Joseph Pulitzer
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József Pulitzer (1848 - 1911)

József (Joseph) Pulitzer
Born in Makó, Kingdom of Austria-Hungary Empiremap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 19 Jun 1878 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at age 63 in Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United Statesmap
Problems/Questions Profile managers: Rick Adler private message [send private message] and Jeff Goliger private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 30 Oct 2009
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Notables Project
Joseph Pulitzer is Notable.

Joseph was born in 1847 in Mako, Hungary. He was the son of merchants Fulop Pulitzer and Louise Berger. Joseph is in the following categories: notable journalists; Austrian notables; former members of the United States House of Representatives and notable citizens of the United States of America.

As a child, as well as through adulthood, Joseph Pulitzer was very eccentric and had always wanted to make a name for himself.

On his path to success he encountered many setbacks due to his frail health and to being foreign to the United States. Throughout his entire life he was ailed with illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, insomnia, chronic exhaustion, manic depression, and poor eyesight. Because of his health issues he was rejected from joining the Austrian Army, the British armed forces, and the French Foreign Legion. He was finally recruited into the Union Army and served in the "Lincoln Cavalry" (1st Regiment, New York Cavalry)[1]. He stayed in the United States where he struggled immensely due to his poor English and lack of money and prospects for work. He moved to St Louis, Missouri which had a large community of Germanophone immigrants. He briefly served in the Missouri state senate in January 1870.

Joseph Pulitzer reached a turning point (defining moment) in his life when Carl Schurz hired him as a reporter for the German-language Westliche Post in St. Louis. This was the beginning of what would be Joseph Pulitzer’s climb to the top of the journalism industry and the spread of “yellow journalism.”

Pulitzer thrived in the journalism industry compared to his competitors because of his very determined, hardworking, and energetic personality. Although Pulitzer never had a specific mentor during his career as a journalist, he owes the start of his career to Carl Schurz who gave him his first job in the United States.

Joseph Pulitzer had a tremendous impact on why journalism is what it is today. He was the first to use a concept now called “yellow journalism,” which is the concept of using eye-catching headlines filled with gossip and scandal in place of typical news stories in order to sell more newspapers. Pulitzer’s newspapers were the first to contain cartoons, a sports section, and many other features that point towards entertainment rather than information. He used this technique to turn struggling newspapers that he had bought out into thriving ones. When he was 36 years old, he bought the New York World newspaper, which he turned into one of the most successful newspapers in New York.

He and his wife had seven children, of whom five lived to adulthood. He lived in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, with a summer home in Bar Harbour, Maine and a winter home in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Joseph had asthma, eye problems eventually leading to blindness and died of a heart attack probably caused by diabetes. He was fourth of nine siblings, but six died before they were 17 (before 1861). It is not clear what happened to Helene (#8), but I've seen no evidence she left Hungary. Joseph and Albert (#6) came to America in the mid-1860s, and both lived until late middle age.

Joseph Pulitzer died on October 29, 1911 in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

In his will, he left funding to Columbia University to establish a graduate school of jounalism and establish the annual Pulitzer Prize.


  1. Soldiers and Sailors Database, National Park Service

See also:


  • Thank you to Bob Adler for his work on June 18, 2011.

Memories: 3
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
"The power to mold the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations." -Joseph Pulitzer
posted 30 Oct 2009 by Rachel Rios
"Publicity, publicity, publicity is the greatest moral factor and force in our public life." -Joseph Pulitzer
posted 30 Oct 2009 by Rachel Rios
"Our republic and its press will rise or fall together." -Joseph Pulitzer
posted 30 Oct 2009 by Rachel Rios
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Joseph by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.

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Comments: 8

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The text in the bio indicates that there were seven children, but attached appears to be 12 children. Please open the privacy on the children's profiles.
posted by Russell Butler
edited by Russell Butler
Hi there profile managers!

We plan on featuring Joseph alongside Noah Webster, the Example Profile of the Week, in the Connection finder on December 9. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can. A Team member will check on the profile Tuesday and make changes as necessary.

Thanks! Abby

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
Pulitzer-16 and Pulitzer-1 appear to represent the same person because: Clear duplicates, but the birth year needs to be reconciled.
posted by Greg Slade
Thomas, Dana. The Media Moguls. Toronto, Canada: Academis Press Canada Limited, 1981.
posted by Rachel Rios
Whitelaw, Nancy. Makers of the Media: Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World. North Carolina: Morgan Reynolds, Inc., 2000.
posted by Rachel Rios
"Joseph Pulitzer." American Decades. Gale Research, 1998. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.
posted by Rachel Rios
"Joseph Pulitzer." Business Leader Profiles for Students. Vol. 1. Gale Research, 1999. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.
posted by Rachel Rios
Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009.
posted by Rachel Rios