Arthur Hays Sulzberger, September 12, 1891 – December 11, 1968 was the publisher of The New York Times from 1935 to 1961 was born in Harlem, New York. During that time, daily circulation rose from 465,000 to 713,000 and Sunday circulation from 745,000 to 1.4 million; the staff more than doubled, reaching 5,200; advertising linage grew from 19 million to 62 million column inches per year; and gross income increased almost sevenfold, reaching 117 million dollars.
…was one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange.
Sulzberger was the son of Cyrus Lindauer Sulzberger, a cotton-goods merchant, and Rachel Peixotto Hays, from old and noteworthy Jewish families, Ashkenazi and Sephardic, respectively. His great-grandfather, Benjamin Seixas, brother of the famous rabbi and American revolutionary Gershom Mendes Seixas of Congregation Shearith Israel, was one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange. His grandfather, Dr. D.L.M. Peixotto, was a prominent physician, director of Columbia University’s Medical College and a member of the Philolexian Society.
…received The Hundred Year Association of New York’s Gold Medal Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York.”
Sulzberger graduated from the Horace Mann School in 1909 and graduated from Columbia College in Harlem 1913, and married Iphigene Bertha Ochs in 1917. In 1918 he began working at the Times, and became publisher when his father-in-law, Adolph Ochs, the previous Times publisher, died in 1935. In 1929, he founded Columbia’s original Jewish Advisory Board and served on the board of what became Columbia-Barnard Hillel for many years. He served as a University trustee from 1944 to 1959 and is honored with a floor at the journalism school. He also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1939 to 1957. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1950. In 1954, Sulzberger received The Hundred Year Association of New York’s Gold Medal Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York.”
In 1956 Sulzberger received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College.
In 1961 he was succeeded as publisher first by son-in-law Orvil E. Dryfoos, then two years later in 1963 by his son Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger.
Sulzberger broadened the Times’ use of background reporting, pictures, and feature articles, and expanded its sections. He supervised the development of facsimile transmission for photographs and built the Times radio station, WQXR, into a leading vehicle for news and music. Under Sulzberger the Times began to publish editions in Paris and Los Angeles with remote-control typesetting machines.
He once stated “…I certainly do not advocate that the mind should be so open that the brains fall out”. Sulzberger is also credited with the quote: “We journalists tell the public which way the cat is jumping. The public will take care of the cat.”
Sulzberger, a practicing Reform Jew, who stood against Zionism and a Jewish state of Israel on principle has been accused by Laurel Leff of deliberately burying accounts of Nazi atrocities against Jews in the back pages of the Times. She alleges that Sulzberger went out of his way to play down the special victimhood of Jews and withheld support for specific rescue programs for European Jews.
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Sulzberger was an enthusiastic supporter of the American Council for Judaism, founded in June 1942 to oppose Zionism, giving it prominent coverage in his newspaper. In a 1946 speech, Sulzberger claimed that Zionism was to blame for some of the Jewish deaths in the Holocaust, and that the refugee crisis during the war had been “a manageable, social and economic problem” until “the clamor for statehood introduced an insoluable [sic] political element” into the issue. “It is my judgment that thousands dead might now be alive” if “the Zionists” had put “less emphasis on statehood”.
In 1917, he married Iphigene Bertha Ochs, the daughter of Adolph Ochs and Effie Wise (the daughter of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise). They had four children: Miriam Sulzberger Dryfoos (born 1918), married to Orvil Dryfoos; Ruth Sulzberger Golden (born 1921), publisher of the Chattanooga Times, married and divorced from Ben Hale Gordon; Judith Sulzberger Cohen (born 1923), physician, married and divorced from Dick Cohen; and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (born 1926).