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Herbert Bayard Swope

Herbert Bayard Swope

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Herbert Bayard Swope, the son of German immigrants Ida Cohn and Isaac Swope, was born in St. Louis, Missouri on 5th January, 1882. Swope became a reporter with the New York World. During the First World War a series of articles entitled "Inside the German Empire" won him the Pulitizer Prize for reporting. A book of these articles, German Empire: In the Third Year of the War, was published in 1917.

Richard O'Connor has argued that not since Richard Harding Davis had any newspaperman possessed the quality of Swope: "Not since the salad days of Richard Harding Davis had any newspaperman possessed the persuasive quality of Herbert Bayard Swope. Red-haired, with a prowlike jaw and a jaunty, well-tailored figure, a man of cyclonic energies, he had battled his way up through the reportorial ranks to the city desk, had imposed a field marshal's presence on World War I as something more than a correspondent and less than a plenipotentiary, and had published the first account of the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations covenant." Swope was willing to tackle controversial subjects. He once said that: "I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time." He told his friend, Heywood Broun: "What I try to do in my paper is to give the public part of what it wants and part of what it ought to have whether it wants it or not."

After the war Swope was appointed editor of the newspaper, New York World. Swope later recalled: "The secret of a successful newspaper is to take one story each day and bang the hell out of it. Give the public what it wants to have and part of what it ought to have whether it wants it or not." He added: "I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure - which is: Try to please everybody."

Swope recruited a significant number of columnists, most of them on a three-times-a-week basis. This included Alexander Woollcott, Heywood Broun, William Bolitho, Franklin Pierce Adams, Clare Sheridan, Deems Taylor, Samuel Chotzinoff, Laurence Stallings, Harry Hansen and St. John Greer Ervine. Swope's biographer, Ely Jacques Kahn, has argued: "Its contributors were encouraged by Swope, who never wrote a line for it himself, to say whatever they liked, restricted only by the laws of libel and the dictates of taste. To keep their stuff from sounding stale, moreover, he refused to build up a bank of ready-to-print columns; everybody wrote his copy for the following day's paper."

In 1920 the young journalist, Briton Hadden, wanted to work under Swope. Hadden marched into Swope's office unannounced. Swope yelled: "Who are you." He replied: "My name is Briton Hadden, and I want a job." When the editor told him to get out, he commented: "Mr. Swope, you're interfering with my destiny." Intrigued, Swope asked Hadden what his destiny entailed. He then gave him a detailed account of his plans to publish a news magazine but first he felt he had to learn his craft under Swope. Impressed by his answer, Swope gave him a job on his newspaper. Hadden's reports soon became appearing on the front page. Swope liked Hadden's conservational style of writing and began giving him the top stories to cover. One of his fellow reporters suggested that Hadden had an "intelligent brain, with baby thoughts". Swope also invited him to his house for dinner and became attending his legendry parties, where he met the writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who later used these experiences for his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby (1925).

Stanley Walker, the city editor of the New York Herald Tribune, wrote: "He (Swope) is as easy to ignore as a cyclone. His gift of gab is a torrential and terrifying thing. He is probably the most charming extrovert in the western world. His brain is crammed with a million oddments of information, and only a dolt would make a bet with him on an issue concerning facts... In the days when he was a dynamic practicing journalist in New York, many other newspapermen were distinguished by their gall and brass, but the man who stood out among his fellows... was Herbert Bayard Swope." Swope told his journalists: "Don't forget that the only two things people read in a story are the first and last sentences. Give them blood in the eye on the first one."

Clare Sheridan found Swope a stimulating companion. She told her friend, Maxine Elliott. "I asked him, when I was able to get a word in edgeways, how he managed to revitalize, he seemed to me to expend so much energy. He said he got it back from me, from everyone, that what he gives out he gets back; it is a sort of circle. He was so vibrant that I found my heart thumping with excitement, as though I had drunk champagne, which I hadn't! He talks a lot, but talks well; is never dull."

The actress, Helen Hayes, agreed: "Never have I heard a man talk so much and say-so much." The writer Abe Burrows, added: "He never wobbled. If he told you a fact or a piece of political information, he said it as though it were about to be carved in granite. I can't think of anyone who would question or doubt anything Swope had to say while he was saving it, or for at least an hour after he had said it. After a while you might disagree with what he had said or find some other flaw in his logic. But while he was talking to you his impact was overwhelming."

In October 1921 Swope started a 21-day crusade against the Ku Klux Klan in October 1921 which won the newspaper the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1922. It has been claimed that this was one of the most important examples of investigative journalism in American history. The KKK activities continued and in 1924, Swope's star columnist, Heywood Broun, took up the attack and denounced the KKK as a cowardly and un-American organization. On 4th July, Broun found a burning cross outside his home in Connecticut, but he refused to stop writing about this issue. Broun wrote: "We must bring ourselves to realize that it is necessary to support free speech for the things we hate in order to ensure it for the things in which we believe with all our heart."

In 1927 Ralph Pulitzer came into conflict with Heywood Broun, one of his main columnists. For several years Broun had campaigned for the release of Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco after they were convicted for murdering Frederick Parmenter and Alessandro Berardelli during a robbery. In 1927 Governor Alvan T. Fuller appointed a three-member panel of Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell, the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Samuel W. Stratton, and the novelist, Robert Grant to conduct a complete review of the case and determine if the trials were fair. The committee reported that no new trial was called for and based on that assessment Governor Fuller refused to delay their executions or grant clemency. It now became clear that Sacco and Vanzetti would be executed.

