Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jeannette Leonard Gilder

Born this day in 1849: Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849–1916), journalist, editor, and arts critic influential in the late 19th century.

Jeannette Gilder was barely 20 years old when she began contributing to the Newark Morning Register, a paper founded by her brother Richard. She also became the Newark correspondent for the New York Tribune (until the Tribune editor realized she wasn’t a man). In 1875 she moved to New York, and celebrity journalist Kate Field introduced her to New York Herald publisher Gordon Bennett. Bennett named her the Tribune’s literary critic. Before long she was penning reviews and criticisms of music and drama as well. In 1881 she and her brother Joseph founded a biweekly (later weekly) journal called the Critic. Gilder served as the sole editor from 1901 until 1906, when the Critic merged with Putnam’s Monthly. She remained with Putnam’s until it was taken over by the Atlantic Monthly in 1910. The seemingly inexhaustible Gilder wrote columns for many publications, served as agent for both authors and publishers, wrote several plays, a novel, a couple of autobiographies, and edited several anthologies. She was a central figure in the New York arts scene and counted among her friends some of the most celebrated writers, singers, and artists of the times.

Also on October 3:

  • Educator and civil rights advocate Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955) opened her first school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida. 
  • Emily Post (1873–1960), etiquette guide, was born (or possibly on Oct 27, 1872).

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