"The Brooklyn Eagle's" Washington, D.C. bureau office, street view from 1916.
|Owner(s)||Frank D. Schroth|
|Editor-in-chief||Thomas N. Schroth|
|Founded||October 26, 1841|
|Ceased publication||January 29, 1955|
The "Brooklyn Eagle", originally the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle", was a daily newspaper published in the city and later borough of Brooklyn, in New York City, for 114 years from 1841 to 1955. At one point it was the most popular afternoon paper (with the largest daily circulation in the nation) in the United States. Walt Whitman, famous poet and literary figure of the 19th Century, was its editor for two years. Other notable editors of the "Eagle" included Thomas Kinsella, St. Clair McKelway, Cleveland Rogers, Frank D. Schroth, and Charles Montgomery Skinner. The paper ceased publication in 1955 due to a prolonged strike and was briefly revived from the bankrupt estate between 1960 and 1963, and later with its former name now in the "public domain" in the later 1990s in association with another local newspaper in the borough.
A new version of the "Brooklyn Eagle" as a revival of the old newspaper's traditions began publishing in 1996. It has no business relation to the original "Eagle", although it publishes a daily historical/nostalgia feature called "On This Day in History," made up of much material from the pages of the old original "Eagle".
The Brooklyn Public Library maintains an online archive of the original "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" issues encompassing the years 1841 through 1955, a virtual encyclopedic survey of the history of the City and the later Borough of Brooklyn for over a century.
"The Brooklyn Daily Eagle" was first published on October 26, 1841. Its address at this time, and for many years afterwards, was at 28 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn (today the site of a landmark building known as the "Eagle Warehouse"). From 1846 to 1848, the newspaper's editor was the famous poet and literary figure of the 19th Century, Walt Whitman.
During the American Civil War, the "Eagle" supported the Democratic Party; as such, its mailing privileges through the United States Post Office Department were once revoked due to a forged letter supposedly sent by the 16th President Abraham Lincoln. The "Eagle" played an important role in shaping Brooklyn's civic identity, even after the once-independent city which had become the third largest city in America at that time, across the East River and New York Bay from old New York on the island of Manhattan to became a borough as part of the annexation and merger campaign and process in the late 1890s which resulted in the formation of the City of Greater New York in 1898, which the newspaper had editorially tried to forestall and stop.
In later decades of the 20th Century, Frank D. Schroth bought the newspaper from M. Preston Goodfellow in August 1938. In addition to dropping the word "Daily" from the paper's tile, Schroth increased the paper's profile and readership with more active local coverage focused on the borough as opposed to the other competing dailies at that time in Manhattan, such as the "New York Times", "New York Herald-Tribune", "New York Daily News", "New York Post", "New York World-Telegram & Sun", "New York Daily Mirror" and later "Newsday" further out in the Long Island suburbs.
Hollow Nickel Case
On June 22, 1953, a newspaper boy, collecting for the "Brooklyn Eagle", at an apartment building at 3403 Foster Avenue in Brooklyn, was paid with a nickel that felt funny to him. When he dropped it on the ground, it popped open and contained microfilm inside. The microfilm contained a series of numbers. He told the New York City Police Department, who in two days told a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent about the strange nickel. But it wasn't until a KGB (Committee on State Security of the Soviet Union) agent, Reino Häyhänen, wanted to defect to the West and America in May 1957, that the FBI would be able to link the nickel to KGB agents, including Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher (aka Rudolph Ivanovich Abel) in the Hollow Nickel Case.
In the face of the continued economic pressure brought on by a strike by the local reporters' trade union, The Newspaper Guild, and latter attempting to sell the "Eagle", the paper published its last edition on January 28, 1955, and shut down for good on March 16, 1955. Thomas N. Schroth, the publisher's son, served as the newspaper's managing editor in the last three years of its existence, before moving on to become editor of the "Congressional Quarterly" and founder of the "The National Journal" in Washington, D.C., which covered the activities and actions of the United States Congress in the "Quarterly", and national capital political events in the "Journal" which endure into the 21st Century.
