On October 23, 1858, Henry Clapp, Jr., published the inaugural issue of The Saturday Press. It sold for five cents a copy (a year’s subscription cost two dollars) and was dedicated to providing what Clapp called "Literary, Artistic, Dramatic, and Musical Intelligence." In his first editorial for the Press, Clapp said that the primary goal of the new literary weekly was "to furnish its readers with as great a variety as possible of interesting facts, leaving him [sic] the privilege of making his own comments." Eight years later, in one of the final issues of the Press on January 27, 1866, Clapp restated his vision for the journal, saying that his ideal literary periodical would be "critical without being pedantic, dignified without being stupid, sprightly without being superficial, humorous without being vulgar, [and] witty without being pharisaical."
True to Clapp’s expectations, readers of The Saturday Press took "the privilege of making [their] own comments" about the periodical--some readers indeed found it to be critical, dignified, and full of wit, while others judged it pedantic, vulgar, and even stupid. One of the Press’s most ardent defenders was William Dean Howells, who, before becoming the editor of the Atlantic Monthly, was a young and relatively unknown writer from Ohio who considered The Saturday Press his lifeline to the New York literary scene. Howells said that the Press "embodied the new literary life of the city. It was clever, and full of the wit that tries its teeth upon everything. It attacked all literary shams but its own, and made itself felt and feared. The young writers throughout the country were ambitious to be seen in it, and they gave their best to it. . . . It is not too much to say that it was very nearly as well for one to be accepted by the Press as to be accepted by the Atlantic, and for the time there was no other literary comparison" (Howells, Literary Friends and Acquaintances, 70).
As part of his efforts to secure the best writing he could for the Press, Henry Clapp made a conscious effort to include works by women writers. When the editors of The Nation published an issue that included only the works of male authors, Clapp opined that the journal be called the "Stag-Nation," a witticism suggesting that the sexism of The Nation’s editorial staff directly affected their magazine’s quality. Clapp not only published women writers, he also gave a weekly column to Ada Clare titled "Thoughts and Things" that she used to discuss a range of topics from women’s rights to the status of the American theater.
Of all the regular features that accompanied the fiction, poetry, and commentary in The Saturday Press, the one that gave Clapp the greatest sense of pride and accomplishment was the weekly list of new books that he personally compiled. In a March 10, 1860 editorial, Clapp wrote regarding this list of new books, "We cannot call too particular attention to our weekly List of New Books and Books in Press. It is compiled from the best authorities, and is far more complete, and much better classified, than any List of the kind ever attempted in this country." Lest the effort of such a bibliographic endeavor be lost on his readers, Clapp continued, "The labor bestowed upon this department is greater than would be required to compile an octavo volume (or to write one, for that matter) of five hundred pages."
The Hartford Courant was especially kind in its assessment of Clapp’s efforts, calling the Press, "a vigorous, original, lively, and independent literary weekly. It is distinguished above any paper in the United States for its fresh and accurate literary intelligence, the independence and vigor of its leading articles, the choiceness of its miscellaneous matter, and, especially, for its complete weekly List of New Books and Books in Press. To the scholar, the literary man, and the man of taste, in all matters of art and literature, we consider this paper almost a necessity." It might seem odd that a Bohemian would be such an exacting bibliophile (and Clapp was the universally recognized "King of Bohemia"), but for Clapp this weekly list of new books was, in many ways, the benchmark for quality that defined The Saturday Press. Clapp took the air of authority that he cultivated as the unchallenged expert on recent literary publications and used it to benefit the writers he supported in the pages of The Saturday Press, and no one benefited from this support more than Walt Whitman. It is difficult to overstate the boon that regular publication in The Saturday Press was for Whitman’s career. Between December 24, 1859 and December 15, 1860, Clapp published eleven of Whitman’s poems and printed over twenty reviews of Leaves of Grass.
Despite all the attention he gave to Whitman’s poetry, however, Clapp insisted that The Saturday Press was no place for "puffery" (the nineteenth-century’s preferred term for the promotional hype of a recent publication). In an anti-puffing statement titled "No Puffing" that occasionally appeared on the front page of The Saturday Press, Clapp discouraged the common practice of receiving advertising dollars from a book publisher in exchange for a favorable review of one of the publisher’s books. "Advertisers will please bear in mind," he wrote, "that no arrangements whatever can be made with them for editorial notices."
