Arthur O. Sulzberger Dies at 86

Arthur O. Sulzberger, who transformed The New York Times through his 34 year tenure there, has died. His family announced that he died from a longtime illness. Sulzberger was 86.

Sulzberger took over as publisher of the Times in 1963, and slowly began to alter the paper for the better. In perhaps his most memorable move, Sulzberger decided to publish “The Pentagon Papers,” which detailed the government’s many stumbles and evasions during the Vietnam War. President Nixon demanded that the documents be pulled, but Sulzberger refused, and the Times ultimately won the case in the Supreme Court.

Sulzberger is also credited with adding sections to the Times such as business, home, weekend and metropolitan. Competitors panned the decision, but after they saw how popular the new sections were with readers, quickly began to add them to their own papers.

“Adolph Ochs is remembered as the one who founded this great enterprise,” said Richard L. Gelb, a member of the Times’ board, when Sulzberger stepped down as chairman in 1997. “Arthur Ochs Sulzberger will be remembered as the one who secured it, renewed it and lifted it to ever-higher levels of achievement.”

For much more on Sulzberger, please read the Times’ excellent piece on his life.

[Image – Arnold Newman/Getty Images]