Joseph Pulitzer: Wikis

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Joseph Pulitzer


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1885 – April 10, 1886
Preceded by John Hardy
Succeeded by Samuel Cox

Born April 10, 1847(1847-04-10)
Makó, Hungary
Died October 29, 1911 (aged 64)
Jekyll Island, Georgia, U.S.A.
Political party Democratic
Occupation Publisher, philanthropist, journalist, lawyer
Military service
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1864-1865
Unit First Regiment, New York Cavalry
Battles/wars Civil War

Joseph Pulitzer (pronounced /ˈpʊlɨtsər/ PULL-it-sər;[1] April 10, 1847[2]–October 29, 1911), né Politzer József, was a Hungarian-American publisher best known for posthumously establishing the Pulitzer Prizes and for originating yellow journalism along with William Randolph Hearst.

Contents

Early life

Pulitzer was born in Makó, Hungary to Jewish parents[3][4] Philip Pulitzer (Politzer Fülöp), a grain merchant, and Louise Berger (Berger Elize).[5][6] He had three siblings, the eldest Louis, died early, his brother Albert, who was four years younger, and his little sister Irma. In 1853, Philip was rich enough to retire and move his family to Budapest, where the children were educated by private tutors and were expected to learn French and German.

When Joseph was still in school, his father died of a heart ailment. His mother remarried, to Max Blau, a Budapest merchant, and this made Joseph unhappy.[5]

Military career

He was excited after Otto von Bismarck's subtle moves against Schleswig-Holstein and desired to join the Austrian Army. He was 17 at the time and was hoping since his uncles were officers in the army (Elize's brothers) they could help him in some way. He was turned down by the Austrian army due to age, fragile physique, and poor eyesight. Disappointed but undeterred, he traveled to Paris to enlist in the French Foreign Legion in Mexico, led by Louis Napoleon in support of Archduke Maximilian. He was rejected for the same reasons. He then traveled to London, and he hoped to enlist in the British Army in India. He then went to Hamburg and tried to ship out as a sailor, where he was met with yet another refusal. In Hamburg, however, were agents seeking recruits for the Union Army. They boarded a boat and arrived in Boston sometime in August or September, 1864. He wanted to collect his own bounty, so in Boston Harbor he dove overboard at night, swam to shore, took a train to New York and was enrolled in the Lincoln Cavalry September 30, and it would shelve any intuition to be a soldier.[7]

When he joined the Union Army, he was just 18. He was a part of Sheridan's troopers, in the First New York Lincoln Cavalry in Company L. He served eight months, and he also spoke three languages: German, Hungarian, and French, and he only knew a little English because his regiment was mostly composed of Germans.[8]

After the war

After the war, he returned to New York City, where he stayed for a short while. He moved to New Bedford for whaling, learned it was moribund, and returned to New York with little money. He was flat broke and sleeping in wagons on cobble stoned side streets. He decided to travel by side-door Pullman to St. Louis, Missouri. He sold his one possession: white handkerchief for 75 cents. When he arrived to the city, he recalled "The lights of St. Louis looked like a promise land to me". In the city, German was as useful as it was in Munich. In the Westliche Post, he saw an ad for a mule hostler at Benton Barracks. The next day he walked four miles, got the job, but held it for a mere two days. The reason why he quit was due to the food and the whims of the mules, stating "The man who has not cared for sixteen mules does not know what work and troubles are".[9] He had difficulty holding jobs; either he was too scrawny for heavy labor or too proud and temperamental to take orders. One job he held was that of a waiter at Tony Faust's famous restaurant on Fifth Street. This was a place frequented by members of the St. Louis Philosophical Society, including Thomas Davidson, fellow German and nephew of Otto Von Bismarck, Henry C. Brokmeyer, and William Torrey Harris. He studied Brokmeyer, who was famous for translating Hegel, and he "would hang on Brokmeyer's thunderous words, even as he served them pretzels and beer". He was soon fired after a tray slipped from his hand and soaked a patron. He would spend his free time at the Mercantile Library on the corner of Fifth and Locust, studying English and reading voraciously. Soon after, he and several dozen men each paid a fast-talking promoter five dollars. He promised them well paying jobs on a Louisiana sugar plantation They boarded a malodorous little steamboat, which took them down river 30 miles south of the city. When the boat churned away, it appeared to them that it was a ruse. They walked back to the city, where Joseph wrote an account of the fraud and was pleased when it was accepted by the Westliche Post, evidently his first published news story.

