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Guide to the Thomas N. Schroth and Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Brooklyn Eagle collection  ARC.093

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
718-222-4111
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Ilaria Papini

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 22, 2013
English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Finding aid revised and entered into Archivists' Toolkit by Nicholas Pavlik.  , August 30, 2010

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Schroth, Raymond A.
Creator: Schroth, Thomas N., (Thomas Nolan), 1920-2009
Title: Thomas N. Schroth and Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Brooklyn Eagle collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1841-1976
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1952-1955
Abstract: The Thomas N. Schroth and Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Brooklyn Eagle collection contains the records of Thomas N. Schroth, the last managing editor of the  Brooklyn Eagle and the son of its last publisher and editor, Frank D. Schroth. While the inclusive dates span from 1841 to 1976, the bulk of Thomas Schroth's records cover the final days of the  Eagle (1952-1955), the period leading up to and culminating in a Newspaper Guild strike that led to the closing of the newspaper. The labor struggle is documented through newspaper clippings, internal memos, Newspaper Guild meeting bulletins, and correspondence. A smaller portion of the collection is comprised of the papers of Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., first cousin to Thomas Schroth, and contains the notes for his doctoral dissertation in history at George Washington University on the  Eagle, subsequently published as  The Eagle and Brooklyn (1974). Raymond Schroth's papers cover his correspondence with publishers, his notes, early drafts of the dissertation, and portions of drafts of the book, as well as reviews and correspondence with responses to an author's query he had published. Finally, the collection also contains approximately 50 photographic prints concerning the history of the  Eagle in Brooklyn.
Quantity: 5.25 linear feet in two record cartons and two oversize boxes.
Text [Carton]: ARC.093 1 of 4
Mixed materials [Oversize]: ARC.093 4 of 4
Text [Oversize]: ARC.093 3 of 4
Mixed materials [Carton]: ARC.093 2 of 4
Call Phrase: ARC.093
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described in October 2007 by Ilaria Papini. The finding aid was revised and entered into Archivists' Toolkit by Nicholas Pavlik as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Historical Note

The Brooklyn Eagle began publication as the  Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1841 under the direction of its founder, Isaac van Anden, and was in part meant to be an organ of the Democratic Party as it then existed. Over the years the  Eagle enjoyed a steadily growing popularity and became the largest Brooklyn paper as it gradually absorbed several other Brooklyn dailies, the main holdout being the  Brooklyn Citizen. Though devoted to chronicling the news of Brooklyn, the  Eagle published national and international news as well, making it widely read in most of the English-speaking world. The paper promoted a highly defined Brooklyn identity, encouraging citizens to consider themselves Brooklynites first and New Yorkers second.

Over time, the Eagle boasted many prominent figures among its editorial staff. Walt Whitman (editor from 1846 to 1848) was among them, as well as Thomas Kinsella (editor from 1861 to 1884). Henry Cruse Murphy, one of the founders of the  Eagle, went on to become mayor of Brooklyn in 1842.

The beginning of the Civil War brought a remarkable increase in sales to the Eagle. The continuation of the War created tension between the paper and the Union, as the  Eagle was outspoken in its support of the Confederate states. The paper fought for its right to freedom of speech during a grand jury inquiry, avoiding an indictment, but the postmaster general banned the  Eagle from the mail for the remainder of the conflict.

The Eagle's vehement fostering of a purely Brooklyn community identity was on full display in 1898, when Brooklyn consolidated with New York and became one of five boroughs encompassing New York City. During this time, the  Eagle was not shy in expressing its view that Brooklyn should remain an independent city, and years later the paper published a study on Brooklyn's relationship with New York, again recommending secession from the greater metropolitan area.

Thomas Kinsella was responsible for a number of technological advances at the Eagle during his tenure as editor. These improvements made the paper very competitive. The end of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century were a time of steady growth for the paper, whose reputation spread to the entire English-speaking world. The  Eagle had foreign offices in Paris and London.

Beginning with the Depression in 1929 and throughout the 1930s, the Eagle experienced a slow decline in circulation, caused in part by the consequences of the Depression itself and some unwise investments and technological changes that crippled the paper's finances. Finally, with the birth of the American Newspaper Guild in 1933, the subsequent Guild unit at the  Eagle became an active adversary in labor negotiations. The first Guild strike was in 1937, during which the  Eagle was able to continue publishing. The strike did significantly damage the paper's finances, however, and the paper was subsequently put up for sale at a bankruptcy auction. Guild activity was quiescent during World War II but resumed at the end of the War.

