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The Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Square in New York: the amazing fate of the founder of the famous Pulitzer Prize

This square is located at the intersection of E58-E60 Streets with 5th Avenue in Manhattan (New York). Near the famous Plaza Hotel and Apple Fifth Avenue. She is well known to many residents of the city and its guests. After all, from these places you can start walking around the Central City Park and routes along it in a horse-drawn carriage. But ask them about the location of the Pulitzer Fountain, and they will shrug their shoulders in bewilderment. After all, he did not come across a monument or memorial plaque dedicated to the legendary publisher either here or in other squares, boulevards or streets of the city. As if it was not thanks to him that the Columbia School of Journalism was created in the country, the Pulitzer Prize was approved for outstanding achievements in journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama, the construction of the Statue of Liberty was completed, and much more was done. Luck, whose darling he was for many years, at the end of his life left him: deprived of his sight, the possibility of normal communication, locked in a soundproof bunker. But he did not give up and managed to force himself to fight. I hope that the story of the life of a person who managed to overcome the insurmountable, and turn the tragedy of life into a triumph, will interest you too. As well as the story of the extraordinary fate of the fountain that bears his name.

Photo: Shutterstock

Joseph Pulitzer's stay in the United States is usually counted from 1864, when he arrived at the age of 17 by ship to Boston. His travel was paid for by Massachusetts military recruiters who were looking for soldiers to fight in the Civil War. And he was born on April 10, 1847 in Mako, a small border town in the southeast of Hungary. The family soon moved to Budapest. His father, a successful merchant, could afford to live in a prestigious area and pay for the tuition of children by private teachers. He dies when Joseph (Joseph) is 11 years old, and the life of the family changes dramatically.

And after his mother (Eliza Berger) remarried, he leaves home and begins an independent life. In order not to be a burden to his family, Joseph decides to join the army. He turns to his uncle, a colonel of the Austrian army, for help, but gets an unexpected refusal due to vision problems. He is sent to Germany, but in the Prussian army the medical board did not recognize him as fit for service. In France and England, everything was repeated. It was a bell: urgently start treating your eyes. But in the United States, the Civil War is blazing, and he decides to urgently get there. The Union army needed people, and the requirements for vision were not so strict. Ultimately, he ends up in Boston, seeking enlistment in the army, where until the end of the war he serves in the Lincoln cavalry regiment under the command of Sheridan. The problems began after its completion. He was lanky (under 190 cm tall) and skinny youth, with poor eyesight, not particularly inclined to hard physical work. It was a vicious circle: difficulties with the English language (after all, his regiment consisted entirely of German immigrants), the difficulty of finding work, lack of livelihood, hunger and the inability to rent an apartment.

One day, many years later, Pulitzer was strolling through the night in New York with Colonel John A. Cockerill, one of its editors, and showed him a bench in Madison Square on which some poor woman was lying. “There,” he said, “I also slept many nights. When I first came to this city, I did not have a bed or a roof over my head. Every night until I found a job, I slept on this bench, and getting up to breakfast was often accompanied by the crack of a police baton. " "What did you do on rainy nights?" Cockerill asked.

“Come with me,” was the answer. And Pulitzer took his companion nearly two miles down Broadway and, turning into Park Place, showed him several trucks that lined up there every evening. They were long, wide, and roomy, and although the cobblestone bed underneath was not soft, it was drier than the open air.

Soon, his friend from Austria invited him to go to the West, where it was rumored to be full of work. After collecting all the money they had, they went to the train station and asked to sell them tickets as far to the West as their savings would last. So, according to legend, Joseph came to St. Louis. Their tickets were only for East St. Louis, a city on the opposite bank of the Missouri. In those days, the bridge was not yet there, but Pulitzer met a firefighter, to whom he offered his services as payment for the ferry. Thus, he not only moved to St. Louis, but also worked there for some time as a firefighter, and then as a loader at city docks. He changed a few more jobs until he got a job as a waiter in the famous restaurant "Tony Faust", which was visited by members of the German Philosophical Society - the color of St. Louis. The fact is that a large German-speaking community settled in the city, which even had its own newspaper, Westliche Post. With its publishers Pretorius and Schurz Pulitzer brought a "lucky break." The fact is that for normal communication in a new country, of course, full-fledged English was needed. And so, every day after his shift, Joseph hurried to the St. Louis Merchant Library, where, studying English, he eagerly read newspapers, magazines and books. During breaks, he often played in the chess room of the library. One day, watching a chess match between two gentlemen, he allowed himself to intervene and express his thoughts. Usually, players react to such comments with irritation. Even the gallant Schweik warned: "Do not go, advisor, to the players, or you will get in the teeth." But, in this case, Joseph was treated favorably. As if the gentlemen (and this, as you immediately understood, was Pretorius and Schurz) liked the pressure and zeal with which the young man defended his opinion. Most likely, they were simply dumbfounded, because in this city, knowing "Who is Who", no one would dare to do such an act. This story was then retold many times, acquiring a huge number of variations. But one thing is important to us: this acquaintance will ultimately lead to an invitation to work as a reporter for the Westliche Post. And will change Pulitzer's whole life. On the one hand, an invitation to "reporting" did not mean admission to a vacant position. After all, he still had to prove the ability to become a reporter. And he passed this test, becoming a first-class journalist. He replaced the original clumsy English with facial expressions, gestures, amazing energy and efficiency. His working day began at 10 am and ended at 2 am. But soon everything will fall into place and in two years he will take the place of the editor, and soon the co-owner of the newspaper.

