Over the course of my research, I’ve found some unlikely sources to be remarkably useful.  Since I am writing on newspaper and media buildings, and in some cases covering buildings constructed in the 19th century, it can be difficult finding information on all the buildings and sites where many of these media companies were located over the years.  The Park Row buildings are fairly well documented, seeing how they were among the first skyscrapers built in New York City.  When it comes to the New York Times, the New York Daily Herald, the New York Tribune, and the New York World, there is quite a bit of literature on the subject, from books on mass media in the 19th century to tomes on the rise of New York urbanism and skyscrapers.  However, there are other news publications that haven’t been very well documented in terms of their location and the buildings that housed them.  One of these publications is the Wall Street Journal.  There is almost no information on the Internet regarding the exact locations of the Wall Street Journal when it was first published in 1889.  Additionally, I have had trouble finding books on the history of the Wall Street Journal.  Finally, the Dow Jones company timeline doesn’t list the past headquarters locations of the Journal.  Finding photographs or drawings of those buildings has been even more of a challenge.

Luckily, while randomly perusing the oversized shelves at NYU’s Bobst library (I actually thought I was in a different section of the library), I discovered a book called From Wall Street to Main Street: A Story of Publishing Progress; The Wall Street Journal – The First 75 Years. The book was published by the Dow Jones & Company Inc. Executive Committee in 1964, celebrating the first 75 years of the Journal’s history.  Quite simply, the book is a self-promoting account of the Journal’s rise to fame, highlighting all of its achievements over the past seven and a half decades. It’s pure propaganda, and if I had found the information I needed on the Journal earlier I would have never thought to even pull this volume from the shelf.  However, at that point, I was getting desperate for some insider’s information.  It was a serendipitous find: right on page 8 there was an “artist’s conception” (i.e. drawing) of the building where the first Wall Street Journal was printed, in 1889, at 26 Broad street.  A few pages later, there were photographs of the buildings were the Journal Headquarters was located from 1932-1964 (44 Broad Street), and then where it moved in 1965 (30 Broad Street).  Information for my project started falling into place.  The fact that the Wall Street Journal actually wasn’t ever located on Wall Street is something that I do want to call out in my project, as I find it incredibly important on a symbolic and semiotic level.  I felt like I was finally moving in the right direction.

I’m always amazed by the usefulness of wandering around a library and randomly looking through inconspicuous books.  Sometimes you’ll find things you wouldn’t expect.  Furthermore, sometimes the most biased and self-promoting books can provide insight into areas that no one else bothered to write about.  While I might not be able to fill in all the holes regarding the buildings that housed the Wall Street Journal, at least I have a starting point, and by now I’ve figured out most of them.

Below is the artist's conception of the first Journal building.  I took a photo of the drawing directly from the book since I couldn't take it out of the library.

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal: first location on 26 Broad Street