Documents Shed New Light on Birth of AP; Wire Older Than Originally Thought

By: E&P Staff

The Associated Press came into existence two years earlier than previously thought, according to a newly acquired collection of 19th century documents.

The not-for-profit news cooperative celebrated its 150th anniversary in May 1998, as journalism historians — and The AP itself — have generally accepted 1848 as the birth date of history’s first major wire service. But the company disclosed today that papers recently provided to AP’s corporate archives by the descendant of a founder show that the wire service was actually born in New York during the U.S. war with Mexico, in 1846.

“These documents are a significant discovery not only for the historical record of the Associated Press,? AP President Tom Curley said in a statement, ?but because they also reaffirm the AP’s fundamental role, covering the news in war and peace, as envisioned by the member newspapers that created it.”

According to the AP release: “The papers were provided to AP on Nov. 8, 2005 by Brewster Yale Beach. He is a great-great-grandson of Moses Yale Beach, the second owner of the original New York Sun. Moses Yale Beach was a driving force in creating the 19th-century alliance of newspapers receiving dispatches jointly that would become known as The Associated Press. A June 1872 memorandum by his son, Moses Sperry Beach, is key to the new historical findings and the reason the papers are officially designated as “The Moses Sperry Beach Collection.'”

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