James Gordon Bennett Builds the New York Herald, 1836

Printed certificate, completed in ink, certifying the renting of 118 Fulton Street, New York City, as a composing room, to James Gordon Bennett, founder of the New York Herald, by Joseph Heill, dated April 1836.

New York: 1836.

1 vols. 4-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches, matted and framed to 7-1/4 x 10-1/2 inches overall. James Gordon Bennett Builds the New York Herald, 1836. Some fading to the ink, which remains entirely legible, dust soiling (particularly to mat). Item #15573

James Gordon Bennett (1795-1872) a Scottish immigrant, worked in New York as a journalist and editor on several newspapers, and in May, 1835, established the New York Herald, a four-page daily newspaper which sold for a penny. Poverty compelled him to serve as reporter, editor, proofreader, folder and cashier, working out of a cellar where, notes the DAB, “a plank across two flour-barrels served as business and editorial desk”. The paper found a readership, “its local news being comprehensive...its editorials brief, pungent, independent...” and circulation increased, requiring expanded facilities, which this lease on Fulton Street provided for.

The document reads, in part: “This is to certify that I that I have this [blank] day of April 1836 Let and Rented unto James Gordon Bennett the first story of the rear building No. 118 Fulton Street New York to be used as a composing room for a printer & not to be used for any extra Hazerdous [sic] purposes or relet...” The annual rent was one hundred fifty dollars.

From this austere start the Herald grew into one of the most important papers in the land, its advertising revenue surpassed only by that of the London Times. At Bennett's death, notes the DAB, “It was realized that...he had been perhaps the chief figure in a great and democratic revolution in journalism”. Under the subsequent direction of his son, the Herald grew even more prosperous and influential.


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