The last few pages of each issue of Robert Merry’s Museum consisted of advertisements for a variety of products. In keeping both with the magazine’s identity as a family magazine and the fact that nineteenth-century children weren’t the economic presence which late 20th- and early 21st-century children are, the pages are aimed mostly at adults: the October 1857 issue contained advertising for books (including seven pages for Burdick Brothers publishers, five of them for The Impending Crisis of the South and one for the 10th edition of Female Life Among the Mormons), safes, educational aids, J. R. Stafford’s Olive Tar, and Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines.

It also included this astonishingly dense page of prose extolling The New York Tribune. It’s a beauty: the seemingly endless sentences which wind around several topics apiece like bewildered pythons, the words apparently chosen more for their polysyllabic properties than for their precision …. The effect is … hypnotic. The author manages to hit every theme of advertising: there’s a description of the Tribune’s political, moral, and social stances in what amounts to a year’s worth of editorials compressed into a paragraph; there are figures to show that everybody’s reading it; there’s the promise that the paper will take advantage of technological advances; there are hints of the vastness of the Tribune’s empire—physical, intellectual, and economic—and that the editors spare nothing in order to satisfy subscribers; there’s an appeal to patriotism, in a description of pro-slavery attempts to keep the anti-slavery Tribune out of the hands of certain subscribers; there’s the argument that everybody benefits by reading it and a statement (end of paragraph two) that only the best people take it. Oh, and the prices are also listed. All on one 9-inch by 6-inch page of 6-point type. What more could you ask?
Advertisement for the New York Tribune (from Robert Merry’s Museum, October 1857, advertising section p. vii)



THE TRIBUNE was first issued as a Daily on the 10th of April, 1841. Its Weekly edition was commenced in September of the same year; its Semi-Weekly in May, 1845. It was the first daily in America to issue a double or eight-page sheet at a low price, and it has kept at least even with the foremost of its rivals in the rapid expansion of Newspaper enterprise, which the great extension of Railroads, and the establishment of the Telegraph system have crowded into these last sixteen eventful years. No larger journal is afforded at so low a price in any quarter of the world; none in America, no matter at what price issued, pays an equal amount, weekly or monthly, for intellectual labor. It employs correspondents regularly in the leading capitals of Europe, and at the most important points on this continent, with a liberal staff of writers and reporters at home regarding full, early, and accurate Information as the first object of a Newspaper, and the timely and thorough elucidation thereof as the chief end of its Editorials. In that spirit the TRIBUNE has been and will be conducted, extending and perfecting its correspondence so fast as the increase of its patronage will justify the expense. Should the current attempt to connect the Old with the New World by the magnetic wire prove successful, we shall very soon, at a heavy cost to ourselves, and, we trust, a corresponding advantage to our readers, publish each morning a synopsis of the preceding day’s occurrences throughout Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia, with regular reports of the markets, the monetary aspects, and harvest prospects of hither Europe. With a good atlas beside him and his daily paper on his fireside table, the American farmer or artisan within a day’s ride of the city may then study each evening the doings of the civilized world throughout the day preceding; and it seems hardly possible that any who can read, but especially one who has children to educate, will longer deny himself the pleasure and profit of a daily journal. The same is true measurably of those who live further inland; though, where mails are infrequent, a Semi-Weekly, or even a Weekly Paper, may seem sufficient.

THE TRIBUNE deals with questions of Political Economy, Public Policy, Ethics, Material Progress, and whatever may affect the Intellectual, Moral, Social, and Physical well-being of mankind, dogmatic Theology alone excepted. Its leading idea is the honoring of honest, useful Work in whatever sphere or capacity, and the consequent elevation of the Laboring Class in knowledge, virtue, and general esteem. It is necessarily hostile to Slavery under all its aspects, to Intemperance, in whatever form or degree, with its accessories, to War save in the defense of Country and Liberty against actual invasion, and to every form of Gambling. Desiring to see Production extended and encouraged, while wild Speculation and useless Traffic are curtailed, it favors the policy of sustaining and diversifying Home Industry by a discriminating Tariff—a policy which tends to increase the price of Grain to the farmer while diminishing that of Bread to the artisan, by reducing the distance across which their respect[i]ve products are exchanged, and, of course, reducing the cost of their transfer. Regarding Filibusterism in all its phases, and every form and device of National covetousness, with unqualified abhorrence as the bane of Republics and their triumph in the grave of Equal Human Rights, we seek every means to woo and win the attention of our countrymen from projects of aggrandizement abroad to enterprises of development and beneficence at home, foremost among which we rank a Railroad through the heart of our territory to connect the waters of the Atlantic with those of the Pacific. Believing that the goods of this life are not yet fairly distributed, and that no one ready to work should ever famish in unwilling idleness, it lends an open ear to every suggestion of Social improvement which does not countervail the dictates of eternal Morality nor war upon that natural right of every one to whatsoever he has fairly produced or honestly acquired, whose denial must sink mankind into the chaos and night of barbarism and universal squalor. With a profound consciousness that idlers, drunkards, libertines, and profligates can never be other (in the main) than needy and wretched, it bears aloft the great truth that Prevention is better than Punishment—that the child trained up in the way he should go, will rarely in after years desert that way for the thorny paths of Vice and Crime—that a true Education—Religious, Moral, and Industrial as well as Intellectual—is the most effective temporal antidote to the errors and woes of our race. Recognizing in the most degraded specimen of Humanity a divine spark which should be reverently cherished, not ruthlessly trodden out, we have charity for all forms o[f] evil but those which seek personal advantage through the debasement of our fellow-beings. The champion of no class or caste, the devotee of no sect, we would fain be the interpreter to each other of men’s better impulses and aspirations, the harbinger of general concord between Labor and Capital, and among those whom circumstances or misapprehensions have thrown into unnatural antagonism. A cotemporary once observed that he never knew a hard, grasping, niggardly employer who did not hate THE TRIBUNE, nor a generous, large-souled, kindly one, willing to live and let live, who did not like it. We ask no higher praise, no warmer attestation.

