New-York Tribune

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New-York Tribune
Front page of the New-York Tribune no. 7,368
November 16, 1864
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Founded 1841
Political alignment Liberal, left-of-center
Ceased publication 1966; 52 years ago (1966)
Headquarters New York, (Manhattan), New York, U.S.A.

The New-York Tribune was an American newspaper, first established in 1841 by editor Horace Greeley (1811–1872). Between 1842 and 1866, the newspaper bore the name New-York Daily Tribune.[1] From the 1840s through the 1860s it was the dominant Whig Party and then Republican newspaper in the United States. The paper achieved a circulation of approximately 200,000 during the decade of the 1850s, making it the largest daily paper then in New York City and perhaps the nation. The Tribune's editorials were widely shared, copied in other city newspapers, read and helped shape national American opinion. It was one of the foremost papers in the North to send many reporters/correspondents / illustrators to cover the campaigns of the American Civil War (1861–1865).

In the Presidential election of 1872, its founder/publisher/editor Horace Greeley was the nominee of the Democratic Party and a progressive/liberal rump segment of the Republican Party against former Civil War commanding General and 18th President Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), nominated by the regular Republicans for a second term as President of the United States, which Greeley lost, and died shortly afterwards. President Grant served 1869–1877.

After 73 years of independent existence as one of the most important influential papers in America, in 1924 it was merged with another major important daily newspaper in the city, the New York Herald to form the New York Herald Tribune. The "Trib" as it continued to be known, which after a long period of continued importance in turn for 42 years, second only to its later lone competitor in status to The New York Times, ceased publication in 1966.

It left as its heritage and descendent, the International Herald Tribune overseas English language paper published in Paris in France, jointly by The Times and the Washington Post who had purchased it, which continued its worldwide influence for another half-century.



Daguerreotype of the Tribune editorial staff by famed later Civil War photographer Mathew Brady (1822–1896), taken circa 1850s. Horace Greeley (1811–1872), is seated, second from the right. Legendary editor Charles Anderson Dana (1819–1897), is standing, center.
The New York Tribune building, today the site of One Pace Plaza in lower Manhattan.

The Tribune was created by Horace Greeley in 1841 with the goal of providing a straightforward, trustworthy media source in an era when newspapers such as the earlier New York Sun (1833–1950), and New York Herald (1835–1924), thrived on sensationalism. Greeley had previously published a weekly newspaper, The New Yorker (unrelated to the later modern magazine founded 1925, of the same name), in 1833, and was also publisher of the Whig Party's political organ, Log Cabin. In 1841, he merged operations of these two publications into a new newspaper that he named, the New-York Tribune.

The Tribune did reflect some of Horace Greeley's idealist views. The journal retained future economic / financial philosopher and theorist Karl Marx (1818–1883), as its London-based European correspondent in 1852. The arrangement provided Marx with much needed income during a period of his life in which his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), could only provide limited financial support.[2] The arrangement, whereby Engels also submitted articles under Marx's by-line, lasted ten years, with the final Marx column being published in February 1862.[3]

During Greeley's editorship, the paper was aided by able writers including Charles Anderson Dana (1819–1897), George William Curtis, William Henry Fry, Bayard Taylor, Margaret Fuller, George Ripley, Julius Chambers and Henry Jarvis Raymond (1820–1869), (later co-founder of future longtime competitor The New York Times in September 1851).[4]

With the controversies and splits in the previous Whig Party over slavery and its expansion, in 1854, the paper joined the newly formed Republican Party—Greeley chose the party's name—and emphasized opposition to slavery upon its foundation in Wisconsin. These new Republicans were separate from the earlier political party known as "Republicans" under third President Thomas Jefferson and his successor, fourth President James Madison in the late 18th and early 19th century, later renamed Democratic-Republicans, later becoming the opposition Democratic Party under seventh President Andrew Jackson (1767–1845, served 1829–1837).

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the Tribune usually spoke for the Radical Republican faction that was very hostile to the new secessionist southern Confederacy and wanted slavery abolished immediately throughout the nation, both southern states and western territories.