This commitment to editorial independence is consonant with the Bohemian ethos that accompanied the Press. Unfortunately, however, just as the Bohemians were forced to embrace a life of poverty as a consequence of their unwillingness to compromise on personal independence so, too, did The Saturday Press encounter frequent financial problems because of Clapp’s refusal to exchange advertising revenue for editorial puffery. Poor management practices and a lack of hard-nosed business skills also contributed to the economic troubles that constantly dogged the Press. By December of 1860, The Saturday Press had run completely out of money and had to cease publication altogether.
The demise of The Saturday Press corresponded with the fracturing of the Bohemian group at Pfaff’s as well. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Fitz James O’Brien left New York to fight (and die) for the Union Army and Whitman moved to Washington, D.C. to volunteer as a nurse in Army hospitals. Henry Clapp and Ada Clare stayed in New York and continued to work in publishing and writing sporadically, as did others of the Pfaff’s crowd, for such publications as the New York Leader. On August 5, 1865, Clapp gathered together enough funds to resume publication of The Saturday Press, with William Winter serving as Assistant Editor. Clapp wrote, glibly, in an editorial for this first issue in 1865, "This paper was stopped in 1860 for want of means; it is now started again for the same reason."
Despite Clapp’s enthusiasm at the prospect of reliving the antebellum glory days of The Saturday Press, the postbellum Press was a pale imitation of its former self. William Dean Howells commented, "when the Press was revived [in 1865], . . . it was without any of the old bohemian characteristics except that of not paying for its material" (Howells, Literary Friends and Acquaintances, 73). Clapp tried to create a buzz for the paper in a September 2, 1865 article titled "What the New York Papers Say," wherein he reprinted five modest notices from local papers about the revival of The Saturday Press. The lukewarm reviews of these few New York papers was a far cry from the exuberant praise Clapp had collected from over thirty literary journals from across the nation in his April 21, 1860 list of "Opinions of the Press." In less than one year--on June 2, 1866--The Saturday Press permanently closed its doors.
Towards the end of his life, Whitman remarked to his companion Horace Traubel about the important, though often overlooked, story of The Saturday Press. "Somebody some day will tell that story to our literary historians," he said, "for the Press cut a significant figure in the periodical literature of its time" (qtd. in Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, 2:375).
Allen describes the Saturday Press as "a smart and sprightly literary and critical journal, which did manage to achieve considerable prestige but could seldom pay its contributors" (229). Allen claims that a complete file of the Saturday Press does not exist and it is therefore not possible to trace the full trajectory of Clapp's editorial support of Leaves of Grass (231).
Allen mentions that while Clapp coordinated reviews, advertisements, and publicity for Leaves of Grass in 1860, he also seems to have been preoccupied with the paper's increasingly precarious financial situation and wrote to Whitman about his worries while also assuring him of the success of the new Leaves of Grass (243-244).
The January 20, 1866, Saturday Press published a review of Drum Taps on the same day Stoddard's negative review in the Round Table appeared. The reviewer called Whitman "much over-praised" and "greatly underrated," and admitted "It is impossible to sympathize heartily with the greatest thoughts that have found utterance in literature, and not to admire him." Allen writes, though, that "each bit of praise was fairly well cancelled by a demurrer: 'What is called his sanity, his tenacious grasp on realities is, after all, the monomania of a man whom a great thought has robbed of his self-possession...His songs, though beautiful and inspiring, smack too strongly of the earth. His suggestions are sometimes vast, but himself is chaotic and fragmentary.' The invocation to death in the elegy contained the 'essence of poetry.' But, 'He shuts himself from hearty sympathy on all sides'" (367).[pages:229-232,242,243-244,260-264,269,273,367,420,471]
Belasco notes that Whitman argued for his theme of "Home Literature" in an unsigned article that appeared in the New York Saturday Press in 1860. "Whitman urged Americans to compose 'Our own song, free, joyous, masterful." Whitman also argued that his readers should pay attention to American writers: "You, bold American! And ye future two hundred millions bold Americans, can surely never live, for instances, entirely satisfied and grow to your full stature, on what the importations hither of foreign bards, dead or alive, provide--nor on what is echoing here the letter and spirit of the foreign bards" (249).
Between December 1850 and June 1860, the New York Saturday Press published "A Child's Reminiscence" (later "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking") and "You and Me and To-day" as part of Whitman's promotional efforts for the third edition of Leaves of Grass (May 1860). Belasco notes that Jerome Loving observed that "the Press published a total of seven poems that would be a part of the 1860 edition, including some of the Calamus poems." Belasco notes that the publication in the Press and other venues like the Atlantic Monthly were "something of a coup for Whitman--both were powerful literary magazines that published new American writers" (251).
