The New York Daily News, officially titled the Daily News, was founded in 1919 and initially known as the Illustrated Daily News. The paper attracted readers by pioneering the tabloid format and the liberal use of photography. For more than seven decades, its slogan was “New York’s Picture Newspaper.” The archives of the Daily News provide a stunning visual history of the 20th century and beyond and include coverage of city news, scandal, crime and violence, cartoons, and entertainment.
The first issue of the Daily News was printed in June 1919, not long after the end of WWI. The paper reported on the triumphant return of Gen. John J. Pershing and his American Expeditionary Forces in a parade through the city. Marching alongside the soldiers were women who served in the war in capacities like field secretary and canteen service.
The end of WWI brought a flood of new immigrants to the country. The archives of the Daily News provide a glimpse into the conditions they faced upon arrival. In 1920, the Daily News reported 3,319 immigrant arrivals at Ellis Island with accommodations for just 1500. Officials were overwhelmed and immigrants described horrible conditions. By 1921, officials addressed the complaints and conditions overall improved.
The Daily News archives are full of sensational crimes like a 1964 jewel heist. Jack “Murf the Smurf” Murphy and accomplices cased the J.P. Morgan Hall of Gems inside the American Museum of Natural History. They found lax security and entered the museum at night through a window. They made off with 22 rare and priceless gems including the 563-carat Star of India sapphire and the 100-carat DeLong Star Ruby. The thieves were arrested days later and most of the gems recovered.
In addition to coverage of high-profile New Yorkers, the pages of the Daily News are filled with glimpses into the lives of everyday citizens. For example, in 1923 a young girl named Milly Terzian was visiting relatives in New York and became lost when the subway doors closed locking her aunt and uncle on the platform as the train whisked the child away. She later reunited with her father and uncle at a police station. In 1934, the Madison Square Boys’ Club was a place for boys to gather and learn new hobbies; a record snowstorm in 1947 didn’t sideline wedding plans for a young couple who exchanged vows in the Municipal Building; and this 1970 photo shows two young New Yorkers decorating the office Christmas tree in the newly opened World Trade Center.
The pages of the Daily News provide a fascinating glimpse into history. Whether you have ancestors from New York; immigrant ancestors that arrived in New York; or an interest in history – start searching the Daily News today!