Portrait of Murat Halstead (1829-1908), journalist, ca. 1900.
Murat Halstead was a nineteenth-century American journalist, editor and author.
Halstead was born in Butler County, Ohio, on September 2, 1829. He worked on his family's farm during the spring and summer months and attended school during the late fall and winter. His mother taught Halstead how to read before he was four years old, and he became an avid reader. At the age of eighteen, Halstead began a career in surveying but later decided to study law. He briefly taught school in Jackson, Ohio, before enrolling in the Farmers' College near Cincinnati, Ohio.
After graduating from college in 1851, Halstead briefly practiced law. He also provided articles to various newspapers in Cincinnati and wrote several novellas. In 1853, he became a reporter with the Cincinnati Commercial, a local newspaper. Within a year, Halstead became a partial owner of the paper. By 1865, he was the editor of the Commercial. The Commercial later merged with the Cincinnati Gazette, The new paper was called the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette and Halstead served as its editor.
As editor of these newspapers, Halstead routinely criticized politicians for their corrupt actions. He especially disliked the fact that United States Senate seats were usually given to the wealthiest men in a state. He also strongly supported the Republican Party's platform. In 1890, Halstead developed a plan to secure the reelection of Republican Ohio Governor Joseph Foraker. Halstead claimed to have had uncovered a document that implicated the Democratic Party's candidate, James Campbell, in a questionable business deal. Campbell allegedly was encouraging voting reform within Ohio in the hope that the state would select a ballot box produced by a company that he partly owned. Halstead and Foraker launched an attack against Campbell because of this document, but the Democrat easily proved that the document was forged. Foraker lost his bid for reelection.
In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison nominated Halstead to be the United States ambassador to Germany. The United States Senate refused to approve the appointment. Halstead later moved to New York City, where he published stories in the Cosmopolitan Monthly and served as editor of the Brooklyn Standard Union. He also published a memorial biography of President William McKinley and several other books. Halstead died in 1908.