The paper generated a large readership, with a circulation of approximately 200,000 during the decade of the 1850s.[2] This made the paper the largest circulation daily in New York City and perhaps in the entire United States — gaining commensurate influence among voters and political decision-makers in the process.[5]

During the first few months of the war in the spring and early summer of 1861, the paper's "on to Richmond" slogan pressured first Union commanding general Irvin McDowell (1818–1885), into advancing on the newly relocated Confederate capital of Richmond in central Virginia, before his army was ready, resulting in the massive defeat and rout at the First Battle of Manassas (aka Bull Run) on July 21, 1861. After the failure of the Peninsular Campaign under new commanding General George B. McClellan (1826–1885), with his newly trained, drilled, practiced and reorganized Army of the Potomac with an offensive moving north on the Rebel capital, on the peninsula between the James and York Rivers from the Chesapeake Bay in the spring of 1862, the Tribune pressured 16th President Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865, served 1861–1865), into installing Gen. John Pope (1822–1892), as commander of the Union Army's once again reorganized Army of the Potomac in northern Virginia, who only lasted a brief time.

During the summer of 1863, with several days of anti-Draft Riots in New York City, a mob tried to burn down the Tribune newspaper building in lower Manhattan which lacked the installed protecting Gatling guns (early prototype machine gun) of the nearby The New York Times offices of Henry J. Raymond.[6]

Following Greeley's defeat by 18th President Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885, served 1869–1877) for his reelection to a second term as presidency of the United States in the 1872 Election, Whitelaw Reid (1837–1912), editor /politician then assumed control of the Tribune. Greeley checked into Dr. George C.S. Choate's Sanitarium where he died a few weeks later.

In 1886, with Reid's support, the Tribune became the first publication in the world to be printed on a linotype machine, by German immigrant inventor, Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854–1899), of Baltimore which allowed it to exceed the standard newspaper size of eight pages and greatly speeded up printing time and number of copies of both newspapers and books with his revolutionary new process and patented machine which manufactured pieces of lines of printing typefaces from molten lead metal and cast in place.

Under Reid's son, Ogden Mills Reid, the paper acquired and merged with the New York Herald (founded 1835) in 1924 to form the New York Herald Tribune, which continued to be run by Ogden M. Reid until his death in 1947. Copies of the New-York Tribune (another American "newspaper of record") are available on microfilm at many large libraries and online at the Library of Congress.[7] Also, indices from selected years in the late nineteenth century are available on the Library of Congress' website. The original paper articles from the newspaper's morgue are kept at The Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

New paper, same name[edit]

A "new" New York Tribune debuted in 1976 in New York City. The paper, which was originally named The News World and later changed to The New York City Tribune, was published by News World Communications, Inc., owned by the Unification Church. It was published in the former Tiffany and Company Building at 401 Fifth Avenue until it printed its last edition on January 3, 1991.[8] Its sister paper, The Washington Times, is circulated primarily in the nation's capital. The Tribune carried an expansive "Commentary" section of opinions and editorials. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was one of the columnists.

Former Tribune buildings today[edit]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "About New-York daily tribune". 
  2. ^ a b Saul K. Padover, Karl Marx: An Intimate Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978; pg. 301.
  3. ^ Padover, Karl Marx, pg. 605.
  4. ^ Sandburg, Carl (1942). Storm Over the Land. Harcourt, Brace and Company. 
  5. ^ Padover, Karl Marx, pp. 301–302.
  6. ^ NYC Riots By William F.B. Vodrey, Cleveland Civil War Round Table
  7. ^ "About New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866–1924," Library of Congress.
  8. ^ "New York Tribune Suspends Publication" (Late Edition (East Coast)). The New York Times. January 5, 1991. 
  9. ^ Library of Congress: American Memory website (name search required for accession)

Primary sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Anon. "The New York Tribune: A Sketch of Its History" (1883) short pamphlet
  • "About New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866–1924". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  • Baehr, Harry W, The New York Tribune since the Civil War (1936)
  • Borchard, Gregory A. (2008). "New York Tribune". In Vaughn, Stephen L. Encyclopedia of American Journalism (1st ed.). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 343–345. ISBN 978-0-415-96950-5. 
  • Isely, Jeter A. Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1853–1861: A study of the New York Tribune (1947)
  • Kluger, Richard, and Phyllis Kluger. The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune (1986)
  • Seitz, Don C. Horace Greeley: Founder of the New York Tribune (1926) online edition
  • Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader (1953), standard biography online edition

External links[edit]