Now - the second. Close contacts with the editorial board led to the fact that he was able to take a secretary position in the "German Association" dealing with the problems of immigrants. And then at the Bureau of the Atlantic and Pacific Railways, where he was instructed to register land plots for the railroad bed in those areas where construction was planned. The ability to find contact with clients, scrupulously consider all facets of the problem and find the right solution (which he had already learned over the years of his "reporting" and work in the "Association") were highly appreciated by his new colleagues, who predicted a brilliant lawyer future for him. They even provided Joseph with a desk in the bureau and allowed him to study law in their library to prepare him for the bar. Here, too, he was so successful that a few years later he returned to the city with the aim of creating his own law firm.

There is also a third. Karl Schurz, among other things, was an American statesman. After serving as a Union general during the American Civil War, he became an active supporter of the Republican Party, and represented Missouri in the United States Senate. Very soon he involved young Joseph in party work. He began to assist him in organizing street meetings and communicating with voters, showing such energy and sincerity that he inspired the listeners with confidence and interest in the party programs.

On December 14, 1869, Joseph attended a Republican meeting in St. Louis Turnhall, where party leaders discussed the urgent filling of an open vacancy in the state legislature. After the rejection of their proposed candidate, they settled on Pulitzer, choosing him unanimously. Despite the fact that he was only 22 (three years younger than the legal age) at the session on January 5, 1870, Joseph was appointed representative of the state in Jefferson City. With youthful maximalism, he led a crusade to reform the corrupt St. Louis County court, making an enemy in the person of the superintendent, Captain Edward Augustine. Pulitzer's insult as a "damned liar" led to a clash between them. Drawing his pistol, Joseph shot him in the knee. But the morals were such that he got away with it.

In 1872 he joined the creation of the new Liberal Republican Movement. After failures with his organization, Pulitzer began collaborating with the Democratic Party. And even in 1884 she was elected to the US House of Representatives from the ninth district of New York. The point is that when Pulitzer bought the Mir newspaper, New York did not have a large Democratic newspaper. The Tribune and Times were Republican, and the Sun and Herald were independent. Thus, the Pulitzer newspaper positioned itself as democratic. However, by and large, the ideas put forward by Pulitzer in state and editorial affairs most of all reflected his personal populist and romantic moods, allowing in most cases to feel neutral, "above the fight."

So, accidentally bought at the railway ticket office in New York, a ticket to St. Louis and an unexpected meeting in the chess room of the library turned over and determined the rest of Joseph's life.

In 1872 he was named one of the three St. Louis Police Commissioners, and left the editorial office. But the desire to work in journalism remained, although at a different level. In 1875, he invited the editors of New York newspapers to organize the publication of the German-language weekly Belletristische Journal, but to no avail. Then he approached the leadership of the New York Sun: to start publishing a German-language version of the newspaper. This effort culminated in an offer of cooperation: as the Washington correspondent for the Sun. And he accepts the offer, hoping to use the time to complete his legal education. And already in 1878 he returned from Washington to St. Louis, planning to start a career as a lawyer, but ... looking from old memory to the police, I learned from the sheriff about the sale of the bankrupt newspaper St. Louis Evening Dispatch. After deciding to buy it out, he receives an offer from the owner of the Evening Post to merge the newspapers. On December 9, 1878, Pulitzer announced the publication of the St. Louis Post and Dispatch, soon renamed Post-Dispatch. His first newspaper campaign was directed against wealthy property owners who did not pay extra taxes to the treasury. In doing so, he printed next to the columns of their tax returns. The controversy brought widespread publicity and new readers to the newspaper. At the time of the merger, the total circulation of Post and Dispatch was less than 4000 copies, and by the end of 1879 it had reached 4984 copies. Then Pulitzer doubled the size of the newspaper to eight pages and by the end of 1880 the circulation had reached 8 copies. In March 740 it had already grown to 1881, and by September to 12000. Then Pulitzer bought two new printing presses and increased the wages of the staff to the highest in the city. In two years, his daily newspaper has grown into a reliable source of income.

