Gen. Harrison Gray Otis: Father of the L.A. Times
In the span of three decades, Harrison Gray Otis, the crusty, cantankerous and quarrelsome publisher, reared the Los Angeles Times from an ad-filled, four-page small-town daily into a major newspaper. Although today the Los Angeles Times is one of America's most successful and highly regarded tabloids, with the largest circulation of any metropolitan newspaper in the nation, it wasn't always so. During the years when Otis ran the paper as his personal fiefdom, with more interest in selling the City of the Angels than in seeking great, or even good, writers, the Times was reviled by the Eastern press. But Otis was also instrumental in the growth of the burgeoning city of Los Angeles, their fates as intertwined as the arms of two lovers. Otis was born in Marietta, Ohio, on February 10, 1837, the youngest of Stephen and Sarah Otis’ sixteen children. His parents named him after his uncle Harrison Gray Otis, a Massachusetts congressman, mayor of Boston; the man known as the "urbane Federalist." Confusion between the two men and their identical names remains to this day.