Time Magazine

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

September 23, 1957 – Time Magazine Profiles Arkansas Governor Oral Faubus

Time Faubus CoverThe September 23, 1957 issue of Time magazine featured controversial Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus on its cover. An accompanying in-depth article titled “What Orval Hath Wrought” profiled Faubus and the part his actions played in the current Little Rock school integration crisis. Time writers minced no words in indicting Faubus for self-aggrandizing behavior at the expense of the citizens, students, and local government of the town of Little Rock – and beyond.

From the outset, Faubus maintained that integrating African-American students into Little Rock Central High School in the fall of 1957 would result in violence, even “bloodshed.” He adamantly stated that he was not anti-integration, but that the timing was too soon, that the (white) people of Arkansas would not accept integration and would resort to criminal behavior to prevent it. His assessment,  Time reported, was patently untrue. Other integration efforts in Arkansas had already been successfully achieved. Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Wilson Mann had helped carefully craft an integration plan for the start of the school year which included measures to preserve safety and order. “There was no indication of unrest whatever,” Mann was quoted. “We had no reason to believe there would be violence.” The community of Little Rock, including the parents of the nine African-American teens selected to attend Central High, had faith in Mayor Mann’s preparations. Then, on September 4th, the first day of school, Orval called in the Arkansas National Guard to block school access (and protect his gubernatorial mansion). His actions aggravated local tensions, which were relieved only by the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he deployed the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to Little Rock on September 24th. The Little Rock Nine, the moniker by which the African-American students became known, began attending classes and Faubus’ disguised electioneering efforts began to backfire on him.

The effects of Faubus’ actions weren’t limited to Little Rock. Southern school districts in North Little Rock and Ozark, Arkansas, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina experienced trouble as a direct result. African-American students who had been integrated into white schools were now barred from schools, jeered, pushed and shoved, hit with clothes hangars and books. A white motorist attempted to run down two children on their way home from school. The Knoxville News-Sentinel stated, “This official act has lent an air of respectability and social approval to mob action.”

Faubus, at the time, was preparing his bid for an unprecedented third term as governor. His popularity was waning and he had little political or personal ammunition with which to persuade Arkansasans to approve his return. How to increase his cache as a candidate? Manufacture an incipient crisis and style himself as a segregationist savior-hero. Get himself in the headlines.

Headlines Faubus got – and the cover of a respected national news magazine. For Orval, the story was not one of triumph, however, but tragedy.

Time Magazine, Sept. 23, 1957. Graphic: R.M. Chapin, Jr.

Time Magazine, Sept. 23, 1957. Graphic: R.M. Chapin, Jr.