However, in October 1882, an unforeseen incident occurred. In response to newspaper criticism of the Republican congressional nominee, his partner threatened the newspaper's editor, John Cockerill, and drew his revolver. And he shot him in response. Not much time has passed since the end of the Civil War, and many of its participants have not yet parted with their weapons. Unfortunately, this story became a national sensation and turned many against Post-Dispatch. And although the court regarded Cockerill's actions as self-defense, Pulitzer replaced him and left the city for a while on a European tour. In order to improve health. But he never made it to the eye clinic again. In New York, he received an offer from financier Jay Gould to buy New York World. Like Thomas A. Scott, the previous owner and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, he used the newspaper "as a vehicle to promote his businesses." Ultimately, it became unprofitable. Gould asked for more than half a million dollars for it, while retaining the entire staff. Joseph had long intended to move to New York, and so he made the deal. True, for 346, while maintaining complete freedom in the choice of personnel.

Therefore, he immediately summoned John Cockerill, his former St. Louis editor, to New York. During the first three months, the newspaper's circulation more than doubled, to 39000. However, it will still be a long and difficult journey before New York World becomes the country's largest newspaper. But we must understand: it is only the 1880s outside the window and true journalism has yet to find its own paths in the search for a “formula for success”, and Pulitzer will play the role of “first violin”, defining the main directions of “New Journalism” and be accused of creating and development of the "Yellow Press".

New Journalism, Yellow Press and New York World

It is hard to imagine that, entering a department store today, any of you would be surprised that men's, women's and children's clothes take up space in different departments, are hung in size with price tags, and they can be freely tried on. But at the beginning of the last century, when each product was offered to you personally by the seller, and the prices were negotiable, the introduction of each of these positions became a sensation, caused a stir and an increase in the number of customers.

The same thing happened with journalism. Nowadays, the main principles of the system of "New Journalism" developed and implemented by Pulitzer are no longer surprising. For modern editors, this is a "classic" that they have mastered while still in college at Columbia journalism schools (founded by Pulitzer), or other universities.

What is its meaning? The desire to win the publishing competition drove the cost of a copy of New York newspapers down to one cent. This led to a sharp increase in readership, mainly of the lower and middle classes, who had the opportunity to choose the newspaper of their own taste, regardless of price. And this became the main feature of the Pulitzer press: to be able to collect materials under one cover that could interest a wide variety of groups and layers of readers. He demanded from journalists: without lowering the level of the material, to present it in a clear, precise and competent language. At the same time, try to achieve that the center of attention is focused not only on a sensation or a fresh fact. “Each article, reportage, essay should have a plot, there should be a story. Not only facts, social background, statistics, but also drama, ”Pulitzer taught them. He asked to search for "every day for at least one striking feature" that can be offered to readers. Their materials were supplied with huge, carefully selected catchy headlines, such as: "Cry for Forgiveness", "All for a Woman's Love", "Terror on Wall Street", "River Secrets" and so on. The names of authors were now printed on the newspaper page, which increased the responsibility and role of journalists. Now, opening the newspaper, readers have already looked for materials from their favorite author.

One day, at a regular company meeting, Professor Thomas Davidson asked, "I don't understand why, Mr. Pulitzer, you always talk so kindly about reporters and so sternly about all editors?" "Well," Pulitzer replied, "I guess it's because every reporter is hope and every editor is frustration." Presumably, his hopes were justified, since in his best years he had up to 3000 employees.

Nellie Bly. Photo: Shutterstock

Among them were exceptionally talented. The likes of Nellie Bly, the brilliant master of "dynamic reporting". Once, she managed to feign insanity, and misleading doctors to get into a women's insane asylum and spend 10 days there. To later come up with exposing articles about the horrific living conditions of the hospital patients. Her articles became a sensation and led to the fact that the authorities became interested in the situation in hospitals, and significantly increased and changed their budget. And on November 14, 1889, Nelly set off on an unusual journey to, like the hero Jules Verne, overcome the path "Around the World in 80 Days." Moreover, at the beginning of the trip, she stopped in French Amiens to interview and receive the blessing of the writer himself. When the girl reached her goal, he sent an enthusiastic telegram to the editorial office of Mir. After all, Nellie not only achieved her goal, but, unlike the character in the novel, traveled around the world in just 72 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes, sensationally opening the “travel sketch” direction in the newspaper. The last burst of her fame is considered to be the report on the execution of a criminal in the electric chair on January 30, 1920 in Sing Sing prison, at which she was personally present.

