The New York Times was first published as the New-York Daily Times on September 18, 1851. It’s America’s oldest daily. It was quite a different paper: “We shall be Conservative,” wrote its Republican publisher, Henry Jarvis Raymond, “in all cases where we think Conservatism essential to the public good;—and we shall be Radical in everything which may seem to us to require radical treatment and radical reform. We do not believe that everything in Society is either exactly right or exactly wrong;—what is good we desire to preserve and improve;—what is evil, to exterminate, or reform.”
In 1896 it was acquired by Adolph Ochs, publisher of the Chattanooga Times and became an independent journal.
To set his paper apart from its more sensational competitors like William Pulitzer’s World and WIlliam Randolf Hearst’s Journal, Ochs adopted the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print” (first used October 25, 1896) and insisted on reportage that gave on the promise.
This February 1865 edition, shortly before the Civil War ended and long before Ochs took control shows that The Times was a tightly columns of packed type, fitting all the news that fit.
For even more of Steven Heller’s design insight, get your copy of the August issue of Print. This issue focuses “Lessons Learned” and includes the Evolution of “cute” — a read that will make you laugh and think — and more.