Steffens, Lincoln (Joseph Lincoln Steffens), 1866–1936, American editor and author, b. San Francisco, grad. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1889, and studied three years in Europe. Returning to the United States, he took successive reporting jobs on various New York City newspapers. Soon Steffens became one of America's leading muckrakers, and while he held (1902–11) successive editorial positions on McClure's, the American, and Everybody's magazines he wrote sensational articles exposing municipal corruption, corporate monopolies, and political machines, areas that had never been covered in this way by journalists. His pieces were later collected in The Shame of the Cities (1904), The Struggle for Self-Government (1906), Upbuilders (1909), and other volumes. His autobiography (1931) contains not only personal reminiscences but also valuable information on the leftist movements of his era.
See his Lincoln Steffens Speaking (1936) and his letters (ed. by E. Winters and G. Hicks, 2 vol., 1938); biographies by J. Kaplan (1974) and P. Hartshorn (2011).