Broun was furious and on 5th August he wrote in New York World: "Alvan T. Fuller never had any intention in all his investigation but to put a new and higher polish upon the proceedings. The justice of the business was not his concern. He hoped to make it respectable. He called old men from high places to stand behind his chair so that he might seem to speak with all the authority of a high priest or a Pilate. What more can these immigrants from Italy expect? It is not every prisoner who has a President of Harvard University throw on the switch for him. And Robert Grant is not only a former Judge but one of the most popular dinner guests in Boston. If this is a lynching, at least the fish peddler and his friend the factory hand may take unction to their souls that they will die at the hands of men in dinner coats or academic gowns, according to the conventionalities required by the hour of execution."

The following day Broun returned to the attack. He argued that Governor Alvan T. Fuller had vindicated Judge Webster Thayer "of prejudice wholly upon the testimony of the record". Broun had pointed out that Fuller had "overlooked entirely the large amount of testimony from reliable witnesses that the Judge spoke bitterly of the prisoners while the trial was on." Broun added: "It is just as important to consider Thayer's mood during the proceedings as to look over the words which he uttered. Since the denial of the last appeal, Thayer has been most reticent, and has declared that it is his practice never to make public statements concerning any judicial matters which come before him. Possibly he never did make public statements, but certainly there is a mass of testimony from unimpeachable persons that he was not so careful in locker rooms and trains and club lounges."

However, it was his comments on Abbott Lawrence Lowell that caused the most controversy: "From now on, I want to know, will the institution of learning in Cambridge which once we called Harvard be known as Hangman's House?" The New York Times complained in an editorial that Broun's "educated sneer at the President of Harvard for having undertaken a great civic duty shows better than an explosion the wild and irresponsible spirit which is abroad".

Herbert Bayard Swope was on holiday and Ralph Pulitzer decided to stop Heywood Broun writing about the case after a board meeting on 11th August. As Richard O'Connor, the author of Heywood Broun: A Biography (1975) has pointed out: "The editorial board's decision certainly was defensible if one takes into account the climate of the twenties... The country was acutely aware of what some newspapers termed the Red Menace, now that all hope that the Bolshevik dictatorship in Moscow might crumble or be overthrown had vanished."

On 12th August 1927 Pulitzer published a statement in the newspaper: "The New York World has always believed in allowing the fullest possible expression of individual opinion to those of its special writers who write under their own names. Straining its interpretation of this privilege, the New York World allowed Mr. Heywood Brown to write two articles on the Sacco-Vanzetti case, in which he expressed his personal opinion with the utmost extravagance. The New York World then instructed him, now that he had made his own position clear, to select other subjects for his next articles. Mr. Broun, however, continued to write on the Sacco-Vanzetti case. The New York World, thereupon, exercising its right of final decision as to what it will publish in its columns, has omitted all articles submitted by Mr. Broun."

Heywood Broun was not willing to be censored and asked for his contract to be terminated. Pulitzer refused and reminded him that his contract contained a passage that meant he could not work for any other newspaper for the next three years. Broun now went on strike. On the 27th August, 1927, Pulitzer wrote: "Mr. Broun's temperately reasoned argument does not alter the basic fact that it is the function of a writer to write and the function of an editor to edit. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I publish Mr. Broun's articles with pleasure and read them with delight; but the hundredth time is altogether different. Then something arises like the Sacco-Vanzetti case. Here Mr. Broun's unmeasured invective against Gov. Fuller and his committee seemed to the New York World to be inflammatory, and to encourage those revolutionists who care nothing for the fate of Sacco and Vanzetti, nor for the vindication of justice, but are using this case as a vehicle of their propaganda. The New York World, for these reasons, judged Mr. Broun's writings on the case to be disastrous to the attempt, in which the New York World was engaged, of trying to save the two condemned men from the electric chair. The New York World could not conscientiously accept the responsibility for continuing to publish such articles... The New York World still considers Mr. Broun a brilliant member of its staff, albeit taking a witch's Sabbatical. It will regard it as a pleasure to print future contributions from him. But it will never abdicate its right to edit them."

Broun was not allowed to write for a newspaper Oswald Garrison Villard to write a weekly page of comment and opinion for The Nation. While he was away the circulation of the New York World dropped dramatically. Samuel Hopkins Adams blamed the crisis on the inexperienced Ralph Pulitzer: "Joseph Pulitzer had made a disastrous will, taking control of the paper from two sons (Joseph II and Herbert) who were able and devoted journalists, and vested it in the cadet of the family, an amiable playboy."

Herbert Bayard Swope managed to persuade Broun to return and his first column was on 2nd January 1928. The dispute changed the image of the New York World. As Ely Jacques Kahn, the author of The World of Swope (1965) pointed out: "the shining integrity of the op ed page seemed to have been irreparably, if not fatally, tarnished" by the temporary silencing of Broun and the suspicion would linger that the columnists weren't absolutely free to speak their minds.

Heywood Broun was a strong supporter of birth-control. These views were not shared by Ralph Pulitzer who was frightened by the power of the Roman Catholic Church in New York City. Fearing that he would be censored, Broun wrote an article about the subject in The Nation. He argued: "In the mind of the New York World there is something dirty about birth control. In a quiet way the paper may even approve of the movement, but it is not the sort of thing one likes to talk about in print... There is not a single New York editor who does not live in mortal terror of the power of this group (Roman Catholic Church). It is not a case of numbers but of organization."

Pulitzer was furious with Broun for exposing the censorship concerning the discussion of birth-control and on 3rd May, 1928, Broun's column was missing from the New York World. Instead it included the following statement: "The New York World has decided to dispense with the services of Heywood Broun. His disloyalty to this newspaper makes any further association impossible."

