Solon G. Vlasto

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Solon G. Vlasto, newspaper publisher of what was once the largest daily Greek-language newspaper in the United States, was born in Athens in 1903 and came to the United States in 1918. Shortly thereafter he began working as a copy boy at The Atlantis, the New York-based Greek-language daily, which at its peak had a circulation of 22,000. The newspaper was founded by his uncle, Solon J. Vlasto.

The young Solon G. Vlasto would later work as a reporter, an ad salesman and, starting in 1944, as publisher of The Atlantis. The newspaper was later willed to him by his uncle.

The newspaper thrived after World War II as the United States allowed more immigrants from Greece. The paper and Vlasto's social prominence grew further in the 1950s with the rise of a group of wealthy Greek shipowners, such as Aristotle Onassis, who advertised in The Atlantis.

"It was a heady time," recalled James S. Vlasto, his son, who worked as a reporter for The Atlantis in the 1950s and 1960s before becoming the press secretary to Gov. Hugh Carey of New York. "That's when the paper reached is zenith in circulation, advertising and influence."

He was courted by politicians seeking the support of the Greek-American community and was consulted by elected officials on issues relating to Greece. Near the huge leather-tooled desk in his office were pictures of Vlasto with President Harry Truman and President Dwight Eisenhower, along with an invitation to the wedding of Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy.

After the newspaper closed (1973), Vlasto moved to Kifisia, a suburb of Athens, where his parents lived. He did not work, although he was often quoted by the local newspapers about Greek-American affairs.

Vlasto is survived by two sons, James, who lives in New York, and George S. Vlasto, a retired biology professor, who lives in Kent, Conn. He is also survived by four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. His wife, Tima, whom he married in 1926, died in 1993.

  • Source: Obituary: August 25, 1998. Solon G. Vlasto, 94, Newspaper Publisher. By Saul Hansell. The New York Times Company