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|
(Archived issues maintained by the Brooklyn Public Library)
The Brooklyn Eagle, originally The Brooklyn Eagle, and Kings County Democrat, 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, the 19th Century poet, 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, renamed The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Kings County Democrat on June 1, 1846, was again renamed, on May 14, 1849, the name being shortened to The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. On September 5, 1938, the name was further shortened, to Brooklyn Eagle. 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 maintained 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 more than a century. The archive was purchased by Ancestry.com for their newspapers.com website.
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 poet 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 become 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 August 1938, Frank D. Schroth bought the newspaper from M. Preston Goodfellow. 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.
The newspaper received the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its "crime reporting during the year." Investigative journalist Ed Reid in an eight-part series exposed the activities of bookmaker Harry Gross and corrupt members of the New York City Police Department. This exposé led to an investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney, and resulted in the eventual resignation of Mayor of New York City William O'Dwyer.
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 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 within two and a half years sent Brooklyn into a psychological slump, which even the replacement New York Mets 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. During the 1962–63 New York City newspaper strike, the paper saw circulation grow from 50,000 to 390,000 until the strike ended.
The final edition appeared on June 25, 1963.
|Owner(s)||Everything Brooklyn Media|
|Publisher||J. Dozier Hasty|
|Headquarters||Brooklyn, New York City, New York|
A smaller 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. As of 2014, 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 published by J. Dozier Hasty under the auspices of Everything Brooklyn Media. The Eagle editorial staff includes 25 full-time reporters, writers and photographers. 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.
- "The Brooklyn Eagle and Kings County Democrat". bklyn.newspapers.com. Newspapers.com. October 26, 1841. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "The Brooklyn Eagle and Kings County Democrat". bklyn.newspapers.com. Newspapers.com. June 1, 1846. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "The Brooklyn Eagle and Kings County Democrat". bklyn.newspapers.com. Newspapers.com. May 14, 1849. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "The Brooklyn Eagle and Kings County Democrat". bklyn.newspapers.com. Newspapers.com. September 5, 1938. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Boland, Jr., Ed (February 9, 2003). "F.Y.I.". Archives. The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Frank D. Schrnoth [sic], 89, Publisher Of The Brooklyn Eagle, Is Dead; Acclaimed for His Service". The New York Times. June 11, 1974. Retrieved July 29, 2014. (Subscription required (. ))
- "8 May 1951, Page 1 - The Brooklyn Daily Eagle at Newspapers.com".
- Crime at Mid-Century by Nicholas Pileggi New York Magazine December 30, 1974
- The Epic of New York City: A Narrative History By Edward Ellis 1966
- "Negotiations Ended in Sale of Eagle". The New York Times. June 11, 1955. Retrieved July 29, 2014. (Subscription required (. ))
- Weber, Bruce. "Thomas N. Schroth, Influential Washington Editor, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Brooklyn Eagle Scheduled To Be Revived on Monday". The New York Times. October 13, 1962. (Subscription required (. ))
- "Newspaper Strike Changed Many Habits but Left No Lasting Marks on Economy – Walkout Began Year Ago Today – Publishers and Unions Have Made Little Progress on Bargaining Methods". The New York Times. December 8, 1963. p. 85. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- "About Brooklyn Eagle. (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 1938-1963". Chronicling America. U. S. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Hamm, Lisa M. (October 16, 1996). "Feathers Fly Over Right to Publish "Brooklyn Eagle"". South Coast Today. New Bedford, Massachusetts: Local Media Group Inc. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "New York Daily Challenge". Mondo Times. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Schroth, Raymond A. The Eagle and Brooklyn: a community newspaper, 1841-1955 (Praeger, 1974).