In response to the first-page printing of "A Child's Reminiscence" in the December 24, 1859, edition of the Saturday Press, the poem was attacked in the Cincinnati Daily Commercial. The Saturday Press reprinted the attack and Whitman's anonymous response "All about a Mockingbird," which defended his poetry and promoted the third edition of Leaves of Grass (252).
Belasco claims that "'A Child's Reminiscence' and the other poems published in the Saturday Press offer a fascinating lesson in Whitman's--and Clapp's--efforts to promote Whitman's name and book" (253).[pages:249,251,252-253]
Browne notes that Clapp began the Saturday Press after the "inception" of the "informal society" of the Bohemians (152). Browne calls the Saturday Press the paper "to which the brotherhood contributed for money when they could get it, and for love when money could not be had" (152-3).
Browne calls the Saturday Press "really the raciest and brightest weekly ever published here. It often sparkled with wit, and always shocked the orthodox with its irreverence and 'dangerous' opinions" (153).
Browne mentions that Clapp was able to keep the paper running for a year and tried to revive it twice after its first failure. Of these failures, Browne states, "its brilliancy would not keep it alive without business management, and it was too independent and iconoclastic to incurthe favor of any large portion of the community." Browne marks the third failure of the Saturday Press as three years prior to his writing (153).
Browne specifically identifies William Winter, Edward H. House, Artemus Ward, and Ada Clare as contributors (153, 154, 155, 157).[pages:152-153, 154, 155, 157]
The column makes a reference to the Saturday Press not being allowed in France (2).[pages:2]
The Editorial Comments observe that the paper that has published an appeal to its advertisers has previously printed reports about the dire state of the Saturday Press (4).[pages:4]
The note "Hasheesh" explains that Mrs. Mary Stevens Case's account of two young women's experiences under the influence of hasheesh has been written for the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
This column discusses the absurdity of wishing a Merry Christmas to those who attempted to "bribe" the Saturday Press into promoting them (2).[pages:2]
Clapp discusses the problems of favorable and unfavorable book notices in the Saturday Press as well as the proportionally small number of notices that have appeared in the paper. Clapp also discusses how standard book notices would fail to fit with the style of the Saturday Press or capture readers' interest (2).[pages:2]
This column reports the Saturday Press's "exclusion" from France (2).[pages:2]
A note before the "Card" asks subscribers with annual subscriptions to renew them as soon as possible. The card announces the second year of the Saturday Press and discusses it's "subscription crisis" (2).[pages:2]
Mentions that there are rumors that "a new man is about to 'undertake the management of the Saturday Press'" (4).[pages:4]
Clapp laments his current difficulties in funding the Saturday Press and speculates that if he had five hundred dollars to spend on advertising he would in turn make five thousand dollars on the investment.
This column discusses the Saturday Press's book list (2).[pages:2]
In a note before "The Hanging Question," there is a mention of other papers stealing items from the Saturday Press without giving the proper credit. The column offers the Saturday Press's position on the hanging of John Brown (2).[pages:2]
This dialogue between the Editor and Old Subscriber discusses the return of the Saturday Press (8).[pages:8]
The Saturday Press is listed as one of the institutions that "is to be carried on for all time" (2).[pages:2]
The column argues that the proposal of a nation without a Custom House would prompt the destruction of the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
This column discusses the lack of "views" or "theories" held by the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Umos reprints "Not So Bad" from the previous issue of the Saturday Press which appeared in the Washington paper States and Union the previous evening (2).[pages:2]
Umos claims he feels comfortable to discuss his thoughts on Whitman's Leaves of Grass since the Saturday Press printed the review from the Cincinnati Commercial in its last issue (2).[pages:2]
Umos claims that the second and final section of this column has been written for "the lady-readers of the Press." Umos also discusses the inclusion of his "Waifs" in the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Clare mentions Getty Gay's "Waking from Illusions," which was printed in the previous week's Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Clare discusses a reply to her remarks on Beulah in her last column in the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Clare refers again to her previous remarks about Beulah in The Saturday Press. Clare reports that Derby & Johnson have withdrawn their advertisements from the paper in response to her remarks (2).[pages:2]
