“Scoop” Schuyler

In the 1910s, Phil Schuyler joined the Canadian Royal Air Force.  He was an American — a descendant, in fact, of Philip Schuyler, a general in the American Revolution and U.S. senator from New York — but the Canadians accepted 18-year-olds.

He became a pilot, and crashed his Curtiss Jenny airplane into Lake Ontario.

Phil Schuyler, in his Canadian Royal Air Force days.

Schuyler enrolled in Harvard, graduated in 1921, and joined United Press Association — the forerunner of UPI — as a reported.  Working for various New York City dailies, he became friends with E.B. White.

In mid-career he started his own PR firm.  He founded the Hickok Belt in 1950 — given to the best professional athlete of the year.  Rocky Marciano was an early recipient.  One of the few failures of Schuyler’s career was trying to get the trophy back, to award to the next recipient.

Schuyler also helped founded the Young Presidents Organization, for people who become CEOs of major companies before their 45th birthdays.  YPO still exists today.

Still later, he worked for Editor & Publisher.  His last assignment was to write a story about the news coverage of the assassination of President Kennedy.  He was so involved with this project that, years later, his mind tricked him into thinking he was actually in Dallas that day.  He went to his grave believing he was an eyewitness.

After retiring from E&P, he became the Westport News sports editor.  He was not averse to juicing up stories — making them more dramatic — but he was a very good writer, and he taught his craft well.  I know that first-hand:  He was my 1st boss, when I worked for the News the summer after my junior year at Staples.

Phil Schuyler, in his later years.

Schuyler married into the Bennett family.  He lived on South Compo Road, in a home that belong to the Bennetts since the 1700s.  He loved playing tennis, and one of his favorite courts was Parke Cummings’ — one of the first in Westport, and not far down the road.

His family knew him as “Pops.”  At the paper, his nickname was “Scoop.”

Schuyler’s last act as a reporter was to write his own obituary.  It ran, fittingly, in the Westport News.

After his death, a Staples Tuition Grants scholarship was founded in his name.  For several decades, aspiring journalists have benefited from the Phil Schuyler Scholarship.

Funds have nearly run out now.  One more link to a unique Westporter is in danger of fading away.  Perhaps a few folks — maybe those long-ago athletes he wrote about so “creatively” — will make a donation, to keep “Scoop” Schuyler’s memory alive.

(Donations to the Philip Schuyler Fund can be sent c/o Staples Tuition Grants, PO Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881-5159.  Click here to donate online.)

6 responses to ““Scoop” Schuyler

  1. Dan, you always exceed expectations. With this beachhead you have not yet begun to plumb the extent of Poppy Schuyler stories that are out there waiting for your blog and I trust that there will be additional installments.

  2. Poppy Schuyler was an incredible man with an incredible daughter, the indefatigable Joy Walker, English teacher-extraordinaire at Staples! My check is in the mail to honor this marvelous man and his family…Dan, thank you for this.

  3. Gerry Kuroghlian

    A fitting time to renew this scholarship. I lived next door to Poppy and was fortunate to have been included in the Schuyler Thanksgiving Celebration. The best event was the Turkey Trot. Poppy carried the roasted turkey on a huge platter as guests followed him out the door around the house and back into the dining room. The Schulers were a fantastic couple!!!

  4. Thanks, Dan! We had 40+ Turkey Trotters on T-Day and 18 participants in the umpteenth annual Butterball Open Tennis Tournament. Two
    more Poppy legacies to go along with the Staples scholarship!

  5. The Phil Schuyler scholarship not only keeps Phil’s memory alive, it affords
    Staples seniors and graduates with financial need an opportunity to
    continue their education beyond Staples. I serve on the Staples Tuition Grants Committee, and each year we award $1000-$5000 to Staples seniors and recent graduates with demonstrated financial need, so they may continue their education at a four-year undergraduate program, community college, technical or vocational school. Applications have spiked since the economic downturn, up +63% last year over 2007/08. We awarded $300,000 to 108 Staples High School graduates last and hope to match that again.
    Thank you Dan for your support of STG and thank you to those who
    have or intend to contribute to the Phil Schuyler Scholarship.

  6. Sorry that last post was me Diana Weller!