Swope bought a home in Sands Point on the North Shore of Long Island. He loved entertaining friends such as Neysa McMein, Jack Baragwanath, Alice Duer Miller, Alexander Woollcott, Ruth Hale, Jane Grant, Charles MacArthur, Marc Connelly, George S. Kaufman, Beatrice Kaufman , Donald Ogden Stewart, Averell Harriman, Harpo Marx, Howard Dietz, George Abbott, George Gershwin, Ethel Barrymore and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Abbott claimed that Nesya was "the greatest party giver who ever lived". He also added that they played a game called Corks, a simplified version of strip poker.

Ely Jacques Kahn, the author of The World of Swope (1965) has pointed out that Herbert Bayard Swope played croquet with his friends, Miller, McMein, Woollcott, Kaufman, MacArthur, Harriman, Marx and Dietz, on his garden lawn: "The croquet he played was a far cry from the juvenile garden variety, or back-lawn variety. In Swope's view, his kind of croquet combined, as he once put it, the thrills of tennis, the problems of golf, and the finesse of bridge. He added that the game attracted him because it was both vicious and benign." According to Kahn it was McMein who first suggested: "Let's play without any bounds at all." This enabled Swope to say: "It makes you want to cheat and kill... The game gives release to all the evil in you." Woollcott believed that McMein was the best player but Miller "brings to the game a certain low cunning."

Brian Gallagher, the author of Anything Goes: The Jazz Age of Neysa McMein and her Extravagant Circle of Friends (1987), claims that Swope became very close to the artist, Neysa McMein, and her husband, Jack Baragwanath, who also lived in Sands Point: "North Shore social life, even for persons as accustomed to associating with the famous and rich as Neysa and Jack were, could be rather fantastic - probably never more so, on a regular basis, than at Herbert Swope's mansion. If Neysa was more famous than rich, and people like the Whitneys were more rich than famous, Herbert Bayard Swope was both in equal, and very full, measure. His enormous, lavish parties, with their variegated lists of guests, were a great magnification of the lively entertaining Neysa and Jack did at Sands Point: everyone eventually came to Swope's, and usually had a very good time there.... Neysa, for the most part, shared in the general sentiment that Swope, in some mysterious way, embodied a sort of ancient nobility, even as he played his part as master of the modern revels. But she also found one of Swope's habits - his chronic, cavalier tardiness - infuriating. With his unbounded energy and nearly unbounded egotism, the powerful and influential Swope simply held to his own expansive daily schedule and could be quite oblivious to the hours his more regular friends kept... When Swope and his wife showed up a full two hours late for a dinner at Sands Point and the meal was ruined, their hostess made the best of the following few hours, but quite firmly told the Swopes as they were leaving that she would never invite them to dinner again. Apparently, she never did, although she continued to see the Swopes as part of her North Shore rounds."

Herbert Bayard Swope died on 20th June, 1958.

Not since the salad days of Richard Harding Davis had any newspaperman possessed the persuasive quality of Herbert Bayard Swope. Red-haired, with a prowlike jaw and a jaunty, well-tailored figure, a man of cyclonic energies, he had battled his way up through the reportorial ranks to the city desk, had imposed a field marshal's presence on World War I as something more than a correspondent and less than a plenipotentiary, and had published the first account of the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations covenant.

He (Swope) is as easy to ignore as a cyclone. was Herbert Bayard Swope.

He met all the big men of that momentous time, and he met them as an equal. He played golf with Lord Northcliffe. He captivated Queen Marie of Rumania. He put his hand to limericks to please President Wilson. This, then was history, and Herbert Bayard Swope was in the middle of it, helping make it.

At times it (New York World) was flat and at other times excessive cute, but for a daily commodity it was consistently good. And it was fresh in both senses of the word. Its contributors were encouraged by Swope, who never wrote a line for it himself, to say whatever they liked, restricted only by the laws of libel and the dictates of taste. To keep their stuff from sounding stale, moreover, he refused to build up a bank of ready-to-print columns; everybody wrote his copy for the following day's paper.

North Shore social life, even for persons as accustomed to associating with the famous and rich as Neysa and Jack were, could be rather fantastic - probably never more so, on a regular basis, than at Herbert Swope's mansion. His enormous, lavish parties, with their variegated lists of guests, were a great magnification of the lively entertaining Neysa and Jack did at Sands Point: everyone eventually came to Swope's, and usually had a very good time there. At one of these gatherings, Neysa was standing in a group when one member, seeing their tall, red-haired host stride majestically through his "Swope-filled room," remarked in admiration, "He has the face of some old emperor." To which FPA could not resist adding, "And I have the face of an old Greek coin," an over-assessment which Neysa immediately, and quite accurately, amended to "You have the face of an old Greek waiter."

Neysa, for the most part, shared in the general sentiment that Swope, in some mysterious way, embodied a sort of ancient nobility, even as he played his part as master of the modern revels. With his unbounded energy and nearly unbounded egotism, the powerful and influential Swope simply held to his own expansive daily schedule and could be quite oblivious to the hours his more regular friends kept. He once called George Kaufman at ten o'clock in the evening to ask what the playwright was doing about dinner and received the reply he probably deserved, namely, "digesting it." When Swope and his wife showed up a full two hours late for a dinner at Sands Point and the meal was ruined, their hostess made the best of the following few hours, but quite firmly told the Swopes as they were leaving that she would never invite them to dinner again. Apparently, she never did, although she continued to see the Swopes as part of her North Shore rounds.

