The Daily Graphic

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The Daily Graphic
Daily Graphic 7 October 1873.png
October 7, 1873 front page, showing Washington Donaldson's balloon team ascending in an ill-fated attempt to cross the Atlantic
FoundedMarch 4, 1873
Ceased publicationSeptember 23, 1889
Headquarters39 & 41 Park Place, Manhattan, New York
Circulation10,000 at peak[1]

The Daily Graphic: An Illustrated Evening Newspaper was the first American newspaper with daily illustrations. It was founded in New York City in 1873 by Canadian engravers George-Édouard Desbarats and William Leggo, and began publication in March of that year. It continued publication until September 23, 1889.


Flush with their printing success in Canada, Desbarats and Leggo relocated to New York in 1873 to found The Daily Graphic. Highly illustrated, its lavish engravings included cartoons, reproductions of paintings, and illustrations of contemporary news events and notable personalities. While pioneering, the paper was not a financial success, and Desbarats later returned to Montreal, with Leggo following at least by 1879.[2][3]

The business management of the paper was initially headed up by Charles and James Goodsell. David Croly, former managing editor of the New York World, was the initial editor of the paper, serving from 1873 through 1878.[4] Mark Twain wryly commented to Croly after seeing the first issue: "I don't care much about reading ... but I do like to look at pictures, and the illustrated weeklies do not come as often as I need them."[1] Croly was an admirer of Walt Whitman, and published a number of his poems in the Graphic.[5][6]

An early publicity stunt pulled by the Graphic in 1873 was the sponsoring of a cross-Atlantic balloon trip by Washington Donaldson. The flight proved unsuccessful, but it did draw significant attention to the paper.[7]

A Scene in Shantytown, New York, March 4, 1880, the first newspaper photo printed using a halftone screen.

Engraver Stephen Henry Horgan helped push the photographic printing efforts of the paper. The paper published an image of Steinway Hall from a photograph on December 2, 1873. And "A Scene in Shantytown, New York" appeared in the March 4, 1880 issue; the first halftone photograph ever printed by a newspaper.[8][9]

The Daily Graphic was also the first American paper to print a daily weather map, which started in its May 9, 1879 edition.[10][11] The U.S. government provided the map through its Weather Services and paid the paper $10 a day to run it, which ran through September 1882 when the service ended.[12]

Isaac M. Gregory served as editor of the paper from 1882-1885 before moving on to edit Judge magazine.[13]

A Weekly Graphic compilation was also offered by the paper, and was available by delivery by mail.

Detail of 1877 New York City map by D.A. Edsall & Co., showing location of the Graphic offices at 39 & 41 Park Place.

Other papers[edit]

The London newspaper The Graphic, which was founded in 1869, commenced publication of its own "The Daily Graphic" on January 4, 1890. It was illustrated with line drawings and woodcuts; photoengraving and halftone was considered too complex a process.[14]

The Daily Graphic was not connected with the New York Evening Graphic, published from 1924 to 1932, and most famous for Walter Winchell's gossip column.

Reproduced from The Daily Graphic[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kobre, Sidney. Development of American journalism, p. 373 (1969)
  2. ^ Black, Harry. Canadian Scientists and Inventors: Biographies of People who Shaped Our World, p. 57 (2d ed. 2008)
  3. ^ (3 January 1877). What it Costs to Publish Picture Papers, Cincinnati Daily Star, p. 2., col. 1-2 (1877 news report explains unprofitability of paper to date)
  4. ^ Harp, Gillis J. Positivist Republic, p. 185 (1995)
  5. ^ The New York Daily Graphic, The Walt Whitman Archive, Retrieved 17 May 2014
  6. ^ (13 September 1883). The Graphic, The American Stationer, p. 425
  7. ^ (22 August 1883) New York Gossip, Omaha Daily Bee, p. 2, col. 2
  8. ^ Brown, Joshua. Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America, pp. 67, 267-68 (2002)
  9. ^ (2 December 1873). Steinway Hall (from a photograph by Pach), Daily Graphic (on page 2, right bottom column, of the same edition, it states: "It is worthy of inspection, too, as being the first picture ever printed in a newspaper directly from a photograph. There has been no intervention of artist or engraver but the picture is transferred directly from a negative by means of our own patented process of 'granulated photography'.")
  10. ^ McCardell, Paul (12 May 2012). First U.S. weather map debuted 136 years ago, Baltimore Sun
  11. ^ (9 May 1879). The Graphic and the Weather, Daily Graphic (article noting first appearance that day of the weather map)(p.495 of same issue showing map)
  12. ^ Monmonier, Mark Maps with the News: The Development of American Journalistic Cartography, p. 114 (1989)
  13. ^ (May 1893). Sketch on Gregory, Art in Advertising, Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 89
  14. ^ William Gamble, Penrose’s Annual. The Process Year Book & Review of the Graphic Arts, Volume XXIX, 1927 at 2

External links[edit]