Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

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This article is about the newspaper publisher born in 1926. For his son, see Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr..
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger
Born (1926-02-05)February 5, 1926
New York City, New York
Died September 29, 2012(2012-09-29) (aged 86)
Southampton, New York
Nationality American
Other names Punch
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Publisher of The New York Times
Years active 1963–1997
Known for publishing The Pentagon Papers
  • Barbara Winslow Grant (m. 1948; div. 1956)
  • Carol Fox Fuhrman (m. 1956; died 1995)
  • Allison S. Cowles (m. 1996; died 2010)
Awards Pulitzer Prize

Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger Sr. (February 5, 1926 – September 29, 2012) was an American publisher and businessman. Born into a prominent media and publishing family, he became publisher of The New York Times and chairman of the board of The New York Times Company in 1963. He relinquished to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the office of publisher in 1992, and chairman in 1997.

Early life[edit]

He was born on February 5, 1926, in New York City to Jewish parents Arthur Hays Sulzberger and Iphigene Bertha Ochs (daughter of Adolph Ochs, the former publisher and owner of The New York Times and the Chattanooga Times).[1] Sulzberger graduated from the Loomis Institute and then enlisted into the United States Marine Corps during World War II serving from 1944 to 1946, in the Pacific Theater. He married Barbara Winslow Grant (of mostly Scottish and English heritage)[2] on July 2, 1948, in a civil ceremony at her parents' home in Purchase, New York.[3] He earned a B.A. degree in English and History in 1951 at Columbia University. As a member of the Marine Forces Reserve he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. Following completion of officer training, he saw duty in Korea and then in Washington, D.C., before being inactivated. He divorced Barbara Grant Sulzberger in 1956[4] and married Carol Fox Fuhrman in December 1956. She died in 1995.[5]

Publisher of The New York Times[edit]

Sulzberger became publisher of The New York Times in 1963, after the death of his sister Marian's husband, Orvil Dryfoos, who had been publisher for less than two years. Sulzberger was 37 at the time, the youngest publisher in Times history. Prior to Dryfoos, Sulzberger's father, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, and maternal grandfather, Adolph Ochs, were the publishers, and also the chairs of the board of The New York Times Company.[5]

In the 1960s Sulzberger built a large news-gathering staff at The Times, and was publisher when the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for publishing The Pentagon Papers. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1988.[6] His son Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. succeeded him as the newspaper's publisher in 1992.

"Eventually, Sulzberger, then in London, rejecting the views of some of his colleagues in senior management as well as the dire warnings of his outside counsel, made the call to accept the risks of publication rather than those of silence. On Sunday, June 13, [1971], the Times published the first in a series of seven articles about the Pentagon Papers. In retrospect, the decision may seem obvious, but it was by no means an easy one at the time, and it remains one for which Sulzberger deserves enormous credit."

Floyd Abrams[7]

Later life[edit]

In 1996, he married Allison Stacey Cowles, widow of William H. Cowles, 3rd. (died 1992), who was part of the Cowles family which owns The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash.[8][9]

Sulzberger remained chairman of The New York Times Company until October 1997.

In 2005, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) honored Sulzberger with the Katharine Graham Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sulzberger dedicated the Wellesley College pub, aptly named "Punch's Alley," in honor of his wife, Allison, a class of 1955 Wellesley alum.[10][11]

Sulzberger died of a brain hemorrhage at his home on September 29, 2012.[5][12] He was 86.


  • Behind the Times: Inside the New New York Times, by Edwin Diamond. Villard Books.
  • The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times, by Alex S. Jones, Susan E. Tifft. Back Bay Books (2000), ISBN 0-316-83631-1.


Business positions
Preceded by
Orvil Dryfoos
The New York Times Company Publisher
Succeeded by
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.