Of course, in a practical social sense, Neysa could not have completely cut off someone as powerful on the North Shore scene as the editor of the New York World. Besides, Herbert Bayard Swope was probably the leading figure of an inner circle of North Shore croquet devotees among whom Neysa counted herself. Swope's estate, in fact, boasted one of the finest, and probably the most often used, croquet grounds in the area. To the extent that this prime area of the North Shore was its own little nation in summer, croquet was the national game-and virtually everyone had either to be a player or a fan. Since Neysa greatly preferred to play in the sun rather than sit in the shade watching and drinking, it was necessary, in some measure, to stay on Swope's good side, for he dominated the arrangement and progress of the matches as surely, and by the same means, as he dominated many another thing: through the sheer force of his personality.

Swope, Herbert Bayard

Swope, Herbert Bayard ( 05 January 1882–20 June 1958 ), journalist and public relations consultant , was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Isaac Swope, a watchcase manufacturer, and Ida Cohn. He graduated from Central High School in St. Louis in 1898 and briefly attended lectures at the University of Berlin the following year. His father’s death in 1899 made it necessary for Swope to work.

Attracted to journalism, Swope became a political reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1899. After a brief stint with the Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1901, he was hired by the New York Herald. He remained there until 1907—except to tour as press agent with a theater company in 1903 and to recover from tuberculosis in 1905. Unemployed for the next two years, Swope found work as a reporter for the Pulitzer-owned New York World in 1909.

In 1911 Swope covered his first major news story, the Rosenthal-Rose-Becker scandal. Charles Becker, a corrupt police lieutenant, first befriended and then harassed a criminal, Herman Rosenthal. When Rosenthal threatened to reciprocate by making revelations about police corruption, Becker hired Jack Rose to arrange his enemy’s murder. Within hours of Rosenthal’s death, the World printed Swope’s account of the killing and Rosenthal’s accusations. Swope followed this coup by obtaining and printing the first copy of Rose’s confession. This story was central in establishing Swope’s reputation as a self-assured, enterprising reporter. He also was recognized for reporting a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company that resulted in more than 150 deaths in 1911 and for his account of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. That same year he married Margaret Honeyman Powell they had two children.

Swopes’s reputation grew, and he was appointed city editor of the World in 1915. Distracted from managing local news by the war in Europe, Swope was designated special staff observer by the World and assigned to Germany. He summarized his impressions in a series of fourteen nationally syndicated installments, which was reprinted as Inside the German Empire shortly before the United States entered World War I in 1917. That same year, Swope’s efforts were rewarded with the first Pulitzer Prize for reporting.

Because of his journalistic work and his partisan efforts to promote Woodrow Wilson ’s reelection, Swope had access to the highest circles of national political power. In 1918 he left his daily duties at the World to accept a position as assistant to Bernard Baruch on the War Industries Board, which controlled the national economy. The two men formed a bond of mutual support that lasted until Swope’s death.

At the war’s end Swope was part of a team from the World sent to Europe to cover the Peace Conference. He was elected head of the U.S. Press Delegation to the Peace Conference and used his considerable political influence to improve press access to information. The reporter obtained an advance copy of the League of Nations covenant, which the World was the first to print.

In 1920 Swope became executive editor of the World, and the paper reflected the flamboyance of its chief as it engaged in crusades and investigations. Swope’s most influential change was his creation of the “Op. Ed.” page. As he explained it, “Nothing is more interesting than opinion when opinion is interesting, so I devised a method of cleaning off the page opposite the editorial, which became the most important in America” (quoted in Lewis, p. 83). Contributors included Heywood Broun , Franklin P. Adams , Laurence Stallings , Alexander Woollcott , George Kaufman , Marc Connelly , E. B. White , Edna Ferber , Ring Lardner , John O’Hara , and Dorothy Parker .

Using the World to launch an intense campaign, Swope brought the 1924 Democratic party convention to New York City. He also was awarded an honorary degree by Hobart College that year, and in 1926 he received another from Colgate University. Despite these personal successes, Swope grew dissatisfied with Herbert Pulitzer’s expanding role in the management of the World. At the end of 1928 Swope resigned from the newspaper and did not work as a journalist again.

A multimillionaire from his stock trading, Swope lost heavily in the market crash of 1929 but avoided financial ruin and maintained his extravagant style of living. In 1929 he joined the board of directors of Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO), the movie company. He made a serious but unsuccessful attempt to acquire the World when the Pulitzers sold it in 1931. From 1931 to 1937 Swope held his only elected office, that of trustee for the village of Sands Point, New York.

For the rest of his life Swope was known primarily as a social celebrity, though he had significant political appointments and was an important public relations consultant. He was named to the New York Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the New York Executive Council for the National Recovery Act, and the New York Park Commission. Franklin Roosevelt sent Swope to help troubleshoot at the International Monetary and Economic Conference in London in 1933. Swope was made chairman of the New York Racing Commission in 1934 and in 1942 was part-time civilian consultant to the secretary of war. Baruch appointed Swope his assistant on the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission in 1946 Swope may have originated the term “cold war” in a speech he wrote for Baruch that year. In 1947 General Dwight D. Eisenhower awarded him the Medal for Merit.

As a public relations consultant, Swope worked for Schenley Industries, Alcoa, Standard Oil, 20th Century–Fox, RCA, NBC, CBS, the Roosevelt and Yonkers raceways, and for textile magnate Israel Rogosin. He donated his talents to such organizations as Overseas News Agency, Freedom House, and the Turf Committee of America. Swope died in New York City.

Extroverted, gregarious, self-assured, egocentric, generous, and chronically late, Swope was the prototype of the brash reporter. Stamping his personality on the World, he was a forceful and innovative editor. Swope knew many important people and used his extensive connections as a public relations man. David Sarnoff —Swope’s employer as head of RCA and NBC—said, “Swope had enough initiative and enough brass so that if you wanted to meet God, he’d arrange it somehow” (quoted in Kahn, p. 26).

