Charles Anderson Dana (August 8, 1819 – October 17, 1897) was an American journalist, author, and senior government official. He was a top aide to Horace Greeley as the managing editor of the powerful Republican newspaper New-York Tribune until 1862. During the American Civil War, he served as Assistant Secretary of War, playing especially the role of the liaison between the War Department and General Ulysses S. Grant. In 1868 he became the editor and part-owner of the New York Sun. He at first appealed to working class Democrats but after 1890 became a champion of business-oriented conservatism. Dana was an avid art collector of paintings and porcelains and boasted of being in possession of many items not found in several European museums.
Under Dana's control, The Sun opposed the impeachment o
It will study condensation, clearness, point, and will endeavor to present its daily photograph of the whole world's doings in the most luminous and lively manner.
Under Dana's control, The Sun opposed the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson; it supported Grant for the presidency in 1868; it was a sharp critic of Grant as president; and in 1872 took part in the Liberal Republican revolt and urged Greeley's nomination.
Dana made t
Dana made the Sun a Democratic newspaper, independent and outspoken in the expression of its opinions respecting the affairs of either party. His criticisms of civil maladministration during General Grant's terms as president led to a notable attempt on the part of that administration, in July 1873, to take him from New York on a charge of libel, to be tried without a jury in a Washington police court. Application was made to the United States District Court in New York for a warrant of removal, but in a memorable decision Judge Blatchford, later a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, refused the warrant, holding the proposed form of trial to be unconstitutional. Perhaps to a greater extent than in the case of any other conspicuous journalist, Dana's personality was identified in the public mind with the newspaper that he edited.
In 1876, the Sun favored Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, opposed the Electoral Commission, and continually referred to Rutherford B. Hayes as the "fraud president". In 1884 it supported Benjamin Butler, the candidate of Greenback-Labor and Anti-Monopolist parties, for the presidency, and opposed James G. Blaine (Republican) and even more bitterly Grover Cleveland (Democrat). Circulation peaked about 150,000, and the advent of Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World cut deeply into the Sun's circulation. Dana was a very old-fashioned publisher who distrusted the Linotype and relied not on advertising but on the two-cent cover price for his funding.
In 1888 it supported Cleveland and opposed Benjamin Harrison, although it had bitterly criticized Cleveland's first administration, and was to criticize nearly every detail of his second, with the exception of Federal interference in the Pullman strike of 1894; and in 1896, on the free silver issue, it opposed William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate for the presidency. In a word, the Sun had abandoned its original working-class clientele and was now a staunch supporter of the conservative business community.
Dana's literary style came to be the style of The Sun—simple, strong, clear, boiled down. He recorded no theories of journalism other than those of common sense and human interest. He was impatient of prolixity, cant, and the conventional standards of news importance. Three of his lectures on journalism were published in 1895 as the Art of Newspaper Making.
With George Ripley he edited The New American Cyclopaedia (1857–1863), reissued as the Ameri
With George Ripley he edited The New American Cyclopaedia (1857–1863), reissued as the American Cyclopaedia in 1873-1876.
Dana had an interest in literature. His first book was a volume of stories translated from German, entitled The Black Aunt (New York and Leipzig, 1848). In 1857, he edited an anthology, The Household Book of Poetry. His translation from German of "Nutcracker and Sugardolly: A Fairy Tale" was published in 1856 by the Philadelphia publisher C.G. Henderson & Co. In addition to translating German, Dana could read the Romance and Scandinavian languages. With Rossiter Johnson, he edited, Fifty Perfect Poems (New York, 1883).
Dana edited The Life of U. S. Grant, published over his name and that of General James H. Wilson in 1868. His Recollections of the Civil War and Eastern Journeys, Some Notes of Travel in Russia, in the Caucasus, and to Jerusalem were published in 1898.
Early in his journalism career, 1849, he wrote a series of newspaper articles in defense of anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and his mutual banking ideas. They were published in collected form in 1896 as Proudhon and His Bank of the People by Benjamin Tucker, who did so partly to expose Dana's radical past as Dana had late in life become quite conservative, editorializing against radicals, "reds", and the free silver movement. This book remains in print today through a Charles H. Kerr Company Publishers edition with an introduction by Paul Avrich.
Dana was an art connoisseur. In 1880 he built a large residence in New York City on the corner of Madison Avenue and Sixtieth Street and furnished it with paintings, tapestries, and Chinese porcelains, giving his greatest attention to his porcelains. He devoted much time and historical study in the these areas of art throughout his life, boasting that, "They are not in the British Museum; they are not in the Louvre; and they are conspicuously absent at Dresden."