Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951

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William Randolph Hearst Sr. (April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician known for developing the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications. His flamboyant methods of yellow journalism influenced the nation's popular media by emphasizing sensationalism and human interest stories. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 with Mitchell Trubitt after being given control of The San Francisco Examiner by his wealthy father, Senator George Hearst.

Moving to New York City, Hearst acquired the New York Journal and fought a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Hearst sold papers by printing giant headlines over lurid stories featuring crime, corruption, sex, and innuendo. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world. Hearst controlled the editorial positions and coverage of political news in all his papers and magazines, and thereby often published his personal views. He sensationalized Spanish atrocities in Cuba while calling for war in 1898 against Spain. Historians, however, reject his subsequent claims to have started the war with Spain as overly extravagant.

He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for President of the United States in 1904, Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, and for Governor of New York in 1906. During his political career, he espoused views generally associated with the left wing of the Progressive Movement, claiming to speak on behalf of the working class.

After 1918 and the end of World War I, Hearst gradually began adopting more conservative views and started promoting an isolationist foreign policy to avoid any more entanglement in what he regarded as corrupt European affairs. He was at once a militant nationalist, a fierce anti-communist after the Russian Revolution, and deeply suspicious of the League of Nations and of the British, French, Japanese, and Russians. He was a leading supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932–34, but then broke with FDR and became his most prominent enemy on the right. Hearst's empire reached a peak circulation of 20 million readers a day in the mid-1930s. He was a bad manager of finances and so deeply in debt during the Great Depression that most of his assets had to be liquidated in the late 1930s. Hearst managed to keep his newspapers and magazines.

His life story was the main inspiration for Charles Foster Kane, the lead character in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane (1941). His Hearst Castle, constructed on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, has been preserved as a State Historical Monument and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Hearst died in Beverly Hills, California on August 14, 1951. He was interred in Cypress Lawn Cemetery in San Francisco, California.

Archival Resources
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creatorOf Willicombe, Joseph. Joseph Willicombe collection of William Randolph Hearst papers, circa 1900-circa 1945. UC Berkeley Libraries
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referencedIn Harry S. Truman Papers Pertaining to Family, Business and Personal Affairs, 1280 - 1975. Family Correspondence Files, 1910 - 1964. Correspondence from Harry S. Truman to Bess Wallace Truman, 1921-1959: March 24, 1950. Letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess W. Truman, 3/24/1950. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn Records of the Army Staff, 1903 - 2009. Official Military Personnel Files, 1912 - 1998. Official Military Personnel File for William R. Hearst. National Archives at St. Louis
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: June 1, 4, 5, 7, and 13, 1945. Typed Note of President Harry S. Truman, 6/1945. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: Undated, ca. 1952 [5 of 11]. Longhand Notes of President Harry S. Truman, ca. 1952. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: August 21, 1952. Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, 8/21/1952. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: January 3, 1952. Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, 1/3/1952. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Historical Films. 1914 - 1936. HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS (CIVIL)--1918 National Archives at College Park
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: January 18, 1952. Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, 1/18/1952. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: February 5, 1952. Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, 2/5/1952. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: March 5, 1950. Unsent Letter from President Harry S. Truman to Frank Kent, 3/5/1950. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: September 2, 1951. Unsent Draft Letter from President Harry S. Truman to Frank Kent, 9/2/1951. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn President's Secretary's Files (Truman Administration), 1945 - 1960. Longhand Notes Files, 1945 - 1953. Longhand Notes - Presidential, 1944 - 1953: April 3, 1952. Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, 4/3/1952. Harry S. Truman Library
referencedIn Harry S. Truman Papers Pertaining to Family, Business and Personal Affairs, 1280 - 1975. Family Correspondence Files, 1910 - 1964. Correspondence from Harry S. Truman to Mary Jane Truman, 1945-1948: April 8, 1948. Letter from Harry S. Truman to Mary Jane Truman, 4/8/1948. Harry S. Truman Library
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associatedWith A. J. (Abbott Joseph) Liebling, 1904-1963. person
associatedWith American Defense Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American Medical Association. Dept. of Investigation. corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Art Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. person
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associatedWith Benignus, William, 1861- person
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correspondedWith Boutelle, Sara Holmes. person
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associatedWith Brisbane family. family
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associatedWith Cieply, Michael, 1951- person
associatedWith Clark, Edward Hardy, 1896- person
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associatedWith Cohalan, Daniel [Florence?], 1867- person
correspondedWith Colby, Bainbridge, 1869-1950. person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Cosmopolitan Productions. corporateBody
associatedWith Costlow, John D., 1927- person
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correspondedWith Day, William R. (William Rufus), 1849-1923. person
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correspondedWith Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969 person
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associatedWith Frank E.(Frank Ernest), Gannett 1876-1957. person
associatedWith Friends of Hearst Castle. corporateBody
associatedWith Gannett, Frank E. (Frank Ernest), 1876-1957. person
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correspondedWith Gervasi, Frank, 1908-1990. person
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associatedWith Greater New York Silver Jubilee (1923). corporateBody
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associatedWith Hearst Castle (Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Hearst Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Hearst family family
associatedWith Hearst family. family
associatedWith Hearst, George, 1820-1891. person
associatedWith Hearst, George Randolph. person
associatedWith Hearst, Millicent Willson. person
associatedWith Hearst, Phoebe Apperson, 1842-1919 person
associatedWith Hearst, William Randolph, 1908-1993. person
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associatedWith Kent, Frank R. (Frank Richardson), 1877-1958 person
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associatedWith Morgan, Angela, 1874-1957 person
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correspondedWith Morgan, Julia, 1872-1957. person
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associatedWith Swanberg, W. A., 1907- person
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associatedWith Tammany Hall. corporateBody
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correspondedWith Trinkkeller, Edward G. (Edward Gustaf), 1872-1945. person
associatedWith Truman, Bess Wallace, 1885-1982 person
associatedWith Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 person
associatedWith Truman, Mary Jane, 1889-1978 person
associatedWith Tufts, James. person
memberOf United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Journalism. corporateBody
associatedWith Urban, Joseph, 1872-1933. person
associatedWith Vega, Lope de, 1562-1635. person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Wallace, Lew, 1827-1905. person
associatedWith Watson, Thomas E. (Thomas Edward), 1856-1922. person
associatedWith Watterson, Henry, 1840-1921. person
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associatedWith Whitmire family. person
associatedWith Williams, John Skelton, 1865-1926. person
associatedWith Willicombe, Joseph. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
San Francisco CA US
Beverly Hills CA US
Subject
Art--Private collections
Antiques--Private collections
Publishers and publishing--History
Newspaper publishing--History
Congressmen
Journalistic ethics
Private libraries
Newspapers--Ownership
Occupation
Politicians
Businessmen
Congressman
Newspaper proprietors
Collector
Newspaper Publisher
Activity

Person

Birth 1863-04-29

Death 1951-08-14

Male

Americans

English

Information

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