Organizationally, Pulitzer tried to follow the following principles: the most important component is news, presented as broadly and colorfully as possible. (Later, he was the first newspaper tycoon to use color set and photography). Then - the so-called "crusades", with the ultimate goal of exposing abuses, miscarriages of justice, negligence, indifference, departmental miscalculations, and so on. The obligatory presence of an editorial page containing articles that would tell about the reasons for the "crusade" or other publication on the news page. These "Hikes" increased the number of ill-wishers and often created additional problems at work. Nevertheless, Pulitzer considered the direction of the fight against evil, corruption and injustice to be one of the defining parts of the newspaper's work. He could afford to talk about the illegal payment by the United States of 40 million dollars to the French company of the Panama Canal in 1909, directly blaming President Theodore Roosevelt and banker J.P. Morgan for this, and prove his case in the courts. Naturally, while making powerful enemies for the rest of his life.

And yet one of these "campaigns" deserves a separate story. It's about the Statue of Liberty. The French Republic, on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of America's Declaration of Independence, has decided to give it a symbolic monument. According to the agreement, the French were to manufacture it and deliver it to the United States. And the American side will build a pedestal for him, and erect the monument itself. The French fulfilled their obligations, but a different situation developed in the United States. Both the Governor of New York and the state flatly refused to provide subsidies, and in the commissions of Congress, the prevailing opinion was "that it was untimely to erect an" allegorical "monument at a time when the country needed monuments to the heroes of the Civil War." In order to somehow stir up the Americans, the French architect Bartholdi in 1876 brought to the World Exhibition in Philadelphia a model of the statue, and its detail - a life-size hand with a torch. He would later transport her to Madison Square Garden in New York. In 1878, Bartholdi decided to demonstrate also the head of the statue at the World Exhibition in Paris, and evil tongues began to talk that “The Statue of Liberty will have a“ hand ”in New York, a“ head ”in Paris and nothing else, wherever whatever it was. " The impression was that this project would never be realized, and the finished products would remain rusty in Paris.

Photo: Shutterstock

And then, quite unexpectedly, Joseph Pulitzer appears in this story. Outraged by such a depressing attitude towards the construction of the Statue of Liberty on the American side, he is involved with all his energy and enthusiasm in the implementation of this project. From the pages of his newspapers, he addresses the citizens of the United States with harsh criticism of their behavior (from the president to ordinary people) and an appeal to help with money for the construction of the monument. Describing the structure in detail and surrounding it with a romantic halo, Pulitzer is organizing an entire fundraising campaign.

In an editorial for Mir, he writes, “We have to raise money! The statue costs $ 250,000, and this money was collected by the people of France - workers, sellers, artists ... Let's not pump it up either, and we will not wait until the millionaires give us this money. The statue is not a gift from French millionaires to America's millionaires, but a gift from the people of France to the people of America. "

At the same time, he publishes the names of all the people who donated money for the construction of the monument in the newspaper. Among them were up to 80% of adults and children who put less than one dollar at the disposal of the committee. But the most amazing thing about this story was that in just five months, 120 thousand donations were received and an amount of 102 thousand dollars was collected, sufficient to complete the construction. So, thanks to the efforts of Joseph Pulitzer, America was able to erect the Statue of Liberty, which has become one of its main symbols. And the townspeople erected a small monument in his honor next to her.

But, back to the "new journalism". Constantly increasing the volume of his publication, Pulitzer, in addition to the traditional "morning", organized first an "evening" and then a "Sunday" edition, soon strengthening it with a colored supplement. He invited several artists to work in them, since he decided to illustrate political reviews in newspapers with political caricatures, and judicial reviews with sketches from the courtroom or the scene of crimes. Pulitzer attached particular importance to the series of comics, which he began to fill in the color supplements of the Sunday issue. It was here, for the first time in history, that a comic strip was published by graphic artist Richard Felton Outcott. The hero of his frivolous stories in pictures, a poor kid from a New York slum, was dressed in burlap, which Outcot had painted yellow to liven up the boring black and white pages of the newspaper. The comic was such a huge success that Pulitzer's main competitor, the owner of the New York Journal, W. R. Hirst, lured the comic book author, along with his yellow boyfriend, into his publication, promising the draftsman huge royalties. Naturally, Pulitzer quickly found a replacement, and soon another artist was drawing stories for him about a kid in a yellow sacking. A long dispute ensued between the two newspapers, in which each of the publishers tried to defend the primacy of the tomboy in yellow and the publication of comics in general. These disagreements have led to serious competition between publications. One bystander, journalist Erwin Wordman of the New York Press, dubbed the rival newspapers "yellow press" in his article. Those. initially, this name defined only an ironic designation of two warring parties.

