Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Greeley, Horace (1811-1872) to R. L. Sanderson

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Log in
to see this thumbnail image

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00608 Author/Creator: Greeley, Horace (1811-1872) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 15 November 1871 Pagination: 2 p. ; 19.5 x 12.6 cm.

A high-resolution version of this object is available for registered users. LOG IN

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00608 Author/Creator: Greeley, Horace (1811-1872) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 15 November 1871 Pagination: 2 p. ; 19.5 x 12.6 cm.

Summary of Content: Serving as editor of the New York Tribune, Greeley offers advice to Sanderson: "...I say to all who are in want of work, Go West!" Written on New York Tribune stationery.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: New York, Nov. 15, 1871.
dear Sir:
So many people ask me what they shall do; so few tell me what they can do. Yet this is the pivot wherein all must ...turn.
I believe that each of us who has his place to make should go where men are wanted and where employment is not bestowed as alms. Of course, I say to all who are in want of work, Go West!
But what can you do? and how can your family help you? Your mother, I infer, is to be counted out as an effective worker. But what of the rest? And you - can you chop? Can you plow? Can you mow? Can you cut up Indian corn? I reckon not. And in the West it is hard to find such work as you have been accustomed to. The conditions of living are very crude there.
On the whole I say, stay where you are; do as well as you can; and devote every spare hour to making yourself familiar with the conditions and dexterity required for the efficient conservation of out-door industry in a new country. Having mastered these, gather up your family and Go West!
Yours,
Horace Greeley

[docket]
R.L. Sanderson,
[illegible]bury, MA
See More

People: Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872
Sanderson, R. L., fl. 1871

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Subjects: JournalismWestward ExpansionImmigration and Migration

Sub Era: Development of the West

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources