Open main menu

PM was a liberal-leaning daily newspaper published in New York City by Ralph Ingersoll from June 1940 to June 1948 and financed by Chicago millionaire Marshall Field III.

PM
Type Daily
Founder(s) Ralph Ingersoll
Founded June 1940
Political alignment liberal
Ceased publication June 1948
Headquarters New York City
Circulation 165,000

The paper borrowed many elements from weekly news magazines, such as many large photos and at first was bound with staples. In an attempt to be free of pressure from business interests, it did not accept advertising. These departures from the norms of newspaper publishing created excitement in the industry. Some 11,000 people applied for the 150 jobs available when the publication first hired staff.

Contents

Publication historyEdit

The origin of the name is unknown, although Ingersoll recalled that it probably referred to the fact that the paper appeared in the afternoon;[1] The New Yorker reported that the name had been suggested by Lillian Hellman.[2] (There is no historical evidence for the suggestion that the name was an abbreviation of Picture Magazine.)

The first year of the paper was a general success, though it was already in some financial trouble: its circulation of 100,000–200,000 was insufficient. Circulation averaged 165,000, but the paper never managed to sell the 225,000 copies a day it needed to break even. Marshall Field III had become the paper's funder; quite unusually, he was a "silent partner" in this continually money-losing undertaking.[3]

According to a June 21, 1966, memo from Ingersoll:

Before the end of the War it was actually operating in the black.... In my opinion at the time and these 20 years later−PM's death is most soundly attributable to a sustained and well-organized plot originating amongst Field's friends and associates in the business world who were alienated by Field's loyalty to PM and to me. The hostility was there from the beginning; the plot came together under the auspices of a man named Harry Cushing who was a retainer of Field's. The principal and successful offensive of this group was that it had as its objective Field's distraction from PM by persuading him to start the Sun in Chicago. Once they committed Field to the Sun venture, the end was inevitable. I can diagram it for you but merely put it on record here.[4]

PM was sold in 1948 and published its final issue on June 22. The next day it was replaced by the New York Star, which folded on January 28, 1949.

PoliticsEdit

There were accusations that the paper was Communist-dominated, but others have concluded that the paper frequently opposed the policies of the Communist Party (CP) and engaged into editorial battles with the CP's paper, the Daily Worker.[5]

ContributorsEdit

 
In 1945, Coulton Waugh employed a novel art approach on his PM strip Hank. According to Waugh, Hank was "a deliberate attempt to work in the field of social usefulness."[6]

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, published more than 400 cartoons on PM's editorial page.[7][8] Crockett Johnson's comic strip Barnaby debuted in the paper in 1942. Other artists who worked at PM included Ad Reinhardt, one of the founders of Abstract Expressionism, and Joseph LeBoit, who both contributed margin cartoons and drawings. Noted artist Jack Coggins contributed wartime artwork for at least 9 issues between 1940 and 1942.[9]

Coulton Waugh created his short-lived strip, Hank, which began April 30, 1945 in PM. The story of a disabled G.I. returning to civilian life, Hank had a unique look due to Waugh's decorative art style, combined with dialogue lettered in upper and lower case rather than the accepted convention of all uppercase lettering in balloons and captions. Some dialogue was displayed with white lettering reversed into black balloons. Hank sought to raise questions about the reasons for war, and how it might be prevented by the next generation. Waugh discontinued it at the very end of 1945 because of eyestrain.[6] Cartoonist Jack Sparling created the short-lived comic strip Claire Voyant, which ran from 1943 to 1948 in PM, and which was subsequently syndicated by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Journalist I. F. Stone was the paper's Washington correspondent. He published an award-winning series on European Jewish refugees attempting to run the British blockade to reach Palestine, later collected and published as Underground to Palestine. Staffers included theater critic Louis Kronenberger and film critic Cecelia Ager. Weegee, Margaret Bourke-White, Ray Platnick and Arthur Leipzig were the photographers. The sports writers were Tom Meany, Tom O’Reilly and George F. T. Ryall, who covered horse racing. Sophie Smoliar was the New York City reporter working frequently with photographer Arthur Felig (Weegie) (submitted by her son and a collection of her original articles). Elizabeth Hawes wrote about fashion, and her sister Charlotte Adams covered food.[3][7]

Other writers who contributed articles included Erskine Caldwell, Myril Axlerod, McGeorge Bundy, Saul K. Padover, James Wechsler, eventually the paper's editorial writer, Penn Kimball, later a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Heywood Hale Broun, James Thurber, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene Lyons, Earl Conrad, Benjamin Stolberg, Louis Adamic, Malcolm Cowley,[3] Tip O'Neill (later Speaker of the House;[7] and Ben Hecht.[3]

See alsoEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Jason E. Hill: Artist as Reporter. Weegee, Ad Reinhardt, and the PM News Picture. University of California Press, Oakland 2018. ISBN 978-0-520-29143-0
  • Paul Milkman: PM. A New Deal in Journalism 1940–1948. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick 1997. ISBN 0-8135-2434-2

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hoopes, Ralph (1984). Ralph Ingersoll: A Biography. New York: Athenaeum. p. 216. 
  2. ^ "Notes & Comment: Newspaper". The New Yorker: 13–14. 18 May 1940. 
  3. ^ a b c d Roger Starr, PM: New York's Highbrow Tabloid, City Journal, Summer 1993. Accessed online January 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Ingersoll to Mrs. Leighner, Boston University Gottlieb Archives
  5. ^ A thesis by Anya Schiffrin.
  6. ^ a b Waugh, Coulton. The Comics. New York: Luna Press, 1974 (original copyright 1947).
  7. ^ a b c Nel, Philip. "About the Newspaper PM". The Crockett Johnson Homepage. Retrieved June 21, 2005.
  8. ^ CNN.com (October 17, 1999). "Serious Seuss: Children's author as political cartoonist". 
  9. ^ "Jack Coggins - Newspaper PM Illustrations". January 13, 2018. 

External linksEdit