One of his favorite places to go was the building at the corner of Fifth and Market Streets. In the building was the Westliche Post which was co-edited by Dr. Emil Pretorius and Carl Schurz, attorneys William Patrick and Charles Phillip Johnson, and surgeon Joseph Nash McDowell. Patrick and Johnson referred to Pulitzer as "Shakespeare" because of his extraordinary profile. They also employed him by giving him errands to run and legal papers to serve. His acquaintance with Dr. McDowell proved worthy when a cholera epidemic struck St. Louis in 1866.[10] One of the people to come to St. Louis during the epidemic was William Hepworth Dixon. During the epidemic, Dr. McDowell's influence got Pulitzer the job of warden of Arsenal Island[11] where many of the dead were buried, a post even freed criminals fled. He helped bury the dead and did bookwork until the epidemic ended and his job had finished. Patrick and Johnson helped him secure another job, this time with the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.[12]

He rode south to Ozark County where many settlers refused to believe the American Civil War was over. Pulitzer's job, with the help of an aide, was to record the railroad charter in the twelve counties it would pass through. Pulitzer learned the complicated articles of incorporation by heart and inscribed them into county records from memory. While fording the flood-swollen Gasconade River, the two men were swept from their horses. The aide drowned and, although Pulitzer was a remarkable swimmer, he barely made it to shore safely.[12] He completed his tasks and the lawyers were impressed. So impressed, in fact, that they gave him desk space and access to their library where Pulitzer studied law. On March 6, 1867, he renounced his allegiance to Austria and became an American citizen. He still frequented the Mercantile Library where he befriended the librarian, Udo Brachvogel, with whom he would remain friends for the rest of his life. He was often in the chess room where another player, Carl Schurz, noticed his aggressive game play. Schurz was looked up to by Pulitzer. He was an inspiring emblem of American Democracy, of the success attainable by a foreign-born citizen through his own energies and skills.[13]

Apparently in 1868, he was admitted to the bar, but his broken English and odd appearance kept clients away. He struggled with the execution of minor papers and the collecting of debts. It wasn't until 1868 when the Westliche Post needed a reporter that he was offered the job.[5]

Newspaper career

A chromolithograph of Pulitzer superimposed on a composite of his newspapers.

In 1868, when he got his job at the Westliche Post, he had a fire for reporting. He would work 16 hours a day—from 10 AM to 2 AM. He was nicknamed "Joey the German" or "Joey the Jew". He too would join the Philosophical Society and he frequented the German bookstore of Fritz Roeslein on Fourth Street, where many intellectuals hung out. Among his new repertoire of friends were Joseph Keppler and Thomas Davidson (philosopher).[14]

He joined the Republican Party. On December 14, 1869, Pulitzer attended the Republican meeting at the St. Louis Turnhalle on Tenth Street, where party leaders needed a candidate to fill the legislative vacancy caused by the resignation of the Democrat John Terry. Their pick was the rising young attorney Chester H. Krum, and when Krum declined, they settled on Pulitzer, nominating him unanimously, forgetting he was only 22, three years under the required age. His chief Democratic opponent was Samuel A. Grantham, a tobacconist whom the Post attacked as of doubtful eligibility because he had served in the Confederate army.

Pulitzer had one advantage over Grantham: energy. Pulitzer organized street meetings, called personally on the voters, and exhibited such sincerity along with his oddities that he had pumped a half-amused excitement into a campaign that was normally lethargic. A snowstorm on December 21 kept the vote down, and was surprised he beat Grantham 209-147. It never occurred to him that he was underage, nor did it become known to the legislature, and he was seated as a state representative in Jefferson City at the session beginning January 5, 1870. He had only lived there for two years, an example of quick accomplishment of political power. He also moved him up one notch in the administration at the Westliche Post.[15] He eventually became its managing editor, and obtained a proprietary interest.[16]

To save money, he boarded with fellow German-born legislator Anthony F. Ittner in Jefferson City. In 1872 he was a delegate to the Cincinnati convention of the Liberal Republican Party which nominated Horace Greeley for the presidency. However, the attempt at electing Greeley as president failed, the party collapsed, and Pulitzer switched to the Democrats. In 1880 he was a delegate to the Democratic national convention, and a member of its platform committee from Missouri.[16]

In 1872, Pulitzer purchased the Post for $3,000, and then sold his stake in the paper for a profit in 1873. In 1879 he bought the St. Louis Dispatch, and the St. Louis Post and merged the two papers as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which remains St. Louis' daily newspaper. It was at the Post-Dispatch that Pulitzer developed his role as a champion of the common man[17] with exposés and a hard-hitting populist approach. He soon was competitive with William Hearst.

