror's projected departure for the front to take personal command of 
his warriors. Until the Emperor left no correspondent was permitted 


to leave the capital for the war zone because authorities feared the 
ignorant tribesmen would mistake them for enemies and kill them. 
Mills had arranged to accompany the monarch. When the day finally 
came, Wilson, who remained behind, found himself in trouble with the 
government very much as he expected. 

Weeks before the King of Kings started for the front, the Gov- 
ment Press Bureau notified all correspondents that the censors would 
pass no copy dealing with his Majesty's departure, the route he would 
travel, or his subsequent whereabouts. Officials feared the Emperor's 
safety would be jeopardized by Italian bombing planes. Wilson could 
appreciate the Ethiopian attitude, but his responsibility was to report the 
news. When the Emperor left for the front, it unquestionably would be 
news. The job was to get it out. After much thought he and his superiors 
in London, by a mailed exchange, devised a plan to circumvent the 
censor by disguising the information in a routine interoffice message re- 
garding bureau supplies. The plan worked. No sooner had the imperial 
party departed in mid-November than London had Wilson's message 
and cabled New York that Haile Selassie had left for the front, travel- 
ing overland via Dessye. 

The news got back to Addis Ababa within a short time, and a storm 
of Ethiopian wrath descended on Wilson's head. The correspondent 
offered no defense. It was news. His job was to get it out. Unfor- 
tunately that necessitated outwitting the censor. The logic was unassail- 
able, but Ethiopian officials could not be expected to agree. Wilson was 
notified that all AP dispatches henceforth would be refused at the wire- 
less station and the wireless station was the only channel to the out- 
side world. The ban remained in force several days and was rescinded 
without explanation. Perhaps the fact that the wireless was a govern- 
ment monopoly had something to do with it for The AP spent as much 
as $ 1,000 a day in wireless tolls. 

Ethiopian precautions to conceal the Emperor's whereabouts were 
unavailing. On December 6 a fleet of nineteen Capronis roared over the 
imperial field headquarters at Dessye, bombing and machine-gunning 
the panic-stricken natives. Three Italian bombs fell within a few feet of 
Mills, exploding with ear-shattering roars and setting fire to a Red 
Cross tent immediately adjoining the one the AP correspondent had 
been occupying. 


The bombing of Dessye was the first air raid witnessed by any 
correspondent attached to the Ethiopian armies. It inflicted casualties 
of 84 killed and 363 wounded, but Mills came through it unscathed, 
started pictures back to Addis Ababa on one of the AP trucks, and 
cleared his story by field wireless to Wilson at the capital. Later Mills 
was the first correspondent to make flights over the northern and south- 
ern Ethiopian fronts a dangerous business with the Italians supreme 
in the air. 

For the staff men on both sides there were plenty of hardships- 
The temperatures ranged from blistering heat in the day to below 
freezing at night, and the high altitude imposed a severe physical strain. 
Eddie Neil had a bout with tropical fever and later suffered a chest 
hemorrhage from overexertion. He also suffered a leg injury in the 
crash of a bomber which was flying him over enemy lines. The altitude 
felled Wilson for a few days, inducing an acute attack of appendicitis 
resulting from disturbed metabolism. Before hostilities ended Barron 
contracted a virulent tropical disease which made it necessary to bring 
him out on a stretcher. Only Mills and the durable Caneva seemed 
immune to sickness and altitude. 

Even without illness, the assignment was trying enough. Life was 
made up of storms, swarms of insects, omnipresent vermin, uncertain 
drinking water, and bad food. The men with the Italians lived on a 
monotonous diet of spaghetti with a few Ethiopian flies mixed in 
each dish and uncontaminated drinking water cost forty cents a bottle. 
Once in a while on trips back to the Italian base in Eritrea they pooled 
resources for a "banquet" a huge American-style omelet and a jug 
of wine and these rare gastronomic orgies cost each the equivalent of 
a week's salary. 

Caneva had his own little group of additional troubles. Working 
almost entirely in the field with the army, he had to handle his photo- 
graphic plates under impossible conditions. Pictures could not be de- 
veloped during the day because the heat was so scorching that nega- 
tives would melt, and even at night developing was a major problem. 
There were no darkrooms or any other photographic facilities. 

As the campaign wore on, the main source of news became more 
and more the staff men with the Italian troops. Not long after the 
bombing of Dessye, the Emperor ordered all newspaper men back to 
Addis Ababa and they were kept cooped up there until the government 

Flying with Italian pilots, slogging along on foot with sweating 


columns, or bouncing around in a careening army truck, Neil had oppor- 
tunities for gathering the news, but getting it out was a different proposi- 
tion. Only the briefest stories were accepted over the military communi- 
cations facilities. The bulk of the material had to be sent back in any 
manner that offered itself sometimes by courier, sometimes by an 
ambulance driver or returning supply truck, and sometimes by an 
obliging aviator. Neil marveled that so much of his copy got through to 
New York. Speaking of the uncertainty of sending dispatches, he re- 
marked: "Once you finished a story, it was like putting it in a bottle 
and throwing it overboard in the middle of the ocean. All you 
could do was to hope somebody would find it and send it along to New 

It was all over in a comparatively few months, and Neil went 
whirling into a conquered Addis Ababa with the mechanized column 
that formed the spearhead of the final Italian advance. 