Derby writes "Thore (sic) were about twenty young literary people connected with the Saturday Press. There was no cash book or other account books kept, thus avoiding the expense of a book-keeper. Whatever money was received went into the hands of whichever proprietor happened to be in the office at the time. Mr. Aldrich once told me that Mr. Clapp could not sleep in the morning, while he, being young and in excellent health, slept until about nine o'clock. Through this habit he got little or nothing of the money which came in for advertisements, as Mr. Clapp, being the first on hand, confiscated the receipts" (232).[pages:232]
Ego gives the names of several volumes of poetry that he has been asked to mention in the Saturday Press (4).[pages:4]
Epstein notes that the paper ran more than 25 items by and about Whitman -- reviews, advertisements, parodies- during 1860 for the third edition of Leaves of Grass.[pages:54,55,56]
Juliette Beach's review of Leaves of Grass appeared in this paper.[pages:311]
Figaro attributes his good mood to the Press' recent success (5).[pages:5]
Figaro mentions that Maretzek had several notables contribute to his display of imitations of the "facetise" in the Saturday Press (4).[pages:4]
Figaro addresses Mr. Editor's inability to produce a new edition of the Saturday Press every week (4).[pages:4]
Figaro states what his response to his current "indisposition" would be if the Press were an opera house and not a newspaper (168).[pages:168]
Figaro mentions that there was some confusion in Philadelphia over a joke in the Saturday Press that "Figaro 'died of rum and recklessness'" (8).[pages:8]
Figaro discusses the success of "our brave little sheet" with Mr. Editor and claims that it has outsold all the other Saturday papers put together (152).[pages:152]
Figaro notes that one of his "semi-religious friends" subscribes to "three copies of the Saturday Press (40).[pages:40]
Figaro claims that he was asked the other day who was in charge of the Saturday Press and what the intentions of the paper are (56).[pages:56]
Figaro attributes his inability to attend several plays to the preparation of the current edition of the Saturday Press; "which I may say here, lest your modesty should refrain you from doing so, is to be just the handsomest, brightest, wittiest, widest-awake sheet ever issued this side of Paris" (57).[pages:57]
Figaro "celebrates" the paper and "joins [his] fortune" to the paper. Figaro is "celebrating" and discussing the paper's return (8). A note following the Feuilleton reads, "In reply to a correspondent who asks us to describe our staff, we beg to say that the Saturday Press is neither old enough or weak enough to require a staff" (9).[pages:8,9]
Figaro assures Mr. Editor that there will be plenty of him in other sections of the Saturday Press, even though he has resigned from writing the Dramatic Feuilleton (200).[pages:200]
In the biography of Henry Clapp, Jr., included with this article, Clapp comments, "I recommenced the Saturday Press on my own hook. Mark Twain published his 'Jumping Frog' in my paper. Artemus Ward was a regular contributor. George Arnold, Ada Clare, Nat Sheppard, Nathan D. Urner wrote for it. The Count Gurowski wrote a series of articles for the first paper, giving his experiences in London. Harriet Prescott contributed." Clapp also mentions that he wanted "the advertising and the editorial columns" of the Press to be separate.[pages:9]
The article mentions that William Winter wrote the dramatic criticisms, "assisted by Ned Wilkins, Ada Clare, and the bucket of beer which Clapp used to carry into the office every afternoon."[pages:479]
The publication of the "Saturday Press" and Alrich's position as associate editor with O'Brien and Winter in October, 1858, was "the most momentous result of Aldrich's association with the Bohemians" (42). At first, Aldrich worked at both the "Saturday Press" and the "Home Journal," but by 1859, Aldrich was working only for the "Saturday Press" and on his own writing (42).
Greenslet claims "The vivacity and epigrammatic valor of the 'Saturday Press' gave it a succes d'estime, at least, from its first inception" (43). Greenslet quotes Aldrich's Dec. 17, 1858 letter to F.H. Underwood, assistant editor of the "Atlantic": "The 'Saturday Press' is on its feet. It is growing. It will be a paper" (43).
Greenslet states that the "Saturday Press'" first run came to an end early in 1860. He claims that Aldrich "took the failure with a light heart. His relation to the paper had never been more than an elastic one" (48).[pages:42-43,47,48]
Discusses the correspondents to the Saturday Press during the Eurpoean wars.[pages:2]
Hemstreet calls the Saturday Press, founded in 1858, "that lively publication, so brilliant while it lasted, so soon to die, and at its death having pasted on its outer door an announcement which read: 'This paper is discontinued for want of funds, which by a coincidence is precisely the reason for which it was started'" (214).