Press, Politics and Poker – Herbert Bayard Swope

He was a major player on the American landscape during the first half of the 20th Century. He ran with the powerful, the rich, the famous, and the notorious. He knew everyone who was anyone – and everybody knew Herbert Bayard Swope.

Swope was born in 1882 and grew up in New York City. He found his friends among the pool players, horse bettors, and gambling halls of Big City America. His first job was cashier at a race track.
When he got a job as a newspaper reporter, young Swope had found his calling. He reveled in the fast paced, get it first and get it right journalism characteristic of the intensely competitive newspaper business. He would be center stage and the leading actor during the Golden Age of Newspapers. In an era when newspapermen became national celebrities, Herbert Swope was a Super Star.

Intensely competitive, creative and aggressive, Swope made a name for himself as a reporter who always found a way to get the inside story. One of his legendary successes came at the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty ending WWI.

Only a few reporters selected by lottery were chosen to cover the story and they were not permitted on the premises where the dignitaries met. Although not selected, Swope wouldn’t be denied. Along with the other dignitaries, Swope arrived in a black limousine. Dressed in diplomatic striped pants, spats, top hat and tails, he was ushered in with the other heads of state and reported the only first hand account of the ceremonies.

Swope spent much of his career at the New York World, the city’s foremost newspaper up to WW II. As a reporter and later editor, he earned several Pulitzer Prizes, the highest honor in journalism.

He became wealthy largely through investment advice from the barons of business and captains of industry who were his friends and often his gambling buddies. As newspaper man or gambler, Herbert Swope had a passion for action.

He got fired from one newspaper as a young reporter because he got in a crap game with two dollars and didn’t return to work for days. When he finally left the game, he’d won over $6,000!

As he grew wealthy, his gambling grew too. A poker player, he found himself playing for serious money with friends like oil magnate Harry Sinclair or movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. A careful record keeper, Swope’s notes reveal that for the year 1922 he was in the black $186,758. Considering Goldwyn lost over $300,000 in two nights, Swope’s win was modest.

The biggest poker game Swope ever played in was in Palm Beach in 1923. A four man game, it included Joshua Cosden, oil baron, Florenz Ziegfield, of Follies fame, steel man J. Leonard Replogle, and Swope.

In order not to be disturbed, the game was held in Cosden’s personal railroad car and lasted two days. When it was over, Cosden had lost $443,100, Ziegfield was out $294,300, Replogle won $267,100 and Swope, the big winner, walked away with $470,300.

He loved horse races, won and lost thousands of dollars at the track. Late in life Swope was appointed to the New York Racing Commission. He did much to clean up the sport and was an early proponent of off-track betting.

Once, when he was depressed over a long losing streak at the track, Swope considered cutting back. His wife, best friend and playmate, Margaret understood that for Swope it was the thrill of the high stakes more than the winning which attracted him. Exasperated, she declared, “For God’s sake Herb, if you’re going to bet, bet big. I don’t care if we end up in the gutter. I can’t stand the thought of you placing a $5 bet! Not you.”

In addition to playing poker and betting horses, Swope’s other great passion was croquet. Of course, the game he and friends played was not the common backyard variety. It was combat croquet.

Swope was crazy for croquet for the same reason he loved poker, “The game gives release to all the evil in you,” he once explained, “It makes you want to cheat and kill… it’s a good game.”

Swope had his Long Island estate landscaped to include one of the best courses in the country, complete with obstacles, sand traps and lighting for night games. They played with no boundaries everything outside the course was considered the rough. The mallets were made of white ash and carefully balanced.

One of Swope’s regulars, Harpo Marx, took the game so seriously he built a climate-controlled room in his house just for his mallets. Movie mogul Darryl F. Zanuck was known as “the terrible tempered Mr. Bang” for his style of play. Although betting was always part of any competition, Swope limited himself to $1,000 a croquet game so the money wouldn’t be enough to get in the way of the fun.

Herbert Bayard Swope died in 1958. A confidante to every President from Woodrow Wilson to Harry Truman, he was a friend of all the leading figures of his era, industrialists, movie stars, artists, and literary figures men of means and men of minds.

With his passing, America lost a great newspaper man and a legendary gambler. Near the end, looking back on his life of gambling, he concluded, “I think I’ve just about broken even. But I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun doing it.”


Herbert Bayard Swope Sr. (January 5, 1882 - June 20, 1958) was a U.S. editor, journalist and intimate of the Algonquin Round Table. Swope spent most of his career at the New York World newspaper. He was the first and three time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting. Swope was called the greatest reporter of his time by Lord Northcliffe of the London Daily Mail.

Herbert Bayard (pronounced "by-ard") Swope was born 5 January 1882 in St. Louis, Missouri to German immigrants Ida Cohn and Isaac Swope, a watchcase maker. He was the youngest of four children – the younger brother of businessman and General Electric president Gerard Swope. As a child, Swope was a loner.

Swope was the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting in 1917 for a series of articles that year entitled "Inside the German Empire" The articles formed the basis for a book released in 1917 entitled Inside the German Empire: In the Third Year of the War, which he wrote with James W. Gerard.

He is known for saying, "I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time." He is also credited with coining the phrase "Cold War".

He was the first newspaperman to employ the "op-ed" concept of opinion pieces printed opposite the editorial page.