However, over time, Hirst, completely unscrupulous, and eager to increase profits and circulation at any cost, increasingly began to use methods unacceptable by Pulitzer: biased coverage of scandals and crimes, savoring sexual topics with "peeping through the keyhole", delving into the motivation for death or scenes violence, sensational fake news and more. The development of these topics did not require high professionalism, ethical standards or social functions from journalists. Therefore, many publications, tempted by easy money, also began to develop these methods. They began to be called the "yellow press". To associate them with the name of Pulitzer, or to attribute the development of this direction to him, is at least incorrect.

Before the incident with the "tomboy yellow", Pulitzer and Hirst crossed paths twice. Until 1887, for two years, he worked for Pulitzer in the editorial office of Mir as a simple reporter, and in 1889 Hirst bought the edition of The New York Morning Journals, which was previously owned by Joseph's brother, the bankrupt Albert Pulitzer. However, the desire to become the most influential journalist and get ahead of Pulitzer was so great that he decided to strike him again using an already proven method. Knowing that his opponent had gathered the best specialists in New York, Hirst found an original way to improve his own staff. While negotiating behind the scenes with some of the most prominent journalists and editors on Pulitzer's team, he offered them a higher salary. But that's not all.

With the aim of harming a competitor, he managed to get them to go to him in one day. It's easy to imagine the shock of Pulitzer losing all the best talent at once. Wanting to return the defectors, he immediately offered them a higher salary. But then Hirst doubled the amount offered by Pulitzer, and still got them. It was in this vein that the famous "newspaper war" between Hirst and Pulitzer took place. The latter, with all his might tried to maintain the level of the publication and a certain framework. Hirst did not restrain himself with such restrictions. It was during this period that the sharp progression of Joseph's illnesses occurs: loss of vision, insomnia and neuroses. Gradually, he had to abandon the daily management of the newspaper within the walls of the editorial office. But he did it from his New York mansion, continuing from Bar Harbor, Maine during the summer holidays, and from the Jekyll Island Club on Jekyll Island, Georgia, in the winter. However, in 1907 he transferred all the administrative responsibility for managing the newspaper to his son.

Meanwhile, he made an offer to the president of Columbia University to create the world's first school of journalism. In support of his proposal, in a report to The North American Review, he summed up his attitude towards modern journalism: “Our republic and its press will together experience prosperity and decline. A capable, unselfish, popular-minded press with a trained intellect, knowing what is right and having the courage to do it, can preserve the social virtue, without which the people's government is a swindler and a laughingstock. The cynical, selfish, demagogic press will eventually create people like itself. The ability to shape the future of the republic will be in the hands of future generations of journalists. ”Noeta's dream of training a new generation of journalists will come true only after Pulitzer's death.

About family and destiny

Hundreds of biographical articles and books have been written about him. However, between the publications of the middle of the last century and later, it is easy to find certain inconsistencies. Most often they began with reports that Joseph Pulitzer was born into a family of a successful merchant of Magyar-Jewish origin and a German mother who was a devout Catholic. And she allegedly dreamed of her sons becoming priests. However, it all turned out to be a beautiful legend. Although Pulitzer himself did not particularly refute it. Nevertheless, the archives of the central Hungarian Jewish community and the Mako town contain the originals of testimonies about the Jewish roots of his mother Eliza Berger, and about their family's loyalty to Jewish traditions. His brother Albert, in letters to his mother, always signed his Jewish name - Boruch. He was four years younger than Joseph, and after his brother's departure for America, in 1867 he followed him. However, despite his sixteen years of age, they did not live together for long. Having started working as a teacher of German, he eventually moved to Chicago, where, following the example of his brother, he took up reporting. Since 1872, he already works for the New York Sun and New York Times newspapers. Like his brother, he possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, boundless self-confidence, and a flair for what would appeal to readers. He decided to found his own newspaper, investing $ 25000 in it (it is believed that Joseph lent him this money) and on November 16, 1882, the first issue of the New York Morning Journal was published. A year later, his brother received an offer to buy out the New York World newspaper in New York. But Albert is against it. Two Pulitzers in the same city is bad. But Joseph really wanted to publish World, and this decision led to a split between the brothers. Nevertheless, Albert managed to find his own niche and exist comfortably for some time. He did not have Joseph's ambition to protect, inform and educate the public. The Morning Journal existed for one reason: to make Albert rich by entertaining people. The magazine was bright, funny, colorful and daring. By 1887, it had a circulation of nearly 250 and enjoyed "a lively and frank love for factories, department stores, workshops, fire departments, police stations and apartment buildings." Jokingly, it was called "Maid's Delight." But managing the magazine required constant hard work and new ideas. You can’t hope for success, leading the life of a “socialite”, walking a fortune in Paris and disappearing in restaurants. In 000, Albert sold the newspaper to John McLean of Cincinnati and retired from journalism. He traveled around Europe for a couple of years and eventually settled in Vienna. But John McLean did not succeed and in 1894 he resold his edition to William Randolph Hirst, who had arrived from San Francisco. Under his leadership, the magazine became the only serious competitor to Joseph's World. ... I wonder how Albert reacted to the fact that his newspaper has become a tool in the hands of his older brother's worst enemy?

