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Thornton Leigh Hunt
Born 10 September 1810(1810-09-10)
London, England
Died 25 June 1873 (aged 62)
London, England
Occupation Journalist and editor
Family James Leigh Hunt (father)
Marianne Hunt (mother)
Spouse(s) Katharine Gliddon (1834-1873)
Children 14 children
Notable relatives James Leigh Hunt (father)

Thornton Leigh Hunt (September 10, 1810 — June 25, 1873) was the first editor of the British daily broadsheet newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Hunt was the son of the writer James Leigh Hunt and his wife Marianne, née Kent. As a child he lived in Hampstead until the age of twelve, when his father moved the family to Italy for three years in order to edit The Liberal. Though he aspired to become a painter, an allergy to the pigments he was using thwarted Hunt's ambitions, though he did provide eight woodcuts to illustrate his father's poem 'Captain Sword and Captain Pen'.[1]

Lacking the ability to become an artist, Hunt instead took up a career in journalism. He was employed as a sub-editor for the Radical publication The Constitutional from 1837 until 1838, where he worked alongside William Makepeace Thackeray and Douglas Jerrold. In 1838 he went north where he worked as an editor for first the Cheshire Reformer, then the Glasgow Argus. He returned to London in 1840, where for the next several years he contributed to a variety of periodicals, co-founded The Leader with George Henry Lewes, and wrote a novel, The Foster-Brother: A tale of the War of Chiozza (1845). It was during this period that Hunt became the lover of Agnes Jervis Lewes, the wife of his collaborator on The Leader, and fathered four children with her.

In 1855, he was asked by Joseph Moses Levy to co-edit The Daily Telegraph with his son Edward Levy-Lawson. Hunt accepted and despite the initial arrangement he soon emerged for all practical purposes as the editor of the paper.[2] A Liberal, Hunt was cultivated by Lord Palmerston, and developed a close relationship to William Gladstone, serving as his journalistic amanuensis throughout much of the 1860s. Hunt continued as the editor of the Telegraph until his death in 1873.


  1. ^ Carroll Viera, "Hunt, Thornton Leigh", in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), vol. 28, p. 874.
  2. ^ Stephen Koss, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain, vol. 1: The Nineteenth Century (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1981) 58, 97.


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