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New-York dispatch. [volume] : (New York [N.Y.]) 1854-1861
Place of publication:
New York [N.Y.]
Geographic coverage:
  • New York, New York, New York  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
[publisher not identified]
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 16, no. 52 (Nov. 9, 1861).
  • Began in 1854.
  • English
  • New York (N.Y.)--Newspapers.
  • New York (State)--New York County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01234953
  • New York (State)--New York.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204333
  • New York County (N.Y.)--Newspapers.
  • Available on microfilm from the New York Public Library.
  • Description based on: Vol. 9, no. 32 (July 2, 1854).
  • Publisher: Williams, Burkhardt & Co., <1856-1857>.
sn 83030364
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New-York dispatch. [volume] June 11, 1854 , Image 1


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The New York City Sunday Dispatch, New-York Dispatch, Sunday Dispatch, and New York Dispatch

Founded in December of 1845 by Amor J. Williamson and William Burns, the New York City Sunday Dispatch ran from 1845-1854, later becoming the New-York Dispatch from 1854-1861, then Sunday Dispatch from 1861-1863, and finally the New York Dispatch from 1863 onwards. The Dispatch was part of "a new class of newspapers---partly literary, partly gossiping, partly silly ... the Sunday Newspaper press" as defined by The New York Herald on July 29, 1844. Due to taboos around Sunday activities, newspapers publishing on Sundays only began to thrive in New York City in the 1840s. While its circulation figures were hotly contested in its early years, the Dispatch attested that it had an average issue circulation of 28,442 in 1855, giving it the third highest per-issue circulation in New York City. (In that year, the major New York City newspapers competed for a Post Office contract for the "advertisement of Uncalled-for Letters" and had to provide proof of circulation. This competition was a mismatch as the Sunday Dispatch was a weekly, and the three other competing newspapers were dailies: The Sun, The New York Herald, and the New York Daily Times. The contract was ultimately awarded to The New York Herald. Its subscriber base never really grew, however, and its circulation was estimated in the 20-25,000 range from 1869 through the 1880s.

As a literary paper, the Dispatch included arts criticism, fiction, and poetry. During the late 1840s to early 1850s, Walt Whitman published several pieces in the paper, ranging from fiction to art criticism. These items were published under various signatures, from his full name to pseudonyms such as "Paumanok," to no signature at all. "The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle," a serialized novel rediscovered in 2016, was published unsigned in 1852. In keeping with the paper's literary ambitions, the advertisements had a particular flair: "If you are enticed by evil doers and more especially if you're tempted by your own passions to pursue a course of profligacy ... go up into the Anatomical Museum!" The paper also had a notable focus on "Masonic Matters," with a column starting in 1859 that became a full page in later editions.

The Dispatch did not shy away from politics or lawsuits. Initially a Whig and later a Republican, the publisher Amor Williamson was elected as an alderman and then as tax commissioner in the 1850s. In 1858 and 1860, he lost two Congressional races; the first was a contentious battle against Tammany Hall-backed Democrat Daniel Sickles. Williamson was also sued by a ferry company in 1849 and by James Gordon Bennett, founder of The New York Herald, for libel in 1848 for calling his Sunday Courier a failure.

For most of its publication, the Dispatch operated as a family business. After Amor Williamson died in 1867, his wife Mary A. Williamson ran the publication profitably until her death in 1878. A New York Supreme Court case estimated the annual income under her tenure as more than $10,000 per year, which would be more than $200,000 in 2022 dollars. The Williamson sons took over after her death. Mismanagement in the 1880s led to a rapid decline in circulation in the 1890s, and the paper likely folded in 1899.

Provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC