Arthur Brisbane

Arthur Brisbane

[briz-beyn, -buhn]

Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) was an American newspaper editor, born in Buffalo, N. Y., and educated in the public schools of the United States and Europe. In 1882, he began newspaper work in New York City as a reporter for the Sun. He became the first syndicated newspaperman with his notorious editorials and remained occupied in journalism and the newspaper field until his death in 1936.

In 1897, he accepted the editorship of the New York Evening Journal, which was in the "Hearst chain" of newspapers sold throughout the country. His position with the Evening Journal gave Arthur Brisbane a wide influence as an editor unmatched in the United States. His direct and forceful style has influenced the form of American editorials. He was a champion for the common man. Some of his writings were collected in 1906 under the title Editorials from the Hearst Newspapers. To the field of journalism, as an editor, it was Arthur Brisbane who coined the phrase, "if you don't hit the reader between the eyes in your first sentence of your news column, there's no need to write any more."

Arthur Brisbane was notorious for buying failing newspapers, re-organizing them, and selling them to William Randolph Hearst. In 1917, he bought the Washington Times, and in 1918 he bought the Evening Wisconsin, then sold them to William Randolph Hearst in 1919. In 1918, he became editor of the Chicago Herald and Examiner. He remained part of the Hearst news and media empire up until his death in 1936. In the 1920s he was featured in "Times Magazine" a few times, even making front cover, and heralded as America's all-around number one newspaperman for it was said, "he tells more things to more people, than any other person in the world." It was also during this time that he published two more books that were a composite of his more famous editorials - "The Book of Today" and the "The Book of Today and the Future Day." At the time of his death, he was considered the "virtual executive director" of the Hearst news and media empire.


He published Mary Baker Glover Eddy in 1908. Moreover, he published at least three books between 1915 and 1929 that were a composite of his more famous editorials. He was a speech writer, orator, and public relations professional. He coached many famous business people of his time in the field of public relations, particularly Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and John D. Rockefeller.

Arthur Brisbane was considered America's all-around number one newspaper editor and adorned the cover of TIME magazine a few times during his career. He interviewed or conversed with nearly all the United States Presidents during his career. At the time of his death, he was considered the virtual "executive director" of the Hearst newspaper and media empire.

Perhaps Arthur Brisbane's most lasting legacy was preserving a large section of land he had amassed in central New Jersey along the Jersey Shore between 1907 and 1936. It was here that Brisbane built his dream house, a palatial mansion for its time, adjacent to a lake, and complete with a library tower. It was also here that Brisbane and his family could enjoy their favorite sport - horse-back riding. Brisbane transformed the Allaire area from a near deserted village to a luxurious country estate, complete with a state-of-the-art horse farm, "Allaire Inn," toy factory, a camp for Boy Scouts, and training grounds during the war years. He used his professional connections to bring silent film companies to his property at Allaire, which was used as a backdrop. He even opened up his estate during the Great Depression to "New Deal" work programs. Brisbane and his family realized enjoyment at Allaire and considered it his final abode. He employed a large staff to take care of his property at Allaire, which at one time was boasted to occupy . The actual count was closer to .

Brisbane eventually began to explore the history of his property at Allaire and became aware in the 1920s of its great historic significance. His Allaire property was formerly James P. Allaire's "Howell Iron Works Company," a thriving iron-making industrial village of the early 19th century. As aarly as 1925, Brisbane sought to preserve this property, with its vast natural resources and 19th century era village buildings. Although not completed before his death, it was left to his wife, Phoebe Cary Brisbane and her immediate family to fulfill Arthur Brisbane's wishes of donating nearly to the State of New Jersey by 1944, including James P. Allaire's 19th century industrial village. The deed of gift contained stipulations that it was to be used for historic and forest reservation purposes, and for nothing else. Moreover, the Brisbane family home served as the Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center until its recent closure in 2005.

Today, the original Brisbane gift of land, , forms the heart of Allaire State Park. And its historic village is dedicated to portraying the life and times of James P. Allaire's "Howell Iron Works Company" largley through the non-profit educational organization, Allaire Village Inc. Arthur Brisbane is considered the benefactor of Allaire State Park. Efforts were pushed forward at the Historic Village at Allaire in 2006 by noted Allaire historian and author, Hance M. Sitkus, CPA, to better interpret Brisbane's career, family, and generosity. Brisbane was more than just an editor and publisher. He was also a great humanitarian and philanthropist of the early 20th century, which is often overlooked.

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