Hemstreet mentions that "it is quite true that the members of the staff of the Saturday Press did more than anyone else to give it [Pfaff's] a name that has lived through the years (214).[pages:214,218]
Howells claims that on his second day in New York in August 1860, "Very probably I lost no time going to the office of the Saturday Press, as soon as I had my breakfast after arriving, and I have a dim impression of the Bohemians whose gay theory of life obliged them to a good many hardships in lying down early in the morning, and rising up late in the day. I was the office-boy who bore me company during the first hour of my visit, by-and-by the editors and contributors actually began to come in. I would not be more specific about them if I could, for since that Bohemia has faded from the map of the republic of letters, it has grown more and more difficult to trace its citizenship to any certain writer. There are some living who knew the Bohemians and even loved them, but there are increasingly few who were of them, even in the fond retrospect of youthful folly and errors"(62-3). Of the Bohemians and the Saturday Press, Howells continues, "It was in fact but a sickly colony, transplanted from the mother asphalt of Paris, and never really striking root in the pavements of New York; it was a colony of ideas, of theories, which had perhaps never had any deep root anywhere. What these ideas, these theories, were in art and life, it would not be very easy to say; but in the Saturday Press they came to violent expression, against all existing forms of respectibility. If respectability was your bete noir, then you were a Bohemian; and if you were in the habit of rendering yourself in prose, then you necessarily shredded your prose into very fine paragraphs of a sentence each, or very few words, or even of one word" (63).
Howells mentions his own contributions to the Saturday Press.
Howells feels that the "Bohemian group represented New York literature to my imagination" mainly because he had pride in the Saturday Press (especially since he had been published in it) and "because that paper really emboided the literary life of the city. It was clever, and full of the wit that tries its teeth on everything. It attacked all literary shams but its own, and made itself felt and feared. The young writers througout the country were ambitious to be seen in it, and they gave their best to it; they gave literally, for the Saturday Press never paid in anything but hopes of paying, vaguer even than promises. It is not too much to say that it was very nearly as well for one to be accepted by the Press as to be accepted by the Atlantic, and for the time there was no other literary comparison" (63).
Howells states that to be published in the Saturday Press was to "be in the company of Fitz James O'Brien, Fitzhugh Ludlow, Mr. Aldrich, Mr. Stedman, and whoever else was liveliest in prose and liveliest in verse at that day in New York" (63).
Howells describes the Press as "a very good snapping turtle" (63). Howells also insinuates that the quality of the Press has since declined.
Howells equates his visit to the Saturday Press to visiting the offices of the Atlantic, only with a different after-feeling. Howells indicates that the anti-Boston sentiment of the Bohemians made him uneasy (64).
Howells mentions that Pfaff's "[whose] name often figured in the epigrammatically paragraphed prose of the Saturday Press" (64).
Howells mentionts that "When I came the next year the Saturday Press was no more, and the editor and his contributors had no longer a common centre. The best of the young fellows I met there confessed, in a pleasant exchange, that he thought the pose a vain and unprofitable one; and when the Press was revived, after the war, it was without any of the old Bohemian characteristics except that of not paying for material. It could not last long upon these terms, and again passed away, and still awaits its second palingenisis" (64).
Howells discusses Clapp's relationship to Whitman: "He was kind to some neglected talents, and befriended them with a vigor and a zeal which he would have been the last to let you call generous. The chief of these was Walt Whitman, who, when the Saturday Press took it up, had as hopeless a cause with the critics on either side of the ocean as any man would have" (65). Howells also states that "It was not till long afterward that his English admirers began to discover him, and make his countrymen some noisy reproaches for ignoring him; they were wholly in the dark concerning the Saturday Press, which first stood as his friend, and the young men who gathered about it, made him their cult" (65).[pages:62-63, 64, 68]
Lalor uses the publication of "A Child's Reminiscence" in the paper's December 24, 1859, edition as concrete proof of Whitman's awareness of the Bohemian circles. This publication "launched that journal's untiring campaign oon his behalf and helped catapult Whitman into our national literature" (132).
Lalor writes that Ada Clare's writing in the Saturday Press may have helped gain him female support (136).
Taylor, Stoddard, Aldrich, and Stedman are mentioned as the parties in New York involved in the "inconsistent opposition" to the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1859-1860. Lalor writes that "It was chiefly against this ambivalent group and against the naysayers of New England that Clapp did battle for Whitman, with a characteristic originality of method which was both a tribute to the Press at the same time it was a boon to Whitman" (137). Lalor writes that essentially, Clapp forced the public to take notice of Whitman; however, "It is an oversimplification to suggest that 'Clapp seemed almost to found the Saturday Press for the purpose of forcing Whitman upon the balking public,' because the Press had existed for almost a year before Clapp knew Whitman and its purposes were far broader than just a crusade for one man" (137-138). Lalor does note that "The Saturday Press was in fact very highly regarded and authoritative and the positive effect for Whitman of Clapp's hoisting his banner is incalcuable" (141).
