Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr.

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Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr.
Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr..jpg
Born Solomon Isadore Neuhaus
(1895-05-24)May 24, 1895
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died August 29, 1979(1979-08-29) (aged 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting place Baron Hirsch Cemetery
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Founder of Advance Publications
Net worth US$1.5 billion at the time of his death (approximately 1/1681th of US GNP)[1]
Spouse(s) Mitzi Epstein (1924–1979)
Children Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr.
Donald Newhouse

Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr. (born Solomon Isadore Neuhaus; May 24, 1895 – August 29, 1979) was an American broadcasting businessman, magazine and newspaper publisher. He was the founder of Advance Publications.

Early life[edit]

Newhouse was born Solomon Isadore Neuhaus in a tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the eldest of eight children born to Jewish immigrants.[2] His father, Meier Neuhaus, was an immigrant from Vitebsk, Belarus; and his mother, Rose (née Arenfeldt), was from Austria-Hungary.[3][4] Meier Neuhaus later Americanized his name to Meyer Newhouse.[3]

Although his father had studied to become a rabbi, he was unskilled and only worked occasionally due to poor health. The family moved to Bayonne, New Jersey where his mother supported the family by peddling linens and in 1908, his father abandoned the family for health reasons to live with his sister in Connecticut.[3] Newhouse quit school and enrolled in a six-week bookkeeping course at the Gaffrey School in Manhattan which enabled him to secure a job as an office boy working for Hyman Lazarus, a lawyer, police court judge, and politician in Bayonne. At age sixteen, he was promoted to office manager of Lazarus' law firm.[3]

Career[edit]

Noting Newhouse's work ethic and enthusiasm, Lazarus tasked Newhouse to manage the money-losing Bayonne Times (a local newspaper Lazarus had acquired a majority interest in due to an unpaid legal bill) allowing Newhouse to keep half of the profits if successful.[3] Newhouse quickly determined that the paper was not earning enough fees from advertisements and personally solicited new customers while also assisting them in planning the timing of store sales. The paper returned to profitability and he received a 20 percent ownership interest as payment (after continued success, his share increased to 50 percent). Later, he decided to attend law school in the evenings and in 1916, he graduated from the New Jersey Law School (now Rutgers School of Law–Newark) in Newark, New Jersey. His career in the practice of law was short-lived: he was so humiliated after losing the one case he took to trial, he paid his client the full amount of the damages he had requested.[3] Nevertheless, thanks to his support, Rutgers School of Law-Newark is presently housed in the S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice.

In 1922, taking all his personal savings and partnering Lazarus, he bought 51 percent of the Staten Island Advance for $98,000 and soon returned the paper to profitability. In 1924, Lazarus died and he purchased Lazarus' share from his widow as well as the 49 percent that he did not own. Newhouse had found his calling and began to expand his empire purchasing, merging, and returning to profitability numerous papers.[3]

Business strategy[edit]

Newhouse focused on purchasing bargain-priced papers in growing communities; he had no interest in starting papers or in unrelated ventures (he even declined an offer to purchase the New York Yankees). He typically acquired a city's oldest newspaper and then purchase the city's second newspaper thereby allowing him to set advertising rates. Although he generally promised to keep both papers in business and in competition, he typically merged the two, generally closing the afternoon paper and keeping the morning, effectively establishing a monopoly and then using the profits to purchase additional newspapers.[3]

Newhouse largely ran his various interests out of a brown leather briefcase and kept its figures in his head, even as they grew into an empire of 20 newspapers, as well as numerous magazines, radio stations and television stations. He never had what could be called a formal headquarters; to this day Advance Publications' corporate address is the same as that of the Staten Island Advance.

Timeline of acquisitions[edit]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to arts patron and philanthropist Mitzi Epstein (April 30, 1902 – June 29, 1989),[2] who grew up in an upper middle class, Jewish family on the Upper West Side, the daughter of a silk tie importer.[3] They had two sons, Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr., known as Si Newhouse, chairman and CEO of Advance, and Donald Newhouse, president of Advance.

Samuel Newhouse resided in Manhattan for much of his life. His great-grandson, S.I. Newhouse IV, is featured in a documentary called Born Rich about the experience of growing up as the heir to one of the world's greatest fortunes.[7] In 1942, he bought Greenlands, a working farm of 143 acres in Harbourton, Mercer County, New Jersey. In his privately published memoir, A Memo to my Children, he documented his often strained relationship with his two sons.[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

Newhouse died in 1979, aged 84, in New York City of a stroke,[8] and is buried in the Baron Hirsch Cemetery on Staten Island.[9] Upon his death, he passed his voting common stock in the principal family company, Advance Publications, in trust to his six grandchildren and made his two sons the sole trustees.[2]

One of the vessels of the Staten Island Ferry is also named after him. So was the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University,[10] and the S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice at Rutgers School of Law – Newark. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1989.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Klepper, Michael; Gunther, Michael (1996), The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates—A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present, Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, p. xiii, ISBN 978-0-8065-1800-8, OCLC 33818143 
  2. ^ a b c Loomis, Carol J. (August 17, 1987). "The Biggest Private Fortune – Media magnates Si and Don Newhouse control a $7.5-billion empire. It's a tightly private show, but there's no hiding wealth this big". Money Magazine. Retrieved October 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Carol Felsenthal. New York Times review of Citizen Newhouse: Portrait of a Media Merchant (1998)
  4. ^ Staff. "Samuel I. Newhouse, Publisher, Dies at 84; Samuel I. Newhouse, Builder of an Empire in Newspapers and Broadcasting, Is Dead at 84 Relatives on the Payroll Some Takeover Bids Resisted Newhouse Beneficiaries Payment on a Bad Debt Newhouse Publications and Broadcast Stations", The New York Times, August 30, 1979.
  5. ^ New Jersey.Com: "Star-Ledger publisher says newspaper will close if unions don't give concessions" by Ted Sherman, June 26, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Funding Universe: Advance Publications Inc; retrieved April 6, 2012
  7. ^ "Born Rich Rag", New York Observer, October 6, 2003
  8. ^ "Samuel I. Newhouse, Publisher, Dies at 84". The New York Times. August 30, 1979. p. 1. 
  9. ^ Find a Grave profile: "Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr." retrieved October 20, 2013
  10. ^ "History". S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  11. ^ Fortune article on 1991 inductees to National Business Hall of Fame, listing Newhouse as a past inductee