SACRED FOOLS | ADVENT CALENDAR - A Mulholland Christmas Carol (Day 9)

Harrison Gray Otis (February 10, 1837 July 30, 1917) was the second publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

Born in Medina County, Ohio, he was part of the Republican National Convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. He volunteered for the Union army during the American Civil War and fought in William McKinley's regiment, the 23rd Ohio Infantry. After the war, he worked as a publisher before moving to California.

He worked for smaller newspapers before becoming affiliated with the Times. He wrote editorials and local news before buying a half interest in the paper. He then named himself president and editor-in-chief.

His home was one of three buildings that were targeted in the 1910 Los Angeles Times bombing.

Otis was known for his right wing political views, which were reflected in the paper.

When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Otis asked his former commander William McKinley, now the commander-in-chief, for an appointment as Assistant Secretary of War. Secretary of War Russell A. Alger did not want the conservative Otis serving under him however. Instead, Otis volunteered for the army once again and was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. He served in the Philippines. He did not see any action against the Spanish, but commanded the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, VIII Corps during the Philippine-American War.

After the war, he returned to his position at the Times. His support for Los Angeles, California, was instrumental in the growth of the city. He was a member of the San Fernando Syndicate, a group of investors who bought land in the San Fernando Valley based on inside knowledge that the Los Angeles aqueduct would soon irrigate it. Otis used the Times to frighten citizens (with news stories of a false drought) to vote for a 1905 bond issue that funded the aqueduct.

He was succeeded as publisher of the Los Angeles Times by Harry Chandler, the husband of his daughter, Marian Otis Chandler.  [ From Wikipedia ]


November 21 - December 21, 2008

More About the ShowBuy Tickets Now

Advent CalendarFront Page