Pulitzer Who?

Francis A. Gregory Library

Pulitzer Who?

The Man Behind the Prize

You may have heard the title, written in gold stickers on book covers: "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize." But who was the man behind all that?
Joseph Pulitzer was a journalist who shaped American newspaper journalism in the late 20th century. This year, it would be his 167th birthday! Joseph was born on April 10, 1847 in Mako, Hungary. As a young man, Joseph attempted to enlist in the army before emigrating to America. He arrived in Boston in 1864 then made his way to New York. He served in the military and, after failing to "make it" in New York City, he sold his possessions to move to St. Louis, Missouri.

He went from one job to another: grooming mules, waiting tables. But in his free time, Joseph frequented the St. Louis Mercantile Library, on the corner of Fifth and Locust Streets, where he studied English and literature. He wrote his first newspaper story for the Westliche Post. He was hired as a reporter in 1868. His creativity, perseverance, and skill brought him to eventually become publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The New York World. Meanwhile, Joseph, a Democrat, also served in the House of Representatives for New York's 9th district between 1885 and 1886.
An innovative and dedicated journalist, Joseph's legacy endures even today. When he died, his will stipulated the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes: four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships. Since, the awards have also changed to recognize excellence in other fields, including online journalism and music.

Now, you can check out these Pulitzer winners in the Francis A. Gregory collection in fiction...

A Visit From The Goon SquadTinkersOlive KitteridgeMarch

...and non-fiction!

The SwerveThe Years of ExterminationA Problem From HellGuns, Germs, and Steel