Frank D. Schroth had purchased the Eagle in 1938 and became its last publisher. Schroth gave the paper a more modern imprint and injected renewed vigor into the community sentiment that the  Eagle was famous for fostering. Schroth brought his sons into the company, assigning the post of Assistant Publisher to Frank D. Schroth, Jr., and that of Managing Editor to Thomas N. Schroth. Under the management of the Schroth family, the  Eagle's circulation increased and advertising revenues were strong for several years.

Nevertheless, labor disputes continued to flare up, the Guild's position being that if management wanted the Eagle to compete with the major New York papers, it must pay equivalent salaries as well. The situation came to a head in early 1955 when the Guild called a strike on January 28. While the  Eagle had been able to continue publishing during the strike of 1937 because the mechanics and printers had reported to work in spite of the picket line, this time things were different: no one crossed the line, and for the first time in 114 years the  Eagle was unable to publish. The strike lasted 47 days, and Frank Schroth was ultimately forced to shut down the paper. In spite of a vehement campaign in the press and petitions from the readers bemoaning the loss of "The Voice of Brooklyn," the  Eagle was permanently closed and its assets sold at public auction.

There were two attempts at reviving the paper in the early 1960s, and the 1970s witnessed the birth of several vital new local newspapers, including the Phoenix, the publication of which coincided with Brooklyn's brownstone revival and community invigoration. Dozier Hasty, owner and publisher of the  Brooklyn Heights Press, purchased the  Eagle's name and logo and began in 1996 to publish a new  Brooklyn Daily Eagle as a daily newspaper.

Sources:

  1. Schroth, R.A. The Eagle and Brooklyn: A Community Newspaper, 1841-1955. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974.

Biographical Note

Thomas N. Schroth (1920-2009) was one of Frank D. Schroth's four children. Tom, as his byline read, wrote extensively for the Eagle over the years. One of his popular columns was called "City Hall Slants," and commented on the activities in the municipal offices of Brooklyn. The bulk of this collection belongs to him, and is full of handwritten notes in his generous hand on all aspects of the management of the newspaper, from calculating wages to the rules of style in writing. After the closing of the  Eagle, Schroth headed the editorial staff of the political news provider  The Congretional Quarterly from 1955 to 1969, and later founded the  National Journal, a publication covering the U.S. Government's executive branch and policy making. He lived in Maine in his later life, where he was active in the Maine State Democratic Committee.

Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. (b. 1933) was Tom's first cousin and has had an illustrious career as a Jesuit priest, journalist, and teacher. He graduated from Fordham College in 1955 with a major in American Civilization and joined the Society of Jesus in 1957. He later earned his Ph.D. in American Thought and Culture from George Washington University, writing his dissertation on the Brooklyn Eagle and its relationship to the city of Brooklyn. He has published eight books, is the author of over 300 articles published in many major news publications, and has served on the faculty of several American colleges and universities. He is currently an Associate Editor at  America, a national Catholic weekly.

Sources:

  1. America Press Inc. "Raymond A. Schroth, S.J." Accessed September 10, 2010. http://www.americamagazine.org/content/staff.cfm?id=37
  2. Weber, Bruce, "Thomas N. Schroth, Influential Washington Editor, Is Dead at 88," New York Times, August 4, 2009. Accessed August 30, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/05/us/05schroth.html?scp=1&sq=thomas%20n.%20schroth&st=cse (accessed September 10, 2010).

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Scope and Contents

The Thomas N. Schroth and Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Brooklyn Eagle collection contains 5.25 linear feet of material spanning the years 1841 to 1976, though the bulk of the material dates between 1952 and 1955. The collection is housed in two record containers and two oversized boxes, and is arranged into three series:

  1. Thomas N. Schroth Brooklyn Eagle records, 1841-1971
  2. Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Eagle and Brooklyn papers, 1938-1976
  3. Photographs, circa 1840-1955

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Schroth, Frank D., 1884-1974
  • Schroth, Frank D., Jr.
  • Schroth, Raymond A.
  • Schroth, Thomas N., (Thomas Nolan), 1920-2009

Document Type

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Memorandums
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Scrapbooks

Subject Organizations

  • American Newspaper Guild.
  • American Society of Newspaper Editors.
  • Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Firm).