Most likely he was not up to it. Albert was tormented by insomnia and terrible neuralgia, which manifested itself as "intolerable sensitivity to changes in temperature and light." He retired in a suite at the Vienna Hotel Bristol and lived as a hermit. Ultimately committed suicide by shooting in the head with a revolver. Joseph urgently sent his secretary to Vienna, who made a lot of effort and money to bury him with dignity on October 6, 1909 in the Jewish cemetery (and not outside it, like a suicide), despite the prohibitions. Joseph grieved over his brother's death. By that time, he himself was blind and hopelessly ill, and only the care and love of his loved ones supported him in these days and the last two years of his life. Probably, this terrible neuralgia and insomnia was a family curse in their family. But unlike his brother, Joseph was hypersensitive to sounds and smells - he could not tolerate cigarette smoke (although he smoked cheap cigarettes himself) and spent a fortune on soundproofing his houses. Sometimes he could lose his temper at the table from the usual sounds: someone was swallowing soup loudly, chewing or "clinking" a knife on a plate.

Screenshot: Google Maps

There is a long history of how he mastered his new home. The fact is that in 1899, two fires broke out in a row in their mansion on East 55th Street, and the family almost died. The family temporarily rented Sloane Mansion at 9 East 72d Street. And Pulitzer began building a new home at 11 East 73rd Street, opposite the city park, where he could walk in the morning. By then, he could barely see, and architect Stanford White had made scale models so that Joseph could touch the surface to imagine what the house would look like. Based on the features of the Venetian Palazzo Pesaro and Rezzonico, White created a stately palace of the Italian Renaissance with galleries of arched windows, balconies and classical columns. Construction was completed in 1903. Pulitzer's private rooms were soundproofed. The circular breakfast room was located in the center of the house, away from street noise, and light was provided by an airtight skylight. The bedroom was made according to the recommendations of the Harvard University acoustics. Bearings were installed under the floor to prevent vibration, the windows were triple glass and the walls were well insulated. However, despite White testing the soundproofing himself, forcing workers to bang on the walls and scream, Pulitzer complained that he was unable to sleep due to the noise. White was dismissed and other architects added a new bedroom to the back of the house. But after the first night, Pulitzer announced that he had not slept again because of the noise. It was a disaster, but White found a way out of it. He realized that extraneous noises were coming from the fireplace and, pulling thousands of silk threads in the chimney, he ensured that the owner suffering from insomnia could sleep peacefully for at least a few hours.

But he could only dream of peace, since Joseph tried to fill all his days with work to capacity. Blindness made him have a large personal staff. He could not read and distinguish between faces. He could only listen and think. But insomnia tormented him. After all, he had to think day and night, constantly replaying in his head all his mistakes and failures. He got up early and, if the weather was good, took a walk in Central Park, then had breakfast on the veranda with the doctor and companion, discussing the important events and news of the day before. This was followed by a grueling business meeting with the private secretary, who had reviewed and analyzed by that time all the morning press. After lunch, employees came to him: editors or reporters. He completely loaded the people associated with him with work, even when they were away from him. His own capacity for work was so enormous that he could not even admit the thought that the tasks that he set for employees might seem difficult or impossible to them. And only late in the evening, after listening to music (and a professional pianist was playing for him), Pulitzer asked one of his employees to read a couple of chapters of the novel before going to bed.

But the fall of 1911 turned out to be cold, and he decided to move to his winter home on Jekyll Island. Due to reports of an approaching hurricane from the West Indies, his yacht Liberty was delayed in Charleston Harbor. On October 29 at 2 am Pulitzer became ill, but by morning the pains were gone. He asked his German secretary to read the biography of Louis XI to him, and when he reached the chapter on the death of the French king, he suddenly said to him: "Leise, ganz leise, ganz leise" (Hush, even quieter, completely quiet). These were his last words. As if anticipating death, Joseph Pulitzer did not want to hear about it. At 13.40 he passed away, during a severe heart attack. Nearby were his family doctor, the youngest son Herbert, and his wife, who had rushed in from New York.

On the day of his funeral, employees of the Pulitzer newspapers stopped working in his honor. The body was taken to the library of his home in New York, where friends and colleagues came to pay their respects, who, after a religious service, were taken on a private train to the burial place - at Woodlon Cemetery in the Bronx.

