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Edward Wyllis Scripps
1854 - 1926

Built Chain of 31 Newspapers and Started First Press Association

Edward Wyllis Scripps was one of America's most enterprising newspapermen. He built a chain of 31 newspapers in the Midwest and West Coast. It was the first American newspaper chain and brought many changes. ■ Among them was the first press association that was designed to serve his own chain of newspapers. His Scripps-MacRae Press Association combined with another association to form the United Press which later combined with International News Service to form UPI. ■ Edward W. Scripps was born June 18, 1854, in Rushville, Indiana. His mother was descended from a Scottish captain in the British Army who stayed in America after the Revolutionary War. His father was an English bookbinder. ■ In 1872 he joined the staff of the Detroit Tribune and later the Detroit Evening News. He started his own newspaper in Cleveland in 1877. ■ The Cleveland venture proved unsuccessful, so he started and bought other newspapers. His secret of success was to slant his papers toward the interests of what he called the "common people." He also kept his papers politically independent at a time when newspapers were strongly partisan in political allegiance. ■ He entered into many partnerships with others, but he always managed to maintain control by insisting on 51% ownership. By the mid-1890s Scripps became more active in philanthropic endeavors. With his half sister, Ellen Browning Scripps, he endowed what is now the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. ■ Scripps wrote a lively biography entitled Damned Old Crank in which he emphasizes individualism as the secret of his success. He died aboard his yacht in Monrovia Bay, Liberia, on March 12, 1926.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546