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May 4, 1889
Record and Guide.
De/oteD to I^e^L Esvwe . BuiLDif/o A^rcKitectji^e .Household DECOffATiotJ.
"^ BJsii^ESS AtiDThemes or GeHeR^^ 1;JT£i\est
PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADTANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published evei-y Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - ■ - JOHN 370,
Coiiimiinicatioiis should be addressed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
MAY 4, 1889.
David Goodman Oroly.
' ■ Man that is born of icoman is of few days and full of trouble.
He Cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fieeth also as a
shadow and continueth not."
So was it written more thau two thousand years ago, and as it
waa then so is it to-daj^ The name at the head of this ai-tiole now
belongs to the Past. The bearer of it lies buried at tbe top of a
sandy hill in the beautiful cemetery at Lakewood, N. J., his body
resting with his face towards the distant sea, at whicb he never
wearied gazing. The spirit of loneliness pervades the spot. Around
the grave the melancholy pines keep watch, and tbe wind in the
dark boughs whisper the low, sad music which he loved to listen
to wben living.
A little more than twenty-one years ago this man said to afriend:
"Here you are deing nothing just now; why don't you start a
weekly paper in the real estate interest? I am sure it will pay, as
there is no organ publisbed devoted to tbis and building, and there
are transactions involving millions on millions wbich ought to be
printed and the proper comments made upon them. Further than
this, I will join you ; aud, although I cannot at present give any
particular time to it, yet later I may be ableto." This conversation
practically was the beginning of The Becord and Guide. Witbin
two weeks the first number of The Record was issueil under the
joint management of Mr. Croly and tbe present proprietor, and
with tbe exception of the years intervening between 1873 and 1830
bas so continued until Mr. Croly was witiiin the past week stricken
Mr. Croly died at bis residence, No. 148 East 46th street, on Mouday
morning last at half-past six o'clock. In 1873 he parted with his inter¬
est in the paper, and iu 1880 resumed his editorial connection with it.
Fi'om this date, until within the week preceding his decease, he was
the chief editorial writer of tliis journal. Last fall, on account of
physical ailments, he was compelled to absent himself from the
office and was the greater part of the time confined to a sick room,
from whence he continued his contributions to this paper until
within a few days of bis death. His last eflforts appeared in The
Record and Guide on Saturday a week ago, and his interesting
reminiscences of New York during the past half century, which
appeared in '■ Our Prophetic Department," showed that Ids mind
was clear and vigorous to the end. His nature was such that even
in severe sickness he could not brook mental idleness, and it was
only the hand of death that could force bim to stop. He literally
died in harness.
Mr. Croly was bom at Cloghnakilty, County Cork, Ireland, on
November 3, 1839. He came to this country at a very early
age, and during the flrst years of his boyhood lived below
the City Hall, in wbat was then called Little Green street,
now Liberty court, on which the Real Estate Exchange
stands. Mr. Croly, as a youth, was apprenticed to a silversmith,
and learned the trade, but he acknowledged that he was but a poor
mechanic. His taste ran to books. He very early joined a debating
society, which helped to interest him in questions affecting the
larger policy of the day. After he became of age, conscious that he
was out of place as a mechanic, he resolved to enter the New York
University, where he took a yea^r's course. He studied shorthand,
teaching himself. Soon after leaving the universityhewas offered a
position as reporter on the Evening Post, which he accepted. Here
hecame under the observation of William Bartlett, who subsequently
made his reputation as a newspaper man on the New York Sun.
At this time William Cullen Bryant was the editor and chief owner
of the Evening Post, and John Bigelow the chief editorial writer.
The salaries of the writers then were very small. During the four
jiontbs he was ou the paper Mr. Croly received iS8 per week i'or his
services. He next joined the Herald staff, where his salary was
§14, and he had charge of the city intelligence department. Here he
was under the orders of Frederick Hudson, whom he always regarded
as tbe most suggestive and intelligent editor ever developed on the
American press. Mr. Croly used to say tbat, in his judgment, the
auccess of the Herald was far more due to Mr. Hudson than to the
elder Bennett, and that the former never received the salary due to
his merits, for he was as modest as ho was able.
In 1857 Mr. Croly married Miss Jennie Cunningham, the daughter
of an English minister. This lady is now known as a writer all
over the United States under the nom de illume of " Jennie June,"
In 1858 Mr. and Mrs. Croly went West and started the Eockford
(III.) Daily Neivs. They lost money by tlie enterprise, but gained a
good deal of,local fame by the vigor and ability with which they
conducted the paper. Mr. Croly always felt that it was the mistake
of bis life not to have started his journal in Chicago, for the news¬
papers then iiublished in that city wore wretched affairs, and his
training in New York would have giveu him a clear start of them.