Prior to 1914 the conclusion of a war had always meant an inter- 
lude of reasonable normality for the Cable Department. But now there 
was nothing but turbulence. In Asia the scope of another undeclared 
war grew wider as Japanese troops extended operations in China. Spain 
seethed with unrest, in England King George V had died and Ger- 
many's Adolf Hitler, Der Fuhrer of the Third Reich, had begun his 
systematic scrapping of the Versailles Treaty. 


THROUGH three historic decades and well into a fourth, Frank B. 
Noyes had presided as president of The Associated Press. In all that 
time there had been no variation in the procedure each year when the 
newly constituted Board of Directors convened the day after the 
co-operative's annual meeting. The first business was always the election 
of officers. On April 21, 1936, the well-established order was followed. 
The name of Noyes was placed in renomination. No other candidate 
was offered. 

As he had done so often before, Noyes told his fellow directors 
that he appreciated the honor more deeply than he could hope to 

"Nevertheless," he said gravely, "the time is coming if indeed it 
is not already at hand when I shall have to lay down the cares and 
obligations of this high office." 

The board was reluctant to accept any suggestion of immediate 
retirement and one after another the directors pressed him to reconsider. 

In the face of their pleas, Noyes finally consented to accept 
re-election. He imposed one condition that some younger member of 
the board be elected first vice-president and in that capacity assume any 
part of the president's duties and responsibilities which might be passed 
on to him. In effect, Noyes was asking that the man who would succeed 
him be designated in advance so that he might work with him for 
whatever time remained before he relinquished the presidency. 

For first vice-president and ultimately the next president of The 
Associated Press the board unanimously selected Robert McLean, 
publisher of the Philadelphia Bulletin. His father, W. L. McLean, 
had been a member of the board from 1900 until his resignation in 
1924, and thereafter he continued an active interest in the co-operative's 
affairs until his death in 1931. The new vice-president had been elected 
to the board to succeed his father and had served ever since. He began 
his newspaper career in 1913 when he was twenty-one, soon after his 
graduation from Princeton University, and during the World War 
served as a major of artillery. In his dozen or more years on the board 


he had been close to Noyes, particularly in the fight to prevent the 
defeat of Wirephoto. 

Noyes's contemplated retirement was only one of the noteworthy 
administrative developments in the twelve-month period since the 
previous Board of Directors had met to organize. There had been 
several executive changes in the management owing to the retirement 
of men whose names had long been bywords in the co-operative. 

The first major change involved the retirement of a character who 
had become an AP legend Treasurer James R. Youatt. Back in April, 
1894, Stone had offered him the position of auditor. For forty-two years 
he was the vigilant guardian of the association's finances. He watched 
pennies as closely as dollars and the stories about his thriftiness multi- 
plied with the years. Once a staffer covering General Pershing's pursuit 
of Pancho Villa wired him that a fine second-hand automobile could 
be purchased for $800 if approval were given, and that it might facilitate 
coverage in Mexico. In those days second-hand automobiles were not 
the acme of mechanical reliability. Moreover, desert country did not 
present ideal operating conditions. Youatt's reply was a model of 
economy and wisdom. "Buy a mule," he telegraphed. 

To succeed Youatt the board elected L. F. Curtis. The new 
treasurer had been a member of the staff for twenty-five years. During 
that time he handled local, national, cable, political, and financial news 
assignments, and one of them sent him with President Wilson to the 
Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Subsequently he was news editor of 
the Eastern Division, and in 1921, when Wilmer Stuart died, he became 
superintendent of markets and elections. 

A few weeks after Youatt's resignation, Jackson S. Elliott, another 
notable figure, relinquished his duties as assistant general manager 
preparatory to retiring after more than thirty years of service. 

Demands on the management as a whole had assumed such 
proportions that some administrative expansion was necessary. For this 
reason two assistant general managers Lloyd Stratton and William 
J. McCambridge were appointed by General Manager Cooper to help 
him. Stratton, the first editor of the Feature Service, was assigned to 
administrative duties in the field of news. McCambridge was placed in 
immediate charge of all matters pertaining to transmission and engi- 
neering operations. 


Several months after these changes were made effective, the 
general manager began consideration of a step looking toward a more 
complete unification of all news-gathering efforts. As matters then stood, 
the active direction of the news report was divided among three super- 
vising general editors one for the day, one for the night, and one for 
the Sunday or weekend report. Assignments to day, night, or weekend 
duty made for corresponding divisions of the staff. Under this system 
there was sustained staff endeavor around the clock, seven days a week, 
and at the same time a healthy rivalry was fostered, for each division 
strove to produce a better report than the other. The three supervising 
editors W. F. Brooks, C. E. Honce, and J. M. Kendrick worked 
under the personal direction of the general manager. 

The time Cooper could devote exclusively to the news report day 
after day was limited and he finally reached the conclusion that it was 
desirable to appoint an executive news editor who would be able to 
give exclusive attention to the news. For the position he needed a man 
of wide experience and proved executive ability. He wanted someone 
who would not disturb the rivalry existing among the day, night, and 
Sunday staffs. 

