Adolph Simon Ochs: King of the Times
Each New Year's Eve, in a tradition that dates back to 1907, millions of Americans watch an illuminated globe descend slowly down a flagpole at Times Square as they count off the seconds to midnight. The ritual started as Adolph Simon Ochs’ clever stunt to sell his newspaper -- The New York Times. The rise of the Times is Adolph's story, though he did not found the paper. Two New Yorkers, Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones started a paper called The New York-Daily Times in September 1851. They published a California edition the next year, but that failed under a deluge of newspapers flooding the 31st state. The Times continued an uninspired run in New York, surviving primarily on infusions of capital. Earlier, in 1845, Adolph's father, Julius Ochsenhorn, emigrated to the U.S. from Fürth, Bavaria. He settled in Louisville, Ky., and shortened his name to Ochs (pronounced ox). The family moved to Cincinnati -- where Adolph was born March 12, 1858 -- and then to Knoxville as the Civil War was winding to an end. It was a prickly household during the war, with a Confederate mother and Union-sympathizing father.