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Finley Peter Dunne

Page history last edited by kgenovese73@newpaltz.edu 14 years, 6 months ago

"The business of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."

-Finley Peter Dunne

(July 10, 1867 - April 24, 1936)



Finley Peter Dunne was born and raised in Chicago by Irish immigrant parents. Dunne was educated in public schools and finished last in his class in 1884. He began covering sports and police courts for the Chicago Telegram soon after. At the age of 21, Dunne became an editor for the Chicago Times. It was there at the Chicago Times that he created his beloved character, Mr. Dooley while on the evening post staff. He met Mary Ives Abbott, a cultivated book reviewer for the Post, who recognized Dunne's promise and began to guide him. She introduced him to Chicago's elite society (Thomson, 2004). In 1890 Dunne moved to New York City, New York, where he married Mary Abbott's daughter Margaret Abbott, had four children and continued to write books and articles. He died in 1936 in New York at age 68 of cancer.


Dunne's famous character, Mr. Dooley, was an Irish immigrant who owned a pub in the Chicago area. The inspiration for the character was James McGarrey. Born in Ireland, McGarrey was an old-timer around Chicago. Dunne recalled, "It so happened that one night when I was short of copy something McGarry said to me inspired me sufficiently to give me half a column of space in the paper the next morning. The stuff was taken seriously--if the 'Dooley' stories can be taken seriously--and so the 'Dooley' series was born." At first McGarrey's name was used for the character, but he objected, so Dunne came up with the name Martin Dooley.


Dunne really got attention in 1898 when he covered the Spanish-American War through the character of Mr. Dooley. The attraction came from his critical and yet logical writing. Those essays on the course and motives of the war, on governmental inefficiency, red tape, national bombast, and the faults and foibles of the military, are still ludicrously funny today when the incidents and leaders are forgotten (Russell, 1957). To the Filipinos, Dunne's imperialist says: "We'll treat ye th' way a father shud treat his child her if we have to break evry bone in ye'er bodies. So come to our arms." Dunne caught the mood of victorious America, but obviously he became critical when United States imperialism began after the systematic defeat of the Philippines.


Dunne grasped readers' attention with his almost limitless humor and his powerful critical commentary on current events. "The scope of acceptance for the Dooley newspaper pieces," historian J.C. Furnas has written, "covering a far wider spectrum of ideas, events and things that Mark Twain never touched on, rouse the suspicion that as between the two, Dunne better fitted the notion of a national humorist" (Morath, p.2).  Even President Theodore Roosevelt was known to have read Mr. Dooley to his cabinet, although Roosevelt was actually one of Dooley's main targets.


"Trust everybody, but always cut the cards." -Finley Peter Dunne


 While in New York Dunne became associated with Lincold Steffens and other "muckrakers" on the American Magazine, and he wrote for Collier's and serveral other magazines, but the articles in which he put Mr. Dooley aside and spoke in his own voice were never markedly successful. 


Mr. Dooley comes alive in this youtube video...  YouTube plugin error




Famous Quotes by Finley Peter Dunne:

"The world is not growin worse and it not growing better -- it is just turning around as usual."


"Th' first thing to have in a libry is a shelf. Fr'm time to time this can be decorated with lithrachure. But th' shelf is th' main thing." 


The following quote was made famous in the 1994 motion picture, Forrest Gump.


"When you go to the zoo, always take something to feed the animals, even if the signs say 'Do Not Feed Animals'. It wasn't the animals that put them signs up." 



Works by Finnley Peter Dunne:

Mr. Dooley's Opinions

Mr. Dooley" In the Hearts of His Countrymen

Mr. Dooley's Philosophy http://books.google.com/books?id=yqhaAAAAMAAJ&dq=Finley+Peter+Dunne&printsec=frontcover&source=an&hl=en&ei=HKcdS7PLO4u_lAe6iu3xCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War http://books.google.com/books?id=ljwEExhR5vsC&dq=Finley+Peter+Dunne&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=_kulsU0ntF&sig=5jnggHK5oXkx-iQ9J_4ZSizePTA&hl=en&ei=G6kdS-rTBo20lAeuhKnyCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CB4Q6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Mr. Dooley: In the Hearts of His Countrymen

Dissertations by Mr. Dooley (American Humorist Series)

Mr. Dooley Says

Mr. Dooley at his best


Annotated Bibliography 


Furnas, J.C. (1991). "The True American Sage." The American Scholar, 60 (4), 570-74.

This article goes in-depth on the character of Mr. Dooley and the meaning of his image.


Morath, Max. (2004). "Translating Mister Dooley: A New Examination of the Journalism of Finley Peter Dunne." Journal of American Culture, 27 (2), 147-56. 

Finely Peter Dunne's work is analyzed according to the humor and purpose behind his characters, such as the famous Mr. Dooley.


Russell, Francis. (1957). "Immortal Mr. Dooley." Modern Age, 91-96 http://www.mmisi.org/ma/01_01/russell.pdf

This pdf article shows Dunnes work portrayed through Mr. Dooley and how he was the remarkable journalist of the late 1800's and early 1900's.


Thogmartin, Clyde. (1982). "Mr. Dooley's Brogue: The Literary Dialect of Finley Peter Dunne." Visible Language, 16 (2), 184-198.

This Journal article explains how Dunne's writing loses flavor when translated to standard English spelling. The Irish brogue dialect adds to the credibility of the character, Mr. Dooley.


Thomson, Gale. (2004). "Finley Peter Dunne." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Encyclopedia.com. 7 Dec. 2009 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>

A useful and yet brief Biography on Finley Peter Dunne.


Special to The New York Times. "Original "Dooley" Dying. (2); Chicagoan Who Inspired Peter Finley Dunne's "Archery" Road Stories." New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y. Sep 5, 1901. p. 2. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=108286268&Fmt=1&clientld=10773&RQT=309&VName=HNP

This historic Newspaper article gives a direct quote from Finley Peter Dunne himself as to how Dooley simply came to be.


Comments (11)

Howie Good said

at 2:33 pm on Oct 29, 2009

Katie --

Citation goes on top. Annotation goes underneath. make sure you follow bibliographic format for each entry.

Howie Good said

at 3:39 pm on Oct 29, 2009


Maria said

at 11:43 am on Oct 30, 2009

I have an english language handbook if you need it . The book gives you information on how to cite basically anything in the world. Also, last fall my english professor recommended www.easybib.com.

Maria said

at 11:45 am on Oct 30, 2009

Sorry I would have just edited it for you but I don't have the titles of your sources.

kgenovese73@newpaltz.edu said

at 9:37 pm on Nov 5, 2009

No that's fine...thank you very much Maria! I think I fixed it. Now I am just adding in more references...

Melissa Vitale said

at 8:20 pm on Nov 9, 2009

I like your first source from your annotated bibliography. I like material that gives insight on what kind of person the individual was and their reasoning behind some of the things they do.

kgenovese73@newpaltz.edu said

at 9:51 pm on Nov 12, 2009

i'm a little confused with my last reference and how to cite it. it's a newspaper article i found on the library website....help?

Howie Good said

at 3:27 pm on Nov 13, 2009

The writing is rather careless. I did a lot of copy editing. Please answer the questions in text. Also, fix the capitalization, etc., throughout, including in the bib.

Melissa Vitale said

at 11:10 am on Nov 30, 2009

Good youtube video.

Howie Good said

at 11:19 am on Nov 30, 2009

The last paragraph is incomprehensible.

Howie Good said

at 11:33 am on Dec 7, 2009

the last paragraph is still problematic

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