Byron Price, chief of bureau at Washington, had the talent and 
training to fill the requirements Cooper had in mind. He had joined 
the staff in 1912, a young man with a Phi Beta Kappa key recently out 
of Wabash College. He got his start in the Atlanta Bureau, served as 
acting correspondent at New Orleans, and then was transferred to 
Washington. He joined the army during the World War. As a first 
lieutenant and later a captain of infantry, he served overseas with a 
regiment that was cited for conspicuous service during the Meuse- 
Argonne offensive immediately preceding the signing of the Armistice. 
Mustered out in 1919, he rejoined the Washington Bureau. His subse- 
quent assignments covered all fields of governmental, political, and 
diplomatic activities. 

The program of administrative changes, contemplated or already 
in effect, constituted only a part of 1 936*8 story. Much more dramatic 
was the unscheduled and unheralded debut of the newest servant of 
modern news gathering portable Wirephoto. 

For more than a year engineers in the research laboratory had 
been working to perfect a convenient-sized picture-sending machine 
which could be hurried to the scene of big news along with staff 


reporters and cameramen. Size was not the only problem. They wanted 
a set that could utilize either the regular Wirephoto network or ordi- 
nary commercial circuits, and thus be adapted for immediate use in 
any place, no matter how isolated, which had a telephone. 

Progress was slow. Telephone company experts had not minimized 
the difficulties when they expressed doubt that any practical portable 
apparatus could be devised. Nevertheless, the laboratory kept at it. 
One by one the technical difficulties were overcome, new mechanical 
parts designed, and knotty assembly problems worked out. At length 
Assistant General Manager McCambridge, Chief Engineer Biele, and 
their research staff believed they had developed the equipment they 

The miscellany of parts, vacuum tubes, and wires scattered along 
a laboratory workbench looked like a hopeless hodgepodge, but to the 
men who had spent months of experimenting they represented a 
splendid achievement. They could visualize the equipment mounted 
ingeniously in two small traveling cases weighing about forty pounds 
each a power unit in one case and the sending unit in the other 
ready to be rushed to the scene of any news emergency so that pictures 
could be transmitted onto the Wirephoto system with a minimum of 

The first experiments had produced satisfactory results. The picture 
transmissions were on a par with the performance of the stationary 
apparatus in the regular Wirephoto stations. The experiments, however, 
were performed under ideal laboratory conditions 5 the network had 
not been utilized, and the transmissions were over relatively short 
distances. The engineers wanted to satisfy themselves that the portable 
would perform with equal fidelity over long distances after being 
subjected to the hard knocks and rough usage incident to actual field 
operations. The test schedule was mapped along those lines. 

But news has never respected engineering programs. The initial 
experiments had scarcely started when a succession of violent spring 
floods swept the eastern United States. In New England, New York, 
Maryland, Ohio, and particularly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, 
bureau staffs went on emergency footing to report another national 
catastrophe. Hour by hour the news report brought accounts of the 
devastation and The AP News Photo Service obtained eloquent pictures 
of the ruin and havoc. 

The worst-hit of the flood areas was western Pennsylvania and 
West Virginia. Pittsburgh was virtually isolated. The airport there was 


inundated and water more than six feet deep flowed through the 
business district "The Golden Triangle." Johnstown, scene of the 
terrible flood of 1889, watched the rising water and feared an even 
worse disaster. In Wheeling half of the downtown section was under 
water, and the swollen Ohio rolled over Wheeling Island, submerging 
the homes of hundreds of families. 

As the strategic bureau in the stricken area, Pittsburgh became the 
clearinghouse for the news and pictures. Once again a staff battled the 
problem of getting out the information after communications had been 
disrupted. Most telephone and telegraph lines were down, railroad and 
motor vehicle traffic was virtually suspended, bridges were out, power 
plants had failed, and planes could not take off from the airport. 

In spite of the failure of regular news facilities, Pittsburgh man- 
aged to keep the news moving out by one means or another. Sometimes 
it was a roundabout series of shaky telephone relays, sometimes a 
temporary Morse circuit, sometimes amateur wireless stations. With 
pictures, however, the difficulties were acute. Although four staff camera- 
men were on the job, most of their pictures accumulated unserviced at 
Pittsburgh. The city was not then on the Wirephoto network and 
there was no means of getting out the pictures rapidly. 

For photo editors in New York the situation was maddening. They 
had the pictures, any number of pictures, but the pictures were in 
Pittsburgh, isolated by the flood. Until the waters receded, there was 
little chance of getting them out by the usual methods. To wait until 
transportation facilities were restored might mean days, and member 
newspapers did not want to wait days. 

Photo editors at headquarters held conference after conference but 
were unable to devise any workable solution. Finally Assistant General 
Manager McCambridge proposed that the unassembled portable equip- 
ment on the laboratory workbench be flown to Pittsburgh on the 
chance that it could meet the emergency. There was considerable doubt 
that a plane could negotiate a landing on the flooded Pittsburgh field. 
Even assuming a safe arrival, the portable would have to be able to 
operate under the most adverse conditions, utilizing an uncertain wire 
circuit for transmission and drawing on storage batteries for power. 
The odds were against the success of a machine which was little more 
than an experimental model. 

The assortment of parts were hurriedly stowed away in two pack- 
ing boxes and Harold Carlson and Jim Barnes, who had worked on the 
portable ever since research began, were chosen for the trip. Their 


plane was forced down at Harrisburg, two hundred miles short of its 
goal, and they chartered another and took to the air again. The second 
plane made a splashy landing on the soggy, treacherous flying field at 
Pittsburgh that afternoon. 

The men headed for the telephone company building only a few 
hundred feet from the flood crest. They found conditions as bad as 
they had feared. There was no regular electric power, no heat, and 
no assurance that a wire circuit would be available. Carlson and Barnes 
moved in their packing boxes, tool kits, and storage batteries. The room 
placed at their disposal was dark and the only illumination came from 
candles and storage battery lights. 

For hours they tested, changed, adjusted and readjusted, checking 
the equipment piece by piece. Then the telephone company notified 
them that a line had been set up and could be cut into the regular 
transcontinental Wirephoto network. 

A few minutes later the last adjustment had been made, the last 
connection checked. The portable was as ready as the engineers could 
make it. The latest pictures had arrived by messenger from the Pitts- 
burgh Bureau. Earphones clamped to his head, Carlson could hear the 
conversations and instructions going back and forth over the Wirephoto 
circuit. The control editor in New York gave them a "Go Ahead," and 
Barnes flipped a switch. 

The portable's sending cylinder began to rotate. 

In New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Kansas City, San Francisco, 
and all the other cities on the picture network the receiving Wirephoto 
cylinders revolved turn for turn with the Pittsburgh portable. Eight 
minutes later the transmission was finished and the first negative 
developed. Across the country photo editors had the wet print of the 
Pittsburgh picture before them. It was a photograph of a flooded news- 
paper pressroom in the heart of the Golden Triangle. With perfect 
clarity it showed the dark waters running deep across the floor, the 
details of the half-submerged presses and the rubber-booted press crews 
perched high on the machinery. 

Portable Wirephoto worked. 

During 1935-1936 the series of administrative changes made one 
major theme in the co-operative's story. The development of portable 
Wirephoto, together with other inventive accomplishments of Traffic 
Department engineers, supplied a second. To these was added a third. 
It was the subject of labor, although The AP had never been disposed 
to regard the question of its own personnel in the controversial terms 
of a "labor problem." 


THROUGHOUT the troubled thirties the story of American labor, 
its plans and its problems, its gains and its losses, its champions and its 
critics, took a more prominent place in the news report than ever before. 
The period had begun with the story of labor's struggle against unem- 
ployment and then it turned to the uncharted field of economic and 
social construction and experimentation. As the worst rigors of the 
depression began to pass, labor entered a complex period of transi- 
tion. It was a period of labor legislation and great resurgence of union 
activities. Often it was a period of contradictions and puzzles, and it saw 
organized labor for the second time split into two hostile camps over 
the issue of craft and industrial unionism. 

The controversial nature of events made the strictest accuracy and 
impartiality so imperative that particularized instructions were issued 
to the staff, admonishing everyone to exert the most scrupulous care 
in reporting, writing, and editing labor news. Both sides in any issue 
must be presented correctly, fully, without bias. Given the facts of 
any case, newspaper readers should be able to form their own opinions. 

Recounting the story of labor was no fresh assignment. In the 
eighty-odd years since the association began its career the staff had been 
called on to report most of the history of the labor movement in the 
United States, but only once did that movement impinge even briefly 
on the operations of the organization itself. At the founding of The 
Associated Press in 1848, a national "labor problem," in the modern 
understanding of the term, did not exist. The country was largely 
agricultural in character, and only along the eastern seaboard were 
there any industrial centers. 

During those early years the subject of staff personnel was one of 
the few problems which caused little worry, except that experienced 
newspapermen were difficult to find. The staff was small and salaries 
compared favorably with the standards of the day. Like colleagues on 
daily publications, the men considered their occupation professional or 
semi-professional in nature and looked upon it with a professional pride. 
People spoke of them as "journalists" and in the popular mind they 



constituted a class apart an impression which most "journalists" con- 
sciously or unconsciously encouraged. 

Excepting messenger boys, a few clerical workers, and kindred 
employes, the staff was entirely editorial in character. With leased 
news circuits unheard of, transmission of dispatches was the province 
of commercial telegraph companies and the association had no need 
to maintain its own corps of Morse operators although many of the 
men considered a knowledge of the telegraph as essential to their work 
as the modern reporter considers the ability to use the typewriter. 

Labor news was negligible, but the years after the Civil War 
brought a revival of union activity and for the first time organization 
efforts and disputes manifested a tendency toward a national scope. By 
and large this movement was political rather than industrial in concept, 
representing an evolution from the earlier organizations which had 
preached a doctrine of class harmony and humanitarianism with such 
slogans as "Union for power, power to bless humanity." The quasi- 
political unions were the forerunners of the more definitely trade-union 
groups which developed in the years that followed. 

In 1875 two years before The Associated Press covered the first 
large-scale industrial dispute in the country there came a change in its 
personnel structure. The association leased its first news-wire circuits 
and manned them with its own telegraphers. This introduced a new class 
of employe. It was the beginning of a mechanical, or traffic, department, 
although that formal designation was not applied until much later. 

First staff telegraphers were engaged at salaries identical with 
those being paid by the commercial telegraph companies $17 a week 
for day work and $19 a week for night work. Then, as the operating 
force increased, James W. Simonton, the general agent, became con- 
vinced that the work of a staff telegrapher was more exacting than 
that of an operator with a commercial company. Accordingly salaries 
were increased to maintain a proper differential. 