The circulation of THE TRIBUNE is at this time as follows: Daily, 32,000 copies; Weekly, 176,800 copies; Semi-Weekly, 16,000 copies; California and European, 6[,]000 copies; Total, 230,800 copies. That of the Semi-Weekly and Weekly we believe to be exceeded by no other newspaper published in the world; that of the Daily falls behind that of some of our cotemporaries. Had our hostility to Human Slavery and the Liquor Traffic been more guarded and politic, our Daily issue would now be some thousands heavier, and our Advertising far more lucrative; but of our patronage generally we have no reason, no wish, to complain.

Of late, a concerted effort has been made to diminish our rural circulation through the influence of the Postmasters, some of whom embark in it eagerly, others under political constraint; while a large number, we are happy, for the sake of Human Nature, to state, refuse to be dragooned into it at all. Still, we have been made to feel the heavy hand of Power, and have doubtless, lost thousands of subscribers in consequence. Pretexts to which no individual in his private capacity would have stooped have been relied on to justify the stoppage of our papers within reach of their subscribers and rightful owners, and their retention in the Post-Office till their value was destroyed. Postmasters have been schooled by rival journals—several of them living on their self-proclaimed ability to serve as an antidote to THE TRIBUNE—as to their political duty to promote at our expense the dissemination of gazettes of adverse politics. We shall outlive this warfare, but we do not affect indifference to it. In the open field of discussion, we fear nothing; but in the tens of thousands of rural neighborhoods where the Postmaster can induce many of his quiet neighbors to take the journal he recommends, we have already lost some patrons, and expect to lose more as our subscriptions for this year expire. We appeal, therefore, to the hearty, faithful, fearless advocates of Free Labor and Free Soil throughout the land to take care that this official warfare on our circulation be not prosecuted without counteraction. We employ no traveling agents, for we will not consent to have the public harassed with the solicitations of strangers in our behalf. We strike the name of each subscriber to our Weekly or Semi-Weekly from our books so soon as his term has expired, for we will not haunt our patrons with duns for arrears which they may say they never intended to incur, for papers which perhaps they never read; we rely for the renew of our club subscriptions solely on the volunteered efforts of those who, liking our paper, believe its influence salutary and worthy to be extended; and thus far our reliance has been justified, as we trust it may continue to be.

THE TRIBUNE is printed on a large imperial sheet, 32 ½ by 44 inches, folded in quarto form, and mailed to subscribers at the following


Daily Tribune, per annum .... $6 00

One Copy, one year .... $3 00 | Five Copies, one year ... $11 25
Two Copies, one year, .... 5 00 | Ten Copies, to one address .... 20 00

One Copy, one year, .... $2 00 | Five Copies, one year, .... $8 00
Three Copies, one year .... 5 00 | Ten Copies, one year .... 12 00
Twenty Copies to one address, and any larger number, at the rate of $1 per annum, 20 00
Twenty Copies, to address of each subscriber, and any larger number at the rate of
$1 20 each .... $24 00

Any person sending us a Club of twenty or more will be entitled to an extra copy.

Subscriptions may commence at any time. Terms always cash in advance. All letters to be address to

Tribune Buildings,
No. 154 Nassau Street, New York.

New York, Sept., 1857.

Copyright 1999-2024, Pat Pflieger
To “Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read
Some of the children | Some of their books | Some of their magazines
To “Voices from 19th-Century America
Some works for adults, 1800-1872
To Titles at this site | Authors at this site | Subjects at this site | Works by date | Map of the site

Talk to me.