Pulitzer, Joseph, 1847-1911Variant names
Joseph Pulitzer (born József Pulitzer; April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911) was a Hungarian-born American newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World. He became a leading national figure in the Democratic Party and was elected congressman from New York. He crusaded against big business and corruption, and helped keep the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Born in Makó, Hungary, he grew up there and in Pest, where he was educated by private tutors and taught French and German. Following his father's death, he enlisted in the Union Army as a substitute for a draftee, spending a year in the Lincoln Cavalry. Later, he worked his way to St. Louis. While doing odd jobs there, such as muleteer, baggage handler, and waiter, he immersed himself in the city's Mercantile Library, studying English and the law. He worked as a reporter for the Westliche Post and briefly served as a Missouri state representative. Initially aligned with the Republicans, he broke with them to support the Liberal Republican party, joining the Democratic Party in 1874.
On December 9, 1878, Pulitzer bought the moribund St. Louis Dispatch and merged it with John Dillon's St. Louis Post, forming the St. Louis Post and Dispatch (soon renamed the Post-Dispatch). In 1880, Pulitzer made a second run for public office, this time for United States Representative from Missouri's second district; he was resoundingly defeated for the Democratic nomination. In April 1883, the Pulitzer family traveled to New York, ostensibly to launch a European vacation, but actually so that Joseph could make an offer to Jay Gould for ownership of the morning New York World. After purchasing the World, Pulitzer emphasized sensational stories: human-interest, crime, disasters, and scandal. Under Pulitzer's leadership, circulation grew from 15,000 to 600,000, making the World the largest newspaper in the country. In 1884, Pulitzer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 9th congressional district as a Democrat and entered office on March 4, 1885. During his term in office, Pulitzer led a crusade to place the newly-gifted Statue of Liberty in New York City and was a member of the Committee on Commerce. Over the course of his time in Washington, Pulitzer determined that his position at the World was both more powerful and more enjoyable than Congress; he ultimately resigned on April 10, 1886.
In the 1890s, the fierce competition between Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal caused both to develop the techniques of yellow journalism, which won over readers with sensationalism, sex, crime and graphic horrors. The wide appeal reached a million copies a day and opened the way to mass-circulation newspapers that depended on advertising revenue (rather than cover price or political party subsidies) and appealed to readers with multiple forms of news, gossip, entertainment and advertising. Pulitzer's health problems (blindness, depression, and acute noise sensitivity) caused a rapid deterioration, and he had to withdraw from the daily management of the newspaper. He continued to manage the paper from his New York mansion, his winter retreat at the Jekyll Island Club on Jekyll Island, Georgia, and his summer vacation retreat in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 1907, Pulitzer resigned from the paper. He died in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina en route to his home on Jekyll Island in October 1911.
Today, Pulkitzer's name is best known for the Pulitzer Prizes, which were established in 1917 as a result of his endowment to Columbia University. The prizes are given annually to recognize and reward excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music, and drama. Pulitzer also founded the Columbia School of Journalism by his philanthropic bequest; it opened in 1912.
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York City||NY||US|
|Judges--Selection and appointment--United States|
|Autographs--Collectors and collecting|
|World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps|
|Authors and publishers|
|World War, 1939-1945|
|Newspaper publishing--Missouri--Saint Louis|
|Representatives, U.S. Congress--New York (State)|