William Henry Hurlbert (July 3, 1827—September 4, 1895) was an American journalist and author of “The Diary of a Public Man,” published in the North American Review in 1879. His responsibility for the Diary—once dubbed the “most gigantic” problem of uncertain authorship in American historical writing—was carefully concealed and has only recently been established.
An intellectual and social prodigy, Hurlbert wrote with flair and found that he could make a good living with his pen. For almost thirty years he worked for or edited newspapers. His skill as a wordsmith provided the foundation for his career. His first assignment as a daily journalist was a legendary success.
In 1876 Hurlbert became the World’s editor-in-chief.
After losing control of the World, Hurlbert lived abroad. He published books on Ireland and France, each of which used the format of a travel diary to offer his opinions on current politics. His last years were marred by a humiliating scandal. Hurlbert denied that he had written a sheaf of salacious letters to his London mistress, Gladys Evelyn, but a British court indicted him for perjury in 1891, and Hurlbert fled incognito to Italy, where he died in 1895.