M. H. de Young

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M. H. de Young
M. H. de Young 1885.jpg
M. H. de Young and the San Francisco Chronicle in 1885
Born Michael Henry de Young
(1849-09-30)September 30, 1849
St. Louis, Missouri
Died February 15, 1925(1925-02-15) (aged 75)
San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Alma mater Heald College
Occupation Newspaper publisher
Years active 1865–1925
Known for Co-founder of San Francisco Chronicle and director of the Associated Press
Spouse(s) Katherine I. Deane
Children 5
Relatives Charles de Young (brother)

Michael Henry "M. H." de Young (September 30, 1849 – February 15, 1925) was an American journalist and businessman.

Early life[edit]

De Young was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The family was Jewish, and immigrated from the Netherlands and France.[1][2] He was the son of Cornelia "Amelia"[3] (née Morange; 1809-1881) and Miechel de Young (d. 1854), who married in 1837.[4] His maternal grandfather, Benjamin Morange, who served as the French Minister to Spain under Napoleon I,[5][6] moved to the United States about 1815[3] and helped found the B'nai Jeshurun Congregation in New York in 1825.[7]

The de Young family moved from St. Louis to San Francisco in 1854.  M.H. de Young’s father, Miechel de Young, died of a stroke during the journey.[8] M.H. de Young attended and graduated from Heald College, a San Francisco college founded in 1863.

Career[edit]

News[edit]

In San Francisco, de Young and his brother, Charles de Young (1846–1880), founded the Daily Dramatic Chronicle newspaper, first published on January 17, 1865, with the loan of a twenty dollar gold piece which Michael received from his landlord. The Daily Dramatic Chronicle was a four page tabloid that was freely distributed throughout San Francisco. According to the de Young’s, the Daily Dramatic Chronicle would be “the best advertising medium on the Pacific Coast.” On September 1, 1868, the de Youngs expanded their tabloid into a daily newspaper.  The first issue stated that the Chronicle would be “independent in all things, neutral in none.” Daily Dramatic Chronicle was sold under the condition that it be renamed the Dramatic Review. De Young was also the director of the Associated Press for many years.[8]

Public Leadership[edit]

De Young, inspired by the events of the Chicago World’s fair, led a campaign to bring a world’s fair to San Francisco.  De Young then became the Director-General of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894.  During a visit to New York City, De Young was inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s location in Central Park.[9] As a result, de Young wanted the fair to be held in Golden Gate Park.  However, John McLaren, the Superintendent of Golden Gate Park, was concerned about how the removal of many trees would affect the environment of the park.  In a intense debate, de Young asked McLaren, “What is a tree? “What are a thousand trees compared to the benefits of the exposition?”  Significantly, de Young owned about 31 blocks south of the park and could have been motivated by the fair’s potential positive impacts on his real estate holdings.  While the vast majority of the fair’s buildings were destroyed, de Young persuaded the city to save the Fine Arts Building.  The building was renamed the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum after de Young's death. De Young supported the museum throughout his life and bequeathed $150,000 to the museum upon his death.[10]

Personal life[edit]

De Young and his wife Katherine had five children:

  • Charles de Young (1881–1913)
  • Helen de Young (1883–1969), who married George T. Cameron (1873–1955)[11]
  • Constance Marie de Young (1885–1968), who married Joseph Oliver Tobin (1878–1978)[12]
  • Kathleen Yvonne de Young (1888–1954), who married Ferdinand Thieriot (1883–1920)[13]
  • Phyllis D. de Young (1892–1988), who married Nion Robert Tucker (1885–1950)[14]

In 1884, he was shot by an irate businessman, Adolph B. Spreckels, apparently due to a negative newspaper article, but survived. M. H. de Young died on February 15, 1925 and a Catholic church mass was held in St. Mary's Cathedral[15] (he had converted to Catholicism after marrying his wife, Katherine I. Deane).[16]

Legacy[edit]

Max Thieriot in 2013
Nan Tucker McEvoy

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, is named in his honor. According to his daughter Helen de Young Cameron, de Young “loved objects. He was an incurable collector. He collected everything. He stored his collections at the Memorial Museum, where he would visit them at all hours. He took genuine delight in sharing them with the citizens of San Francisco, insisting that his museum never charge admission.”[2] De Young purchased many things of "curious and artistic and instructive value" for the museum.[17]

Descendants[edit]

In 1956, one of De Young's grandsons, Ferdinand Melly Thieriot (1921–1956), the circulation director of The Chronicle, and his wife Frances (1921–1956), were among the 46 killed aboard the SS Andrea Doria when it was struck by the MS Stockholm off the coast of Nantucket.[18]

De Young was the grandfather of Nan Tucker McEvoy (1919–2015), former chair of Chronicle Publishing Company's board of directors until the 1990s.[19] He is also the great-great-grandfather of actor Max Thieriot (born 1988).[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adams, Charles F. (2005). Murder By The Bay: Historic Homicide In And About The City Of San Francisco. San Francisco: Quill Driver Books. p. 59. ISBN 1-884995-46-2. 
  2. ^ a b Brechin, Gray (2001). Imperial San Francisco : urban power, earthly ruin (1st pbk. printing. ed.). Berkeley: University of California press. ISBN 0-520-22902-9. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Markens, Isaac (1888). The Hebrews in America: A Series of Historical and Biographical Sketches. Harvard University. p. 26. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  4. ^ University of Wisconsin - Madison (1974). Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly. Southern California Jewish Historical Society. p. 211. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  5. ^ The Hebrews in America
  6. ^ The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: An Authoritative and Popular Presentation of Jews and Judaism Since the Earliest Times, Volume 7. Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Incorporated. 1942. p. 487. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "105th Anniversary of B'nai Jeshurun Congregation Marked". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 14 December 1930. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Bruce, John (1948). Gaudy Century: The Story of San Francisco’s Hundred Years of Robust Journalism. New York: Random House, Inc. pp. 125, 127–128, 140–141. 
  9. ^ Long, Charles (1995). 100 Years In Golden Gate Park: A Pictorial History of the M.H. De Young Memorial Museum. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 
  10. ^ Brechin, Gray (2006). Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin. University of California Press. 
  11. ^ "HELEN DE YOUNG TO WED CLUBMAN Engagement to George Cameron Causes Stir in Social Circles". San Francisco Call (Volume 104, Number 3). 3 June 1908. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  12. ^ Sward, Susan (25 June 2008). "S.F. philanthropist Nini Tobin Martin dies". SF Gate. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Harvard College (1906). Harvard College Class of 1906 Secretary's Third Report. Cambridge, MA: Crimson Printing Company. 
  14. ^ Press, Associated (30 June 1988). "Obituaries: Phyllis de Young Tucker; S.F. Publishing Family Member". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Publisher of San Francisco Chronicle Buried With Simplest Rites". New York Times. February 19, 1925. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  16. ^ Gale, Robert L. (2001). An Ambrose Bierce companion. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 79. ISBN 0-313-31130-7. 
  17. ^ The Mineral Collector. Volume I, number 11, January 1895. Page 173.
  18. ^ Samuel Halpern, An Objective Forensic Analysis of the Collision Between Stockholm and Andrea Doria
  19. ^ Associated Press (27 March 2015). "Nan Tucker McEvoy, Heiress Who Ran San Francisco Chronicle, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  20. ^ Q&A: Feeling the “Disconnect” with Actor Max Thieriot