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Cowles, Gardner, Jr. (31 January 1903–08 July 1985), publisher and media executive, was born in Algona, Iowa, the son of Gardner Cowles, a banker, and Florence Call. In 1903 the senior Cowles bought the Des Moines Register and Leader, which within a few years after his acquisition of the ...

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Dixon, George Washington (1801?–02 March 1861), blackface minstrel and newspaper editor, was born probably in Richmond, Virginia. Little is known about his parents other than that his father might have been a barber and his mother a domestic. One account claims that Dixon was educated in a charity school. Around age fifteen he became an apprentice in a traveling circus and subsequently performed with several such troupes throughout the 1820s. By 1827 Dixon was enjoying renown as a singer of popular stage songs, especially those of a comic nature, which allowed him to advertise himself as “The American Buffo Singer.” His leap to fame came in New York City in 1829, when he put on blackface makeup and sang “Coal Black Rose,” impersonating an African American. He was, thus, one of the very first to practice a genre of stagecraft that came to be called blackface minstrelsy....

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Field, Kate (01 October 1838–19 May 1896), journalist, actress, and editor, was born Mary Katherine Keemle Field in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Joseph M. Field, an actor, journalist, and theater manager, and Eliza Riddle, an actress. After early schooling in St. Louis, at the age of sixteen Field went to Boston to visit her mother’s sister Cordelia, the wife of a millionaire, Milton L. Sanford. Sanford sent her to Lasell Seminary, Auburndale, Massachusetts (1854–1856), and introduced her to the world of the socially elite....

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Fiske, Harrison Grey (30 July 1861–02 September 1942), theatrical editor and manager-producer, was born in Harrison, New York, the son of Lyman Fiske, a hotel owner, and Jennie Durfee. Fiske’s well-to-do family moved to New York City when he was a child, and there he developed a lifelong passion for the theater. He was educated by tutors and at private schools and traveled in Europe. Thanks to family influence with the owners of the papers, while still an adolescent Fiske began reviewing plays for two newspapers, the ...

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Gill, John (17 May 1732–25 August 1785), printer and newspaper publisher, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Captain John Gill and Elizabeth Abbot. He served his apprenticeship with Samuel Kneeland, an established Boston printer who also owned the Boston Gazette. Gill married Kneeland’s daughter, Ann Kneeland, in January 1756. It is likely that Gill met ...

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Gray, James Harrison (17 May 1916–19 September 1986), newspaper publisher, broadcast executive, and politician, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Lyman Gray, an attorney, and Clara (maiden name unknown). James Gray spent his childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts, where his father served as district attorney. He received his A.B. in English from Dartmouth College in 1937, lettering in several sports and earning Phi Beta Kappa honors. After graduating Gray enrolled at the University of Heidelberg in Germany to study world history. While there in 1939 he contributed news articles about Nazi Germany to the ...

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Newhouse, Samuel Irving (24 May 1895–29 August 1979), newspaper publisher and media mogul, was born Solomon Irving Newhaus in New York City, the son of Meier Neuhaus, a garment worker, and Rose Arenfeldt. His father, an immigrant from near Vitebsk in Russia, did not fare well in the United States and eventually left his wife and eight children to seek a healthier climate in Arizona. As the eldest child, Samuel became the head of the household....

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Scripps, William Edmund (06 May 1882–12 June 1952), publisher and industrialist, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of James Edmund Scripps, the founder of the Detroit Evening News, and Harriet Josephine Messinger. After attending the Michigan Military Academy, he joined the Detroit News...