Joseph Pulitzer

Publisher

Born: 10 April 1847
Died: 29 October 1911
Birthplace: Makó, Hungary
Best known as: Newspaperman who started the Pulitzer Prize
Joseph Pulitzer was the 19th-century journalist and newspaper publisher whose will established the Pulitzer Prizes "for the encouragement of public service, public morals, American literature and the advancement of education." Pulitzer immigrated to the United States as a young man in 1864 and served in the 1st New York Cavalry during the Civil War . He made his way to St. Louis after the war and in 1868 began working for the German language newspaper the Westliche Post. Ambitious and hardworking, Pulitzer studied English and law and served in the Missouri legislature, and by 1872 he was the owner and publisher of the Post. In 1878 he bought The Evening Dispatch and merged the two newspapers into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Pulitzer moved to New York, where he acquired the New York World (1883), founded the New York Evening World (1887) and became one of the most powerful newspaper publishers in the United States and a rival and competitor of William Randolph Hearst. Although he maintained control over his publishing empire, Pulitzer had frail health and was almost completely blind in his later years. His will provided for the financing of the Pulitzer Prizes as well as for what is now the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University.
Extra credit: The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded in 1917... Pulitzer served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1885-1886)... His sons Ralph (1879-1939) and Joseph (1885-1955) were also journalists and publishers, as was his grandson, Joseph, Jr. (1913-93).

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