Scope and arrangement
The Sydney Gruson papers document Gruson's tenure as a New York Times executive and vice chairman on the board of directors from the late 1970s until his retirement in 1986. Files contain personal correspondence with friends and colleagues, as well as Times-related letters, memoranda, notes, and financial reports, mainly dealing with Gruson's roles as deputy and spokesman for the publisher (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger) and as an intermediary between the news and editorial departments and the business side of the Times Company. Also present are communications with Gruson concerning his involvement with the company's acquisition of subsidiary and affiliate companies, such as The Chattanooga Times, the International Herald Tribune, and US Magazine, among others.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Gruson was one of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger's closest associates and many of Gruson's letters are on Sulzberger's behalf or were forwarded to Sulzberger for his approval. Gruson's role as the publisher's deputy is especially evident in the files for Sydney Schanberg, Accuracy in Media, Inc., and The Chattanooga Times. Other frequent correspondents whose letters pervade the collection include Editorial Page Editor Max Frankel, Executive Editor Abraham M. Rosenthal, and Managing Editor Arthur Gelb. Letters with Gruson's Times news associates cover topics such as editorial and coverage decisions and personnel management. Also present are correspondence with the heads of many of The Times' affiliated companies. Another important aspect of Gruson's responsibilities was interacting with Times readers and fostering good relations with the outside world in general. Records that document this role include items in the Radio and Television Programs, Advertising Acceptability, and Op-Ed Page files, among others.
Papers related to Gruson's time as a foreign correspondent and editor (1948-1965) can be found in The New York Times Company records. Foreign Desk records, as well as in the papers of Publishers Arthur Hays Sulzberger, Orvile E. Dryfoos, and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, and of Managing Editors Turner Catledge and Clifton Daniel, under whom he served.
The collection is divided into two series: I. People and II. Subjects. The People files consist of records pertaining to individuals, while the Subjects files contain items on specific topics, institutions, Times departments and newspaper sections, and geographic locations. Items germane to two or more people or subjects are often cross-referenced in the finding aid; documents related to specific issues are generally located in subject files rather than the people folders of those involved.
The New York Times Company records. Sydney Gruson papers are arranged in two series:
This series is made up of files that contain items to, from, or concerning various individuals. The bulk of the items in this series are personal in nature. Files contain Gruson's communications with New York Times staff members; with notable politicians, journalist, business figures, and individuals in the New York City performing arts and culture scene; and with former colleagues and friends from Gruson's days as a foreign correspondent. Also present are letters from educational and philanthropic institutions seeking financial or networking support. Of note is the Sydney Schanberg file, which includes letters from readers who were dismayed by the decision to discontinue Schanberg's column on New York City issues. Copies of Gruson's responses to these readers are included.
Files are arranged alphabetically by name. Entries without box and folder numbers cross-reference related material in other files. These files do not necessarily collect every letter, memorandum, or document related to the individual; subject files should also be consulted.
This series is made up of alphabetical subject files that are organized (and titled) by topical keywords, institution names, Times departments and newspaper sections, and geographic locations. These files are comprised of correspondence with Times staff members and Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger concerning personnel management, editorial decisions, and business decisions, and with Times affiliates and partners concerning operations. Also present are reports on the finances, revenue, and market share of various publications and broadcast properties around the world.
The most substantial files are those for The Chattanooga Times, which consist of letters, memoranda, legal documents, and reports about that paper's financial and labor problems. Also extensive are the Radio and Television Programs files, which contain records documenting the efforts of The Times Syndication Sales Corporation, lead by Sam Summerlin and Ted Harbert, to create television programs for broadcast and home video based on content gathered by The Times' news staff. As the executive in charge of the company's broader diversification plans, Gruson supervised the broadcast expansion effort. Present are correspondence, memoranda, and reports related to developing television and radio programs, including program suggestions by and agreements with television production companies, responses from News Department editors, and Gruson's notes and replies to requests.
Files are arranged alphabetically by file title. Entries without box and folder numbers cross-reference related material in other files.