New York Authors
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New York Authors
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The growing commercial and political importance of New York, its increase of wealth, and the enterprise of its publishers, both of books and periodicals, tended to make it a literary center before the close of the first half-century. Among the writers drawn thither were some who had been connected with Brook Farm, including Dr. George Ripley (1802-1880), who had first suggested that experiment. Ripley became literary critic of the "New York Tribune," which had been founded by Horace Greeley (1811-1872) . Ripley was also the chief editor of "Appleton's American Cyclopaedia" (1858-61; revised edition, 1875). In this he was assisted by Charles Anderson Dana (1819-1891), a native of New Hampshire, who had also been a member of the Brook Farm community, and edited its organ, "The Harbinger." Dana became assistant editor of the "Tribune," and during the Civil War assistant Secretary of War, but his chief distinction is as editor of the "New York Sun," which under his management became the model in style for American daily newspapers. George William Curtis (1824-1892), who had been a pupil at Brook Farm and a student at Berlin, went on a tour in Egypt and Syria, which furnished material for his entertaining books of travel, "Nile Notes of a Howadji" (1851) and "The Howadji in Syria" (1852). He joined the "Tribune" staff, and afterward was editor of "Putnam's Magazine." In it appeared his social satirical "Potiphar Papers" and his charming "Prue and I," in which a clerk philosophizes on New York social life as he sees it in his daily walks. Partnership with a printer who failed involved Curtis in debts which embarrassed him for many years. After some contributions to "Har-per's Magazine" and "Harper's Weekly," he became editor of the latter and the writer of the "Editor's Easy Chair" for the former, and retained these positions to the end of his life. Thirty-five years were thus spent in constant literary work of a high order, but no books were issued except the novel, "Trumps," which had been a serial in the "Weekly." The "Easy Chair" touched lightly, gracefully, but wisely, all the questions of the time, and contained tributes to many prominent person-ages. Curtis was also widely known as a lecturer and political orator. He was especially active in behalf of civil service reform, and may be regarded as the champion of that movement.