Although standard editorial pages have been printed by newspapers for many centuries, Swope established the first modern op-ed page in 1921. When he took over as editor in 1920, he realized that the page opposite the editorials, was "a catchall for book reviews, society boilerplate, and obituaries."

Swope served as the editor for New York World 's 21-day crusade against the Ku Klux Klan in October 1921, which won the newspaper the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1922. As an example of investigative journalism, it was ranked 81 out the top 100 journalism stories of the 20th century by New York University's journalism department.

He was a legendary poker player, at one point in his life winning over $470,000 in a game with an oil baron, steel magnate and entertainer. Swope was also a member of a social club, the precursor to the Algonquin Round Table known as the Thanatopsis Inside Straight and Pleasure Club. He was inducted into the Croquet Hall of Fame of the United States Croquet Association in 1979 and his son Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr. in 1981.

Chapter Five – The Wrong Man – Who Ordered the Murder of Gambler Herman Rosenthal and Why


Feeling like he was the odd man out, and being persecuted by the police, especially Lieut. Becker, Rosenthal decided to take his case directly to Mayor William J. Gaynor. A man of Gaynor’s exalted stature wouldn’t be caught dead in the same room with a weasel like Rosenthal, so Gaynor’s secretary told Rosenthal’s to take a hike – or something similar.

Rosenthal then figured, “If the Mayor won’t see me, I’ll go straight to Police Commissioner Waldo.”

This was not a very bright idea, since it was Waldo who had ordered Becker to raid Rosenthal’s joint in the first place. It was no surprise that Waldo also refused to see Rosenthal.

Two strikes against him and tired of whiffing, Rosenthal took another swing and wound up in the office of New York City District Attorney Charles S. Whitman, a confirmed alcoholic, who was often drunk on the job, and sometimes even in court. Despite his frequently inebriated condition, Whitman had ambitions to become Governor of New York State, which he accomplished in 1914. Presumably sober at the time of their meeting, Whitman gave the pudgy gambler an extended audience, where Rosenthal laid out his terrible tale concerning the conduct of Lieut. Becker towards Rosenthal.

However, after hearing Rosenthal’s account, Whitman told Rosenthal there was nothing he could do on Rosenthal’s word alone. Whitman said he would need corroboration from someone else someone who could verify Becker was indeed shaking down gambling halls.

“Find me another gambling-house owner who would squeal on Becker,” Whitman told Rosenthal. “Then I can pursue a case against him.”

Rosenthal knew getting corroborating evidence against Becker was impossible, since all the gambling-house owners, who were paying Becker and knew Rosenthal was paying Becker, hated Rosenthal more than they hated Becker. So Rosenthal played his final card, his ace in the hole. He decided to bring his story to the New York City press.

Enter New York World columnist Herbert Bayard Swope.

Swope was a tall, red-headed whirlwind, whose ambition matched that of Whitman’s a New York City District Attorney, who loved seeing his name in the newspapers, preferably on the front page. Swope and Whitman made a perfect team. The boozy Whitman made, and sometimes contrived headline news, and Swope reported Whitman’s achievements in his columns with a flourish. It was a win-win situation for both men.

After being shot down by Mayor Gaynor, Police Commissioner Waldo, and D.A. Whitman, Rosenthal asked around as to who might listen to his terrible tale of woe. With Big Tim Sullivan now in a mental institution and in no condition to help anyone, including himself, Rosenthal decided on Swope, who was known for throwing huge amounts of spit against the wall and hoping some of it stuck.

Knowing the ways of the Tenderloin, Swope bought Rosenthal’s story and he figured the best way to make Becker’s actions known publically was to have Rosenthal write up two lengthy affidavits (with Swope’s help of course), and run the affidavits verbatim in the Saturday and Sunday editions (July 14 and 15) of the New York World. And that’s what that two men did, which immediately thrust smoke out of Lieut. Charles Becker’s ears.

In the affidavits, Rosenthal said because Becker was his partner and had a piece of the joint, Becker had warned him about the impending the raid on the gambling house (Police Commissioner Waldo had insisted on the raid, Becker had told Rosenthal). In addition, since they were partners, Becker had the good grace to tip off Rosenthal in advance about the impending raid, so that Rosenthal could make himself scarce and not spend the night in the slammer. And, there was the also the little problem of the squad of policemen Rosenthal claimed were now basically living in Rosenthal’s house since the raid (the gambling house and Rosenthal’s home were in the same building).

Rosenthal whined to the New York Times, who picked up on the story after it had been released by the New York World, “I won’t stand for it! There are no other policemen living in other houses that I know of. My lawyer has advised me to throw them out. District Attorney Whitman has advised me to throw them out!”

According to Rose Keefe’s excellent book The Starker, Rosenthal went so far as to invite reporters to take a tour of his house. Unfortunately for Little Herman, when the press arrived, not a policeman was in sight.

Still, Herman persevered, and while Rosenthal gave the reporters the grand tour, his chubby wife Lillian whined to the press, “It’s very annoying, as I do want my home to myself. There they sit and read newspapers or books all day long, and night too. They smoke cigars and leave butts around. It’s very annoying. They’re better now, but we would like to lock them out, only we’re afraid they’d knock down the door.”

At this moment, on the afternoon of July 15, 1912, if Rosenthal had half-a-brain in his head, he would have known his life was in imminent danger. Rosenthal was an unlikable nobody Becker was a big-shot police lieutenant. And most importantly, Rosenthal had several fellow gamblers who would like nothing better than seeing Rosenthal six-feet under. One was the aforementioned Bridgey Webber, and another was a contemptuous, toadyish, vile-looking individual named Bald Jack Rose.

We’ll get to Bald Jack Rose later.

