The Story of the "Nearly
In April, 1947, Robert McLean,
one of William L. McLean’s two sons, took part in a WCAU and CBS radio broadcast in observance of The Bulletin’s
100th anniversary, with PennsylvaniaSen. Francis J. Myers and Gov. James H. Duff participating.
article in The Bulletin describing the program included the following:
The story of The Bulletin's startlingly conservative
slogan was told in the form of a dramatic sketch, introduced by Robert McLean, president of The Bulletin Company. Senator
Myers had remarked that he had often wondered how the slogan originated.
“That’s quite a story, Senator,” said
McLean. “It happened back at the turn of the century about five years after my dad, the late William L. McLean, purchased
the paper. He was busy at his desk one afternoon --”
The story from that point was dramatized, showing the elder
McLean studying a layout of the front page reporting the passage by Congress of the budget when he was interrupted by his
friend named Mr. Ireland.
Ireland said he had a “great” slogan for
the Bulletin. He had been impressed by The Bulletin’s rise in circulation from 7,000 to 133,000 in three years . . .
and he thought the slogan should be “In Philadelphia, Everybody reads The Bulletin.”
The elder McLean repeated the slogan thoughtfully.
“Mmmm, not bad,” he said.
“Hits the nail right on the head, doesn’t it?”
“Not quite,” said the elder McLean thoughtfully.
“You see, it isn’t entirely true. And here at The Bulletin, we’d rather not be charged with too much overstatement.”
Ireland protested, “Gosh, chief, you’re
splitting hairs. It’s nearly true.”
“That’s it,” said the elder McLean. “insert
that word ‘nearly’ and you have it. ‘In Philadelphia Nearly Everybody Reads The Bulletin.’”
Robert McLean remarked that his father’s eyes always
twinkled as he told the story.
Mr. Ireland was probably Howard I. Ireland (1862-1922),
a former newspaper reporter and advertising director of Strawbridge & Clothier, who started his own advertising agency
in 1890. The incident would have taken place about 1905.