Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Donald I. Rogers:
In a 1966 talk to the Ridgefield Republican Women’s Club, Donald I. Rogers disclosed that President Kennedy cancelled his subscription to The New York Herald-Tribune because of Rogers’ column.
“I am worse than a Republican, I am an economic conservative,” he told the group. “I’m not a John Bircher and I’m not a true right-winger, but I am a conservative when it comes to economics.”
A Connecticut native, Donald Irwin Rogers was born in 1918 in New Hartford, where he grew up and, at the age of 12, created a “news bureau” that covered area towns for several newspapers. He continued the bureau until he was 18 when he went to work for The Providence Journal.
Rogers joined The Herald-Tribune in 1950 and was its business and financial news editor until 1963. From 1950 until 1966, he wrote a widely read, syndicated business-affairs column — the one Kennedy disliked.
He was a frequent panelist on the Longines Chronoscope, an early television talk show that aired from 1951 to 1955. Among the people he interviewed was Senator Joseph McCarthy, during the height of the McCarthyism turmoil.
Rogers was the author of 14 books, including “Teach Your Wife to Be A Widow,” “How to Beat Inflation Using It,” and “The Day the Market Crashed.”
In “The End of Free Enterprise: A Manifesto for Capitalists” (Doubleday, 1966), he observed that “what the business world needs is a decision about the principles it stands for. It needs a credo, a manifesto, a set of guides and goals behind which harried and hard-working executives can rally. Lacking this, the enterprise system will be whittled away by the voting strength of those who don’t understand it or who, understanding it, are opposed to it.”
In 1962, the Conservative Party in New York State attempted to get Rogers to run for governor, but he declined. Years later, he told The New York Times that he had “little in common with organized Conservatives” and considered himself a “moderate liberal who believes in the competitive enterprise system, free markets and the prudent handling of other people’s money by Government as well as by thrift institutions and others in the private sector.”
Rogers moved to Mimosa in 1964 when he was publisher of the once popular Bridgeport Sunday Herald, a conservative Sunday-only newspaper that served all of Fairfield County. Around 1975, he tried to do what no one else has done: He produced a daily newspaper aimed at all of Fairfield County. He was editor and publisher of the short-lived attempt, called The Fairfield County Courier.
He moved to Manhattan in 1976 and died four years later at the age of 61. His daughter, the late Lynn Wallrapp, a longtime Ridgefielder, was a novelist.
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