Title: The New York Daily Tribune
Author: Susan Belasco
Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.
Whitman Archive ID: per.00109
Like Whitman, Horace Greeley, the founder of the New York Daily Tribune, was a journalist from a humble background who grew up in the world of New York city newspapers. Greeley founded the Tribune in 1841 as an inexpensive daily newspaper with a strong reform agenda, including abolition, the elimination of capital punishment, and temperance. Also interested in promoting American literature, Greeley hired many New England writers to provide poems, short fiction, and reviews, and many well-known writers, such as Margaret Fuller, became associated with the increasingly popular and influential newspaper. Greeley, who was an admirer of Whitman's early work as a journalist, published three of Whitman's poems in 1850, all of which were inspired by political events. Signed "Paumanok," "Blood-Money" was a response to Daniel Webster's speech in Congress in support of the Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Law. "The House of Friends" criticized northern Democrats who supported the Compromise of 1850, and "Resurgemus," the only poem of this period that would appear in the first edition of Leaves of Grass (1855) was inspired by the European Revolutions of 1848. Several years later, a prepublication review of Leaves of Grass (1876) and Two Rivulets (1876) included eleven poems. Whitman's last appearance in the Tribune was with "A Death Sonnet for Custer," which commemorates the death of General George Custer on June 25, 1876 at the Battle of Little Big Horn. But the most famous association between Whitman and the New York Tribune was the publication in the newspaper of Ralph Waldo Emerson's letter to Whitman on October 10, 1855, in which he greeted the unknown poet "at the beginning of a great career."
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition, ed. Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley (New York: New York University Press, 1965).
George H. Douglas, The Golden Age of the Newspapper (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999).
Ezra Greenspan, Walt Whitman and the American Reader (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Joel Myerson, Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993).
Susan Belasco Smith, "The Atlantic Monthly," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
John Tebbel, The American Magazine: A Compact History (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1969).
Hy B. Turner, When Giants Ruled (New York: Fordham University Press, 1999).
"The House of Friends," New York Daily Tribune 14 June 1850