The great railway strike of 1877 introduced a new type of news. 
Before the strike ended seven persons were killed and millions of 
dollars in property destroyed. From then on, labor became increasingly 
productive of major stories. In 1885 there was the dispute affecting 
Jay Gould's Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain Railroad, which ended 
with a victory for the Knights of Labor. This strike was memorable 


in AP history both because Charles S. Diehl's exclusive interview with 
Gould in Florida was credited with expediting a settlement and because 
DiehPs story was the first ever carried in the report with an official 
by-line. The eighties saw an epidemic of strikes waged on the eight- 
hour-day and lockout issues. From a news standpoint, the most notable 
story was the one which culminated in the bloody Haymarket Square 
riot in Chicago in 1886 one of the first assignments covered by John 
P. Boughan, later one of the association's best knbwn writers. 

The emergence of AP as a non-profit co-operative coincided 
with a period in labor history both important and turbulent. The move- 
ment was divided on the question of craft versus industrial unions. The 
industrial Knights of Labor had begun to decline, and a new craft union 
organization the American Federation of Labor was gaining strength, 
advocating the eight-hour-day. The panic of 1893 was responsible for 
large-scale disputes and disorders and the strikes produced the use of 
injunctions and federal troops. 

In the nature of things, strikes and other labor disturbances made 
more news than the peaceful progress of the union movement or 
industrial amity, just as an international crisis made more news than a 
harmonious world. There was, inevitably, a certain amount of criticism 
from time to time by opposing factions, particularly in the heat of strikes 
when employers and employes could see only their own side of the 
conflict. Proportionately, however, the complaints were neither greater 
nor less than the number arising from political questions or other 
controversial matters. 

The co-operative was zealous to maintain its disinterested approach 
to all news, whether it concerned labor or some other topic, and anything 
that might raise the slightest doubt about the impartiality of the staff 
was a matter to be rectified at once. The Board of Directors even went 
so far as to discourage social relationships of General Manager Stone- 
with some of the prominent people of his day, lest they create any 
suspicions, however unjust, affecting the integrity and independence 
of the news. 

The return of prosperity after the Spanish-American War gave 
organized labor fresh stimulus. Membership in unions increased and 
there was a revival of interest in unionism and its aims. As in the past, 
however, these activities failed to arouse any perceptible personal interest 
among the co-operative's staff. There was an operators' union in the 
country the Commercial Telegraphers Union but it had enlisted 
only a few of the association's Morse men. The salaries of staff teleg- 


raphers were higher than those paid by the commercial companies and 
the idea of unionization for editorial personnel had never been broached 
either by labor leaders or by editorial employes. As far as the editorial 
men were concerned, they considered themselves specialists engaged 
in work of a mental and creative character not amenable to the same 
hard and fast rules which might apply in purely commercial and 
industrial pursuits. 


The first few years of the twentieth century were marked by the 
high cost of living, and many staff telegraphers felt its pinch. Stone 
met the situation by increasing the salaries of operators in the larger 
cities, where the rise in living costs had been sharpest. 

When living conditions failed to improve by 1903, however, he 
received a petition signed by 254 of the 374 telegraphers in the service 
asking a blanket increase. The request came at a bad time, for the 
co-operative was operating at a deficit. Stone ascertained that the asso- 
ciation by that time was maintaining a differential of at least 25 per cent 
over the salaries paid by commercial companies and railroads. Never- 
theless, he recommended that the telegraphers be given two weeks 
annual vacation with pay something no commercial company gave its 
operators and that the men be relieved of the obligation of supplying 
and maintaining their own typewriters, a practice then in force 

The results of the 1903 petition seemed to satisfy the majority 
of the telegraphers and a number told Stone they thought he had 
obtained an equitable adjustment for them. 

The C.T.U. continued its campaign to extend its strength and in 
1905 sought a written contract, although it represented only a minority 
of the men. It presented a series of demands which included salary 
increases as high as 50 per cent, and a provision whereby the assignment 
of operators, and in some cases their employment or dismissal, would 
be entirely in the hands of the union. The Board of Directors rejected 
the contract and the C.T.U. retaliated by announcing that its members 
thereafter would not accept employment in the co-operative. The union's 
action had no effect and the attempt to impair the strength of the 
operating force ended in admitted failure. 

In July, 1907, a series of strikes against the two commercial wire 
companies Western Union and Postal Telegraph began throughout 
the country. Except in so far as it delayed some news matter being 


handled over commercial facilities, the dispute at first did not involve 
The AP. The association employed only about one per cent of the 
40,000 telegraphers in the United States and there had been no requests, 
official or otherwise, for adjustments. 

Since the co-operative's New York headquarters were then housed 
in the Western Union building, the telegraph staff was well aware of 
the tension and the disturbed atmosphere. The news report, however, 
continued to move out over the leased wires with accustomed regularity. 
Then, without warning, a group of telegraphers on the night staff took 
possession of the circuits on August n and canvassed night operators 
at all bureau points, asking authority to sign their names to a petition. 

Some agreed and the unexpected petition was placed before Stone 
the next morning with an ultimatum that its demands be met within 
twelve hours. It called for increases aggregating $200,000 a year 
roughly 10 per cent of the whole annual budget at the time and for 
a higher overtime rate. Stone had no authority to grant such a demand 
and the deadline gave him no opportunity to arrange for a meeting 
of the board to consider it. He offered to confer with a representative 
of the men pending a meeting of the board. 

