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The Village Voice Past and Present

 

The Village Voice made its home in Cooper Square from 1991 to 2013. Photo by David Shankbone.
The Village Voice made its home in Cooper Square from 1991 to 2013. Photo by David Shankbone.

Last week’s announcement in The Villager confirming The Village Voice’s move from its offices in Cooper Square got us thinking about the history of the storied Village newspaper. The Voice, which began in 1955 in a tiny space in Sheridan Square, had been located in Cooper Square since 1991. Its office is now located downtown in the financial district.

The Village Voice was the brainchild of New School alumni Dan Wolf and Edwin Fancher. The two lamented the lack of reporting on the culture of the Village. They had early financial backing from Norman Mailer and knew many writers, who became columnists or wrote one-off essays for the alternative paper. Edwin Fancher, in an oral history conducted by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation by interviewer Roberta Brandes Gratz, explores the early days of the paper. In this clip, Fancher recounts the Voice’s continual lack of funds.

The first issue of the Village Voice, from October, 1955.
The first issue of the Village Voice, from October, 1955.

GRATZ: The Voice was notorious for not paying.

FANCHER:  Well, we didn’t have any money! We would pay our payroll on Friday and the bookkeeper would say, “This is a good week, we can postdate the checks for Monday” or “This is a bad week it will be postdated Tuesday or Wednesday.”  I mean this happened quite often.

The paper has been sold a number of times since its founding. Carden Burden bought the paper in 1970 and it merged with New York Magazine in 1974. In 1977, the paper was sold to The Post. Currently, the Voice is owned by the Voice Media Group.

You can check out a full transcript of the Edwin Fancher interview, as well as a short clip of Fancher talking about the launch of the paper on the GVSHP website.

6 responses to “The Village Voice Past and Present

  1. That’s not really true. Murdoch bought NY Mag (in a hostile takeover from Clay Felker) and so he got the Voice along with it, but that happened before he bought the Post. The Voice was never “sold to the Post” even though Murdoch owned both of them at the same time.

  2. Mike, you are correct. It was born at 22 Greenwich Ave. My dad was the paper’s first photo editor; I was born after the move to Sheridan Square but I know the history pretty well.

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