Newspapers & Magazines

July 15, 1957 – LA Times Publisher Norman Chandler on the Cover of Time Magazine

On July 15, 1957, Los Angeles Times publisher Norman Chandler appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.  The city, the man, and his paper were the subject of the lead story, “CITIES: The New World“.  Norman’s grandfather, Union Army Colonel Harrison Gray Otis, had arrived in Los Angeles in 1882, bought up a quarter-interest in the Times, served as its editor, and four years later bought the publication outright.  In 1886, the paper had a  circulation of about 2500.  By 1957, what had once been a small pueblo settlement on the Pacific Ocean had transformed into a 455-square-mile city of over 2 million inhabitants, with satellite communities covering 4853 square miles, three times the size of Rhode Island.  As of the date of the Time article, the LA Times circulation numbered 462, 257.

Harrison Otis’ tenure at the paper saw the arrival of two railroads and a population surge into the city.  Around the turn of the century, ambitious circulation boss Harry Chandler married Harrison’s daughter Marian.  Chandler took over the paper soon after and became a major driving force in the growth of the City of Angels.  He played a significant role (and enlarged his personal fortune by many millions of dollars) in the construction of an aqueduct to bring water and agricultural prosperity to the San Fernando Valley. Harry was also instrumental in establishing LA as the center of a $2.5 billion aircraft industry (Douglas, Lockheed, North American, Northrup), and had a hand in the development of the California Institute of Technology, the Memorial Coliseum, Union Station, and the Hoover Dam.

Norman Chandler, age 57 when the article was published, politically conservative, grew up on his family’s ranch north of LA and studied business at Stanford University.  He married Dorothy Buffum (“Buffie”, namesake of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion), came back to work at the Times and then took over when Harry retired in 1941.  Norman and Buffie managed a multi-million dollar business empire which included paper manufacturing, real estate, securities, television, commercial printing, ranching, and oil.  They funded the construction of the Hollywood Palladium, the Los Angeles Music Center, and the restoration of the Hollywood Bowl.

“Today’s Los Angeles is too amorphous for one man to rule, one newspaper to command,” the article pronounced.  Republican Chandler and his paper nevertheless strongly backed California G.O.P. political candidates, including Vice President Richard M. Nixon.  “I think Dick Nixon would make one of the finest Presidents the U.S. has ever had, ” Chandler asserted.  “[California U.S. Senator] Bill Knowland is a fine man, but if they are both candidates for the G.O.P. nomination in 1960, Mr. Nixon will get the support of the Times.”

Image Credit: Time Magazine

July 8, 1957 – Plan for New, Revolutionary Cuban Government Reported by New York Times

Eduardo Chibas

1948 Presidential election poster for candidate Eduardo Chibas

On July 8, 1957, an article by New York Times reporter R. Hart Phillips disclosed plans by Fidel Castro and other leaders opposed to President Fulgencio Batista to form a revolutionary Cuban regime.  The “Cuban Government Under Arms”, a name recalling Carlos Manuel de Cepedes’s 1868 struggle against Spanish rule, would be a coalition headed by Raul Chibas, brother of the late Eduardo Chibas, founder of the Partido Ortodoxo, of which Castro had been an early member.  The party had hoped to take control of Cuba’s corrupt government in 1952 elections, but Batista’s coup usurped power before the elections could be held.  At that time, the opposition splintered into various groups.  Announcement of the formation of a coalition government was welcome news to citizens hopeful for an end to Batista’s unpopular reign.

Emblema_del_Partido_Ortodoxo

Emblem of the Partido Ortodoxos

At this time, Castro and his forces were still in the mountains of Oriente, Cuba’s easternmost province, near Santiago de Cuba, which was a center of support for Castro’s M-26-7 .  Several opposition leaders, sons of earlier figures in Cuba’s resistance to Batista, were reported to have joined him there.  Formation of the new government was said to be dependent on an insurgent attack to secure Santiago.  Batista had been pouring troops into Santiago de Cuba for weeks.  The New York Times reporter believed “it is apparent that some dramatic move is in the works”.

Images Credit: ecured.cu

June 29, 1957 – “Just Married” on the Saturday Evening Post

On June 29, 1957, another heartwarming Norman Rockwell print graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.  In “Just Married“, two comfortably-middle-aged hotel maids share knowing smiles over a dustpan-full of confetti and a white satin ribbon with gold lettering.  Their pleasure in this moment to reminisce is obvious.  Less obvious to modern-day wedding-goers may be the reason for the presence of a worn brown shoe in one of the maid’s hands.

The origins of the wedding custom of throwing shoes, or tieing shoes to the back of the newlywed’s car, is shrouded in ancient history.  Shoes and weddings are mentioned together as long ago as in the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible.  The shoe also seems to symbolize dominion, and the transfer of authority for the bride from her father to her new husband.

Mazel tov! Best wishes! On to the honeymoon!

Image Credit: The Saturday Evening Post

June 24, 1957 – Supreme Court Rules in Roth v United States

On June 24, 1957, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled in Roth v United States that obscenity was not protected speech under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and press clause.  At the same time, the court set a new, far-reaching precedent by more strictly defining and limiting exactly what constituted obscenity, opening the door to years of ambiguity and case-by-case determinations (and the necessity for numerous screenings by the justices of alleged pornographic films and materials).

Samuel Roth was a New York City publisher and bookseller whose American Aphrodite quarterly (“for the fancy-free”) included erotica and nude photography.  Convicted under a federal statute for sending “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” materials through the mail, he appealed his case and the Supreme Court agreed to a hearing.  Prior to Roth v United States, the judicial standard for obscenity was established by common law rule in an 1868 English case as any material that tended to “deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences”.