According to Howells, "When the Saturday Press too it [Leaves of Grass] up, [Whitman] had as hopeless a cause with the critics on either side of the ocean as any man could have...Americans were wholly in the dark when the Saturday Press, which had first stood his friend, and the young men whm the Press gathered about it, made him their cult" (138). Lalor notes that the relationship between Whitman, Clapp, and the Saturday Press has been largely overlooked by critics (138). Lalor cites, exceptions to this. Lalor quotes Mabbott's estimation of the Saturday Press as "a smart New York paper" and Clapp as "brilliant and humorous, understood much of significance of Whitman" (138). Lalor also cites Emily Hahn: "if it hadn't been for Emerson's warm praise and Clapp's stubborn faith, even Whitman's self-confidence might have suffered. As it was, the staff of the Saturday Press made him a cause, publishing his work and declaring his genius" (138). Lalor also quotes Parry and Allen for perspectives about the influence of Clapp and the Press on Whitman's career (138). Lalor gives an overview of Whitman's publications, mentions, and reviews in the paper p.139-140. According to Lalor, the publicizing of Whitman continued up until and after the publication of the third edition of Leaves of Grass; Lalor is careful to note that this effot did not cause the paper's problems that led to its end. Lalor notes that Clapp probably attempted to keep the paper running to support Whitman (140). Lalor supports this idea with the claim that "The aims and purposes of the Press were closely interrelated with the character of Clapp and he, its editor-publisher, regarded independence, a freedom of unbridled expression, as inherent" (140).
Lalor argues that Parry's claim that "Hardly a week passed without some enthusiastic reference...to Whitman" is "deceptive" as "more than half the items on Whitman between December 1859 and November 1860 were either transparent and acknowledged parodies of his style or bitter condemnations of the man and his work" (140-141). When the Saturday Press was revived in 1865-1866, Clapp found space to pay Whitman tribute twice (141).[pages:132,136,137-142,145]
Clapp started the Saturday Press in 1858. The paper attempted to employ Bohemian "freedom of thought," but this often translated into a "scathing critique of what the Pfaffians took to be one of the central banes of bourgeoisie existence: humbuggery" (21). The paper also helped "popularize notions of Bohemianism and its position within American culture (21).
The Saturday Press rarely discussed slavery, however after Lincoln's 1860 election, the paper editorialized, "'We are opposed to slavery of every kind, but we are even more opposed to what is called anti-slavery, for the simple reason that it has no distinct aim or purpose, and consists of nothing but a series of noisy and unmeaning howls'" (28).
The Press devoted considerable space to defining its vision of Bohemianism. Often times this was in response to definitions made by other papers that the staff of the Press did not feel were accurate. In this way, a dialogue on the question of Bohemia was created, allowing for much interpretation and critique (30).
Levin notes that the Press believed the "ideal Bohemian cosmopolite [...] also represented the rights of women" (41).
The Press experienced some conflict between a nationalistic and cosmopolitan literary agenda, but with the arrival of Walt Whitman, the paper reasserted a full-blown nationalistic literary bias (47).
The Press often editorialized against the development of a restricted high culture (59).
After the Civil War, Henry Clapp attempted to reestablish the Saturday Press, only to find that "the Bourgeois press was even more hostile toward Bohemianism than before" (68).[pages:18, 20-22, 27-32, 34-35, 37, 39-44, 65-68, 55, 46-47, 57-60, 63]
Levin includes The New York Saturday Press as one of the Pfaffians' forms of "self-description" (7). Clapp advertised Pfaff's in one of his "puffs" about the saloon in the Saturday Press: "this modest restaurant and Lager Beer saloon, at 647 Broadway, is extensively patronized by young literary men, artists, and that large class of people called Germans" (18).
Levin notes that Clapp's personal qualities "determined the modd of the New York Saturday Press." She notes that "Within the Saturday Press, Bohemian 'freedom of thought' often translated into a scathing critique of what the Pfaffians took to be one of the central violations of bourgeois existence: humbuggery. 'The purpose of the Saturday Press was to speak the truth,' Winter remembers, 'and to speak it in a way that would amuse its readers and would cast ridicule upon as manyas possible of the humbugs then extant and prosperous in literature and art'" (22).
