The Philadelphia Record
|Publisher||William M. Singerly (1877-1898); J. David Stern (1928-1947)|
|Founded||1877 (by Singerly)|
|Political alignment||Democratic Party|
The Philadelphia Record was a daily newspaper published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1877 until 1947. It became among the most circulated papers in the city and was at some points the circulation leader.
In 1877, William M. Singerly acquired the small-circulation paper and renamed it the Philadelphia Record, and lowered its price to one-cent. By 1894, The New York Times praised it as "one of the best and most widely circulated newspapers in the United States." Despite the dire economic state at the time, the Record "held its own", and sold 57,000,000 copies in 1893. At that time, it was the most widely read newspaper in the city and equaled the combined circulation of any two of its Philadelphian competitors. Its printing facilities were lauded as modern and both its foreign and domestic reporting as accurate and prompt. After Singerly died in 1898, the paper was acquired by the Wanamakers.
After Rodman Wanamaker died in 1928, the paper was bought by J. David Stern, owner of the Courier-Post in nearby Camden, New Jersey. Though the circulation of the Record was only 123,000 when he bought it, Stern was able to raise it to 315,000 within a few years.
During the Great Depression, the Record became one of only two morning newspapers in the city after the Public Ledger morning and Sunday editions were merged with The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1933. In 1936, the Record, had a weekday circulation of 328,322 and Sunday circulation of 369,525. By comparison, it led the Inquirer during the week, when the competitor sold 280,093 copies, but trailed on Sundays, when the Inquirer sold 669,152 copies. That year, Moses Annenberg bought the Inquirer, and the rivalry between the publications significantly increased. The two papers, whose buildings were within sight of each other, engaged in a "duel of keep-the-lights-on", in which their employees attempted to log longer workdays than their competitors. Both newspapers during this time accused the other of attempts to steal stories.
In the 1930s, as the competition stiffened between the Record and its primary morning competitor, the Inquirer, both increased their daily price to 3 cents (about $0.51 in inflation-adjusted terms). From July 1936 to 1938, the Record's circulation fell by 40%. In the latter year, the Record's weekday circulation had fallen to 204,000 and its Sunday edition to 362,783. During the late 1930s, the Record, a Democratic Party-aligned publication led by publisher J. David Stern, was seen as a voice for the executives in both the federal and state governments. Red Smith, who would later win a Pulitzer Prize with the New York Times, was a sportswriter for the Record from 1936 to 1945.
- Success of The Philadelphia Record, The New York Times, June 5, 1894.
- Edgar Williams, A history of The Inquirer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2003.
- Keels, Thomas H. Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries, p. 45 (2003)
- The National Record, Chronlicling America, Library of Congress, retrieved July 15, 2009.
- Philadelphia, a Guide to the Nation's Birthplace, 309 (1937)
- Odgen, Christopher. Legacy: A Biography of Moses and Walter Annenberg, p. 166 (1999)
- Gerry Wilkinson, The History of the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Press Association, retrieved July 15, 2009.