Cyrus
H. K.
Curtis


CYRUS H. K. CURTIS lived in Camden in 1890 at 626 Cooper Street, before moving to Philadelphia, according to the 1890-1891 City Directory and a newspaper article from 1894. It is also said that he previously had resided on Second Street above Penn, and near Fifth and Linden Streets.


Philadelphia Inquirer - February 18, 1894



Camden Courier-Post * June 8, 1933

FUNERAL OF CURTIS SET FOR TOMORROW
Phila. Publisher and Philanthropist Dies After Illness of Year

Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Cyrus H. K. Curtis, publisher and philanthropist, who died early yesterday at his home, Lyndon, at Wyncote, Pa.

Curtis was chairman of the board of the Curtis Publishing Company, publishers of the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, and the Country Gentleman. He was president of the Curtis-Martin Newspapers, Inc., publishers of the Public Ledger, Evening Ledger and Inquirer, in Philadelphia; and the Evening Post, in New York City.

Ill More Than Year

He had been ill more than a year with heart disease and suffered a relapse last Friday. He would have been 83 on June 18.

Services will be held at Lyndon.

Burial will be in West Laurel Hill Cemetery. His family has requested that flowers be omitted. Attending the services will be the entire Port≠land Men's Singing Club of 40 voices from Portland, Maine.

At his bedside when the end came were his daughter, Mrs. Mary Louise Curtis Bok, of Philadelphia; her sons, William Curtis Bok and Cary W. Bok; his stepdaughters, Mrs. John C. Martin, of Wyncote and Mrs. Pearson Wells, of Detroit, and Curtisí personal physicians, Drs. Martin E. Rehfuss of Philadelphia and Freeman Brown of Rockland, Maine.

The publisher was stricken in May of last year while in New York. He was taken to Philadelphia aboard his yacht, the Lyndonia, and was in Jef≠ferson Hospital three weeks.

Wife Died in Sleep

His wife, Mrs. Kate Stanwood Curtis, died in her sleep May 31, 1932, at Jefferson Hospital, where she had gone to be near her husband during his convalescence there.

Curtis regained some of his strength and was able to take his customary cruise to Florida waters early this year, returning to Philadelphia April 7.

His death closes a career outstanding in American publishing. From a humble beginning he erected one of the greatest publishing fortunes in America, a fortune which enabled him to give away millions in philanthropies in his declining days.

A number of those years in which he was building the foundations of his enterprises he spent here in Camden. He resided at various abodes in this city, one on Second Street above Penn, another near Fifth and Linden streets and a third on Cooper Street near Seventh. However, he left Camden about 40 years ago.

It has been variously reported that the Saturday Evening Post in its rejuvenated form was "born" during those years Curtis resided in Camden.

Publisher at 15

His life story forms one of the epic chapters in the history of American journalism. At 15 he became a publisher, issuing the weekly magazine Young America in partnership with a youth of his own age.

It marked the beginning of the part he was to play in the publishing business of the country.

Born in Portland, Maine June 18, 1850, Curtis was the ninth of the American line of the descendants of William Curtis, who settled on the rocky shores of Maine early in 1632. And throughout his life he carefully cultivated the rugged New England traits of his forefathers. He gave generously to his native city of Port≠land.

His parents, Cyrus Libby and Salome Ann Curtis, named him for Herman Kotzschmar, a widely known New England musician of a century ago.

His interest in music never waned and through his aid the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company were materially assisted. The Curtis Institute of Music, in Philadelphia, formed another of the municipal projects which he supported and endowed.

His business career really started when he was 12. It was the Fourth of July, 1862. Enthusiam was rampant. Flags filled the air as soldiers left the Maine city for the Civil War battle front.

Was Once Newsboy

Young Curtis, with only 3 cents with which to purchase firecrackers to aid in saluting the departing soldiers, was sad. His mother suggested he earn the additional nine pennies he needed. So by nightfall his 3-cent investment in local newspapers in Portland had tripled, He bought the firecrackers and at the same time established himself as a newspaperman. From then on he became a newsboy. Looking for a richer territory, he moved his stand to Fort Preble a suburb of Portland, where troops were being enlisted and trained for the Civil War.

Success at Fort Preble brought him recognition from Portland newspapers and he was given a regular job at $2 a week. After three years he formed a partnership and commenced publication of "Young America." After the first issue the partners disagreed and young Curtis assumed the editorship of the magazine, continuing singlehanded to publish the weekly for more than a year.

Flames Halt Editorial Dreams

Then came his first business disaster. The Portland fire of July, 1866, which destroyed much of the city, burned the plant of the new magazine and put an end, temporarily, to his editorial dreams.

But he was not discouraged.

He went to Boston where he worked as a dry goods clerk for $3 a week, soliciting newspaper advertis≠ing on a commission basis as a side line, his ability brought him a better job, when two Boston papers offered him a place as a regular solicitor on a salary basis. He was just 20.

Not satisfied as a solicitor for long he established the People's Ledger in Boston in 1872, continuing its publication after he came to Philadelphia in 1876. The Ledger was sold in 1879 when he returned to the advertising business.

Publication of the Tribune and Farmer was started in 1875 with the aid of his wife, the former Miss Louisa Knapp, of Boston.

She criticized her husband's efforts in behalf of women's articles so he turned that branch of the work over to her. Thus did the Ladies' Home Journal have its beginning. Her women's articles increased until they filled several pages in the Tribune and Farmer. Then they became the separate publication.

Curtis disposed of the Tribune and Farmer and assumed full management of the Journal which had developed into a prosperous publication when Mrs. Curtis retired in 1889.

The editorship was given to the late Edward W. Bok, who later became Curtis' son-in-law.

Bought S. E. P. in 1891 .

The Curtis Publishing. Company was organized in 1891 and in 1897.he purchased the Saturday Evening Post, which had been established by Benjamin Franklin. Curtis built its circulation until it surpassed that of any other magazine in the world.

A young journalist, George Horace Lorimer, was made its editor and still holds that position. Curtis purchased the Country Gentleman in 1911.

He bought and merged a number of Philadelphia newspapers into his Morning and Evening Ledgers. His last purchase was the Inquirer in 1930. It still is being published.

His first wife died in 1910 and on August 2, 1910, he married his second wife, the former Kate Stanwood Cutter Pillsbury, whose first husband had died in Milwaukee in 1903..


Camden Courier-Post * June 10, 1933

FUNERAL OF CURTIS IS HELD AT WYNCOTE
Memorial Programs Played on Seven Pipe Organs Given by Publisher

Funeral services for Cyrus H. K. Curtis were held yesterday at "Lyndon," his country home in Wyncote, Pa. 

During the Services members of the Portland (Maine) Men's Singing Club sang the Kotzschmar Hymn, composed by Hermann Kotzschmar, an eminent organist of Portland, after whom the publisher was named. 

Burial was private in West Laurel Hill Cemetery. 

Seven of the pipe organs which Curtis presented to communities and institutions in various parts of the country were played in simultaneous musical memorial services for him yesterday. 

Three of these programs, consisting of selections which were Curtis' favorites, were given in Philadelphia at the Irvine Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania; Drexel Institute and the Unitarian Church of Germantown. 

Throughout Philadelphia, flags on municipal buildings and many private buildings were flown at half mast. 

The 82-year-old publisher died Wednesday after a year's lingering illness. 


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