DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS (October 31, 1867 – January 24, 1911) was an
American novelist and journalist of the muckraker tradition.
* 1 Early life and career
* 2 Death
* 3 Novels
* 4 Notes
* 5 References
* 6 External links
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Phillips was born in
Madison, Indiana . After graduating from high
school, Phillips entered Asbury College (now
DePauw University ) —
following which he received a degree from
Princeton University in
After completing his education, Phillips worked as a newspaper
Cincinnati, Ohio , before moving on to
New York City
New York City where
he was employed as a reporter for The Sun from 1890 to 1893, then
columnist and editor with the
New York World
New York World until 1902. In his spare
time, he wrote a novel, The Great God Success, that was published in
1901. The royalty income enabled him to work as a freelance journalist
while continuing to write fiction. Writing articles for various
prominent magazines, he began to develop a reputation as a competent
investigative journalist. Phillips' novels often commented on social
issues of the day and frequently chronicled events based on his
real-life journalistic experiences. He was considered a Progressive
and for exposing corruption in the Senate he was labelled a muckraker
Phillips wrote an article in Cosmopolitan in March 1906, called "The
Treason of the Senate ," exposing campaign contributors being rewarded
by certain members of the U. S. Senate . The story launched a scathing
Rhode Island senator
Nelson W. Aldrich
Nelson W. Aldrich , and brought
Phillips a great deal of national exposure. This and other similar
articles helped lead to the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to
the United States Constitution , initiating popular instead of
state-legislature election of U. S. senators.
David Graham Phillips
David Graham Phillips is known for producing one of the most
important investigations exposing details of the corruption by big
businesses of the Senate, in particular, by the Standard Oil Company.
He was among a few other writers during that time that helped prompt
President Theodore Roosevelt to use the term “Muckrakers”.
Photograph of "
David Graham Phillips
David Graham Phillips at work" in the March 1911 issue
of The Bookman
The article inspired journalist Charles Edward Russell to insist to
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst , who had just recently purchased the
Cosmopolitan magazine , that he push his journalists to explore the
Senate corruption as well. Philips was offered the position to explore
more information about the corruption and bring it into the public’s
eye. Philips’ brother Harrison and Gustavus Myers were hired as
research assistants for Philips. Hearst commented to his readers about
Philips starting a series that would reveal the Senate corruption so
much, that most Senators would resign. This held true for some of the
Senators, such as New York Senators Chauncey M. Depew and Thomas
Collier Platt. Philips exposed Depew as receiving more than $50,000
from several companies. He also helped educate the public on how the
senators were selected and that it was held in the hands of a few
bosses in a tight circle, helping increase the corruption level. As a
result of these articles, only four of the twenty-one senators that
Philips wrote about were still in office. Philips also had some of the
greatest success as a muckraker, because he helped change the U.S.
Constitution, with the passage of the 17th Amendment, creating popular
election for senators.
His talent for writing was not the only thing that helped him stand
out in the newsroom. Philips was known to dress in a white suit with a
large chrysanthemum in his lapel.
Phillips' reputation cost him his life in January 1911, when he was
shot outside the
Princeton Club at
Gramercy Park in
New York City
New York City .
The killer was a
Harvard -educated musician named Fitzhugh Coyle
Goldsborough, a violinist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra who
came from a prominent
Maryland family. Goldsborough believed that
Phillips' novel The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig had cast
literary aspersions on his family. To be more precise, Phillips was
shot and killed by a paranoid who levied the false accusation that
Phillips had used the paranoid's sister "as a model for the
complaisant heroine" of the novel. When confronting Phillips,
Goldsborough yelled, "Here you go!" After Phillips collapsed, he
yelled something akin to "And here I go!", shooting himself in the
head. He died as a result of his injuries. Admitted to Bellevue
Hospital , Phillips died a day later. A 1992 novel by Daniel D.
Victor, The Seventh Bullet, imagines a
Sherlock Holmes investigation
into Phillips' murder.
Following Phillips' death, his sister Carolyn organized his final
manuscript for posthumous publication as Susan Lenox: Her Fall and
Rise . In 1931, that book would be made into an
MGM motion picture of
the same name and starring
Greta Garbo and
Clark Gable .
David Graham Phillips
David Graham Phillips is interred in the
Kensico Cemetery in
Valhalla, New York .
* George Helm
* Grain of Dust
* Light-Fingered Gentry
* Susan Lenox: Her Rise and Fall
* The Conflict
* The Cost
* The Deluge
* The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig
* The Grain of Dust
* The Price She Paid
* The Second Generation
* The Social Secretary
* The Treason of the Senate
* White Magic
* Woman Ventures
* ^ Fellow, Anthony R. "American Media History: Second Edition"
Wadsworth. Boston, MA. 2005.
* ^ H.L. Mencken, My Life as Author and Editor, p. 129.
* F. T. Cooper, Some American Story-Tellers, (New York, 1911)
* J. C. Underwood, Literature and Insurgency, (New York, 1914)