Barry Bingham, Sr.

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Barry Bingham Sr., "whose newspapers in Louisville, Ky., were leading liberal voices in the South, for decades, died yesterday [1988] at his Louisville home. He was 82 years old and had been undergoing treatment for cancer...

"The Bingham newspapers, The Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times, championed such unpopular causes as civil rights and strip-mining reform, and won seven Pulitzer Prizes after coming under Bingham ownership in 1918...

"Mr. Bingham was again thrust into the public eye in January 1986 when he decided to sell the papers and other enterprises to escape bitter family strife. His decision was characterized as a betrayal by his only surviving son, Barry Bingham Jr., who had managed the family businesses since 1971...

"Mr. Bingham was born in Louisville, where his father, Robert Worth Bingham, was a lawyer and politician and, later, United States Ambassador to Britain. After Mr. Bingham's mother died in an automobile accident, his father remarried Mary Lily Kenan Flagler, one of the nation's richest women. She died within a year, and left Robert Worth Bingham $5 million with which he acquired the Louisville newspapers.

"After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1928, Barry Bingham Sr. returned to Louisville to enter the family business. He married Mary Clifford Caperton of Richmond, Va., who graduated from Radcliffe in the same year.

"After his father died in 1937, Barry Bingham became sole owner of the family enterprises. He hired Mark Ethridge, a celebrated liberal Southern publisher, as operating head of the companies. Advocate of Civil Rights

"Mr. Bingham, as editor, directed the editorial page. Though the papers' later support for civil rights prompted a violent backlash, he said that in 1939 and 1940 his vigorous advocacy of the United States entering World War II was even more unpopular in isolationist Kentucky.

"In May 1941 Mr. Bingham went on active duty in the Naval Reserve, mainly in response to taunts by his isolationist critics. He left Mr. Ethridge in charge of the newspapers in his absence, directing him to pay close attention to Mrs. Bingham, who was her husband's closest adviser.

"He directed public relations for the Navy in Europe and was praised by reporters for his energetic efforts to speed articles through censorship. Upon returning to Louisville in 1945, he elected to remain editor and president of the papers so he could retain the services of Mr. Ethridge, who kept the title of publisher until 1961. That was the year Mr. Ethridge retired.

"The arrangement freed Mr. Bingham to accept a wide array of other tasks. For example, in 1949 he began a year's service as chief of the Marshall Plan in France, and was given the rank of Commander, Legion of Honor, by the French Government. In 1955, he gave a series of lectures in the Fourth Fulbright Conference on American Studies at University College, Oxford." [1]

Rockefeller Foundation "trustees included Barry Bingham - ECA Administrator France 1949-50, chairman International Press Institute, director Asia Foundation". [2]

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  1. Barry Bingham Sr. Is Dead at 82; Louisville Newspapers' Publisher, New York Times, accessed March 10, 2008.
  2. How the European Movement was launched, World Class Movement Library, accessed March 10, 2008.