PERKINS, MAURICE (ca.1850-16 Oct. 1895), journalist, wrote for Cleveland's major newspapers before leaving for New York and Indiana. Perkins was probably born on a Michigan farm, although one account gives his birthplace as Cleveland. He graduated from Hillsdale College (MI) and got a job reporting for the Detroit News, where he may have met the owner's brother, EDWARD WYLLIS SCRIPPS. Perkins then moved to Toledo and worked for the Blade. He married Jessie Davis there in 1879. After E. W. Scripps founded the CLEVELAND PRESS, Perkins became its star reporter at an unequalled salary of $25 a week. He became the pivot in a feud between Scripps and Cleveland ironmaster HENRY CHISHOLM. Chisholm allegedly had his employees cover Perkins from head to toe with black paint for mistakenly identifying his son as the instigator of a street brawl. Scripps exploited the resultant threat to Perkins's life to defeat libel and criminal suits pressed by Chisholm. Perkins became known locally for his shabby appearance and numerous idiosyncrasies, including a penchant for collecting pencils and pads and an addiction to coffee—consuming perhaps as many as 40 cups per day. Though considered an indifferent reporter by some, all rated his writing skills as unsurpassed.
Quitting the Pres, Perkins worked for the CLEVELAND HERALD and the PLAIN DEALER before leaving Cleveland. In New York City, he won a position on the Evening Sun. He later worked for the Indianapolis Sun (1888) and the Evening Telegram (New York City, 1894). Back in Indiana, he wrote for the Indianapolis News before being hospitalized. He died from injuries received after he jumped from the hospital's third floor while delirious.