After his death, the management of the newspapers passed to the sons of Ralph and Herbert. They had another brother - Joseph Jr. (this is his son - Joseph Pulitzer III will be the publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 38 years, lead the board responsible for awarding the Pulitzer Prize for 31 years, and from 1955 to 1993 he will serve as chairman of Pulitzer Publishing Company).

Of their four sisters, two never made it to adulthood. And with their mother, Keith Davis from Georgetown, Joseph met during his work in Washington, and on June 19, 1878, their wedding took place. She was six years younger than Pulitzer, came from an episcopal family, and was well known and respected in Washington society. This is evident even from the tone in which the reporter covered the event in the local press. “… A more tender and beautiful bride has never been brought to the altar,” he wrote, “than the one who was married last night with the man she had chosen. Miss Davis is a native of this district, a close relative of Jefferson Davis (former President of the Confederation), known in the society of the most cultured and sophisticated, in which she moved with extraordinary grace, and is considered its most beautiful decoration. "

Photo: Shutterstock

One can understand Joseph's fears that Kate's family will be opposed to their marriage. So much so that the two most important moments of his biography: his Jewishness and participation in the Civil War against the Confederates, he did not tell her until the wedding. But everything passes, and it is over. Before his death, they had to live nearby for 33 years. Were they happy? Hard to say. Simply, he was a man infinitely devoted only to work, and she was a very beautiful woman.

When the will was announced, there were no surprises. As previously agreed, Pulitzer bequeathed $ 1912 million to Columbia University. Most of this money was to go towards organizing the Graduate School of Journalism, with the rest of the money going to create an award that would reward talented American journalists and writers. Already in 1917, the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University was founded. This was preceded by the founding of the Missouri State School, founded at the local University at the urging of Pulitzer. Both schools remain today one of the most prestigious in the world. And in 1917, Columbia organized the presentation of the first Pulitzer Prizes, and since then it has been awarded annually on the first Monday of May. It is symbolic that the journalist Herbert Bayard Swope became the first laureate of the award in 100, in the category "For Reporting", for a series of materials posted in Pulitzer's The New York World. More than 21 years have passed since then, but today the prize is widely known and popular all over the world and is awarded in XNUMX nominations in the field of literature, journalism, music and theater.

But very few people know about another will of Pulitzer, also concerning New York. This is a fountain. An excellent connoisseur of European culture, he often visited Paris and, like many, was delighted with the magnificent fountains in Place de la Concorde. After the obelisk, donated by the ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali, was erected there in 1836, it was decided to transform the square and give it a finished look. So four years later, on both sides of it, two magnificent fountains appeared. They were adorned with graceful statues of mythical sea and river heroes and gilded columns along the perimeter. And from the bowls of the fountains a powerful cascade of water rushed down, with spray spreading by the wind. You have seen Edgar Degas' painting "Place de la Concorde", where the lanky Viscount Lepic lingered on it with his beautiful little daughters, who settled down to the right and left of him, as if wishing to illustrate the essence of its layout with their appearance.

The idea of ​​installing these fountains was borrowed by the French from the Italians. In fact, they are miniature copies of the Roman fountains from St. Peter's Square. There, too, a fountain was symmetrically installed on each side of the obelisk. These are the kind of fountains Pulitzer dreamed of seeing in New York, having bequeathed $ 50 for a complex "similar to those in Place de la Concorde (Concorde) in Paris, France." It was assumed that the installation site would be determined near the Pulitzer house, in front of the entrance to Central Park.

The competition announced after his death was won by the famous New York sculptor Carl Bitter and the architect Thomas Hastings. The fact is that Bitter, who is well aware of the city plans in the park area, has long dreamed of participating in their implementation. Since 1868, they provided for the organization of a square with the erection of a monument and some other structure on it.

This is where he wanted to participate. But in 1903, at the request of the Sherman family, a monument to the war hero General Sherman was erected on this square, the work of Saint Gaudens, in connection with the refusal of relatives from the previously planned place for him in Riverside Park.

Since then, the space of the square has been arranged by itself: on the south side is the luxurious mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, and on the west in 1907 the Plaza Hotel has grown. And now there is a wonderful opportunity to build fountains here.

Photo: Shutterstock

But after winning the competition and finding out that these 50000 can only be spent on fountains, Sherman immediately refused to participate. Only after receiving additional funds from the city for the reconstruction of the entire area, he agreed to carry out the project. Today it is difficult to say what exactly happened then. But Bitter, who studied art in Vienna and knew everything about Concordia Square, for some reason pretended that there was nothing like that in the will. But the fact is that he could not build an ordinary single fountain here, but similar to the Concordia fountains, since a similar one was already built in the park in 1873 - the Bethesda Fountain. Some other solution had to be found. And he handed everything over to Hasting for consideration, entrusting him with the general layout of the area from the installation of an unconventional volumetric fountain. And everyone trusted the master so much that they decided that this was exactly the wish of Pulitzer. Why Bitter did not want, or could not change the old project, it will forever remain a mystery. Be that as it may, but then he only took care of making the sculpture of the fountain, and the city - to reduce overall costs. However, what a great idea Pulitzer had: to build classical fountains on both sides of the same "golden" equestrian monument to General Sherman. Thus, creating not only one of the most beautiful squares in the city, but also putting it on a par with the Roman (St. Peter's) and Paris Concorde squares. But this is life. You can't change anything here. We only have to state that here New York has once again missed its "lucky break."

