Posts Tagged ‘New York City newspapers’

Lovely posters advertising the New York Herald

May 2, 2011

In the late 19th century, the city supported close to 20 English-language daily newspapers, with the New York Herald one of the most popular.

The Herald’s winning formula? A sensationalist tone, reliance on illustrations, and coverage of fashion, arts, and culture.

Yep, all the lifestyle fluff newspapers today need to attract readers.

Perhaps these sweet, apparently hand-drawn posters advertising the coming Sunday edition had something to do with it though.

Cartoons, new fiction, and illustrations of Central Park plus new routes concerning the cycling craze: good reading on a May Sunday in the mid-1890s.

[posters from the New York Public Library Digital Collection]

The New York Sun’s “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835

August 19, 2009

Life on the moon? Yep, it’s really true, and the New York Sun had the exclusive scoop. In late August 1835, the newspaper published a week-long series covering a powerful telescope that allowed astronomers to view the moon’s surface.

So what was on the moon? According to the Sun, living the lunar life were winged humans called “man-bats,” bison, unicorns, beavers walking on two legs, as well as rivers, valleys, and forests. The lithograph below gives you an idea.


Of course, it was all a hoax planned by the paper’s editors, designed to drum up circulation. The stunt worked, but then, the Sun tallied its own circ numbers, so who really knows.

Many New Yorkers fell for it while others weren’t sure what to think. The Sun raised the possibility that the story wasn’t true in a September 1835 article, but they never ‘fessed up completely.

The Sun has one lovely legacy: this weathered yet elegant clock-thermometer that survives on Chambers Street.

New York City’s long list of defunct newspapers

July 28, 2009

It’s hard to believe that in the 1890s, New York’s population of just a million and a half residents supported 19 daily English-language newspapers—along with scores of weeklies and foreign dailies.


These papers were an illustrious bunch. There was the anti-immigrant New York Herald; publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr., reportedly said that a newspaper’s role is “not to instruct but to startle.”

The New York World, published by Joseph Pulitzer, was hugely popular with working class residents. It was known for stunt journalism—as well as printing its Sunday supplement in color.

The dead newspaper list also includes the New York Sun, the New York Journal American, the New York Mirror, and the often-lamented Brooklyn Eagle.

Many were headquartered around City Hall, then nicknamed Newspaper Row. This thermometer/clock affixed to the old New York Sun building down on Chambers Street doesn’t work, but it’s a nice remnant of the neighborhood’s past.