Pulitzer, Joseph

An editor and newspaper proprietor who owned the New York World and gave modern journalism its pulse and success, Pulitzer fought against injustice, special privilege, and corruption, claiming support for “the people” and representing immigrants, workingmen, tenement dwellers, and middle-class taxpayers. He introduced pictures, large headlines, and sensationalism to the newspaper world, making the World the most widely read daily in the Western Hemisphere.

Joseph Pulitzer was born to Philip Pulitzer, a grain merchant, and Louise Berger near Budapest, Hungary. After being educated privately, he came to the United States as a Civil War, U.S.;Hungarians inrecruit for the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. Following his discharge in 1865, he went to St. Louis, Missouri[Saint Louis, Missouri];German pressSt. Louis, Missouri, where he became a reporter for and part owner of the Press;German AmericanGerman-language newspaper the Westliche Post through his friendship with the paper’s German immigrant owner, Schurz, CarlCarl Schurz. After Pulitzer was naturalized in 1867, he was elected in 1869 to the Missouri House of Representatives. A liberal reformer, he was appointed for a term as police commissioner of St. Louis. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C., in 1874. That year, having sold his newspaper interest in the Westliche Post, he purchased the St. Louis Staats-Zeitung. He then sold his interest and its Associated Press franchise to the St. Louis Globe (later the
Globe-Democrat) for a substantial profit. In 1878, he purchased the St. Louis Dispatch at auction and merged it with the St. Louis Post, which became the Post-Dispatch. That year, he married Kate Davis, and they had three sons. In 1880, he became the sole owner of the Post-Dispatch.Hungarian immigrants;Joseph Pulitzer[Pulitzer]Pulitzer, JosephHungarian immigrants;Joseph Pulitzer[Pulitzer]Pulitzer, Joseph[cat]EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS;Pulitzer, Joseph[04310][cat]JOURNALISM;Pulitzer, Joseph[04310][cat]BIOGRAPHIES;Pulitzer, Joseph[04310]

Chromolithograph of Joseph Pulitzer superimposed over pages from his newspapers.

(Library of Congress)

In 1883, New York City;newspapersPulitzer moved east, purchased the New York World from Jay Gould, and increased its circulation tenfold. His dedication to truth and accuracy combined with sensational stories and campaigns–sending journalist Nellie Bly around the world, raising funds for the Statue of Liberty;funding ofStatue of Liberty’s pedestal, competing with William Randolph Hearst for circulation and support for the Spanish-American War[Spanish American War];and William Randolph Hearst[Hearst]Spanish-American War–made Pulitzer one of the most prominent names in American journalism. His newspaper was the democratic podium for his liberal reform politics as he sought protection for immigrants and their socioeconomic interests. He posthumously endowed the Pulitzer Prizes and the School of Journalism at Columbia University (1912).Hungarian immigrants;Joseph Pulitzer[Pulitzer]Pulitzer, Joseph

Further Reading

  • Barrett, James Wyman. Joseph Pulitzer and His World. New York: Vanguard Press, 1941.
  • Juergens, George. Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966.

German American press

German immigrants

Huffington, Arianna

Jennings, Peter

Jewish immigrants


Melting pot theory