New York Freeman
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New York Freeman

Not to be confused with the The New York Freeman (later known as the New York Age), a prominent African-American newspaper of the late 19th century

The New York Freeman (1849-1918) was an American Catholic weekly newspaper in New York City.


The Weekly Register and Catholic Diary was started on October 5, 1833, by Fathers Schneller and Levins. It lasted three years, and was succeeded, in 1839, by the Catholic Register, which, the next year, was combined with the Freeman's Journal, then a year old to form The New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register.[1] It was first edited by James W. White and afterwards by Eugene Casserly and John T. Devereux. In 1842 Bishop Hughes took the paper to keep it alive, and made his secretary the Rev. James Roosevelt Bayley (afterwards Archbishop of Baltimore) its editor.

In 1842 it came into the hands of Bishop John Hughes, who sold it in 1847 to James A. McMaster,[2] who borrowed the money for its purchase from George Hecker, a brother of the Rev. Isaac T. Hecker, founder of the Paulists.

From 1842 to 1849 it was known as the Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register, then as the New York Freeman's Journal.[3] It was published every Saturday. Under McMaster the paper supported Mayor Fernando Wood, Grand Sachem of Tammany Hall.

McMaster had " aversion to episcopal supervision and a determination to propound his own views."[4] Ultimately, McMaster tried even the patience of Archbishop Hughes. In July 1856, Hughes decided to break with the paper, informing McMaster that he must make clear to his readers that his columns were not to be taken as representing the official archdiocesan view on anything. The heading "Official Organ of the Archdiocese" had to come off the masthead.[5]

In 1861, because of its violent State's Rights editorials, it was suppressed by Secretary of State William Seward, but resumed publication in April 1862 as the New York Freeman's Appeal, all under the same editor, James A. McMaster.[6]

The most popular post-war Confederate poem, "The Conquered Banner", made its first appearance in the pages of the Freeman.[7]

McMaster continued as its editor and proprietor until his death, December 29, 1886. Maurice Francis Egan was editor of the paper for two years after McMaster's death, and in 1894 the Rev. Dr. Louis A. Lambert took the position and so continued until his death in 1910.[1]

In April 1889 the paper published a series of articles by Rev. Pacifico N. Capitani, who organized the first Italian parish in Cleveland. In his articles he defended the Italian immigrants from disparaging attacks. In 1891 the series was translated into Italian and sold as a pamphlet.[8]


  1. ^ a b Meehan, Thomas, "Periodical Literature (The United States)". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911.
  2. ^ Bayley, James Roosevelt. A brief sketch of the early history of the Catholic Church on the island of New York, Catholic Pub. Society, 1870.
  3. ^ Meehan, Thomas, "James Alphonsus McMaster". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.
  4. ^ McNamara, Patrick. New York Catholics: Faith, Attitude & the Works, Orbis Books, 2014ISBN 9781608334421
  5. ^ Kwitchen, Mary Augustine, "James Alphonsus McMaster: A Study in American Thought," Ph.D. dissertation (Catholic University, 1949), p. 97.
  6. ^ McGreevy, John, Catholicism and American Freedom, Norton and Co., 2003, p. 68.
  7. ^ McGreevy p. 112.
  8. ^ Chapter 2: The American Bishops and the "Italian Problem". Center for Migration Studies special issues, 16: 19-39. (2000) doi: 10.1111/j.2050-411X.2000.tb00239.x

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