A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 18, 2004
Gray Lady/Grey Lady; Paper of Record; All the News That’s Fit to Print (New York Times)
The New York Times has many nicknames and slogans. "Gray Lady," "Paper of Record" and "All the News That's Fit to Print" are the most the most popular, and have been used by the newspaper itself.

Other Times nicknames include "Jew York Times," "New Duranty Times," "New York Crimes," "New York Slimes," "New York Times-Democrat," "New Yuck Times," "Old York Times," "Pravda on the Hudson" and "Toilet Paper of Record."

"Old Gray Lady" dates, at least, from the 1950s. It's an echo of the nickname the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," long-used for the Bank of England. A nickname used before "Gray Lady" was "Old Lady of 43rd Street." The Times was located at 229 West 43rd Street in Manhattan from 1913 until 2007.

"Grey Lady" is another spelling. The Times explained "When the Gray Lady Started Wearing Color" on October 4, 2018, but all newspapers were black and white in the 1950s. The name does not come from a unique color of newsprint.

11 September 1951 New York (NY) Times, pg. 27, col. 8 ad:
Together with their favorite reporter, the one and only MEYER ("MIKE") BERGER, they proposed this salute in honor of a landmark in the history of American journalism:

Come, barkeep, fill the Yuletide cup,
The Times centennial's coming up.
The Old Gray Lady -- some have called her that --
Is putting pretty feathers in her hat,
And lifting high her petticoats and primping at her ears,
So what more fitting hour than now,
To count her hundred years?

(Simon and Schuster. -- ed.)

Google Books
17 September 1951, Life magazine, "The Gray Lady Reaches 100" by Meyer Berger, pg. 153, col. 1:
THE Old Gray Lady will celebrate her 100th birthday this Sept. 18. The "lady" is a newspaper -- the New York Times -- regarded by many in the world at large (and all within its own world) as the world's greatest. And newsmen generally hail it as "old" and "gray" by way of acknowledging its traditional special marks: starch conservatism and circumspection.

18 September 1951, New York (NY) Times, "Officials and Leaders in Many Fields Greet The New York Times on 100th Anniversary," pg. 26, col. 2:
BENJAMIN H. NAMM - Heartiest congratulations upon the 100th anniversary of THE NEW YORK TIMES. May the old gray lady never die and its presses keep rolling along.

19 September 1951, New York (NY) Times, "More Newspapers Send Best Wishes," pg. 24, col. 6:
COUNTY TRANSCRIPT, Danielson, Conn. -- Hearty congratulations and best wishes to "The Old Gray Lady" on her 100th anniversary from the staff of this home town weekly born in 1848.

13 May 1952, Huntsville (AL) Times, "Sports Comment" by Joe Williams, pg. 6, col. 4:
Four years ago, it was suggested in this space that horse betting off the track be legalized, a suggestion which has since been echoed by the Old Gray Lady of 43rd St., The New York Times, and more recently by Henry Luce's Magazine.

August 1958, Harper's Magazine, pg. 28:
Was this the Times as we once knew it? The fact is, in recent years, that the "gray old lady" has taken to behaving in an uncommonly vivacious way. Among other things, she has trafficked regularly in whimsy, flippant headlines, sprightly writing, and frivolous chit-chat about personalities. Sometimes she has even been known to act like an old gossip.

The ‘Old Grey Lady’ in Trump’s Tweet Is an Old Nickname for the New York Times
By Stephanie Dube Dwilson
Updated Sep 16, 2019 at 9:56pm

"Paper of Record" or "newspaper of record" was infrequently said of other newspapers before the Times, but the Times usage helped establish the term. “The Newspaper of Record” was printed in the New York Times on October 26, 1924, and the reason for the nickname was because the Times newspaper had an index.

The New York Times is also sometimes called the “toilet paper of record” by those who do not like the newspaper.

October 26, 1924, New York (NY) Times, pg. S5, col. 5 ad:
THE NEW YORK TIMES is the newspaper of record. There is no newspaper in the United States that is preserved in so many places -- libraries, banking houses, newspaper offices, Chambers of Commerce, schools, colleges and universities. It is the only newspaper in the country completely indexed -- and it has been for years.

Indexing of The New York Times in the past ten years has cost The Times over $150,000. The Times is probably the only newspaper in the world that has subscribers who buy monthly bound volumes of The Times for the purpose of keeping it on file and for reference.

The New York Times Index, issued quarterly, is the master key to all American newspapers. It gives the date, page and column of appearance of over 50,000 items quarterly which have been published in The New York Times. The Index cost $8 a year.

12 February 1925, New York (NY) Times, pg. 4, col. 5 ad:
The New York Times is recognized as the newspaper of record for offerings of new securities and other financial announcements.

September 18, 1926, New York (NY) Times, pg. 20 (Comments on the New York Times on its 75th Anniversary):
The New York Times is the newspaper of record.

March 12, 1939, New York (NY) Times, pg. 154:
Since this is the paper of record...

April 24, 1958, New York (NY) Times, pg. 30:
Since The New York Times is known throughout the world as a paper of record...

September 23, 1959, New York (NY) Times, pg. 38 (Felix Frankfurter):
...rightly characterized as the nation's greatest paper of record.

"All the news that's fit to print" was coined by publisher Adolph S. Ochs. There was a contest to replace it, but the publisher liked his own creation.

29 October 1879, The Summit County Beacon (Akron, OH), pg. 4, col. 8 ad:
All the Home News fit to Print
Soonest, Fullest and Best in
The Beacon,

December 4, 1890, New York (NY) Times, pg. 4, col. 1 ad:
The excellence and interest of The Times as a general newspaper are proverbial. It is its business to print the news, all the news that it is worth anybody's time to read.

September 19, 1896, New York (NY) Times, pg. 12, col. 4:
"All the news that's fit to print."

4 October 1896, New York (NY) Times, pg. 8, col. 1:
Announcement of The New-York Times in Colored Lights.
Illuminated advertising is one of the many useful applications of electricity which has been recently perfected. Electrical advertising signs -- that is, on a large scale -- date back about four years.

The first place selected in New-York for a display of this kind was the north wall of the Cumberland Hotel building, at Twenty-second Street and Broadway, which rises eighty feet high and sixty feet wide above the buildings which fill up the remainder of the triangular block, with its apex at Twenty-third Street, Broadway, and Fifth Avenue.

1 November 1896, The Sunday Herald (Boston, MA), pg. 12, col. 7:
The New York Times has offered a reward of $100 for an improvement on its motto: "All the news that's fit to print." We reckon that The Times will keep its money.

10 November 1896, Boston (MA) Herald, pg. 8, col. 5:
It is as we prophesied. The prize offered by the New York Times for an improvement on its motto, "All the news that's fir to print," has not been earned.

Finally, there's this one:

A Mole's-Eye View of New York
by Democritus Haschid (pseud. - ed.)
Boston, MA: Charles T. Branford Company
Pg. 244: "OLD INDIGESTIBLE" This baptismal was long ago bestowed on The Times by the Subway Ladies, who shun it.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Sunday, July 18, 2004 • Permalink

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