GILBERT MILLIGAN TUCKER
ONE of the most earnest, active and successful journalistic workers in Albany is Gilbert M. Tucker, one of the editors and proprietors of the Cultivator and Country Gentleman. He was born in Albany on the 26th of August, 1847, is a son of the late Luther Tucker, who, in the year 1831, established the old Genesee Farmer, now consolidated with the Cultivator and Country Gentleman. The elder Mr. Tucker, dying in 1873, left the management of the paper to his two sons, Luther H. and Gilbert M, The eldest son, Luther, is still at the head of the firm, while, during recent years, Gilbert has been the principal active member most of the time. The other son in this gifted family is Willis G. Tucker, the well-known physician and scientist of this city, a biographical sketch of whom is included in the present series.
Gilbert M. Tucker, the subject of this sketch, inheriting the high literary abilities of his father, early evinced a great desire to lay out for himself a purely literary career. When about ten years of age he was sent to the Albany Boys’ academy, where he spent several years, and in 1865, at the age of eighteen, he had the satisfaction of entering the junior class of Williams College, Massachusetts. Applying himself with renewed ardor to his books, he was graduated in 1867, with honor, standing second in his class. During his college life Mr. Tucker paid special attention to English composition, and thus early laid the foundation of his terse, vigorous style; and after graduation it was with comparative ease that he took up his pen in an editorial capacity. In 1867 he was taken into the editorial staff of the Country Gentleman, on which he has continued ever since to enrich its columns and advance its popularity, until today it is the most widely-circulated publication of the kind in the country. In thousands of the homes of farmers through our land no secular periodical is a more welcome weekly visitor at the fireside than this popular journal. And it may truly be said that there is not a subject of any interest or importance to the agriculturist but is ably and thoroughly treated in the light of modern discoveries and improvements, in its interesting and attractive columns. Mr. Tucker’s editorial duties are onerous and his literary exertions unremitting. He only allows himself a brief summer vacation. He finds his chief recreation in the study of language, especially that of the English, turning to practical accounts most of his investigations in this line. While thus employed, year after year, he has taken particular pains to gather around him the principal authorities on linguistic lore. And he has already quite a large private collection of books on philology, particularly dictionaries, including all modern English dictionaries of any note, and a number of those of older date. He has read three able papers on subjects connected with the history and right use of English before the Albany institute, which have been printed in its transactions. He has also contributed articles on English and other topics to the North American Review, the New Englander and the Presbyterian Review.
Mr. Tucker was the first person to urge the adoption of a rational system of naming our streets on the numerical plan. He presented a complete scheme to the Albany institute in 1883, proposing that the north and south streets be numbered, beginning with Eagle as First, and that the east and west streets be called avenues, beginning with Livingston avenue as First. North of Livingston Avenue he would use letters, calling Colonic Street Avenue A, and so on. The first part of this plan, relating to the north and south streets, has been taken up recently by the committee of the common council, and there seems to be some prospect that it will ultimately be adopted, though still opposed by many persons.
In 1887 Mr. Tucker erected a handsome brown stone front house on State Street, No. 304, its interior being tastefully furnished and its walls adorned with oil paintings and other artistic works. And here in his library he finds great pleasure mornings and evenings, in pursuing his literary work, away from the more hurried and confining requisitions in the office of the Country Gentleman.
Since 1871 Mr. Tucker has been a member of the Albany Institute. For some years he was chairman of its publishing committee, and is now its treasurer. He is a member of the American Dialect Society and their Bibliography is merely a continuation of one prepared by him and published in the Albany Institute Transactions. He is also a member of the Fort Orange club, the Press and Ridgefield Athletic club, and the Young Men’s Christian association; and a life member of the Young Men’s association and the New York State Agricultural society.
In his religious views Mr. Tucker is of the Presbyterian faith, and for several years he has been a member of the session of the Second Presbyterian church, Albany. In politics he is a republican.
In 1877 Mr. Tucker married Miss Sara Edwards Miller, a daughter of the late Rev. Dr. William A. Miller, who is still affectionately remembered in Albany, for his Christian works and labors of love in the Dutch Reformed communion. They have two children, and their home is both pleasant and cheerful.
Mr. Tucker is of medium height, rather slender in form, with dark hair and beard; of a courteous bearing and studious habits, with a large forehead, indicative of no little mental force, and a faculty capable of elucidating deep or obscure subjects in general science and literature.