September 18, 1851: The first edition of the New York Daily Times was published (the name was shortened to the New York Times in 1857). The following excerpts from “A Word about Ourselves” in the very first edition gives some interesting insight into the origins of the paper. The first editors wanted to publish the paper “for an indefinite number of years to come.” I think those editors would be rather pleased with the lasting success of the paper.

We publish to-day the first number of the New York Daily Times, and we intend to issue it every morning, (Sundays excepted) for an indefinite number of years to come.

We have not entered upon the task of establishing a new daily paper in this city, without due consideration of its difficulties as well as its encouragements. We understand perfectly, that great capital, great industry, great patience are indespensable (sic) to its success, and that even with all these, failure is not impossible. But we know also, that within the last five years the reading population of this city has nearly doubled, while the number of daily newspapers is no greater now than it was then;–that many of those now published are really class journals, made up for particular classes of readers;–that others are objectionable upon grounds of morality;–and that no newspaper, which was really fit to live, ever yet expired for lack of readers…

We have fixed the price of The Times at one cent each copy, or six and a quarter cents a week, delivered to subscribers. Carriers, of course, make their profit upon this; so that the amount which we receive barely covers the cost of the paper upon which it is printed, the deficiency being made up by advertisements. We have chosen this price, however, deliberately, and for the sake of obtaining for the paper a large circulation and corresponding influence…We shall seek, in all our discussions and inculcations, to promote the best interests of the society in which we live–to aid the advancement of all beneficent undertakings, and to promote, in every way, and to the utmost of our ability, the welfare of our fellow-men…

Upon all topics,–Political, Social, Moral and Religious,–we intend that the paper shall speak for itself;–and we only ask that it may be judged accordingly. We shall be Conservative in all cases where we think Conservatism essential to the public good;–and we shall be Radical in everything which may seem to us to require radical treatment and radical reform…In controversies with other journals, with individuals, or with parties, we shall engage only when, in our opinion, some important public interest can be promoted thereby:–and even then, we shall endeavour to rely more upon fair argument than upon misrepresentation or abusive language…

We shall seldom trouble our readers with our personal affairs; but these few words, at the outset, seemed to be required.”

Source: "A Word About Ourselves" New York Daily Times (1851-1857); September 18, 1851.
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