York newspaperman’s bio: ‘Superb in every respect and difficult to put down’

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Mary Allienne Hamilton spent many hours in J.W. Gitt’s library, pictured here, in researching her Gitt biography “Rising from the Wilderness,” published by the York County Heritage Trust (see additional photo below). Background posts: Cuban expert Jim Higgins: ‘He was just another journalist … with opinions’, York newspaperman J.W. Gitt rejected Barry Goldwater’s ad money and McCarthy probe could not corral York County’s Gitt.

Mary Hamilton’s “J.W. Gitt and His Legendary Newspaper: ‘The Gazette and Daily’ of York, Pa.” has captured a major national award.
Her biography of this maverick newspaper owner won “Best Book in Media History” in
American Journalism Historians Association judging.
It was up against Harry Reasoner’s biography, the press and the early abolition movement and the origins of mass culture, among other entries.
Judges comments follow:


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J.W. Gitt sits in the library of his Hanover home, now Gitt Memorial Library.
Judge 1: Hamilton’s book is a tour de force, a term I never have used about an academic book. It deserves a large audience, much more so than almost all books that I could or would say that about. Hamilton’s book is superb in every respect and difficult to put down … (F)or a book such as this one – about an extremely important small-town publisher who had been, frankly, forgotten) to have been written by a retired professor and published by a county historical society is a triumph for all involved, very nearly astonishing. Thus, I fully support this book receiving the AJHA’s annual book award…
Judge 2: I thought this was a remarkable bit of scholarship that provided me insight both into the man and the history of the country from 1915 through the 1960s. This is a book that took almost 30 years to write and it certainly reflected in the sheer amount of scholarship. … Well written and well researched, this is deserving of the top book award.
“Rising from the Wilderness” is available at the York County Heritage Trust Museum Book Shop, 250 E. Market St., York. 717-848-1587, ext. 210. Cost: $29.95 It can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. upon request.
gThe Gazette and Daily’s long-time home in the first block East King Street in York. Like so many old buildings in the 1960s and 1970s, its former site is now a parking lot. It was demolished in the mid-1970s.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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2 Responses to York newspaperman’s bio: ‘Superb in every respect and difficult to put down’

  1. Jason Webb says:

    We live in Hanover and want to see how to reach someone on booking our son’s birthday party at the home for June. Can someone get back to us to let us know how to do this. (717) 965-0138.

  2. Jim McClure says:

    This might not be the most direct way but you could get the information you’re seeking via Hanover Borough manager Bruce Rebert, grandson of J.W. Gitt. The borough administrative office phone number is 717-637-3877. Hope this helps.
    Jim McClure

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