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William Cauldwell 1824-1907

On this day on October 12th 1824, William Cauldwell was born.  He would be the manage the New York Sunday-Mercury newspaper from 1850-1894.  At at time when most newspapers didn’t publish on Sunday, he established the Mercury as one of the city’s most influential newspapers.  The Mercury was the first newspaper to cover baseball regularly, starting with a match reported in 1853.  The paper invented the phrase “national pastime.”  Cauldwell hired journalist Henry Chadwick, the most famous promoter of baseball of the 19th Century, to cover the sport.  During the Civil War, he found a cheap way to get extensive coverage from the front by inviting soldiers to send pieces and have them published, which was a regular feature.  Under Cauldwell the newspaper published published writings of Mark Twain as early as 1864, as well as poems by Walt Whitman (and gave his Leaves of Grass a positive review), and actress Adah Menkin.  The Mercury also published many writings of humorist Robert H. Newell, a favorite of Abraham Lincoln.

Cauldwell would eventually embark on a disastrous attempt to make the Mercury a daily paper and leave the paper.  He had a career in politics as well in New York and Westchester County.  He’s buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.

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