The offer went unheeded and a strike was ordered at 7:30 P.M. 
that same day August 12. In the Eastern Division, the largest unit of 
the service, 59 of 1 80 telegraphers quit their keys. Some divisions were 
not affected at all, but in others enough quit to interrupt temporarily 
the local transmission of the report. A majority remained at their posts 
and volunteered to work additional hours to keep the news moving. 
Reporter-telegraphers on the editorial staff manned empty Morse posi- 
tions and in Albany an office boy who had been studying telegraphy 
handled one wire like a veteran. 

From the outset the strike failed of its objective a nation-wide 
stoppage of the news report. The morning after the strike was called 
every member of the New York day telegraph staff reported for work. 
They condemned the strike as merely sympathetic to the dissatisfied 
commercial workers, termed it an unjust action by a minority element 
of their fellow telegraphers, and drafted a message urging the strikers 
to return to their posts. Stone's permission was sought for the trans- 
mission of the message on the leased wires, but he declined. 

The back of the strike was broken after the first week, but it 
dragged on in desultory fashion for a month. Then most of the men 
applied for their old positions and were taken back without prejudice. 
The Board of Directors met in mid-September and Stone expressed 


himself in favor of an even higher wage level, irrespective of what the 
commercial companies were paying. Although an annual deficit of 
$100,000 already was in prospect, the directors authorized him to 

In terms of the ensuing years, the telegraphers' strike had no 
lasting effect. It did not signalize the beginning of an era in which the 
relations between management and personnel were to assume "labor 
problem" proportions. 

The policy of The AP had been to maintain the relations between 
employes and the general manager (himself an employe) on a 
personal basis. The size of the staff at the time made such a system 
practicable and the general manager had no difficulty keeping in close 
touch with the men and their work. Both Stone and Assistant General 
Manager Diehl traveled extensively and the staff knew them familiarly 
as "M.E.S." and "Charley Diehl." 

As the staff grew, however, it became more and more difficult to 
maintain these personal contacts. Little by little, personnel relations 
became decentralized and the responsibility was divided among the 
superintendents in charge of the four main geographical divisions which 
comprised the domestic service. Dealing with these smaller units, the 
superintendents were able to handle their division staffs on an individual 
basis, but the co-operative as a whole lost something in the suspension 
of direct relations between the employe and the management. 

By 1910, when Cooper entered the service, the handling of per- 
sonnel had become, with certain limitations, entirely the province of 
the division superintendents. Cooper's duties called for incessant travel- 
ing and the assignment unintentionally served a twofold purpose. It 
restored to the staff at large a personal link with headquarters, and it 
gave the management a firsthand contact with the staff without the 
medium of division superintendents. 

Several things impressed Cooper. The first was the widening 
difference between the editorial and telegraph departments in outlook, 
problems, and the type of employe attracted. Once ambitious teleg- 
raphers had made editorial positions their goal but now the younger 
members of this staff were thinking in terms of scientific and engineer- 
ing opportunities. It was clear that the interests of the service would 
best be served by divorcing the news-gathering and news-disseminating 
staffs, and the formal organization of a Traffic Department folloWed. 


Another matter Cooper reported was a tendency toward stagnation 
of the news personnel under the administration of division superin- 
tendents. The superintendents, concerned only with the most efficient 
operation of their respective divisions, were inclined to keep their 
editorial men in the same position indefinitely if they filled it well. 
With few exceptions, advancement depended on the death or resigna- 
tion of the man who was the immediate superior. Such a system mini- 
mized merit, tended to discourage initiative, and removed the stimulus 
of opportunity. Furthermore, by placing divisional considerations above 
everything else, the General Service was being deprived of able men 
who might be more valuable in other positions. To remedy this 
situation, Cooper recommended more frequent transfer of talented men 
from one geographical division to another. 

The outbreak of the World War had a tendency to "freeze" the 
system in its existing state. Attention was monopolized by the problems 
of war coverage and there was little time to study ways and means 
of restoring any semblance of the old direct methods in personnel 
relations. However, a higher salary scale was made effective to meet 
the increased cost of wartime living and, more important, the Board 
of Directors inaugurated the general pension, insurance, and sick benefit 
plan which Cooper had drawn up. 

After the Armistice and the break in war prosperity, labor news 
came back with a wave of strikes and disputes largely precipitated by 
the reduction of wages from boom peaks. Living costs and mounting 
unemployment contributed to the unsettled conditions, but this indus- 
trial unrest left the co-operative unaffected because its affairs were 
running counter to the general trend. The postwar years saw unprece- 
dented expansion in news gathering, wages were maintained at wartime . 
levels, and the staff was enlarged rather than curtailed. 

The sole personnel problem was the loss of experienced editorial 
men who were being sought by publicity-conscious organizations of one 
sort or another. The salary inducements often were irresistible and 
Stone on occasion found himself reluctantly advising valued editors 
to accept positions which offered greater compensation than he could 
match. Nevertheless, these raids led to further adjustment of salaries 
for editorial employes generally. The management could not always 
bid dollar for dollar, but it was anxious to make positions as attractive 


as possible because the general manager thought the association could 
be best served by "career" men who regarded their employment as 
more than just another job. 

Throughout the twenties unions were aggressive in campaigns for 
wage increases, shorter hours, and improved working conditions. Key 
bureaus developed specialists on their staffs to handle the news so that 
coverage would be in the hands of men thoroughly familiar with the 
background of union activities. 

Although the internal affairs of The Associated Press had pro- 
gressed smoothly, no enduring changes had been made in the status 
of personnel administration. Division superintendents continued to 
discharge most of these responsibilities, and the undesirable features 
of such a system persisted. It was not until Cooper became general 
manager in 1925 that a concerted effort was made to restore as much 
of the old "personal" element as the size of the staff would permit. 

He proceeded on a twofold principle. He wanted to centralize 
personnel administration at headquarters so that he could keep con- 
stantly informed on the staff and use that information to the best 
advantage of the service. He also wanted to put relations between 
headquarters and staff members back on an individual basis, in so far 
as possible. To accomplish these ends, he assumed complete charge of 
all personnel matters and instituted a new system of personnel ad- 

The first step was to inaugurate a special "personal" file at New 
York for every member of the staff. Into these individual files went 
the complete record of a man's service, his successes and setbacks, salary 
increases and promotions, the report of superiors on his work, and a 
confidential letter from the employee himself setting forth his ambitions 
in the organization. 

Cooper called for regular reports from bureau chiefs on each 
member of their staffs and when a man showed ability for greater 
opportunity he tried to see to it that he got a transfer to some bureau 
where opportunity existed. When a man did not seem to be advancing 
in proportion to his capabilities, the general manager wanted to know 
why. All recommendations for salary increases came to him for approval 
and at times he acted without recommendation. 

New men were engaged and employes dismissed only after the 
general manager had given his approval. In cases where a discharge 
was recommended, the employe was informed by his superior and 
given opportunity to present his side of the case. Whether an employe 


protested or not, the general manager carefully reviewed his file before 
making a decision. Sometimes he rejected a recommended dismissal, 
either because of the case set forth in an employe's appeal or because 
of the record disclosed by the personal file. On such occasions the 
superior making the recommendation was called to task for failure to 
understand and handle his men properly. 

These were the conditions existing at the advent of the depression 
in 1929. In many other fields the accompanying epidemic of unemploy- 
ment served to make the labor problem acute, but without any notice- 
able immediate effect on The AP. There were no dismissals, wholesale 
or otherwise, to reduce the staff in line with economic conditions. 
Salaries finally were cut 10 per cent in 1932, but as soon as the business 
outlook showed promise of improvement, Cooper resumed his practice 
of giving increases on merit. 

While the labor problem, as such, failed to involve either the 
co-operative's personnel or its management during the worst depression 
years, the nation's efforts to cope with general labor distress did have 
definite effects. Roosevelt called on American enterprises in July, 1933, 
to comply with the President's Re-employment Agreement until 
National Recovery Act codes were ready. The AP levels were above 
those the NRA suggested for minimum hours and wages, but the 
organization complied with the spirit of the agreement and 223 mem- 
bers were added at a monthly payroll increase of $15,960.61. 

When the newspaper code of the NRA was approved, the associa- 
tion made certain that all its operations conformed. The code would 
have permitted a 30 per cent reduction in the salaries of one group 
of employes, but the general manager declined to take advantage of 
any provision which sanctioned wage scales below AP standards. A 
five-day workweek was introduced for bureaus in the larger cities as 
President Roosevelt requested and the general manager further 
directed that, in any other city where member papers adopted the 
five-day week, bureaus should be guided accordingly. He was not 
pleased to make such a distinction which benefited the staffs in some 
cities and not in others, but until complicated financial arrangements 
could be worked out it was not possible to put the entire domestic 
service on five-day week. Then the Supreme Court declared the NRA 
and its codes unconstitutional and the association not only maintained its 


wage and hour schedules, but continued to increase the number of 
employes and the payroll. In four years the staff increased 43 per cent 
and the payroll 47 per cent. 

Coincident with the national efforts to get jobless men back to 
work, there was a phenomenal resurgence of activity in the field of 
organized labor. New unions appeared and for the first time the 
trade-union principle was extended to the editorial departments of 
newspapers and news gathering. The American Newspaper Guild, an 
organization of newspaper editorial workers, was formed and affiliated 
with the American Federation of Labor, a craft union group. Some time 
later the Guild transferred its allegiance to John L. Lewis's Congress of 
Industrial Organizations and expanded to include non-editorial workers 
in the commercial and other departments of newspapers. The new 
union attracted some AP employes, mainly in the larger centers, but 
its following in the service failed to assume large proportions. 

In November, 1933, a Guild unit was organized in the New York 
office with Morris Watson, a reporter-editor as chairman. There was 
no secret about Watson's efforts to enroll members of the staff. The 
general manager was aware of the circumstances and as early as 1934 
personally assured Watson and a Guild committee that he would 
countenance no discrimination against any employe because of union 
affiliations. As to the merits of an editorial union, Cooper pointed out 
that, because of his responsibility for the impartiality of the news report, 
he could not express opinions which might be used either pro or con 
by those who favored or opposed any feature of union programs. 

Watson, an experienced newsman, had been active in Guild affairs 
for more than a year when his editorial supervisors first expressed 
dissatisfaction with his work on the grounds that it was not up to its 
former standard. Subsequently his duties were twice changed and then 
one day in October, 1935, he was informed that the general manager 
had been handed a memorandum recommending his dismissal with a 
month's salary. 

Although Watson himself asked for no review of his dismissal by 
the general manager, it produced repercussions. The American News* 
paper Guild charged that he had been dismissed for no reason other 
than his union activities a violation of the recently enacted National 
Labor Relations Act and announced it would contest the action. If filed 


complaint with the Regional Division of the National Labor Relations 
Board and before the year ended the co-operative was served notice of 
hearings on the Watson case. 

