Cover image for The astonishing Mr. Scripps : the turbulent life of America's penny press lord
The astonishing Mr. Scripps : the turbulent life of America's penny press lord
Trimble, Vance H.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Ames : Iowa State University Press, 1992.
Physical Description:
xii, 547 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z473.S394 T74 1992 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Z473.S394 T74 1992 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In an era when all but a few U.S. cities get their news from a single publisher and Rupert Murdoch is the nation's most visible media mogul, readers may find it hard to picture the scrappy, rambunctious free-for-all of nineteenth-century journalism. Readers might also find it difficult to believe that Edward W. Scripps, who built the newspapers, syndicate, and wire service that became Scripps-Howard, was dedicated to America's nonrich and championed radical causes such as collective bargaining and the eight-hour day and radical activists such as Clarence Darrow and Eugene V. Debs. In the Scripps penny papers, news stories were condensed, but fiction and human-interest stories were allowed more space. On this standard, Trimble (retired editor of the Kentucky Post, one of the nearly 50 papers E. W. Scripps and his associates established or bought between 1878 and 1926) has written a long, chatty feature story, an old-fashioned biography full of details on both family and business but light on serious analysis and interpretation. ~--Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although one of the founders of a major American newspaper chain, Edward Scripps (1854-1926) hardly merits the adjective ``astonishing.'' A bookish Ohio farm boy, he left for Detroit at age 18 to work for older brother James, who had dreams of publishing a four-page tabloid for a penny (in the era of five-cent broadsheet dailies) that would speak for the poor and the laboring class. In 1873 James launched the Detroit Evening News ; its triumph was followed by a Cleveland paper run on the same principles. After James died, Edward became the head of the growing chain; by the time of his death the Scripps-Howard group (having added the name of brilliant executive Roy Howard) had established 44 papers, of which only nine had folded. Edward's chief contributions were founding the first newspaper syndicate and a willingness to gamble with new press ventures. Politically he always spoke for the common man, but his stubborn tyrranizing destroyed his family life, and by his last years he had become a thorough-going misanthrope. A Scripps family friend and former Scripps-Howard employee, Trimble ( The Uncertain Miracle ) delivers a comprehensive but sycophantic chronicle. Photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

A richly anecdotal biography of penny-press mogul E. W. Scripps. Trimble, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, looks for the essence of the self-professed "damned old crank" who built a huge newspaper empire and the United Press wire service. Scripps understood the mass audience of his day better than many of his rivals, spreading his afternoon penny newspapers, "the children of my brain," throughout the country. Capricious, brilliant, rapacious, and slothful, Scripps found the right subordinates to manage his enterprises while he dabbled in science and philosophy, traveled, drank to excess, and engaged in often ruinous carnal pursuits. Working from Scripps-Howard Company files, library holdings at Scripps College, newspaper archives, and private collections, Trimble has made a useful contribution to journalism and commercial history. No comparable biography of Scripps is available, so libraries should have this book along with biographies of Pultizer, Hearst, and other press lords. P. G. Ashdown; University of Tennessee at Knoxville