Genesee Society Dinner to Honor Wiley, Business Manager of Times
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Genesee Society Dinner to Honor Wiley, Business Manager of Times

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All honor to Louis Wiley!

That is the magnet drawing some 700 members of the Society of the Genesee to the Hotel Commodore tonight to do honor to the business manager of the New York Times and famed first lieutenant of Adolph S. Ochs, publisher.

The thirty-sixth annual dinner of the society, of which Mr. Wiley was a founder and its first historian, is also the occasion of the anniversary of fifty years in journalism for the guest of honor and the thirty-ninth year of his association with Ochs and the Times.

Among the speakers paying homage to the popular newspaperman this evening will be Dr. Clarence A. Barbour, president of Brown University; James R. Sheffield, former United States Ambassador to Mexico and Venezuela; Mayor Charles Stanton of Rochester; James W. Gerard, former United States Ambassador to Germany; Thomas J. Watson, president of the International Business Corporation; Jeremiah G. Hickey, president of the Hickey-Freeman Company; Martin Conboy, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William C. Cannon, president of the Society of the Genesee, who will serve as toast-master.


{NOTE}Others who will be seated on the dais in Mr. Wiley’s honor include such notables as Senator Carter Glass of Virginia; Frank B. Noyes, president of the Associated Press; Ogden Reid, publisher of the New York Herald Tribune; Henry Morgenthau Sr., former United States Ambassador to Turkey; Dr. H. W. Chase, chancellor of New York University; William T. Dewart, publisher of the New York Sun; Owen D. Young, chairman of the board of the General Electric Company.{/NOTE}

And as one of the highlights of the celebration there will be the presentation to Mr. Wiley of a bound volume containing 200 measures of good-will from friends throughout the world. Represented in this volume are letters from President Roosevelt, Governor Lehman, Mayor LaGuardia, Adolph S. Ochs, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Vice-President Garner, Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau, Marquis Marconi, Newton D. Baker, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sir Herbert Samuel, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas W. Lamont, James G. McDonald, Emil Ludwig, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Professor Raymond Moley, David Sarnoff, Ambassador Claude G. Bowers and others.


{NOTE}The question, then, is; “Who is this man so worthy of honor?”{/NOTE}

And the answer is that, next to Mr. Ochs himself, he is the man most responsible for the development of the Times from a moribound and obscure newspaper to a publication that is rated as one of the world’s greatest.

Louis Wiley was born in Hornell, N. Y., May 31, 1869, the son of Benjamin and Ernestine Brickner Wiley. His father was a merchant of Hornell and Mt. Sterling. And it was in the latter town that young Wiley started his career as a reporter for the Democrat, a weekly.

A short time later the family moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where Louis displayed his first real flair for newspaper work as a reporter for the Journal of that town.

With the death of the elder Wiley in 1886, the Wileys moved to Rochester. Young Louis thereupon landed a job with Post Express. A reporter’s salary didn’t satisfy him and he founded Rochester’s first Anglo-Jewish weekly, the Tidings, an eight-page paper, which met with immediate success.

For six years the Tidings occupied Louis Wiley’s time. It drew the attention of others, and in 1893, at the age of twenty-four, he was offered the business managership of the Post Express, the paper that eight years before had paid him a wage of six dollars a week.


{NOTE}The way was already pointed toward New York. Two years later he was working on Dana’s Sun under William Laffan. A year later he joined Ochs in the seemingly impossible task of resurrecting the Times.{/NOTE}

Adolph Ochs had come on from Tennessee to take over the Times. It had lapsed from its former high position when, with the Tribune and the Herald, it was one of the important papers of the metropolis.

The paper was ready to die, at least to merge. None of the New York newspapermen thought the gazette worth preserving. It remained for a young southern Jew to re-create a new paper under the slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

It was this man whom Wiley, looking for opportunity, decided to connect with. In an address many years later, he said:

“I sought and fought to join the New York Times in 1896 and I hitched my wagon to a star. Time and the Times have proved that this star is the mightiest in the journalistic heavens.”

Adolph Ochs, on the occasion of a dinner given to Mr. Wiley in Rochester on his sixtieth birthday by the Press Club of that city, which he had helped found many years earlier, reminisced in the following vein:


{NOTE}”Shortly after I had rescued the Times, when a derelict about to sink with a gallant crew of able journalistic seamen, a sprightly young man, still in his twenties, called on me and sought a position with the organization.{/NOTE}

“He had some newspaper experience, notably at Rochester, and had come to New York City to seek a larger field for the development of his ambition. He had made a survey of the newspaper situation, and was so impressed with what he thought were my prospects with the New York Times that he declined more lucrative offers and presented himself to me for employment in any position so long as he might become attached to the business organization.

“I was, of necessity, moving cautiously in adding to the staff, because of the expense, and was not very receptive to his overtures. But the talent that he has since developed to a pre-eminent degree asserted itself and, as usual, what he went after, he secured.

“He accepted a modest position and a modest salary. It was one of the best trades I ever made.”


{NOTE}Ten years later Louis Wiley was business manager of the Times, a position he still fills with great distinction. Under his direction, the Times has led the way toward a new level of ethical practice in the field of advertising. In every respect, he kept pace with the Times as it steadily developed the greatest world-wide news service of any newspaper on earth.{/NOTE}

Because of his early reportorial training, or possibly just because of the breadth of judgment that seemed inherent with him, Wiley

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