Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr.

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Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr.
Solomon Isadore Neuhaus

(1895-05-24)May 24, 1895
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 29, 1979(1979-08-29) (aged 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting placeBaron Hirsch Cemetery
New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationFounder of Advance Publications
SpouseMitzi Epstein (1924–1979)
ChildrenSamuel Irving Newhouse Jr. (1927-2017)
Donald Newhouse (Born 1929)
RelativesCharlotte Newhouse (great-niece)

Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr. (born Solomon Isadore Neuhaus; May 24, 1895 – August 29, 1979)[1] was an American broadcasting businessman, as well as a 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, then Russian Empire (now Belarus); and his mother, Rose (née Arenfeldt), was from Austria-Hungary.[3][4] Meier Neuhaus later adapted 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]


Noting Newhouse's work ethic and enthusiasm, Lazarus had Newhouse manage the money-losing Bayonne Times (a local newspaper in which Lazarus had acquired a majority interest, 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 advertisers 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; in 1916, he graduated from the New Jersey Law School (now Rutgers School of Law–Newark). His career in the practice of law was short-lived: he was so humiliated after losing the one case he took to trial that 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 with 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 Newhouse purchased Lazarus's share from his widow as well as the 49 percent that he and the judge did not own. Newhouse 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 new papers or in unrelated ventures, even declining an offer to purchase the New York Yankees. He typically acquired a city's oldest newspaper and then purchased the city's second newspaper, thereby allowing him to set advertising rates.[citation needed] 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, then used the profits to purchase additional newspapers.[3]

Newhouse largely ran his various interests out of a brown leather briefcase and kept key figures in his head, even as his acquisitions 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; for many years, Advance Publications' corporate address was the same as that of the Staten Island Advance.[citation needed]

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 of Advance, and Donald Newhouse, president of Advance.

Samuel Newhouse resided in Manhattan for much of his life. 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] 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]

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, as 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]


  1. ^ Marcus, Jacob Rader; Daniels, Judith M. (1993). The Concise Dictionary of American Jewish Biography (PDF). Hebrew Union College. p. 464.
  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