This occurred around the same time as the National League baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers (formerly the "Trolley Dodgers"), who played at Flatbush's Ebbets Field shocked the city and joined the rival New York Giants at the old Polo Grounds in The Bronx in moving to the West Coast and becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. The loss of both primary national icons of the town's identity in the same year sent Brooklyn into a psychological slump, which even the replacement New York Mets in the National League seven years later in 1962 couldn't quite resurrect.
1960s revival attempts
In 1960, former comic book publisher Robert W. Farrell acquired the "Eagle's" assets in bankruptcy court, five years later after its closing, publishing five Sunday editions of the paper in 1960. In 1962–1963, under the corporate name "Newspaper Consolidated Corporation", Farrell and his partner Philip Enciso briefly revived the "Brooklyn Eagle" newspaper as a daily, with its final edition of that attempt appearing on June 25, 1963.
|Owner(s)||Everything Brooklyn Media|
|Publisher||J. Dozier Hasty|
|Headquarters||Brooklyn, New York City, New York|
|Official website||Brooklyn Eagle|
A smaller locally-oriented newspaper also focused on the borough, "The Brooklyn Daily Bulletin" began publishing when the original "Eagle" folded in 1955. In 1996, it merged with a newly revived "Brooklyn Daily Eagle", and now publishes a morning paper five days a week under the title of the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" name. This revived "Brooklyn Eagle" has no business relationship with the original "Eagle"; it adopted the "Eagle" name (adding it to its "Bulletin" title) after the "Eagle" name fell into the public domain, and following a dispute with another Brooklyn publisher over ownership of the "Eagle" name. Today, it is one of three English-language daily newspapers published in the borough of Brooklyn (the others are the "New York Daily Challenge" and "Hamodia").
As an homage to the original "Eagle" it publishes a daily feature called "On This Day in History," made up of much material from the original "Eagle." It is currently published by J. Dozier Hasty under the auspices of Everything Brooklyn Media. The "Eagle" editorial staff has grown to include 25 full-time reporters, writers and photographers. Thus, it has seen an increase in original, locally-geared news stories and spot news photographs.
Its coverage has grown to include the Bay Ridge section in western Brooklyn, where a weekly version of the paper, "The Bay Ridge Eagle", is published.
Several exhibits have been held regarding the role of the paper in creating the identity of Brooklyn and its citizens at the Brooklyn Historical Society, including extensive mention and documentation in several histories published.
- Ed Boland Jr. (2003): "F.Y.I.", The New York Times, 2003-02-09.
- Staff. "Frank D. Schrnoth, 89, Publisher Of The Brooklyn Eagle, Is Dead; Acclaimed for His Service", The New York Times, June 11, 1974. Accessed August 6, 2009.
- Staff. "Negotiations Ended in Sale of Eagle," "The New York Times", June 11, 1955. Accessed August 5, 2009.
- Weber, Bruce. "Thomas N. Schroth, Influential Washington Editor, Is Dead at 88", The New York Times, August 4, 2009. Accessed August 5, 2009.
- "Brooklyn Eagle Scheduled to be Revived on Monday," "New York Times" (Oct. 13, 1962).
- "About Brooklyn Eagle. (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 1938-1963," Library of Congress. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011.
- Hamm, Lisa M. "Feathers Fly Over Right to Publish 'Brooklyn Eagle'," South Coast Today (Oct. 16, 1996).
- "New York Daily Challenge," Mondo Times: The Worldwide News Media Director. Accessed Sept. 21, 2011.
- Brooklyn Newsstand - Online Archive of the Brooklyn Eagle (1841–1955)
- Old Fulton New York Post Cards - Online archive (1841–1955)
- Current newspaper's website
- About the current newspaper
- The Brooklyn Eagle: What Have We Lost?