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Dorothy Schiff Edit Profile

publisher , businessperson , socialite

Dorothy Schiff, American Publisher. Decorated Légion d'Honneur (France). Member Ellis Island Investigating Committee, 1934; board directors Henry St. Settlement, Mount Sinai Hospital, 1934-1938, Woman's Trade Union League of New York, 1939, New York City Board of Child Welfare, 1937-1939. Member American Society Newspaper Editors, Washintgon Press Club.

Background

She was a granddaughter of financier Jacob Schiff. Schiff was born in New York City into a prominent German Jewish banking family, the daughter of Mortimer Schiff and Adele (Neustadt) Schiff, and the granddaughter of financier Jacob Schiff.

Education

She attended secondary school at Manhattan's Brearley School and attended Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Career

Schiff was interested in social services and reform, and was involved in several welfare groups. Afterward, she began living as a wealthy debutante. She was interested in social services and reform, and was involved in several welfare groups, chief among them the Henry Street Settlement.

She lived in New York City and had a countryhouse in Bernardsville, New Jersey. In 1939, Schiff bought control of the New York Post, at the urging of Backer, installing him as publisher and president. When he resigned in 1942, she took up the mantle and became New York's first female newspaper publisher.

During the 1940s, The Post featured the most popular columnists of the time, such as Drew Pearson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Eric Sevareid. She also wrote her own column called "Dear Reader". In 1945, Schiff launched the Paris Post, the second ever American newspaper to be published in Paris.

It lasted until 1948. Thackrey left the Post after a disagreement over whom to support for the presidency in 1948. Thackrey favored Henry A. Wallace whereas Schiff favored Thomas Dewey.

Schiff's fourth husband was Rudolph G. Sonneborn. In 1958, Schiff caused controversy by withdrawing her support at the last minute of Governor Averell Harriman. Jeffrey Potter's Men, Money and Magic: The Story of Dorothy Schiff, a biography about Schiff, was published in 1976.

The book generated significant publicity after The New York Times reported on its front page that Schiff, in the book, claimed to have had an affair with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Schiff denied this, saying she only had a "relationship" with FDR. Schiff sold the Post to Rupert Murdoch, for a reported $31 million (equals $129 million in 2015), in 1976. It is believed that she was pessimistic about the future of afternoon papers in the city.

Also, a change in federal inheritance laws would have affected the value of her estate unless she sold the paper when she did. She remained as an official consultant until 1981, although she played no actual role at the paper. She died at her home in New York City on August 30, 1989.

A more complete biography, The Lady Upstairs: Dorothy Schiff and the New York Post by Marilyn Nissenson, was published in 2007.

Politics

Under her tenure the Post was devoted to liberalism, supporting trade unions and social welfare.

Membership

Member Ellis Island Investigating Committee, 1934. Board directors Henry St. Settlement, Mount Sinai Hospital, 1934-1938, Woman's Trade Union League of New York, 1939, New York City Board of Child Welfare, 1937-1939. Member American Society Newspaper Editors, Washintgon Press Club.

Connections

Married Richard B. W. Hall, October 17, 1923. Children: Mortimer W., Adele T. Married George Backer, October 21, 1932.

1 child, Sarah Ann; married Theodore Olin Thackrey, July 29, 1943. Married Rudolf Sonneborn, 1953.

father:
Mortimer L. Schiff

mother:
Adele A. (Neustadt) Schiff

spouses:
Richard B. W. Hall

George Backer

Theodore Olin Thackrey

Rudolf Sonneborn

children:
Sarah Ann Schiff

Adele T. Schiff

Mortimer W. Schiff