In 1883, Pulitzer, by then a wealthy man, purchased the New York World,[17] a newspaper that had been losing $40,000 a year, for $346,000 from Jay Gould. Pulitzer shifted its focus to human-interest stories, scandal, and sensationalism. In 1884, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but resigned after a few months' service on account of the pressure of journalistic duties.[16] In 1887, he recruited the famous investigative journalist Nellie Bly. In 1895 the World introduced the immensely popular The Yellow Kid comic by Richard F. Outcault[citation needed], the first newspaper comic printed with color. Under Pulitzer's leadership circulation grew from 15,000 to 600,000, making it the largest newspaper in the country.[citation needed]

The editor of the rival New York Sun attacked Pulitzer in print, calling him in 1890 "The Tucker who abandoned his religion"[citation needed]. This was intended to alienate Pulitzer's Jewish readership. Pulitzer's already failing health deteriorated rapidly and he withdrew from the daily management of the newspaper, although he continued to actively manage the paper from his vacation retreat in Bar Harbor, Maine, and his New York mansion.

Once, Professor Thomas Davidson asked of Pulitzer in a company meeting, “I cannot understand why it is, Mr. Pulitzer, that you always speak so kindly of reporters and so severely of all editors.” “Well,” Pulitzer replied, “I suppose it is because every reporter is a hope, and every editor is a disappointment.” This phrase became a famous epigram of journalism.[18]

In 1895, William Randolph Hearst purchased the rival New York Journal from Pulitzer's brother, Albert, which led to a circulation war. This competition with Hearst, particularly the coverage before and during the Spanish-American War, linked Pulitzer's name with yellow journalism.

After the World exposed an illegal payment of $40 million by the United States to the French Panama Canal Company in 1909, Pulitzer was indicted for libeling Theodore Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. The courts dismissed the indictments.

Columbia University

The grave of Joseph Pulitzer in Woodlawn Cemetery

In 1892, Pulitzer offered Columbia University's president, Seth Low, money to set up the world's first school of journalism. The university initially turned down the money, evidently turned off by Pulitzer's unscrupulous character. In 1902, Columbia's new president Nicholas Murray Butler was more receptive to the plan for a school and prizes, but it would not be until after Pulitzer's death that this dream would be fulfilled. Pulitzer left the university $2 million in his will, which led to the creation in 1912 of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, but by then at Pulitzer's urging the Missouri School of Journalism had been created at the University of Missouri. Both schools remain among the most prestigious in the world.

En route to his winter home on Jekyll Island, Georgia, Joseph Pulitzer died aboard his yacht[17] in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina in 1911. He is interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery[17] in The Bronx, New York.

Legacy

In 1917, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded, in accordance with Pulitzer's wishes. In 1989 Pulitzer was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. A fictionalized version of Joseph Pulitzer is portrayed by Robert Duvall in the 1992 Disney film musical, Newsies. He is the main antagonist of that film. There is also a school in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York named after Pulitzer. Joseph Pulitzer also left a legacy with his Newspaper. Joseph Pulitzer's style of writing helped influence American Perception of the Cuban War for Independence and also helped to influence what Americans thought of the way in which the Spanish were going about trying to defeat the Cuban Rebellion. Pulitzer's paper and style of writing helped to shape the Spanish American War and also helped to influence history into what it currently is today.

See also

References

  1. ^ "The Pulitzer prizes - Answers to frequently asked questions". Pulitzer.org. http://www.pulitzer.org/faq#q25. Retrieved 2009-08-10. . The more anglicized pronunciation /ˈpjuːlɪtsər/ PYOO-lit-sər is common but widely considered incorrect.
  2. ^ Date of birth according to the Encyclopædia Britannica.
  3. ^ Pfaff, Daniel W. (1991). Joseph Pulitzer II and the Post-dispatch. Penn State Press. pp. 400. ISBN0271007486. ; "That both of JP's parents were Jewish was determined in 1985 by Andras Csillag, a Hungarian scholar who researched records in the city and county of Pulitzer's birth and other Hungarian archives. He verified that Pulitzer's mother was born to a Jewish family in 1823 at Pest and in 1838 married Philip Pulitzer, who was born in 1811 in Mako.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b c Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 8, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  6. ^ Jewish Contributions in Literature at www.jinfo.org
  7. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 9, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  8. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 3-4, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  9. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 4-5, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  10. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 6, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ a b Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 7, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  13. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 7-8, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  14. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 10, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  15. ^ Swanberg, W.A. Pulitzer, pp. 11-12, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967 ISBN 978-0684105871
  16. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg "Pulitzer, Joseph". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Joseph Pulitzer Dies Suddenly". The New York Times. 1911-10-30. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0410.html?st=cse&sq=Joseph+Pulitzer&scp=1. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  18. ^ Popik, Barry. “Every reporter is a hope; every editor is a disappointment”

