The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 1903: Dorothy Schiff


Dorothy Schiff, publisher of The New York Post, with the presses running overhead in 1963.

Dorothy Schiff (1903-1989) was all the things a New York socialite should be: good-looking, prominent in society, and influential in politics. She was also riddled with self-doubt and suffered from depression. She was married four times, romantically linked to many others, and her family was emotionally distant. Born into a wealthy Jewish family, Dorothy also felt isolated from others due to her faith and money (she converted to Episcopalian before her first marriage, and back to Judaism after they divorced).

Despite all this–or perhaps because of it–Dolly, as she was known, became New York's first female newspaper publisher. In 1939 she bought the struggling New York Post, becoming vice president and treasurer and in 1942, took over the Post completely. Dolly ran the paper for nearly 40 years, until she sold the Post to Rupert Murdoch in 1976.

Although she often struggled in her personal life, Schiff was socially progressive. She disliked being labeled a feminist, but she hired more women than any other newspaper of the era. She supported liberal Democratic causes, and under her leadership, the newspaper opposed Joseph McCarthy, supported the Civil Rights movement, and spoke out against the Vietnam War. In short, Schiff's publishing philosophy for The New York Post was simple and straight-forward: avoid "narrow-mindedness, prejudice, and all the things it is the business of liberals to fight."

To learn more about Dorothy Schiff, read about her at the Jewish Women's Archive or at the Online Encyclopedia. Alternately, there are several biographies written about her, including The Lady Upstairs: Dorothy Schiff and The New York Post (2007), by Marilyn Nissenson and Jeffrey Potter's Men, Money and Magic: The Story of Dorothy Schiff (1976).

Additionally, you can find an overview of her personal papers at the New York Public Library.

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