Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Pelham Resident Roy W. Howard was the Mastermind Behind the Scripps-Howard News Empire

Recently Lyons Press published a wonderful biography of Pelham resident Roy W. Howard by Patricia Beard:  "Newsmaker:  Roy W. Howard, The Mastermind Behind the Scripps-Howard News Empire from the Gilded Age to the Atomic Age (Lyons Press, 2016) (325 pages).  Roy Howard (b. January 1, 1883 - d. November 20, 1964) was a famous American newspaperman and business prodigy.

As a high school student in Indianapolis, Howard was a student correspondent for the Indianapolis News and also was a paperboy with a route for that same newspaper.  He became a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, then moved to St. Louis where he worked as telegraph editor for a St. Louis newspaper.  He next moved to Cincinnati in about 1907 where he joined the Scripps Newspapers organization as a reporter and a copy reader on the staff of the Cincinnati Post

Thereafter Roy W. Howard moved to New York and participated in the organization of the United Press Associations in 1907.  He was named the General News Manager of that organization in 1908.  In 1909, Howard married Margaret Rohe.  In 1912 Howard became President of the United Press Associations.  It was his work with United Press Associations that brought him his first national and international prominence.

In 1919, Roy and Margaret Howard moved with their two children, Jane and Jack, to Pelham.  The couple lived for a time in the lovely home at 244 Pelhamdale Avenue in Pelham Heights.  Roy Howard became an active member of the Pelham Men's Club and served on its Executive Committee for a number of years.

In 1920, Roy Howard became Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Scripps-McRae League founded by E. W. Scripps and Col. Milton A. McRae.  The League consisted at about this time of twenty-five daily newspapers and a group of allied newspaper service enterprises.  Then, on Saturday, November 11, 1922, the organization announced that Roy W. Howard and the son of E. W. Scripps, Robert P. Scripps, had succeeded to ownership of the organization which had been renamed "The Scripps-Howard Newspapers." 

The Pelham Sun included a front page story in its next issue published on November 17, 1922 that virtually boasted of Howard's succession to become leader and joint owner of The Scripps-Howard Newspapers.  The entire text of that article appears below, followed by a citation and link to its source.

244 Pelhamdale Avenue, Once the Home of Roy W. Howard
of Scripps-Howard Newspapers.  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

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"Pelham Man Now Business Head Of Great American Newspaper Group
Roy W. Howard, of Pelham Manor, At 39, Is New Owner, with Robert P. Scripps, of Newspaper Syndicate Which Controls Twenty-Five Daily Newspapers and Numerous Allied Corporations -- Has Risen From Ranks.

An announcement of national importance in the newspaper world and particular interest to Pelham was made last Saturday when it became known that the ownership of twenty-five daily papers and several allied newspaper enterprises, formerly known as the Scripps-McRae League, had passed into the hands of Robert P. Scripps and Roy W. Howard, who will hereafter conduct them under the title of 'The Scripps-Howard Newspapers.'  They succeed E. W. Scripps and Col. Milton A. McRae.  Roy Howard lives at 244 Pelhamdale Avenue, Pelham Manor.

The announcement marks the final step in the change of ownership as the business control of the big chain of papers has practically been in Howard's hands, as chairman of the board of directors for the last two and a half years, Robert P. Scripps, son of E. W. Scripps, founder of the Scripps-McRae League having control of the editorial policies of the papers.

The leading article in the current number of The Editor and Publishers speaks of the story of Howard's success as one of 'surpassing and fascinating interest.'  It states that:

Howard, a native of Indianapolis, gained his first experience in his home city as a high school correspondent of the Indianapolis News.  He also carried a newspaper route for the News.  Recently he returned to the city of his early experience as the head of the great Scripps interests and purchased the Indianapolis Times at a sum said to have been close to half a million dollars.  From Indianapolis, Howard originally went to St. Louis where he worked as telegraph editor.  His next move was to Cincinnati, where he entered the Scripps ranks about fifteen years ago as a reporter and copy reader on the Cincinnati Post.  From Cincinnati he came to New York and participated in the organization of the United Press Associations in 1907, of which he was made general news manager in 1908 and president in 1912.  His work in the development of the United Press first brought him national and then international prominence.

(Continued on page 7)

Pelham Man Now Business Head Of Great American Newspaper Group
(Continued from Page One)

In 1916 his interview with Lloyd George in which the Prime Minister of Great Britain urged a complete 'knock-out' of the enemy attracted a good deal of attention.  Later in the same year he introduced the United Press service to South American newspapers and opened bureaus of that organization in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.  On November 7, 1918, he sent the now famous armistice dispatch from Brest that occasioned premature national rejoicing -- a dispatch that has been more widely discussed perhaps than any press dispatch of our time.

And now, at the age of thirty-nine, after fifteen years of close, intelligent application and hard work, Howard sees his name at the head of the greatest newspaper organization of its kind in the world.  His life story is one unparalleled record of accomplishment, such as fiction writers vision to stimulate and inspirit and inspire the ambitious.  It is a true story of American advancement through the consistent and persistent application of ability and capacity, plus hard work.  For Howard is a partner of Scripps in more than name -- he is a partner now in fact.  His holdings in the various enterprises have not been made known, but it can be safely stated that they are large.

The Editor and Publisher goes on to state that during the last two years (while Howard has been chairman of the board of directors) new evening papers have been started as follows:

Birmingham Post, Norfolk Post, Fort Worth Press, Washington, D. C. News, Knoxville News, and El Paso Post.  A seventh new venture will be launched as an afternoon tabloid paper in Baltimore within the course of the next few days, installation of the plant being under way and editorial and business organizations having been selected.

Two established papers -- the Youngstown Telegram and the Indianapolis Times -- have been purchased, remanned and reorganized.  At the same time, there has been effected the reorganization of the Newspaper Enterprise Association Inc., the Newspaper Information Service, the Newspaper Supply Company and Allied Newspapers, Inc., a new foreign advertising special representative agency.

Roy W. Howard has been a resident of the Pelhams for the last three years.  He is a member of the Men's Club and is active on its executive committee.  His wife, formerly Miss Margaret Rohe, was a newspaper writer of some note, and still contributes articles to the magazines under the pen name of Margaret Mason.  Mr. and Mrs. Howard have two children, Jane and Jack, the latter with all the attributes of the born newspaper man.  There's never a 'story' breaks where Jack Howard is but what the Pelham Sun is on the wire a few minutes to be given the news.  At eleven years old, that's 'pretty guid.'"

Source:   Pelham Man Now Business Head Of Great American Newspaper Group -- Roy W. Howard, of Pelham Manor, At 39, Is New Owner, with Robert P. Scripps, of Newspaper Syndicate Which Controls Twenty-Five Daily Newspapers and Numerous Allied Corporations -- Has Risen From Ranks, The Pelham Sun, Nov. 10, 1922, Vol. 13, No. 37, p. 1, cols. 5-6 & p. 7, cols. 1-2.

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