Ralph Pulitzer

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Ralph Pulitzer

Influential publisher and socialite Ralph Pulitzer (June 11, 1879 – June 14, 1939) was the eldest son of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer and Kate Davis Pulitzer. Upon his father's death in October 1911, he become president of the Press Publishing Company, which published the New York World and the Evening World. He thus acquired control of the influential New York City newspapers founded by his father. For decades, Ralph Pulitzer was one of the most influential men in American journalism.[1]

Life and career

Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, Pulitzer was raised in great wealth. He was privately tutored until age 16, then attended St. Mark's School of Southborough and Harvard University.

He was married twice. In 1905 he married Frederica Vanderbilt Webb. They had two sons, Ralph Jr. and Seward Webb Pulitzer. They divorced in Paris, France in 1924. In 1928 he married Margaret Leech, who, after his death, received two Pulitzer Prizes for her own work. (These awards were endowed by Ralph Pulitzer's father, Joseph.) The daughter by this second marriage died of infantile paralysis in France before her first birthday.[2]

An active supporter of the National Air Races, Ralph Pulitzer sponsored the Pulitzer Trophy Race to encourage higher speed in landplanes.

Ralph Pulitzer is the author of "Over the Front in an Aeroplane and scenes inside the French and Flemish Trenches",[3] which he wrote after spending several days as the guest of the French War Office during World War I. According to his introduction, "No other civilian has been allowed to ascend in a French army aeroplane at all, and as for visiting the front in one, it has apparently been undreamed of."[4] His book contains wonderful descriptions of life in the trenches and the artillery used by the French in the early months of the War. It also includes sixteen photographs taken during his tour of several locations on the Front (presumedly by the author or someone in his party).[5]

Pulitzer died a few days after his 60th birthday from complications following abdominal surgery on May 1. At the time of his death he was a vice president of Pulitzer Publishing Company, which still published the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

He had retired as publisher of the New York World a year before the paper's acquisition by E. W. Scripps Company, owner of The New York Telegram. The merged newspaper was renamed the World-Telegram. Pulitzer cited ill health as the reason for his retirement from the World.

Funeral services were held at St. Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx.[6]



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