Hearst, William Randolph


Draft Hearst telegram to a London representative providing for a clergyman’s Christmas gift!


Autograph ID: 6500
Condition: Very good, 2 folds, 2 very slight tears carefully repaired on verso; slight creasing at top right
Description: “(1863-1951) American newspaper magnate, son of self-made millionaire George Hearst who became owner of The San Francisco Examiner as payment of a gambling debt. In 1887, he became its publisher, crusading for civic improvement and against municipal corruption, greatly increasing the paper’s circulation. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. That led to the creation of “yellow journalism”, scandal-mongering, jingoism, and sensationalism. By the mid-1920s he had 28 newspapers, inc. the Los Angeles Examiner, the Boston American, the Detroit Times, the Washington Herald, and his flagship, the San Francisco Examiner. He wielded enormous influence, whipping up public frenzy that pushed the US into war with Spain in 1898. NY US Rep. 1903-07, defeated for mayor and governor, unsuccessfully sought 1904 Democratic presidential nomination. In 1903, he married Millicent Willson (1882-1974), a 21-year-old chorus girl. He became intimate with actress Marion Davies (1897-1961), and from ca. 1919 lived openly with her in California. Beginning in 1919, he began to construct (and never completed) a spectacular castle on a 240,000 acre ranch at San Simeon, California, which he furnished with antiques, art, and entire rooms brought from the great houses of Europe. In 1924 he opened the New York Daily Mirror, a racy tabloid. Among his other holdings were: Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar masgazines; Universal News and International News Service; King Features Syndicate; a film company, Cosmopolitan Productions; extensive NYC real estate; thousands of acres of land in California and Mexico; and timber and mining interests. The Hearst news empire reached a circulation and revenue peak ca. 1928, but the Depression and vast over-extension of his empire cost him control of his holdings. Unable to service existing debts, the Hearst Corporation faced court-mandated reorganization in 1937. Newspapers and other properties were liquidated, the film company shut down, and a well-publicized sale of his art and antiquities was held. While WW II restored circulation and advertising revenues, his great days were over. His story inspired Orson Welles’ classic 1941 film, “Citizen Kane”, and Hearst used all his resources and influence in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the film’s release.

Pencil ANS “Hearst”, draft telegram on a 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 orange-gold sheet, number “780” stamped at top left, no place, no date. Hearst cables one of his London representatives asking him to give the St. Donat’s clergyman a “generous Christmas”. Below he writes “@postal/12/4/1am [underscored]. ”
Type: ANS

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