Watterson, Henry

Watterson, Henry, 1840–1921, American journalist, b. Washington, D.C. Throughout most of his life he was known as “Marse Henry.” Early in life he became a Washington newspaper reporter. He served with the Confederate army in the Civil War and for a time edited the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Rebel. After working on newspapers in Alabama, Ohio, and Tennessee, Watterson became an editor of the Louisville (Ky.) Journal. In 1868 he merged that paper with the competing Louisville Courier to form the Courier-Journal, which soon became locally influential and nationally famous. In his editorials Watterson argued compellingly for the rights of African Americans and the restoration of home rule to the South. In 1876–77 he served in Congress and vigorously supported S. J. Tilden for President in 1876. He was sharply critical of President Grover Cleveland and opposed William J. Bryan and free silver. His editorials urging the United States to declare war on Germany earned him a Pulitzer Prize. He supported Woodrow Wilson only intermittently, bitterly attacking American participation in the League of Nations. In 1923 a volume of his editorials, edited by Arthur Krock, was published.

See his autobiography, Marse Henry (1919, repr. 1973); biography by J. F. Wall (1956).

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