George Barry Bingham

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Person.png George Barry Bingham  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
George Barry Bingham.gif
BornFebruary 10, 1906
DiedAugust 15, 1988 (Age 82)
Alma materHarvard University
PartyDemocratic Party (United States)
Kentucky media owner who attended 3 Bilderbergs in the 1950s. Ran the Marshall Plan in France in 1949.

George Barry Bingham Sr. was the patriarch of a family that dominated local media in Louisville, Kentucky for several decades in the 20th century. In 1949 he began a year's service as chief of the Marshall Plan in France[1]. He attended the 1954, 1955 and 1956 Bilderberg meetings.

Family and career

Bingham's family owned a cluster of influential media properties – The Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times newspapers, plus WHAS Radio and WHAS Television. The papers had been purchased by his father, Col. Robert Worth Bingham, using proceeds from an inheritance left by his second wife, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler, herself the widow of railroad magnate Henry Flagler.

Bingham attended Harvard University, then went into the family businesses. In 1931, he married Mary Caperton, a Radcliffe graduate. Bingham Sr. took the reins of the company in 1937; his elder brother Robert Worth Bingham Jr was considered incapable of taking control of the family business because of his alcoholism, and settled in England, where he married.[2] At the time, "The C-J" was little more than a Democratic Party organ, but Bingham built it into national prominence, thanks to reporting that was ambitious in scope for a newspaper in a city of Louisville's size.

Throughout Bingham's tenure, the editorial voices of the C-J & Times was forthrightly liberal, especially for a fairly conservative (though predominantly Democratic at the time) state like Kentucky. The newspapers were recipients of six Pulitzer Prizes, including one for public service in 1967, plus multiple other awards during the Bingham years. The Courier-Journal became the commonwealth's dominant newspaper, a position it retains to this day. He also founded WHAS-TV, the city's second television station, and founded the WHAS Crusade for Children, a telethon broadcast on both the radio and television stations that today collects more than $6,000,000 each year for local children's charities. The family also owned Standard Gravure, a rotogravure printing company that printed the newspapers' Sunday magazine section, plus Sunday sections for other newspapers.

In World War II, Bingham served as an officer in the United States Navy, and was twice awarded the Bronze Star. Bingham Sr. was given the rank of Commandeur, Légion d'honneur, by French government for service. In 1950, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3] After the war he made study missions to Europe to report on occupation conditions. He was a Fulbright lecturer at Oxford University in 1955.

On July 7, 1951, Bingham, along with Jane Darwell, was a guest on the CBS variety television series, Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town, when the program hosted Louisville and its music heritage.[4]

He was an aristocratic intimate of British royalty and political luminaries such as Adlai E. Stevenson and John F. Kennedy.[1]

In 1971, Bingham stepped down from day-to-day operations and handed over the operations of the company to his remaining son, Barry Bingham Jr. Bingham Sr. died on August 15, 1988, at age 82. Bingham Jr. died on April 3, 2006.

Further reading

  • Chandler, David Leon with Mary Voelz Chandler (1987). The Binghams of Louisville: The Dark History Behind One of America's Great Fortunes. Crown. ISBN 0-517-56895-0.
  • Brenner, Marie (1988). House of Dreams: The Bingham Family of Louisville. Random House. ISBN 0-394-55831-6.
  • Bingham, Sallie (1989). Passion and Prejudice: A Family Memoir. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-55851-0.
  • Tifft, Susan E. and Alex S. Jones (1991). The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty. Summit Books. ISBN 0-671-79707-7.

External links


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/195429 May 195431 May 1954Netherlands
Hotel Bilderberg
The first Bilderberg meeting, attended by 68 men from Europe and the US, including 20 businessmen, 25 politicians, 5 financiers & 4 academics.
Bilderberg/1955 September23 September 195525 September 1955Germany
The third Bilderberg, in West Germany. The subject of a report by Der Spiegel which inspired a heavy blackout of subsequent meetings.
Bilderberg/195611 May 195613 May 1956Denmark
The 4th Bilderberg meeting, with 147 guests, in contrast to the generally smaller meetings of the 1950s. Has two Bilderberg meetings in the years before and after