The Saturday Press had a national circulation and a wide subscription base. Levin mentions that the Saturday Press was influential enough for Howells to say that "at the time, it 'represented New York literature to my imagination' and 'embodied the new literary life of the city'" (23).
The Press did not have a large subscription base, but it had a national circulation. Whitman argued that "the Press cut a significant figure in teh periodical literature of the time." Howells also wrote that "young writers throughout the country were ambitious to be seen in [The Saturday Press]" and they "gave their best to it" (86).
Levin mentions that the Golden Era began to be linked "directly and indirectly" to "the glamorous notoriety, literary prestige, and enviable camaraderie of Bohmemia (especially as embodied in the New York Saturday Press)" (160). Levin claims that this was part of Colonel Lawrence's plans for his "literary weekly" in which he also "promoted" the "connection to New York whenever possible." Lawrence republished a number of articles in his weekly and closely followed the New York literary scene (especially those associated with Pfaff's) (160-161).[pages:7,12,18,19,21,22,23,32,33,34,35,36,38-39,43,45-46,47-52,53,54,55,56,57,60,61-63,73,76-77,81-82,83,84,85-86,87,88,89,90,91,92,160-161,163,248,274]
A note mentions that the first page of the Saturday Press includes an extract from The New Priest in Conception Bay by Rev. R.T.S. Lowell, Rector of Christ Church, Newark, N.J. (2).[pages:2]
A note reports that the Saturday Press has prinited the profile of Nell Gwynn from Goodrich's Women of Beauty and Heroism on its first page (2).[pages:2]
The paper is described as the "official organ" of the "Kingdom of Bohemia, whose royal palace was at Pfaff's restaurant." The article mentions that the paper no longer exists, nor does the Bohemian circle that contributed to it.[pages:192]
A note reports that approximately two hundred papers have not given the Saturday Press credit after publishing poems and other items that originally ran in the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Described as "influential" because it shared the literary market with
In the May 19,1856, issue Leaves of Grass may have been reviewed anonymously by either Clapp or Whitman.[pages:5,235,236,237,238,241-242,249,260-261,275,371]
The review indicates that the Saturday Press is pleased to have the opportunity to discuss Man and His Dwelling Place.[pages:2]
"'It was clever and full of wit that tries its teeth upon everything,' Howells later recalled. 'It attacked all literary shams but its own, and it made itself felt and feared'" (26).
"Howells thought it 'very nearly as well to be accepted by the Press as by the Atlantic" (26).
"William Dean Howells described the prose of the Saturday Press as 'shredded . . . into very fine paragraphs of a sentence each, or of a very few words, or even of one word'" (27).
"The Saturday Press ceased to exist after its June 2, 1866 issue" (38).[pages:vii, 15, 16, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 38, 42, 45, 47, 49, 50, 56, 57, 60, 62, 65, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 83, 101]
A "witty and sophisticated periodical" that "was always in hot water financially" (38-39).[pages:38-40,353]
The article reports that the Atlantic Monthly will be following in the Saturday Press's "footsteps" and printing a list of published books in each issue (2).[pages:2]
The column reports that Private Miles O'Reilly (Halpine) is "anxious to write the obituary of the Saturday Press." The column also reprints an item from the Trenton, N.J. Gazette that reports that there is a rumor that the Saturday Press will soon "suspend publication." The column also reports that page six of the current edition has a "breif but interesting" column on the "Early History of Printing in America" (4).[pages:4]
The "Obituary" mentions that Clapp founded the Saturday Pres, "a weekly paper of remarkable brilliancy, that died - as many another journal has done - before it was able to walk alone" about fifteen years ago.[pages:7]
A note mentions a request that the Saturday Press outline its religious views for its readers.[pages:2]
An item refers to the previous week's discussion of Everett's Eulogy of Washington and responds to a correspondent's request for the paper's opinion on Irving's Life of Washington.[pages:3]
Parry calls the Saturday Press the "first Bohemian weekly of America." Clapp began the paper in October, 1858, and Parry mentions that it was "jestingly referred to as the house organ of Pfaff's." Parry also writes of the paper: "Everybody worth while in contemporary letters seemed to be among its contributors, even though the pay was irregular, small, and at times practically nil. The public gasped at the editorial paragraphs of Henry Clapp. For the first time in the memory of the living, the whiskers of American gods were pulled by a weekly with such nonchalant energy and air of authority." Parry continues, "Often, Clapp and his paper appeared to be naive and hitting at small fry, but on the whole it did valuable spading of American life and spanking of the native arts" (24). Parry also notes that for a time the Saturday Press and the Atlantic Monthly were about equal in prestige, having been started a year apart; Parry quotes Howells on the comparability of the two papers at this time. Parry also notes the use of pen names among several regular contributors as well as the decidedly French influence of the paper in the fueilletons and the general attitude of Clapp and the staff. Parry notes, however, that there "was a hearty American substance to all this French veneer" and mentions that the Saturday Press spent much of its first run praising Whitman and ended its second run with Twain's "Jumping Frog" (24-25).