With the New York City newspapers heavy on the case, Whitman heeded Swope’s advice and he decided to pursue a criminal indictment against Becker. But to do so, Whitman needed Rosenthal’s testimony on the official record, not in the newspapers. Whitman told Swope to tell Rosenthal to meet Whitman at Whitman’s uptown home on Sunday night.

After the Saturday (July 14) Rosenthal affidavit (No. 1) was published in the New York World, Becker and his lawyer, John W. Hart, stampeded into the offices of the newspaper and began throwing words around like “libel” and “lawsuit,” and other words not printable in a family newspaper. Becker and Hart met with Isaac White, the legal counsel for the newspaper, and although White told them a second installment of Rosenthal’s affidavits was due to be published on Sunday, he would do them the courtesy of releasing the original affidavits to them after the second one was published (July 15).

Becker and Hart told White thanks for nothing and they immediately informed every newspaperman in town that they were going to sue Rosenthal and the New York World for libel, defamation of character, slander, or any possible combination of the three. Rosenthal must have laughed when he heard that, since he was now flat broke and totally bullet-proof from civil lawsuits.

Enter “The Brain” – Arnold Rothstein.

The son of a rabbi, Rothstein was the most famous gambler in New York City and the acknowledged “King of the Tenderloin.” Rothstein once said he’d bet on anything, except the weather – the reason being the weather was the only thing he couldn’t fix. Making strange bedfellows indeed, Rothstein and Swope were fast pals, and in fact, when Rothstein married actress Carolyn Greene in 1914, Swope served as his best man.

On Sunday morning July 15, after Rothstein got wind of what Rosenthal was doing, which threatened the very fabric of the Tenderloin, Rothstein called Swope, wanting to know exactly how far Rosenthal was willing to go with his insubordination. When Swope told Rothstein that Rosenthal was ready to go all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary, on the afternoon of July 15, Rothstein summoned Rosenthal to Rothstein’s palatial home in uptown Manhattan. At this meeting, Rothstein laid down the law to Rosenthal even offering Rosenthal $500 to get out of town immediately and more money if Rosenthal needed it later. Rosenthal turned Rothstein’s offer down and by doing so he basically put a bullet in his own head.

On the same day, four known gamblers and all-around-bad-guys – Bridgey Webber, Bald Jack Rose, Harry Vallon, and Sam Schepps – got together to discuss the Rosenthal situation. On a boozed-up boat trip around Manhattan Island, they were overheard saying that if Rosenthal did not stop his yapping, “someone would get him and get him for keeps.”

Industry vet Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr. dies

Veteran film/television/stage producer and commentator Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr. died Jan. 4 of natural causes in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 92.

Starting as an exec in the nascent TV business, Swope Jr. was a producer for TV, features and the theater, as well as a host and commentator with his own radio and television shows.

Born in New York, he was the son of Herbert Bayard Swope Sr., winner of the first Pulizer Prize for reporting and a founder of the Algonquin round table.

Swope, Jr. grew up among his father’s associates such as F. Scott, Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Philip Barry and Harpo Marx. At the time of his death he was compiling these memories an an autobiography, “A Perfectly Normal Childhood.”

Swope, Jr. was educated at Princeton University, then served in the U. S. Navy before joining CBS Television as a remote unit director. He moved into the new field of sportscasting and then joined NBC as a producer/director in the early days of live television, serving as executive producer in charge of “Wide Wide World.” He went on to produce and direct series and specials such as as “Lights Out,” “The Clock,” “The Black Robe,” “Robert Montgomery Presents,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Climax,” “Five Fingers,” and the long running “The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis,” in which he discovered a young actor named Bob Denver. Later, he became producer/host of “This Was TV, Growth of a Giant,” and his own radio and television commentary shows, “Swope’s Scope” and “Critic’s Views.”

He later became an executive producer at 20th Century-Fox and the Walter Reade Organization, and produced “Hilda Crane,” “Three Brave Men,” “True Story of Jesse James,” “The Bravados” and “The Fiend Who Walked the West.” He also served as director and co-Producer of “Step on a Crack,” “Fragile Fox,,” and “Fair Game for Lovers.”

Swope, whose actress wife Margaret Hayes died in 1977, is survived by their son, Herbert Bayard Swope III daughter Tracy Brooks Swope Avildsen two stepchildren, Elizabeth and Sam Warriner, by his second wife, the late Elizabeth Edgar Swope three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Donations may be made to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In 1945 George Orwell coined the term “Cold War” and predicted decades of nuclear anxiety

George Orwell was an English writer who is best known for his socially engaged literature that satirized totalitarianism and criticized social injustice.

His novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is the primary works of dystopian literature, and “Animal Farm” is among the best allegorical critiques of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and social system of Stalinist Russia.

Orwell’s passport photo during his Burma years.

Orwell coined many neologisms that were to become a vital part of cultural theory and the English language itself. He invented the term “Big Brother” to describe an all-seeing government able to control every move of its citizens and was the first social critic to introduce the notion of the “thought police”, an institution that enforces the prohibition of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.

The term “Cold War” is used to describe the period of political tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union which lasted for several decades. The term is fitting because there was no major direct military conflict between the two nations, but the threat of a nuclear war was constant. The two sides battled through political conundrums, espionage and regional conflicts known as “proxy wars”.

However, many people are unaware that the term “Cold War” was coined by none other than George Orwell himself. In 1945 Orwell published an essay entitled “You and the Atomic Bomb”, in which he expressed concern over living in a world which is aware of the existence of nuclear weapons capable of immense destruction. Orwell predicted that the second half of the 20 th would be known as the age of nuclear anxiety.

US President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev at the Vienna summit, June 4, 1961.

