We’ve talked about some of the other popular newspapers from when Albany was awash in newspapers, but we’ve rarely mentioned The Country Gentleman. At one time, The Country Gentleman was one of the leading publications for the agricultural world, published in Albany.
Luther Tucker was a Vermonter, born in 1802, who apprenticed as a printer at 14 and moved with his employer to Palmyra, New York, in 1817 (according to Appleton’s Encyclopedia). He moved around the mid-Atlantic and New England States before settling in Rochester, where he published the first daily west of Albany, the Daily Advertiser, beginning Oct. 27, 1826. He ventured into both farming and farm reporting, first with The Genesee Farmer, which was combined with Albany’s The Cultivator, and then the weekly The Country Gentleman, which was published every Thursday, while The Cultivator was a monthly that used a number of articles that had been included in The Country Gentleman, with which it was merged in 1866.
Mott’s “A History of American Magazines, 1850-1865” says that in 1852, Tucker had sold off a general interest weekly and only had the Cultivator monthly. “Clearly, this was unsatisfactory, especially since his son, Luther Junior, was now eighteen and in training for farm-paper work. A new agricultural weekly was therefore announced, to be published under the name of the Country Gentleman.”
The paper launched January 6, 1853. “The farm section dealt with agronomy, stock raising, machinery, and meetings of agricultural societies; for the gardeners there was advice about methods, as well as information about new varieties of vegetables and fruits. A new seedling grape developed by E.W. Bull, of Concord, Massachusetts, to be known as the Concord grape, was announced by the Country Gentleman in its second year.” So we can say that the Concord grape was announced to the world by an Albany publisher.
Tucker had moved his publishing to Albany in 1840 and his sons were raised here. Luther Jr. was born around 1835. Willis Gaylord Tucker was born here in 1849, and did the usual rounds of Albany educational establishments: graduated Albany Academy 1866, Albany Medical College in 1867; became professor of inorganic and analytical chemistry and toxicology there, then becoming a founder and professor of chemistry at Albany College of Pharmacy. He taught chemistry at Albany Academy, Albany Female Academy, Albany High School and St. Agnes school. He also held positions with the State Board of Health, the Albany Medical College, the board of governors of Union University, the State Board of Medical Examiners. You know, the usual.
Luther Tucker and Gilbert Milligan Tucker followed their father into the publishing business, and in 1900 Gilbert was listed as the publisher of The Country Gentleman from 395 Broadway, with his home at 304 State Street. The paper was recognized as the oldest agricultural weekly in the country when it was purchased by Philadelphia’s Curtis Publishing Company in 1911, which promptly moved operations to Philadelphia.