Editor Schroth '43 dies at age 88

by Emily Goodell | 8/10/09 10:00pm

Acclaimed editor Thomas Schroth '43 Tu'44, founding editor of National Journal and former editor of Congressional Quarterly, died July 23 of congestive heart failure in his home in Sedgwick, Maine at the age of 88, according to The New York Times.

Schroth was committed to rigorous impartiality and full disclosure in journalism throughout his career, according to his daughter, Amy Schroth '84.

"I think he had several conversations with various owners and backers of [publications] that he worked for, making sure that the business interests didn't interfere [with the publications' impartiality]," she said.

Schroth became executive editor of Congressional Quarterly in 1955. He held the post until 1969, when he was fired after disagreements with the magazine's founder, Nelson Poynter, owner of the St. Petersburg Times, The New York Times reported. During Schroth's time at CQ, the publication's annual revenue increased from $150,000 to $1.8 million, according to The Times.

He went on to become the founding editor of National Journal, taking 10 staff members from CQ with him, according to The Washington Post. National Journal, a weekly magazine that reports on the political environment in Washington, D.C., soon became one of CQ's main competitors. Today, National Journal has a staff of 110 editors and reporters, according to the publication's web site.

Schroth received his bachelor's degree in business from Dartmouth in 1943, and then completed his MBA at the Tuck School of Business in 1944.

As an undergraduate, Schroth was business manager for The Dartmouth. The newspaper had become independent from the College one year prior to his arrival, an event that significantly shaped the 1943 directorate of the publication, according to the 1943 Aegis.

Schroth was also a member of Palaeopitus, the Green Key Society and Delta Tau Delta fraternity, now Bones Gate fraternity. He directed a Community Chest drive at the College in 1942, according to the yearbook.

Thomas Schroth's twin brother Raymond also attended the College, Amy Schroth said.

Although he was not highly involved with the College as an alumnus, Schroth was opinionated about many issues at the College, his daughter said. Unlike many of his classmates, Schroth was not in favor of keeping the Dartmouth Indian as the school mascot, she said.

"He was a real liberal guy, in the way he liked to argue against some of the stuff that his classmates were involved in," Amy Schroth said. "He was a fan of coeducation, as many of his classmates were not."

Amy Schroth said the fact that her father and uncle had attended Dartmouth was one of the things that convinced her to matriculate.

"We used to joke about how I couldn't go there because it was only for boys, but then that changed," she said.

After graduating from Dartmouth, Schroth served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He then became a reporter for Time Magazine and United Press, after which he began reporting for the Brooklyn Eagle, which was published by his father. He went on to become managing editor of the paper, a post he held until the paper closed following employee strikes in 1955. At that point, Schroth moved to Washington, D.C., to begin his work in the field of political reporting.

Schroth retired from National Journal in 1972, when he moved to Sedgwick, Maine with his family. There, he became executive editor of The Ellsworth American, a local newspaper published by his father-in-law. After leaving The Ellsworth American in 1977, he and his wife Patricia published Maine Life Magazine for six years, later founding New Leaf Publishers with a friend.

Schroth served as town selectman of Sedgwick for five years, ending in 1994, and was a member of the Maine State Democratic Committee.

Schroth is survived by his wife of 51 years, four daughters and five grandchildren.