The threat of litigation automatically brought the matter to the 
attention of the Board of Directors and the subject was referred to 
counsel. After a study of the facts involved, counsel decided the case 
should be contested, not on the specific point of Watson's discharge, 
but on the ground that the Labor Relations Act was unconstitutional 
and hence could not apply. 

The hearings began in New York on April 7, 1936. Charles E. 
Clark, dean of the Yale Law School, served as examiner for the NLRB. 
At the request of that body, Assistant General Manager Stratton 
testified as to the corporate structure of the co-operative, its non-profit 
character, and the various operations involved in the collection and 
distribution of news. As stipulated by AP counsel at the outset, no 
testimony was produced by the co-operative as to the reasons for 
Watson's dismissal. 

Watson himself testified at length concerning his career with the 
organization, followed by Mrs. Elinore M. Herrick, regional director 
for the Labor Board, and it was from their testimony that the co-opera- 
tive's asserted reasons for the dismissal quite incidentally became known. 

The reporter-editor said that, in the course of his seven years of 
employment, his superiors had come to know him as a capable newsman, 
but that more recently the general manager had told him that "every 
time my by-line was used in the report it brought protests from Asso- 
ciated Press members because I was Guild." He said the general 
manager also had told him there would be no discrimination against 
employes because of their union activities, but that a desirable Foreign 
Service assignment was out of the question as long as he was active in 
the Guild "because people would think he [the general manager] was 
running away from me and that I was running away from him." 

He also testified concerning a number of talks that he had with his 
superiors about his Guild activities and their relation to and effect on his 
work. He told of an occasion on which he had arranged for a substitute 
to do his work so that he could attend a meeting held in connection 
with his labor activities, and expressed the opinion that his union work 
had led to the changes in his assignment and his eventual dismissal. 

Questioned on the circumstances surrounding his discontinuance, 
he said he asked his immediate superior to tell him the reason for the 
action and that he was told: 


"Because we are dissatisfied with your work, you are dissatisfied 
with us, and I am convinced that you will be happier elsewhere." 

He said he thereupon "walked out of the office" and that he made 
no efforts to secure reinstatement except through the Labor Board. 

The regional director of the NLRB told of the examination she 
had made of Watson's "personal" file, the record similar to that kept 
on all employes. She said it had been made available to her by the 
association at her request and that, with the knowledge of the manage- 
ment, she had taken notes on what she found. 

Her testimony constituted a lengthy recital of complimentary and 
critical comments by Watson's superiors during the time of his employ- 
ment and was climaxed by her reference to having had access to the 
memorandum of October 18, 1935, by Watson's superior outlining five 
reasons for recommending the discharge. She said she had copied the 
second of the reasons exactly as it appeared, and quoted it as having 

He is an agitator and disturbs the morale of the staff at a time when 
we need especially their loyalty and best performance. 

She said that, across the top of the five-point memorandum in 
penciled handwriting and initialed "KC" initials of General Manager 
Cooper was a further notation which said: 

But solely on grounds of his work not being on a basis for which he has 
shown capability. 

"I made a note for myself," she said, "that the 'but' was heavily 
written in pencil and that the 'solely' was underlined." 

The hearing lasted two days and the Labor Board decision was 
made public on April 22. Examiner Clark ruled that the "sole" reason 
for Watson's discharge was his Guild activities. He held that the 
association had engaged in "unfair labor practice," directed it to "desist 
from interfering with, restraining, or coercing its employes in the 
right of self-organization," and ordered that Watson be reinstated. 


The legal contest proceeded and the news report covered all 
developments factually and impartially, just as though the co-operative 
had no interest in what was happening. Then The AP carried the 


NLRB ruling to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals on June 16. 
The court rendered an adverse decision a month later, upholding the 
constitutionality of the Wagner Act and ruling that it "does not hamper 
the legitimate right of the employer who may discharge his employes 
for inefficiency or any other cause agreeable to him," provided such a 
dismissal is not for union activity. 

The decision cleared the way for an appeal to the United States 
Supreme Court. Briefs were filed by The Associated Press and on 
February 9-10, 1937, the court heard final arguments. John W. 
Davis, one-time Democratic candidate for President of the United 
States, appeared for the co-operative, Charles Fahy, general counsel 
for the NLRB, and Charles E. Wyzanski, special assistant to the 
United States attorney general, represented the government. 

Davis based his attack on the Wagner Labor Relations Act on three 
major points: that it was invalid under the First Amendment to the 
Constitution because it was "a direct and palpable" invasion of the free- 
dom of the press 5 that it was invalid under the Fifth Amendment be- 
cause it deprived The AP of rights and liberties without due process of 
lawj that it was invalid under the Tenth Amendment because the 
legislation undertook to deal with employer-employe relationships, a 
subject matter not committed to Congress under the commerce provi- 
sions of the Constitution. 

Wyzanski and Fahy divided the government's argument. Wyzan- 
ski concentrated on the technical legal considerations involved, the 
propriety of the Wagner Act's application to The AP, and the court 
decisions which bore on the law's constitutionality. In the course of his 
argument he shrewdly pointed out a now-apparent salient weakness in 
the co-operative's case no defense had been offered in the proceedings 
in the lower courts to controver