Subject Topics

  • American newspapers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • American newspapers -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x History
  • Labor disputes -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Newspaper employees -x Labor unions -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Newspaper employees -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Newspaper publishing -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs

Subject Uniform Title(s)

  • Brooklyn daily eagle
  • Brooklyn eagle (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use note

Reproduction rights for photographs have not been evaluated. Please consult library staff for more information.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Thomas N. Schroth and Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Brooklyn Eagle collection, ARC.093, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Related Materials

Related archival collections at the Brooklyn Historical Society:

  1. 1977.226, Brooklyn Eagle records, 1841-1955

The entire run of the Brooklyn Eagle from 1841 to 1902 has been digitized by the Brooklyn Public Library and is available for viewing at http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Skins/BEagle/Client.asp?Skin=BEagle.

All issues of the Brooklyn Eagle from the year 1907 are available on microfilm at the Othmer Library of the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Raymond A. Schroth's work, The Eagle and Brooklyn: A Community Newspaper, 1841-1955, is available in the main collection of the Othmer Library at the Brooklyn Historical Society, call number PN4899.N42 .B77 1974.

The finding aid for the Newspaper Guild collection (Accession Number 401) at the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI is available at http://www.reuther.wayne.edu/node/3200.

Other Finding Aids note

An earlier version of this finding aid, containing a complete container list, is available in paper form at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Item-level descriptions and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the image database in the library. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Thomas N. Schroth, presented by Father Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., 1989.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the series level.

The collection combines the accessions 1989.007 and V1989.026.

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Container List

Series 1: Thomas N. Schroth Brooklyn Eagle records, 1841-1971. 4.71 linear feet

Scope and Contents

This series is located in Record Cartons 1 and 2, as well as Oversize Boxes 3 and 4, and contains the papers and records of Thomas N. Schroth, the last managing editor of the Brooklyn Eagle. The materials include scrapbooks, bound first and centennial issues, and  Eagle publications such as pamphlets and booklets. The bulk of this series is comprised of materials documenting the protracted labor struggle between newspaper management and the  Eagle unit of the Newspaper Guild during the years 1952 to 1955, consisting mainly of correspondence, internal memos, clippings, Newspaper Guild publications, Guild meeting bulletins, and union contracts. The condition of the items in this series ranges from very poor (clippings and typescripts on poor quality paper) to good (the more recent materials and all correspondence on onionskin paper). Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by subject.

Series 2: Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. Eagle and Brooklyn papers, 1938-1976. 0.54 linear feet

Scope and Contents

This series is located in Record Carton 2 and is largely comprised of manuscript and typescript notes written by Raymond Schroth during the preparation of his Ph.D. dissertation at George Washington University, later edited and made into a book with the title The Eagle and Brooklyn. Other materials in these papers include clippings, correspondence, and some college papers.

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1840-1955. 0.08 linear feet

Scope and Contents

This series comprises the last folder of Record Carton 2 and three photographs in Oversize Box 4. Record Carton 2 contains approximately 50 photographic prints dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. From the dates provided on the versos of some prints, it is estimated that the majority of the photographs were taken during the time period circa 1840 to 1955. Photographs in Record Carton 2 show members of the Schroth family in their capacities as leaders of Brooklyn Eagle operations; a number of other influential individuals in the  Eagle's history, including  Eagle founder Henry Cruse Murphy, Colonel William Hester, St. Clair McKelway, Walt Whitman, H.V. Kaltenborn, Cleveland Rodgers, Bob Grannis, I. Kaufman, M. Preston, and Brooklyn Democratic Party Boss Hugh McLaughlin; air and ground methods of  Eagle delivery; interiors and exteriors of   Eagle office buildings; and images of articles from the  Eagle and other ephemera that demonstrate the prominence of the  Eagle in the local Brooklyn community. Though these prints were donated by Thomas N. Schroth with all other materials in the collection, the versos of several prints attest that they originate from the Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Picture Collection. The three photographs in Oversize Box 4 consist of a group picture of the Schroth family, a portrait of Frank D. Schroth, and a view of the New York City skyline. The dates for these latter three photographs are unknown.

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