Other sources

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Hardy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th congressional district

1885-03-04 – 1886-04-10 (resigned)
Succeeded by
Samuel S. Cox
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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Joseph Pulitzer

Joseph Pulitzer (1847-04-101911-10-29) was a Hungarian-American publisher best known for posthumously establishing the Pulitzer Prizes and (along with William Randolph Hearst) for originating yellow journalism.

A perhaps somewhat-fictional version of Joseph Pulitzer is portrayed in the 1992 Disney film musical, Newsies.

Sourced

  • I know that my retirement will make no difference in its [my newspaper's] cardinal principles, that it will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.
    • Retirement speech, April 10, 1907, as reported in the St. Louis [Missouri] Post-Dispatch (April 11, 1907).

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|Joseph Pulitzer]] Joseph "Joe" Pulitzer (April 10, 1847October 29, 1911) was an American publisher. Most people link the word Pulitzer to the Pulitzer Prizes. These prizes were established by his will, after his death. He is also known (along with William Randolph Hearst) for starting yellow journalism.

Contents

Early days: The Post-Dispatch

Joseph Pulitzer was born in Makó, in present-day Hungary. Originally, he wanted to do a military career, but was turned down by the Austrian army. They said his health was bad and that he did not see too well. He went to live in the United States in 1864 to serve in the American Civil War. After the war he settled in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1868 he began working there for a German-language daily newspaper, the Westliche Post. He joined the Republican Party and was elected to the Missouri State Assembly in 1869. In 1872, Pulitzer bought the Post for $3,000. Then, in 1878, he bought the St. Louis Dispatch for $2,700 and merged the two papers, which became the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which remains St. Louis' daily newspaper. It was at the Post-Dispatch that Pulitzer developed his role as a champion of the common man with exposés and a hard-hitting populist approach.

The New York World

By 1883, Pulitzer had made a lot of money. In that year, he bought the New York World. That newspaper had been losing $40,000 a year. He paid $346,000 to Jay Gould, the owner. Pulitzer changed its focus to human-interest stories, scandal, and sensationalism. In 1885, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but resigned after a few months' service. He did not like politics . In 1887, he recruited the famous investigative journalist Nellie Bly. In 1895 the World introduced the popular Yellow Kid comic by Richard F. Outcault. This was the first newspaper comic printed with color. Under Pulitzer's leadership circulation grew from 15,000 to 600,000, making the New Your World the largest newspaper in the country.

Health problems

The editor of the rival New York Sun attacked Pulitzer in print. He calling him "The Jew who gave up his religion".This was in 1890. This was intended to turn away Pulitzer's Jewish readership. Pulitzer's already failing health deteriorated rapidly, and he left the newsroom. He continued to actively manage the paper from his vacation retreat in Bar Harbor Maine and his New York mansion.

In 1895, William Randolph Hearst purchased the rival New York Journal, which led to a circulation war. This competition with Hearst, particularly the coverage before and during the Spanish-American War, linked Pulitzer's name with yellow journalism.

After the World exposed a fraudulent payment of $40 million by the United States to the French Panama Canal Company in 1909, Pulitzer was indicted for libeling Theodore Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. The courts dismissed the indictments, in a victory for freedom of the press.

Tries to set up a school for journalism

In 1892, Pulitzer offered Columbia University's president, Seth Low, money to set up the world's first school of journalism. The university initially turned down the money, evidently unimpressed by Pulitzer's unscrupulous character. In 1902, Columbia's new president Nicholas Murray Butler was more receptive to the plan for a school and prizes, but it would not be until after Pulitzer's death that this dream would be fulfilled. Pulitzer left the university $2 million in his will, which led to the creation in 1912 of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, but by then the first school of journalism had been created at the University of Missouri. Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism remains one of the most prestigious in the world.

Joseph Pulitzer died aboard his yacht in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina in 1911. He is interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York. In 1917, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded, in accordance with Pulitzer's wishes.

In 1989 Pulitzer was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

References

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