The Training of an American: The Earlier Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, 1855-1913

By Burton J. Hendrick | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
NORTH CAROLINA AND THE "MUMMIES"

I

PAGE'S letters from the South brought him an invitation to join the staff of the New York World. This was the greatest compliment that American journalism could then bestow. For many years the World, under the editorship of Manton Marble and William Henry Hurlbut, had been the intellectual leader among American newspapers. Afterward Joseph Pulitzer transformed it, introducing modern Western methods -- methods that were enterprising, perhaps, and certainly, from the standpoint of circulation and profit, successful, but so new, so startling, so sensationally different from the Manton Marble standards, that the conservative newspaper readers of New York have hardly yet recovered from the shock. The World to which Page came in the latter part of 1881 was an eight or ten page sheet, marked for the modesty and good taste of its typography, for the scholarship of its well-written -- and perhaps slightly ponderous -- editorials, and for the restraint that dignified its every department. That the paper was somewhat on the decline and somewhat under a cloud, is true. The fact that a majority ownership had fallen into the hands of Jay Gould had inevitably injured its standing. Still the World was preëminently the "gentlemen's" newspaper of New York, and the day that Page became one of its company of urbane editors was a proud one.

The thought of establishing a home in the great city was also exciting. It was a modest home, but it was located in the financial, artistic, and literary capital of America. New

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