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New York Times Subject of Museum Exhibits

June 25, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Times is still going strong at 145, but the 100th anniversary of Adolph S. Ochs’ purchase of the paper has given the city’s cultural institutions an occasion to turn the Times into a museum piece.

This week four institutions _ the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Public Library and the Pierpont Morgan Library _ are opening exhibits chronicling the history of the newspaper.

The Times was founded in 1851 and helped expose the corruption of Tammany Hall’s Tweed Ring. But by the time Ochs bought it 1896, the daily’s circulation had fallen to 9,000 and it was facing bankruptcy.

Writing on the editorial page of his first issue, Ochs outlined his plans for a ``high standard newspaper″ to ``give the news impartially, without fear or favor.″ Shortly thereafter, he coined the paper’s slogan: ``All the News That’s Fit to Print.″

A look at the exhibits that open this week:

_The Museum of Natural History uses Times stories about discoveries in human evolution to illustrate how journalists and researchers inform the public differently.

Fossil casts and archival materials are displayed alongside enlarged facsimiles of Times clippings and commentary that provides a modern perspective on the discoveries, such as the early hominid specimen nicknamed ``Lucy.″

_MOMA displays 150 of the most historically significant photos the Times has printed over the past 100 years, including ones of the Sherry Netherland Hotel fire (1927), the launch of the Queen Mary (1934) and a group of screaming Beatles’ fans (1964).

_The public library is using clippings from the Times morgue, or news library, that support the Times’ claim to be ``the newspaper of record.″

Among the stories on display: the sinking of the Titanic, the dropping of the atomic bomb, Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic and the abdication of King Edward VIII.

_The Morgan library is displaying about 80 of Ochs’ personal letters, manuscripts and photographs.

Included are Ochs’ original drafts for his statement of journalistic principles, composed and revised on the back of blank telegram forms and hotel stationery.

The material is displayed in what was the library of J. Pierpont Morgan _ the financier who helped Ochs buy the Times. Their deal was recounted in a letter from Ochs to his wife, dated June 16, 1896, that is in the Morgan exhibit.

``It took me just 15 minutes to secure Mr. Morgan’s signature for $25,000,″ Ochs wrote, ``and I walked out on air with his signature in my inside pocket.″

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