The people of Rockford offered to contribute money to keep the
Daily News going, but Mr. and Mrs. Croly both felt that they had
made a mistake in leaving a large city for a smaller one.
About this time, just before the Civil War, Mr. Croly returned to
the metropohs, where he became city editor of the World, just then
started. Here he found himself in tbe midst of a group of able
journalistic writers. James R, Spauiding, Richard Grant .White,
Ivory Chamberlain and Manton Marble were then on the paper,
and while these men were all better writers than Mi-. Croly his
technical experience surpassed theirs. The World became bankrupt,
but when Manton Marble got possession of the paper, as a Demo¬
cratic organ in 186?, Mr. Croly became the managing editor. This
position be retained until the defeat of Horace Greeley, hy the
election to a second Presidential term of General Grant. During
these years Mr, Croly did some very good work, but while he
loyally served Mr. Marble he rarely agreed with his political action,
Mr, Marble was a free trader, a believer in the theories of Herbert
Spencer,, John Stuart Mill, Bastiat and the school of English political
economists, while Mr. Croly, though never a protectionist or high
tariff advocate in tbe ordinary seuse of tbe term, thought that each
side only saw half tbe trutii. Wlieu the Franco-Prussian war
broke out, (ieneral McClellan told Mr. Marble tbat the French
woiild imdoubtedly be tiie victors. Mr. Croly was not of this
opinion. He gave hia views through St, Ciair McKelway, now
editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, who wrote an article under Mr. Croly's
inspiration. But Mr. Marble killed it and allowed Mr. Henry Hurl-
bert to give false impressions of the campaign hy belittling the Ger¬
man victories and constantly throwing out hopes of success for the
Fi-ench. As there were a very fow French residents of New York and
a great many German, most of whom were good Democrats, the
course of the paper was doubly unwise. Agaii, when the Titnes
commenced the fight against the Tweed Ring, Mr. Croly begged Mr.
Marble either not to take part in the discussion or to be on the side
of common honesty. He warned him that the paper would be
ruined if he defended the Ring rascals. But Mi-, Chamberlain and
Mr. Hurlhert, influenced by Mayor A. Oakey Hall, persuaded Mr.
Marble that there was nothing in the Times' charges. And
so, during that dismal year, the World did what it could
for Tweed and his associnte scoundrels, ' Mr. Croly was alao
opposed to the paper's support of Greeley. The World had bitterly
antagonized Greeley's tai-iff views, and it seemed absurd to support
a man for President whom it had so violently assailed. After the
re-election of Gen. Grant to the Presidency, Mr. Croly resigned the
position of managing editor of tbe World, for it seemed to him that
the policy of the paper was perverse to inanity, and that it could
not succeed when it was invariably on tbe wrong side of every
In 1873 Mr. Croly became editor-in-chief of the new illustrated
paper, the Daily Graphic. This publication was successful from a
hteraiy and artistic standpoint, but the times were against it.
There probably never was a paper more applauded and commended
than was the Graphic betw-een 1873 and 1878. In the latter year
Mr. Croly resigned his position on account of tbe inteiference by
the owners of the paper with his editorial management, which he
held should he entu-ely in his hands, as the responsibility lay upon
him. As an editor bis strong point was suggestiveness. He could
keep a great staff of people employed writing articles and reportorial
matter suggested by his brain. He had a remarkable memory, and
his mind was a storehouse of facts and incidents. He was fearless
and independent, with his sympathies invariably on the side of the
right. He claimed to bave been the first to recognize the ability of
many able writers in journalism, among them George Alfred
Townsend, Jerome B, Stjllsoo, A. C, Wheeler (" Nym Crinkle"),
George Wakeman, Clinton Stuart, Henry E, Sweetser, Montgomery
Schuyler, St, Clau: McKelway, Capt, Rowland Coffin, the nautical
writer, H. G. Crickmore, the sporting editor, and many others less
Mr. Croly did some miscellaneous literai-y work. He published
the Modern Thinker, a bizarre-looking periodical, intended to call
attention to the inadvisubility of our literature beiug printed in
black and white. The sheets aud inks were of different colors. The
work was never intended for regular publication and only two
numbers of it were issued. He also published a '' Positivist Primer '-
and a • 'Lif e of Horatio Seymour." He was a contributor to Appleton's
Journal during its existence. Among his miscellaneous magazine