The first person to use the term in connection with the political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was the famous English journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, who was a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

During the Cold War, the US conducted around 1,054 nuclear tests by official count, between 1945 and 1992.

In a speech written for Bernard Baruch, a prominent political advisor to the American Democratic Party, Swope wrote: “Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war.”

George Orwell’s concerns and predictions expressed in his novels and essays were stunningly accurate. He predicted the age of global nuclear paranoia of the Cold War, the age of police brutality and the mass surveillance of citizens, and the uncontained spread of unregulated neoliberal capitalism.

Journalist Herbert Bayard Swope in 1917.

Sadly, Orwell died in 1950 at the age of 46 and never saw the end of the Cold War.

He also never witnessed the emergence of the digital age, a development that saw many of his predictions became a reality.


Swope died in 1958 at his home, known as Land's End, on Hoffstot Lane at Prospect Point, Sands Point, New York. Swope had hosted parties with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, Winston Churchill, Averell Harriman, Albert Einstein, Alexander Woollcott [10] – as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald. [11] These associations, along with other similarities to the houses and events in The Great Gatsby, helped give rise to unsubstantiated reports that Fitzgerald had [10] [11] modeled Daisy Buchanan's home in the 1925 novel after Swope's home. However, Swope did not buy Land's End until late 1928. The more likely explanation that ties Swope to Fitzgerald is the time period of 1922–24, when Fitzgerald was living in Great Neck, L.I. Prior to buying the Sands Point mansion, Swope had been renting a home since 1919 on East Shore Road in Great Neck, overlooking Manhasset Bay. This home was directly north of 325 East Shore Road, the residence of sportswriter Ring Lardner. Lardner and Fitzgerald were good friends, and spent many an evening sitting out watching the continuous party that was Swope's home during these years. This was the period of time that Fitzgerald was developing his Gatsby concept. David O. Selznick and Jock Whitney met at the home many times throughout the 20's and 30s and held meetings at the mansion that secured funding for Gone with the Wind.

Other reports suggest the home, built in 1902, [11] had been designed by Stanford White [12] – though most sources dispute the claim. [12] The clapboard colonial mansion included 15 bedrooms and 14 baths (eleven full baths), a seven-car garage, a tennis court with a tennis pavilion, a rose garden and a guest house – on 13.35 acres. [11] The 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m 2 ) waterfront mansion had originally been built for clothing merchant John S. Browning Sr. in 1911 and originally named Kidd's Rocks. It was purchased in 1921 by Malcolm D. Sloane, whose wife renamed the estate Keewaydin.

The house had been a site for a Vanity Fair photo shoot with Madonna and had been a location for the 1978 shooting of The Greek Tycoon, a film on the life of Aristotle Onassis. [12] Keith Richards family lived there for a time in the early 1980s. Charles Shipman Payson and his wife Virginia Kraft purchased the house in the 1980s. In 2005 she sold the house to developer Bert Brodsky of Port Washington for $17.5 million. “They misrepresented themselves,” Payson told The Observer “I would not show it to any developer. He said that his life’s ambition was to live in that manor, but it was very clear at the closing that they had no intention of living in it. They are the most awful people I have ever heard of, and that includes terrorists and dictators. They have taken a work of art and permitted it to be totally decimated. It was in pristine condition when I left,” Payson said. “He let it fall apart. He stripped everything out that he could sell, which is sacrilegious. I went by the house perhaps two years after we sold it, and that’s when I realized how he was going to get around the town’s objections. Broken windows, storming in—it’s sinful.” In 2011, the home was razed after and the property is to be subdivided. [11]

Herbert Bayard Swope was called the greatest reporter of his time by Lord Northcliffe of the London Daily Mail . The accolade is all the more impressive when one considers that Swope's illustrious colleagues included Walter Lippmann, Damon Runyon, Heywood Broun, Alexander Woollcott, Franklin P. Adams, William Henry Chamberlin, Arthur Brisbane, and Richard Harding Davis. That Swope had a special impact upon journalism in his time is undeniable. He rose rapidly from obscurity to become a journalistic legend.

Herbert Bayard (pronounced " by -ard") Swope was born 5 January 1882 in St. Louis, Missouri, which was at that time the fourth largest city in the United States. His parents were Isaac and Ida Cohn Swope, both immigrants from Germany. He was the youngest of four children. As a child, Swope was something of a loner. His brother, Gerard, was nine years older, and his interests were widely different from Swope's. Yet, as.

Memorial Herbert Bayard Swope Jr. ’36

Although he had the name of a world-famous family (his father was the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting, in 1917), he was known to us simply as Ottie. He died in Palm Beach Jan. 4, 2008.

Ottie was dramatics editor of The Daily Princetonian, a member of Theatre Intime and the Whig Society, and on the debate panel. His major was philosophy. During the war he served in the Navy on a minesweeper.

In the early days of live television Ottie became a director for NBC and won the Sylvania Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing Technique. He became executive producer of the well-known Wide, Wide World, and produced and directed such shows as Arsenic and Old Lace, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and many others. He conducted his own radio and TV commentary shows. He produced movies and plays. Somehow he squeezed in time to be a journalist, lecturer, and book reviewer.

Ottie is survived by Herbert B. Swope III and Tracy Avildsen, his children with his first wife, Margaret Hayes, who died in 1977 three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ottie’s second wife, Elizabeth Edgar, also predeceased him. There are two stepchildren. We salute this talented and productive man and offer his family our regrets.

Watch the video: WORD OF THE DAY LITERALLY u0026 HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE QUOTE #makemoneymoves #idontdodramaidobussiness (May 2022).