The New-York Tribune was an American newspaper, first established in 1841 by editor Horace Greeley. Between 1842 and 1866, the newspaper bore the name New-York Daily Tribune. 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 in the 1850s, making it the largest daily paper then in New York City. The Tribune's editorials were widely read, shared, and copied in other city newspapers, helping to shape national American opinion. It was one of the first papers in the north to send reporters, correspondents, and illustrators to cover the campaigns of the American Civil War.
After 73 years of independent existence, the New-York Tribune merged with another major daily newspaper in NYC, the New York Herald, to form the New York Herald Tribune. The “Trib”, as it was known, ceased publication in 1966.
The Tribune was created by Horace Greeley in 1841 with the goal of providing a straightforward, trustworthy media source. Greeley had previously published a weekly newspaper, The New Yorker (unrelated to the later modern magazine, 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.
Greeley sponsored a host of reforms, including pacifism and feminism and especially the ideal of the hard-working free laborer. Greeley demanded reforms to make all citizens would be free and equal. He envisioned virtuous citizens who would eradicate corruption. He talked endlessly about progress, improvement, and freedom, while calling for harmony between labor and capital. Greeley’s editorials promoted social democratic reforms, and were widely reprinted. They influenced the free-labor ideology of the Whigs and the radical wing of the Republican Party, especially in promoting the free-labor ideology. Before 1848 he sponsored an American version of Fourierist socialist reform. but backed away after the failed revolutions of 1848 in Europe. To promote multiple reforms Greeley hired a roster of writers who later became famous in their own right, including Margaret Fuller, Charles Anderson Dana, George William Curtis, William Henry Fry, Bayard Taylor, George Ripley, Julius Chambers and Henry Jarvis Raymond, who later co-founded The New York Times. In 1852-62, the paper retained Karl Marx as its London-based European correspondent. Friedrich Engels also submitted articles under Marx’s by-line.
Founded in a time of civil unrest, the paper joined the newly formed Republican Party in 1854, named it after the party of Thomas Jefferson, and emphasized its opposition to slavery. The paper generated a large readership, with a circulation of approximately 200,000 during the decade of the 1850s. This made the paper the largest circulation daily in New York City — gaining commensurate influence among voters and political decision-makers in the process. During the Civil War Greeley crusaded against slavery, lambasted Democrats and called for a draft of soldiers for the first time. In the summer of 1863, during anti-Draft Riots in New York City, an Irish mob tried to burn down the Tribune building in lower Manhattan.
New York Herald Tribune
Following Greeley’s defeat by 18th President Ulysses S. Grant for his reelection to a second term as presidency of the United States in the 1872 Election, Whitelaw Reid, editor and 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, which was invented by German immigrant inventor, Ottmar Mergenthaler. The linotype allowed the paper to exceed the standard newspaper size of eight pages, and greatly speeded up printing time and the number of newspaper copies that could be printed.
Under Reid’s son, Ogden Mills Reid, the paper acquired and merged with the New York Herald in 1924 to form the New York Herald Tribune. The New York Herald Tribune continued to be run by Ogden M. Reid until his death in 1947. Copies of the New-York Tribune are available on microfilm at many large libraries and online at the Library of Congress. 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
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. 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
- The New York Tribune building was the first home of Pace University. Today, the site where the building once stood is now the One Pace Plaza complex of Pace University’s New York City campus. Dr. Choate’s residence and private hospital, where Horace Greeley died, today is part of the campus of Pace University in Pleasantville, New York.
- On December 15, 1921, The New York Tribune bought two plots of ground at 219 and 220 West 40th Street. The headquarters that The New York Tribune built at that site is now the home of the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
In popular culture
- The Tribune was referenced in one rendition of the popular 19th-century ballad, “No Irish Need Apply“, as performed by Tony Pastor, as the paper of choice of the anti-Irish antagonist in the song.
- “About New-York daily tribune”.
- Glyndon G. van Deusen, Horace Greeley: 19th Century Crusader (1953) pp 51-58.
- Mitchell Snay, Horace Greeley and the Politics of Reform in Nineteenth-Century America (2011).
- Adam-Max Tuchinsky, “‘The Bourgeoisie Will Fall and Fall Forever’: The New-York Tribune, the 1848 French Revolution, and American Social Democratic Discourse.” Journal of American History 92.2 (2005): 470-497.
- Paula Kopacz, “Feminist at the ‘Tribune’: Margaret Fuller as Professional Writer.” Studies in the American Renaissance (1991): 119-139. online
- Sandburg, Carl (1942). Storm Over the Land. Harcourt, Brace and Company.
- Saul K. Padover, Karl Marx: An Intimate Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978; pp. 301, 605.
- Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism: A History, 1690-1960 (1962) pp 271-78.
- Van Deusen, Horace Greeley: 19th Century Crusader (1953) pp 283-85, 289, 298-300.
- “About New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866–1924,” Library of Congress.
- “New York Tribune Suspends Publication” (Late Edition (East Coast)). The New York Times. January 5, 1991.
- Library of Congress: American Memory website (name search required for accession)
- 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.
- Fahrney, Ralph Ray, Horace Greeley and the Tribune in the Civil War (1936) online
- 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)
- Maihafer, Harry J. The General and the Journalists: Ulysses S. Grant, Horace Greeley, and Charles Dana (2001).
- Seitz, Don C. Horace Greeley: Founder of the New York Tribune (1926) online edition
- Tuchinsky, Adam. Horace Greeley’s ‘New-York Tribune’: Civil War-Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor (2009).
- Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley, Nineteenth-Century Crusader (1953), standard biography online edition
- Works by or about New-York Tribune at Internet Archive
- Works by New-York Tribune at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- The New York Tribune Online 1842–1866 1866–1922