This weekend’s New York Times ”Streetscapes” article about an early Manhattan skyscraper built in 1892 and demolished in 1920 leads off with some wacky NYC newspaper history:
In 1888, when Cyrus Field sold the Mail and Express to Elliott F. Shepard, the newspaper was losing money, a failing amalgam of other papers. But Shepard didn’t care; he had other things in mind. In the same year, Shepard, a Presbyterian, bought control of the Fifth Avenue stage line to stop it from running on Sunday and violating the Sabbath.
Shepard altered the Mail and Express into a religious enterprise, unusual for a mass-market newspaper, with a biblical text on the front page every day, and what the Chicago Daily Tribune said were editorials that were “free from wickedness.”