SI Vault
 
burning Question
July 23, 2001
Q Who are Street and Smith?
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
July 23, 2001

Burning Question

View CoverRead All Articles

Q Who are Street and Smith?

A Their names are instantly familiar to any fan who has perused newsstands for season previews of any sport from college football to hockey. Yet neither Francis Scott Street nor Francis Shubael Smith had even a passing interest in sports. In 1855 Street and Smith took over The New York Weekly Dispatch, a popular newspaper, from its aging owner, Amos Williamson. At the time. Street was a 24-year-old office manager for the Dispatch, and Smith was a 36-year-old reporter who had worked for the hard-nosed New York Tribune. Together they built the Dispatch into one of the city's top weeklies.

Upon Smith's death in 1887—Street had died four years earlier-his son. Ormond, took control of the company. Under Ormond's direction, Street & Smith became one of the largest publishing firms in the world, printing newspapers, magazines, comics and paperbacks. (Street & Smith published the famous Horatio Alger series.) In 1940 the company debuted its Football Year Book, a college football preview, and followed up the next year with the Baseball Year Book. By 1955 the sports guides had become established sellers, and by the time a pro football annual was added in 1963, sports books had become Street & Smith's sole focus—which would have come as a surprise to the company's founders. As Martin Bounds, Street & Smith's vice president of marketing and business development, says, "These guys never saw a football game, and they probably never saw a baseball game."

1