Emanuel Freedman, William Penn High School class of 1927 and Columbia University graduate, perhaps achieved more as an editor than any other York County alumnus.
Manny Freedman rose through the ranks at The New York Times, including copy editor, deskman for the London bureau, assistant foreign editor, foreign editor and one of four assistant managing editors. As assistant managing editor, he was responsible for personnel, including hiring. He died in 1971.
An Overseas Press Club bio on Freedman credits him with hiring a whole generation of foreign correspondents. As foreign editor, he guided coverage of such events as the Korean conflict, the Hungarian uprising of 1956, the Suez crisis of the same year, the 1954 Geneva conference on Indochina and many other major events.
In his profile of The New York Times “The Kingdom and the Power,” (1969), Gay Talese described Freedman, a member of the York High Hall of Fame:
–He was a very serious solidly built man (then) in his middle fifties who never seemed to smile.
–He was a meticulous man of no frivolity, and while he was always courteous he was never informal. He never took his jacket off at the office, and reporters liked to say that Freedman did not even take off his jacket when making love.
— Generally he was well liked by the staff, not only by those who worked under him as foreign correspondents during his many years as the foreign editor – a group that included (Clifton) Daniel, (Harrison) Salisbury, and (A.M.) Rosenthal – but also by those in the New York office who have never gone overseas and who knew him only by reputation. He was said to be a fair man with his subordinates, modest about himself, and, except in the company of old friends, extremely shy.
— At precisely the same time every evening, the office car was waiting to take Freedman to dinner; exactly one hour later, it brought him back. Once a week Freedman played poker, his expression being no different from it was when he was not playing poker.
— Reliable, solid with no bad habits – it was not surprising that such a man would become The Times foreign-news editor, the ringmaster of fifty far-flung correspondents that had to be directed through various time zones, cable routes, political shifts, and upheavals.
For some reason, the picture painted of Freedman, despite his achievements, is a kind of everyman of York County. Solid. Maybe stolid. Not flashy. Accomplished.
Today, two York Daily Record alumni work at The New York Times — Patrick Laforge and Mike Abrams.
For a sampling of other great journalists with York County links: York native Frederick Woltman won Pulitzer in 1947 and Robert Maynard tops among newspaper’s alumni.