My Great Grandfather, listed among the 130 great men of America in the turn of the 20th Century.
130 Pen Pictures of Live Men
Excerpt on Charles Grasty
CHARLES H. GRASTY Publisher, part owner, and general manager of the Baltimore Sun, newspaper. Mr. Grasty is entitled to be classed among the very successful managers in the United States. He has had a long and varied career, and has met success at every point. He is a native of Virginia. After reaching man’s estate, he went West — to Missouri. He settled in Kansas City, and it was not long until he was at the head of one of the new papers established there. It was a bit uphill work, to compete with older and well-established publications ; but he pushed his way in, making a place for himself as well as for his paper. Mr. Grasty, ever on the lookout for something better, began casting glances in the direction of the rising sun. He looked across the broad expanse of the Mississippi Valley, and beyond the Alleghenies to the water’s edge of Chesapeake Bay. His eyes lit on the City of Baltimore, the real commercial metropolis of the South Atlantic States. As he viewed it, Baltimore was then in need of a good, high-class afternoon newspaper, which it had never possessed. He became the directing genius of The Evening News, which, under the guidance of himself and associates, was developed into one of the best-paying newspaper properties in the country. Mr. Grasty, being independent in politics, made a paper, as he believed, for the benefit of the readers, and not the organ of any political creed or party. As the paper progressed and grew in wealth and influence, so did Mr. Grasty. His reputation as a newspaper manager spread pretty well over the country, which emphasizes the old saying that “nothing succeeds like success.” He made the property so valuable that other people wanted to get possession of it. He did not indicate that the paper was for sale, but was willing to sell if he got his price, which he did, the purchaser being Frank A. Munsey. When Mr. Grasty parted with his Baltimore paper, he had in cash quite a good-sized fortune, which he had made in comparatively a short space of time, not exceeding fifteen years. Mr. Grasty was not to be idle in the future. He thought again of the West, but this time the Northwest. He set his eagle eye on St. Paul, in ^Minnesota. He was destined to do things, in a newspaper sense, in that city. He purchased a half interest in The Evening Despatch, one of the best-paying and most progressive newspaper properties in the North Star State. He had not long been one of the directors of The Despatch when he and his partner absorbed the St. Paul Pioneer Press, at one time the foremost publication west of Chicago. For years it had been the great morning paper, not only for Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin, but covering almost the entire territory from St. Paul to the Puget Sound. It was Mr. Grasty who conceived the idea of its purchase and consolidation, although The Despatch and The Pioneer Press were, and still are, occupying their original positions as the leading afternoon and morning papers of St. Paul. Following this consolidation, he disposed of his interests, returning to Baltimore. There was yet more for him to conquer in the newspaper world — the Baltimore Sun, a paper without a rival in conservatism and potentiality, which no one believed would ever change ownership except from natural causes. Mr. Grasty believed that he would like to become the directing head of this fine property. It required some time to complete negotiations, but eventually he acquired what he had set out to possess. Mr. Grasty is essentially a conservative newspaper upbuilder. His fine record stamps him as a man who is safe, sane, and solvent. It is a pretty sure thing that any paper under the direction of Mr. Grasty will never be made to do anything that will be opposed to the best interests of the community. He took this stand in his early days, and has hewed close to that line ever since. It has never been Mr. Grasty’s custom to appear much in the limelight. He has always been a bit backward about coming forward, if by so doing he is to project himself personally. His modesty will prevent his doing this. He has always preferred that his newspapers should speak for him, and he speaks for his newspapers through the wisdom he displays in conducting them. He is somewhat fond of club life, and Baltimore is a city of fine clubs. He is a great golf player, and would play in winter time with snow two feet deep, if it were possible, with as much exhilaration as he does in May. He is likewise fond of horseback riding, and is one of the best equestrians in the Monumental City. Mr. Grasty, however, is, first of all, a high-class business man. He has always run his papers on high business principles. He is not an alarmist, and is rather given to seeing the pleasant side of life before investigating where the dark side may come from, should it come at all. Mr. Grasty is not much of a talker, unless it be in driving a bargain; then he can converse like a commercial traveler. He talks to the point, and usually talks quickly. He is not given to beating about the bush, but comes square out and hits the bull’s-eye at the first shot. Mr. Grasty is a fine-appearing man. He would be taken, any place, for a man of affairs. No one has ever seen him when he was not one of the best-dressed men in the assemblage. He can afford to indulge his taste in the direction of luxury, although to him good dressing is not a luxury, nor a necessity, but something a man may do if he can afford it. Mr. Grasty justly occupies a place as one of the real captains of American industry.