Joseph Pulitzer was a Hungarian-American newspaper publisher of the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the New York World. Pulitzer introduced the techniques of yellow journalism to the newspapers he acquired in the 1880s and he became a leading national figure in the Democratic Party and was elected congressman from New York. He crusaded against big business and corruption, and helped keep the Statue of Liberty in New York. Today, he is best known for the Pulitzer Prizes, which were established in 1917 by money he bequeathed to Columbia University to recognize artistic and journalistic achievements in the United States. The prizes are given annually to award achievements in American journalism and photography, as well as literature and history, poetry, music, Pulitzer founded the Columbia School of Journalism by his philanthropic bequest, it opened in 1912. He was born as Pulitzer József in Makó, about 200 km south-east of Budapest in Hungary, the Pulitzers were among several Jewish families living in the area, and had established a reputation as merchants and shopkeepers. Josephs father was a businessman, regarded as the second of the foremost merchants of Makó. Their ancestors emigrated from Moravia to Hungary at the end of the 18th century, in 1853, Fülöp Pulitzer was rich enough to retire. He moved his family to Pest, where he had the children educated by private tutors, in 1858, after Fülöps death, his business went bankrupt, and the family became impoverished. Joseph attempted to enlist in various European armies for work before emigrating to the United States, Pulitzer arrived in Boston in 1864 at the age of 17, his passage having been paid by Massachusetts military recruiters who were seeking soldiers for the long American Civil War. Learning that the recruiters were pocketing the lions share of his enlistment bounty, Pulitzer snuck away from the Deer Island recruiting station and he was paid $200 to enroll in the Lincoln Cavalry on September 30. He was a part of Sheridans troopers, in the First New York Lincoln Cavalry in Company L. where he served for eight months. Although he spoke three languages, German, Hungarian, and French, Pulitzer learned little English until after the war because his regiment was composed mostly of German immigrants, after the war, Pulitzer returned to New York City, where he stayed briefly. He moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts for the whaling industry and he returned to New York with little money. Flat broke, he slept in wagons on cobblestone side streets and he decided to travel by side-door Pullman to St. Louis, Missouri. He sold his one possession, a handkerchief, for 75 cents. When Pulitzer arrived at the city, he recalled, The lights of St. Louis looked like a land to me. In the city, his German was as useful as it was in Munich because of the large ethnic German population, in the Westliche Post, he saw an ad for a mule hostler at Benton Barracks
Image: Joseph Pulitzer Pince Neznpsgov
A chromolithograph of Pulitzer superimposed on a composite of his newspapers.
Editorial cartoon by Leon Barritt. Newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, full-length dressed as the "Yellow Kid" (a popular cartoon character of the day), each pushing against opposite sides of a pillar of wooden blocks that spells WAR. This is a satire of the Pulitzer and Hearst newspapers' role in rousing public opinion for war with Spain. First published 29 June 1898.