He removed to New Brunswick, New Jersey, at an early age and became connected with the Fredonian, then the only newspaper issued there. Having learned the practical work of journalism, he returned to his native city as a reporter on the New York Commercial Advertiser, but while still a youth he went to Tallahassee, Florida, where he was made editor of the Tallahassean.
In 1847 he left the South and settled in Philadelphia. With George C. Foster, Robert G. Govett, and John F. Carter, he organized a company to publish a weekly newspaper called the City Item. This was first issued September 25, 1847, but it did not prosper, and at the end of its second year Fitzgerald had bought the shares of his partners and was issuing the paper himself.
In 1850 he purchased the Pennsylvania Volunteer, and subsequently the Fireside Visitor and the Bazaar. These were incorporated with his original paper, which was published under different headings during his ownership, and which, on September 10, 1870, appeared as an afternoon daily entitled the Evening City Item.
Not only music but art and the drama attracted Fitzgerald. He assembled a fine gallery of paintings, and for half a dozen or more years, produced a number of dramas which met with success. The first of these was Light at Last, first played at the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, December 30, 1867.
It was followed by Patrice, or the White Lady of Wicklow with Laura Keene in the title-role, Wolves at Bay, Tangled Threads, The Regent, Who Shall Win, Perils of the Night, and Bound to the Rock. For many years the journalist made an annual tour of Europe, and wrote for his newspaper most entertaining and sprightly letters.
While on such a trip in 1891, he became ill, and died in London. His remains were brought to Philadelphia where they were buried.
He was a member of the board of controllers of the public schools in Philadelphia.
As a member of the board of controllers of the public schools in the city, he worked for the im- provement of school buildings, and for the introduction of music into the schools.
It was followed by Patrice, or the White Lady of Wicklow with Laura Keene in the title-role, Wolves at Bay, Tangled Threads, The Regent, Who Shall Win, Perils of the Night, and Bound to the Rock.
His wife was Sarah Levering Liter, daughter of Dr. George W. Liter. Four sons and one daughter survived him.