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Peter Fenelon Collier

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Peter Fenelon Collier
Born(1849-12-12)December 12, 1849
Myshall, Ireland
DiedApril 23, 1909(1909-04-23) (aged 59)
Resting placeCollier High School (Wickatunk, New Jersey, U.S.)
Catherine Dunne
(m. 1873)
Children1 son

Peter Fenelon Collier (December 12, 1849 – April 23, 1909) was an Irish-American publisher, the founder of the publishing company P. F. Collier & Son, and in 1888 founded Collier's Weekly.[1]

Early life[edit]

Collier was born in Myshall, County Carlow, Ireland, on December 12, 1849, to Robert Collier and Catherine Fenelon. He emigrated to Dayton, Ohio in the United States, in 1866 when he was 17-years old. He attended St. Mary's Seminary in Cincinnati for four years. He then worked for Sadler and Company, a publisher of school books. With $300 that he saved as a salesman, he bought the printing plates to Father Burke's Lectures. In a single year, his sales were $90,000. In July 1873, he married Catherine Dunne.

In 1874, he published a biography of Pius IX and later published Chandler's Encyclopedia and Chamber's Encyclopedia. He then began publishing "Collier's Library", a series of popular novels.

He later formed his own publishing company printing books for the Roman Catholic market. He founded Collier's Once a Week in April 1888. It was advertised as a magazine of "fiction, fact, sensation, wit, humor, news". By 1892, Collier's Once a Week had a circulation of over 250,000, and was one of the largest selling magazines in the United States. In 1895, the name was changed to Collier's Weekly: An Illustrated Journal.


Collier died the morning of April 23, 1909 in Manhattan.[2]

His will left most of his estate to his wife and son. His estate included shares in the Rumson Polo Club, Monmouth Agricultural Fair Association, co-ownership of Colliers Weekly, shares in the Meadow Yacht Club, shares in the Kentucky Horse Show Company, Tammany Publishing Company and a life insurance policy. All his assets were liquidated and amounted to $2,890,440 (approximately $98,018,000 today). His wife received a life estate and an annuity of $33,044. His son received $2,280,410 and the rest was distributed to various organizations.[3]



His son, Robert Joseph Collier, took over as publisher of Collier's Weekly. When Norman Hapgood joined Harper's Weekly in 1912, Robert Collier became the new editor. Circulation continued to grow, and by 1917, circulation reached one million. Robert Collier (1885–1950), his nephew, founded Robert Collier Publications.

Collier Prize[edit]

The Collier Prize for State Government Accountability was created in 2019, established to honor Peter Fenelon Collier's vision and to encourage investigative and political reporting at the state level.[4][5] Founded by Nathan S. Collier, founder of the Collier Companies, and a descendant of Robert Collier,[6][7] and administered jointly by the White House Correspondents' Association and the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications,[8] the journalism prize was first awarded in 2020.

The inaugural prize was awarded to The Oregonian for Polluted by Money, a four-part series investigating campaign contributions.[5][6] Honorable mentions were awarded for Copy, Paste, Legislate, published by the Center for Public Integrity and USA Today and "Beaten, then silenced", published in The Philadelphia Inquirer.[5][9]


  1. ^ Reynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "Collier, Peter Fenelon" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company.
  2. ^ "Falls Dead in the Riding Club Early This Morning. Doctor Too Late. Head of Publishing House. Worked His Own Way Up from a Humble Beginning to Ownership of Collier's Weekly". New York Times. April 24, 1909. Retrieved November 18, 2011. Peter F. Collier, publisher of Collier's Weekly and well known in society in the United States and abroad, dropped dead of apoplexy in the Riding Club, at 7 East 58th Street, early this morning. Mr. Collier had been attending the annual horse show which the club gives, and death overtook him as he was descending the stairs to the street.
  3. ^ Matawan Journal, Page 7, col 1, July 21, 1910
  4. ^ "$25,000 Collier Prize awarded to The Oregonian for campaign contributions investigation". newspapers.org. June 15, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "University of Florida Announces $25,000 Collier Prize for State Government Accountability". University of Florida. April 25, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The Oregonian/OregonLive's 'Polluted by Money' wins inaugural Collier Prize". OregonLive.com. June 10, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  7. ^ Olivier Knox (April 29, 2019). 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Collier Prize for State Government Accountability (video). C-SPAN. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Madarang, Mel (February 18, 2020). "White House Correspondents' Dinner welcomes back comedic relief in 2020". ABC news. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  9. ^ "Center For Public Integrity Wins Two Dateline Awards". Center for Public Integrity. June 9, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
Preceded by Editor of Collier's Weekly
Succeeded by