So what happened in the end? The rectangular area was cut with line 59W Str. and was named Grand Army Plaza. On one side, the monument to General Sherman was slightly displaced for general symmetry, and on the other, a fountain was placed.

Since Hasting no longer spent time on subtle decoration like fountains in Concorde Square, he focused on large compositional architectural problems, linking them to the layout of the square. Five basins of the future fountain, of different sizes and at different levels, structurally supported the sixth, made in the form of a shell. This seven-meter composition was to be crowned with a bronze figure of the goddess of abundance Pomona, on which Bitter was working. She had to be only slightly covered with a cloth, and hold a basket of fruits in her hands. The position of her legs, body, and head indicated that she was turning towards someone or in a hurry. Where was the goddess in a hurry, to whom did she want to give her fruits, why did Bitter choose Pomona, not the most popular among the Roman goddesses? We will never know about this either. In 1915, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he was hit and killed by a passing car. But he managed to save his wife from certain death. And she, fearing the cessation of work on the fountain, asks to urgently continue the work on making the figure of Pomona - Isidore Conti, a classmate and friend of her husband's studies at the Imperial Academy of Vienna. He made small changes to the project, and among the two models of Bitter: Dorothy Dosher and Audrey Munson, he settled on the legendary Audrey. In May 1916, work on the reconstruction of the square and the construction of the fountain, naturally called Pulitzer's, was finally completed and was well received by the press. But soon the opponent of the project was determined. It turned out that Alice, Vanderbilt's widow, who lived in a mansion on the south side of the square, was horrified one morning to find that Pomona's bare buttocks were now primarily visible in the windows facing the park from her bedroom. Since there were no complaints about them in art history circles, Alice had to move her bedroom in order not to see this "outrageous" sight again. But not for long. In 1927, the mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt II was demolished and replaced by the Bergdorf Goodman department store, and there was no one to remember this incident.

Photo: Shutterstock

And in 1937, the nearby Pulitzer Mansion was sold, in which no one lived after his death. It is now used as a 17-apartment cooperative.

Earlier, in 1931, Pulitzer's heirs also sold his newspaper World. The new owner laid off 3000 employees and renamed the publication to New York World-Telegram.

The former New York World Building, one of the earliest high-rise buildings in New York (built in 1890), was demolished in 1955 due to the widening of the road ramp leading to the Brooklyn Bridge. The stained glass window, once overlooking the building's entrance, is now at the Columbia University School of Journalism, where it serves as the backdrop for the Pulitzer Prize winners.

So gradually the main landmarks associated with his life and work disappeared from the map of New York. But everything bequeathed to him continues to function. Prizes bearing his name are awarded annually. The Higher School of Journalism is functioning. The fountain that bears his name pleases guests and residents of the city, and is located 15 minutes. walk from his former residence. Over the years it has gone through several renovations. The latter was completed in 1990. Curiously, the largest donation, amounting to $ 264000, was made by the Donald Trump Foundation. He probably believed that the fountain across the street from the Plaza Hotel was within his sphere of influence. Upon completion of the work, the New York Times reported: "For years, this fountain just dripped and flowed, but now it cascades, and that makes all the difference, because now the Pulitzer Fountain has a sound."

Once in these places, linger at the fountain, and listen to the sound of water falling from its pools. And then, like echoes from the past, stories about the life of this amazing person will emerge in your memory. Blind, with incurable diseases, in isolated rooms, he tried to work fruitfully and lay the foundations and main principles of modern journalism. Having made possible the birth of the profession itself - a journalist, and the community to become the "fourth estate". As later, about attempts to describe his life, the writer McGrath Morris will say: "... it would be a story written so simply that anyone could read it, and so colorfully that no one would forget it." Do not forget about him either. About Joseph Pulitzer, the "father" of American journalism.

Address: Pulitzer Fountain - Fifth Avenue at 59th Street. Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan), New York, NY 10019


This article by ForumDaily author, journalist Leonid Raevsky is part of the "Cities and People" cycle.

Read his other materials on ForumDaily:

From the series "Cities and People"

From the series "History of the American Symbol"

Miscellaneous loudspeakers the history of life Pulitzer

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