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Ralph Ingersoll (PM publisher)

Ralph Ingersoll (PM publisher)

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Ralph McAllister Ingersoll (December 8, 1900, in New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

 – March 8, 1985, in Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter which separates the Beach from Miami city proper...

) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 writer, editor, and publisher. He is best known as founder and publisher of the short-lived 1940s New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 daily newspaper that refused to accept advertising PM
PM (newspaper)
PM was a leftist New York City daily newspaper published by Ralph Ingersoll from June 1940 to June 1948 and bankrolled by the eccentric Chicago millionaire Marshall Field III....


Ingersoll went to Hotchkiss School
Hotchkiss School
The Hotchkiss School is an independent, coeducational American college preparatory boarding school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Founded in 1891, the school enrolls students in grades 9 through 12 and a small number of postgraduates...

, graduated from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

's Sheffield Scientific School
Sheffield Scientific School
Sheffield Scientific School was founded in 1847 as a school of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut for instruction in science and engineering. Originally named the Yale Scientific School, it was renamed in 1861 in honor of Joseph E. Sheffield, the railroad executive. The school was...

 and became a mining engineer in California, Arizona and Mexico. In 1923 he went to New York with the intention to become a writer.

He worked as a reporter for the New York American from 1923 to 1925, and then joined the The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

where he was managing editor from 1925 to 1930. He had been hired by the New Yorker founder and editor Harold Ross
Harold Ross
Harold Wallace Ross was an American journalist and founder of The New Yorker magazine, which he edited from the magazine's inception in 1925 to his death....

 a few months after the magazine started publication; Ross inadvertently spilled an inkwell on Ingersoll's new light suit (various sources claim it was either white or pale gray) during the job interview; then, in embarrassment, offered him the job. As Ingersoll left his office, he heard Ross complain to his secretary: "Jesus Christ, I hire anybody." According to his biographer, Roy Hoopes, Ingersoll "was one of the original guiding spirits of The New Yorker. He held it together during its first five years."

In 1930 Ingersoll went to Time Inc.
Time Inc.
Time Inc. is a subsidiary of the media conglomerate Time Warner, the company formed by the 1990 merger of the original Time Inc. and Warner Communications. It publishes 130 magazines, most notably its namesake, Time...

 as managing editor of Time-Life
Time–Life is a creator and direct marketer of books, music, video/DVD, and multimedia products. Its products are sold throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia through television, print, retail, the Internet, telemarketing, and direct sales....

 publications, and devised the formula of business magazine Fortune, eventually becoming general manager of the company. One of his first jobs at Fortune was to see that a detailed description of how The New Yorker was run was published. This initiated a feud between Time and Fortune publisher Henry Luce
Henry Luce
Henry Robinson Luce was an influential American publisher. He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of upscale Americans...

 and Harold Ross
Harold Ross
Harold Wallace Ross was an American journalist and founder of The New Yorker magazine, which he edited from the magazine's inception in 1925 to his death....

, editor-in-chief of The New Yorker. Highlights (or lowlights) of the feud were a profile of Luce that ran in The New Yorker in 1936 that lampooned both Luce and "Timestyle", the art decoish writing style Time was (in)famous for and Luce getting caricaturist Al Hirschfeld
Al Hirschfeld
Albert "Al" Hirschfeld was an American caricaturist best known for his simple black and white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars.-Personal life:Born in St...

 to draw an image of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 over a picture of Ross.

PM started on June 18, 1940 with $1.5 million of capital, a fraction of the $10 million that Ingersoll initially sought. Unlike usual U.S. practice, PM took no advertising; editorials did not appear every day, and when they did were signed by an individual, initially Ingersoll himself, instead of anonymously coming from the paper itself. Sometimes these editorials took over the front page. His first editorial took a forthright stand on World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, already under way in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

: "We are against people who push other people around," he wrote, demanding material U.S. support for the nations opposing Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Fascist Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...


The first year of the paper was a general success, though the paper was already in some financial trouble: its circulation of 100,000–200,000 was insufficient. Marshall Field III
Marshall Field III
Marshall Field III was an American investment banker, publisher, racehorse owner/breeder, philanthropist, heir to the Marshall Field department store fortune and a leading financial supporter and founding board member of Saul Alinsky's community organizing network Industrial Areas Foundation.Born...

 had become the paper's funder; quite unusually, he was a "silent partner" in this continually money-losing undertaking.

The 41-year-old Ingersoll was drafted
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 into the military; when he returned after the war, he found a paper that was less lively and well-written than under his leadership, and with the pro-communist
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and anti-communist
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

Modern American liberalism
Modern American liberalism is a form of liberalism developed from progressive ideals such as Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism, Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, John F. Kennedy's New Frontier, and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. It combines social liberalism and...

 writing at cross purposes. The paper never quite recovered and ceased publication in 1948, an early victim of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 (and of Field's increasing interest in the Chicago Sun rather than PM).

Ingersoll later wrote numerous books about his service in World War II.

It has recently been suggested, based on research, that Ingersoll may have been the originator, chief advocate and mission planner of the tactical deception unit formed by the US Army during the war and deployed in the European Theater of Operations
European Theater of Operations
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army was a United States Army formation which directed U.S. Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the...

 known formally as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops and colloquially as the Ghost Army of World War II.

In the 1950s Ingersoll acquired and managed several newspapers. His company, founded in 1957, was taken over by his son Ralph M. Ingersoll Jr. in 1982 after he had bought his father out in a deal that left them no longer on speaking terms.

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