It is amazing that The Wall Street Journal was published the day after 9/11 at all. Its newsroom and corporate headquarters were directly across the street from the devastated World Trade Center, and the newspaper’s staff was evacuated after the first plane crashed into the north tower on Sept. 11, 2001. They were left to improvise reporting on one of this country’s most tragic moments.
The incredible efforts of those reporters and editors are now part of Vanderbilt Special Collections with William Christie’s donation of printing plates from the Sept. 12, 2001, edition. They were on display at the Central Library during the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
“These remarkable printing plates give us a firsthand look at how the country came to grips with the terrible tragedy of 9/11. Their value for the library’s Special Collections is significant as historical icons and as records of the related story of news reporting that is a strength of the collections,” said Connie Vinita Dowell, dean of libraries.
A sales representative from The Wall Street Journal gave the plates to Christie, who at the time was dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management. Christie, now the Frances Hampton Currey Professor of Finance and professor of law, had remarked how impressed he was that the Journal’s staff was able to publish the Sept. 12 edition despite great challenges.
“I was thrilled and amazed to see the actual plates that were used to roll the paper off the press. It was phenomenal and I was incredibly honored to receive them,” he said. “As the anniversary of 9/11 approached, I thought they probably could have a much higher value than sitting in my office, so I gave them to Vanderbilt Special Collections.”