Saturday, February 25, 2017

Charles Merz, Editor of the New York Times, 1938-1961

Charles Merz was born in Erie County, Ohio on February 23, 1893, to Dr. Charles H. Merz and Sakie (Prout) Merz. While at Sandusky High School, Charles Merz worked on the school’s yearbook, the Fram. During the summers, he was a cub reporter for the Sandusky Register and the Star Journal. He graduated from Sandusky High School in 1911. The younger Charles Merz is pictured below with the Debating Team at Sandusky High School.

Charles Merz graduated from Yale in 1915 and moved to New York to work at Harper’s Weekly, eventually being named editor of the magazine. In 1916, he became the Washington correspondent for the New Republic, with a brief hiatus during World War I, when he worked in military intelligence. He and Walter Lippmann compiled a survey on the press coverage of the Russian Revolution, and were very critical of the coverage by the New York Times.  

In 1931 Charles Merz went to work for the New York Times, where he served as editor from 1938 to 1961.  During the McCarthy era, Merz was known for his opposition to Senator Joseph McCarthy in his editorials. He also wrote several books, including: The Great American Bandwagon, The Dry Decade, And Then Came Ford, and Centerville, U.S.A.  It is believed that Centerville, U.S.A. was based primarily on Merz’s upbringing in Sandusky, Ohio

Charles Merz passed away on August 31, 1977. He is still remembered for his long career in journalism and his devotion to the principles of American democracy.

No comments: