FROM the "what might have been" file: Ben Bradlee, who...

salmagundi

January 18, 1993

FROM the "what might have been" file: Ben Bradlee, who brought fame and journalistic prominence to the Washington Post as its executive editor, nearly went to work for The Baltimore Sun instead.

Here's how it happened -- almost -- according to a September 1991 Vanity Fair magazine article on the now-retired editor, written by Peter J. Boyer.

After graduating from Harvard University, Bradlee went to work for the New Hampshire Sunday News (1946-1948), started by his college pal, Blair Clark. When the paper was sold to William Loeb's Manchester Union Leader, he was left without a job.

"His parents had connections -- among them, the legendary Walter Lippmann, who stopped by their home with his wife every summer -- and two of [father] Beebo Bradlee's friends (one a former Massachusetts governor and the future secretary of state) provided Ben with introduction letters to The Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post.

"The Sun was by far the better paper then, and Bradlee set off with that as his goal, but it would become part of the Bradlee legend that when the train got to Baltimore it was raining so hard he decided to stay on till Washington. He was hired at the Post the next day."

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