Jump to content

Memphis Press-Scimitar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Memphis Press-Scimitar
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)E. W. Scripps Company
EditorRoss B. Young
Founded1926; 98 years ago (1926)
Ceased publication1983
HeadquartersMemphis, Tennessee, USA
The Scimitar Building was the home of the Memphis Scimitar from 1902 to 1929.[1]

The Memphis Press-Scimitar was an afternoon newspaper based in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, and owned by the E. W. Scripps Company. Created from a merger in 1926 between the Memphis Press and the Memphis News-Scimitar, the newspaper ceased publication in 1983. It was the main rival to The Commercial Appeal, also based in Memphis and owned by Scripps.[2] At the time of its closure, the Press-Scimitar had lost a third of its circulation in 10 years and was down to daily sales of 80,000 copies.[3]

From 1906 to 1931, The Memphis Press was edited by founder Ross B. Young, a journalist from Ohio brought down by local business interests looking for a voice to speak to the stranglehold that E. H. "Boss" Crump had on city government, employment, and contracts. From 1931 to 1962, The Press-Scimitar was edited by Edward J. Meeman.[4]


The Memphis Evening Scimitar was published from at least 1891 to 1904[5] when it merged with the Memphis Morning News. It was also published as the News Scimitar.[6]

It was partly owned by Memphis merchant tycoon Napoleon Hill who commissioned the Scimitar Building in 1902. Memphis architects August A. Chigazola (1869-1911) and William J. Hanker (1876–1958) designed it.[1][7] Hill, known as Memphis' original "merchant prince",[8] lived on the other side of Madison Avenue in a mansion on the site where the Sterick Building is now.[1][9] Hill's initials are etched into the façade of the building.[10]

The paper condemned U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt's 1901 dinner with Booker T. Washington.[11]

In fiction[edit]

In John Grisham's novel The Client, the Memphis Press is fictionally presented as still existing and flourishing as a major Memphis paper into the 1990s.

In the 2004 movie The Ladykillers, during the basement scene where Tom Hanks's character Professor Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr describes forming the crew for the heist, he references having posted an ad in the Memphis Scimitar, which the would-be thieves responded to.

The 2013 Newberry Award-winning novel Paperboy[12] by former Press Scimitar copy editor Vilas Vince Vawter has its main character working as a paper carrier delivering the Press Scimitar. A second novel, Copyboy, published in 2018, has the same character working as a copyboy in the paper's newsroom.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Digital Assets: Scimitar Building". National Park Service. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Frank, Ed. "Memphis Press-Scimitar", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Tennessee Historical Society and the University of Tennessee Press. Retrieved November 7, 2010. Archived by WebCite on November 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "Memphis Press-Scimitar to shut next month", The New York Times, September 22, 1983. Retrieved November 7, 2010. (subscription required)
  4. ^ "Edward John Meeman". Tennessee Encyclopedia. January 1, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Evening Scimitar (Memphis, Tenn.) 18??-1904". Library of Congress.
  6. ^ https://www.loc.gov/item/sn98069867/
  7. ^ "Hill, Napoleon".
  8. ^ Jacobson, Kelsey (2 August 2016). "Hotel Napoleon slated to open in Downtown Memphis by end of August". WMC Action News 5. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Scimitar Building". Historic Memphis Buildings. Historic Memphis. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  10. ^ Faber, Madeline (16 August 2016). "Hotel Napoleon Joins Growing List of Unique Downtown Lodging". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt Papers: Series 1: Letters and Related Material, 1759-1919; 1901, Oct. 20-Nov. 11".
  12. ^ "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". ALSC. 30 November 1999.
  13. ^ "About Vince". Vince Vawter.

Further reading[edit]