The Years Were Good: The Autobiography of Louis B. Seltzer


Front matter




Chapter 1: Louis Seltzer tells of a memorable day in his childhood in the early 1900s on Cleveland's West Side. His father, a struggling and unpublished writer, gets news that one of his short stories has been accepted for publication.

Chapter 2: A visit to a friendly butcher, who gladly runs a tab for the Seltzer family, and provides brown wrapping paper for Louie's father to write his stories on. His father falls ill, and Louie, at age 8 and the oldest of five children, takes on odd jobs, including a paper route for The Cleveland Press.

Chapter 3: With his father ill, Louis' grandfather and uncle move into the Seltzer home to provide income for the family. The attic is converted into a bedroom for the new arrivals and for Louie, who gets his education reading up there.

Chapter 4: Louis, just going on 13, decides to quit school in the seventh grade to get a job and help support the family. His father has some words of wisdom.

Chapter 5: Louis lands a job as an office boy at a Cleveland newspaper, The Leader, and says goodbye to a favorite teacher.

Chapter 6: Seltzer vividly recalls his first day at The Leader as office boy. Six months later, he writes his first story and it winds up on the front page with his byline. A promotion follows.

Chapter 7: Louis, going on 14, provides a wide-eyed view of the world in his column, "Luee, the Offis Boy."

Chapter 8: He meets the love of his life.

Chapter 9: Louis is broken in as a cub reporter on the police beat by a tough taskmaster.

Chapter 10: He is fired from The Leader at age 15, and told he wasn't cut out for the newspaper business. After a stint as an advertising copywriter, he persuades The Cleveland Press to give him a try, and he wins a reporting job there.

Chapter 11: Seltzer moves fast at The Press, becomes City Editor at age 19, but then fires himself to get more experience as a reporter.

Chapter 12: He tells of the drama of covering the Dempsey-Willard fight of July 4, 1919, in Toledo; and how The Press beat the competition with pictures of the fight.

Chapter 13: Seltzer lands an unorthodox scoop about a judge's indictment. In 1921, he again becomes City Editor, and now he's ready for it.

Chapter 14: Seltzer and the Press fight political bosses in the 1920s, and Seltzer gets scoops from controversial Mayor Fred Kohler.

Chapter 15: On the street, Seltzer literally bumps into O. P. Van Sweringen, who with his brother developed Shaker Heights and the Terminal Tower project, and built a real estate and railroad empire. Seltzer covers their story in The Press. In the Depression, the Van Sweringen empire collapses.

Chapter 16: Seltzer gets a big scoop, naming the surprise compromise nominee of the 1924 Democratic National Convention -- a week before the event.

Chapter 17: Seltzer is disappointed as he is passed over for Editor of The Press in 1926; but he gets it in 1928.

Chapter 18: As the new Editor, Seltzer asks: "What kind of a paper should The Cleveland Press be?" His answer: A newspaper that stays in touch with and serves its readers.

Chapter 19: In 1929, Seltzer is found in contempt of court for an editorial, but he wins on appeal. He is eloquently defended by Newton D. Baker.

Chapter 20: Seltzer decides he will not be a detached editor; he will actively participate in community organizations.

Chapter 21: In 1933, Seltzer plays a key role in stopping a run on Cleveland's largest bank.

Chapter 22: The Press backs the independent Frank J. Lausche for Mayor, then for Governor and Senator.

Chapter 23: In World War II, The Press remodels its public service bureau. Among other things, it creates a Military Department to report news on local service people, and a weekly digest of the news for relatives to send to servicemen.

Chapter 24: Seltzer won't forget October 20, 1944, the day of a disastrous explosion on Cleveland's East Side.

Chapter 25: Seltzer defends The Press' vigorous campaigning for public officials, including Mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze, but denies he is a political "boss."

Chapter 26: Seltzer defends The Press using "all its editorial artillery" to bring Dr. Sam Sheppard in for questioning and prosecution in the murder of his wife.

Chapter 27: Seltzer warmly remembers his father and mother, and their strong family values.

Chapter 28: Seltzer looks ahead -- 25, 50 years - and see inevitable progress for mankind.

These chapter summaries, not contained in the original book,
were provided by Richard Hine.


About the Author

Last updated November 19, 2001