The court denied Roth protection under the First Amendment, by a 6 – 3 decision.  Writing for the majority opinion, newly appointed Justice William J Brennan, Jr reaffirmed that obscenity was not protected speech, but went on to establish a new, narrower definition of obscenity as material whose “dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest” to the “average person, applying contemporary community standards”, and “utterly without redeeming social importance”.  The pornography industry grew rapidly following the Roth v United States decision.

Image Credit: American Aphrodite/Galactic Central Publications

Vintage 1957 – Illustrator Edna Eicke

Edna Eicke - Tom Funk - (c)The Estate of Edna Eicke

Illustrator Edna Eicke

1957 was a prolific year for Edna Eicke. The prestigious New Yorker magazine tapped the accomplished illustrator to create six covers for the weekly publication. Over the course of her career, Eicke’s illustrations would grace the magazine’s cover fifty-one times, spanning the years from 1945 to 1961.

Eicke was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1919. She graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in advertising and fashion and started her career sketching window displays for Sue William’s Display Studio in New York. After marrying fellow Display Studio staffer Tom Funk, Eicke started a family and a new career as a cover and interior illustrator for House and Garden, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Women’s Day, and many other magazines.

At first, Funk and Eicke lived in Greenwich Village. They were profiled by Life Magazine and photographs of their apartment appeared in House and Garden. They later moved to the artists’ enclave of Westport, Connecticut with their three children.

Eicke’s popular New Yorker covers usually depicted metropolitan landscapes and scenes from childhood. Games of hide and seek in the park, lights glowing from house windows at dusk, small ghosts going trick-or-treating, leaves changing color in autumn – how comforting these scenes must have been while the Cold War, Cuban unrest, and atomic weapon threat hovered in the background.

Prints of Eicke’s 1957 New Yorker covers – from January 19th, April 20th, June 8th, July 27th, August 24th, and December 14th – are still available from Conde Nast.

 

Portrait Image Credit: Tom Funk, the Estate of Edna Eicke
Illustrations Image Credit: The New Yorker

 

June 10, 1957 – The New York Times Reports Santiago de Cuba in Open Revolt

On June 10, 1957, New York Times special correspondent Herbert L Mathews reported that “virtually every man, woman, and child in Santiago de Cuba, except police and army authorities, are struggling at all costs to themselves to overthrow the military dictatorship in Havana.”  “If Havana had anything like the civic resistance movement of Santiago de Cuba, ” Mathews stated, “the Batista regime might have ended a long time ago.”  Mathews went on to describe a reign of terror by recently arrived Lieut. Col. Jose Maria Salas Canizares, selected by Batista to serve as chief of police.  Beatings, torture, stabbings, shootings, murder – intimidation and repression, reprisals for talking to outside reporters – Mathews heard accounts of violence and counter-terrorism from all fronts.  Those coming forward to talk with him at great personal risk  included business and professional groups, workers, union leaders, clergy, peasants, students, Rotarians, mothers, and people on the street.  Many Santiagueros were grateful to the Times for reporting the plight of the citizens of Cuba and their determination to resist the Batista regime.

November 5, 1957 – Election Day in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Mann talks with Col. William Kuhn, commander of the 101st Airborne Division. Photo: US Army

Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Mann talks with Col. William Kuhn, commander of the 101st Airborne Division. Photo: US Army

On November 5, 1957, the first Tuesday in November, voters in integration battlefield Little Rock, Arkansas went to the polls to elect a new mayor.  The incumbent, Democrat Woodrow Wilson Mann, had decided not to run for a second term.  Mann’s election campaign in 1955 to put Little Rock’s first Republican mayor, Pratt C. Remmel, out of office, had been blessed by Arkansas’ Governor Orval Faubus, Senator James Fulbright, and Representatives Brooks Hays and Wilbur Mills, all Democrats.  But by the late fall of 1957, Mann knew he had fallen from grace with his state party machine.

The Little Rock school district had been ordered to integrate, starting with the 1957 school year, in compliance with the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education.  Nine African-American students had enrolled in Little Rock Central High and attempted to attend the first day of classes in September.  Gov. Faubus had responded by activating the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the teenagers from entering the school.  Even though he never supported classroom integration, Mann wrote, in one of a series of articles later published by the New York Herald Tribune in 1958, he felt bound to uphold the law in the Supreme Court’s ruling against desegregation.  He contradicted Faubus’ interpretation of the events surrounding the crisis, asserting that the Guard troops weren’t necessary to prevent violence.  A small group of organized agitators, and weak-kneed Faubus’ political pandering were to blame.  “Left to ourselves we could easily complied with the law,” he asserted.

So on a fateful day in September, Mayor Mann telegraphed President Dwight Eisenhower.  “I am pleading to you as president of the United States to provide the necessary troops within several hours”, he wrote, adding that an armed mob was growing by the minute.  Eisenhower deployed the Army’s 101st Airborne and the Little Rock Nine, as the students came to be known, entered Central High.  Roy Reed, author of a biography of Orval Faubus and reporter for the Arkansas Gazette at the time, said Mayor Mann “did what needed to be done and stood up”, adding, “It almost certainly cost him any future that he had in politics in Arkansas.”  Gov. Faubus subsequently expressed his regret over ever having supported Woodrow Mann for mayor.

With the political writing on the wall, and crosses burning on his front lawn, Mann decided not to run for reelection.  Democrat and construction company owner Werner C. Knoop was voted into office on November 5th, along with a slate of new school board members, one of which ran on a militantly anti-integration platform.  Mann, an insurance broker who as mayor had taken small but significant steps toward racial equality in Little Rock city government, relocated to Houston, where he stood a better chance of success in business.  He remained in Houston, where he retired in 1990, and passed away in 2002 at the age of 85.