After the Civil War, Clapp attempted to revive the Saturday Press on August 5, 1865. This publication and the first few issues of the new run were met with critical praise. Pfaff was given advertising space in the paper, and Parry notes that the World joked that "Mein Herr was really managing editor." According to Parry, although she knew she would not get paid for her contributions, Ada Clare "was good to Clapp and his paper" and sent him articles (32-33).
Parry mentions that Charlie Pfaff's "name was immortalized in much of the sweeping verse and cryptic prose published in the Saturday Pres" (23). Parry also notes that during Ada Clare's tenure as "Queen of Bohemia" she helped "to enliven the Saturday Press with her confessions" (26).
Parry mentions that Burroughs met Whitman through Clapp and the Saturday Press. Whitman caught Burroughs's attention when the Saturday Press published "A Child's Reminisence" December 24, 1859. Clapp introduced Burroughs to Whitman at Pfaff's (40-41).[pages:23-25,26,32-33,40-41,61,97]
Personne suggests that reading the Saturday Press may help Laura Keene as she recovers from the ailment that struck her during the benefit (3).[pages:3]
Personne cites the March 5, 1859, edition's discussion of Menken (3).[pages:3]
Personne discusses how sometimes people steal plot and review information from the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Personne reprints a letter to the Editor of the Saturday Press from Charles Gayler about Personne's remarks about Many a Slip 'Twixt the Cup and the Lip(2).[pages:2]
Personne addresses some remarks to "who steal from this department of the Saturday Press (3).[pages:3]
Nancy Scudder's letter argues that the Saturday Press should get someone else to write about the theater (3).[pages:3]
The Feuilleton consists of letters to the Editor about Personne's writing in the Saturday Press (2).[pages:2]
Personne mentions Anna Maria's dislike at being mentioned in The Saturday Press (3).[pages:3]
Personne expresses his "contempt" for the Editor of the Saturday Press and his "ideas" (3).[pages:3]
The Saturday Press is mentioned as the Manager's reading material in the sketch of The Dark Hour Before the Dawn (2).[pages:2]
Personne writes about the reception of his "Dramatic Feuilletons" by critics in Chicago and Cincinnati (2).[pages:2]
Personne notes that he will not address the readers until the next year and offers the "usual compliments" to those who deserve them (3).[pages:3]
A letter to the newspaper from a correspondent is printed in this column that argues that the Press has never helped the writer move beyond his relative obscurity as a lecturer.[pages:2]
Quelqu'un discusses how his two-week silence because he had nothing to say would have been "inadmissable" at any other paper. He also discusses a "Card" from the previous week's Saturday Press and talk about the paper dying. Quelqu'un does not believe such talk, which has happened several times. He calls the Saturday Press "a paper that the world will not willingly let die." Quelqu'un argues for the quality of the paper (3).[pages:3]
The article on Edwin Booth that follows the Feuilleton discusses the Saturday Press's policy of encouraging young talent (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un claims that his "friends at The Saturday Press insist that I shall enliven that dull sheet, every week, with a Dramatic Feuilleton, whether I have anything to write about or not" (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un tells the General to turn to the editor of The Saturday Press for insight about the necessity of appealing to "the vast multitude of fools." Quelqu'un claims that "for motives of delicacy," he "never cares to speak" to the editor directly (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un claims that The Saturday Press holds evidence of the "consequence" of Lola Montez's attempt to "defend and define" her position; that she "exposed herself to the lugubrious and worse than Pecksniffian whines and whimperings of the Sunday press" (3).[pages:3]
The letter from Quelqu'un's "young friend" Horatius references an item he read in The Saturday Press (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un discusses the differences between his approach to the theater and Personne's and remarks that Personne always desires to "bring away with him a golden fleece" for the Saturday Press (3).[pages:3]
Quelqu'un lists the Saturday Press as one of the things the Oldest Man can see (2).[pages:2]
The note that appears at the beginning of the column mentions that every story which has previously appeared in the Saturday Press has included the smoking of a pipe or more of tobacco and that this story does not deviate from the pattern.[pages:2]
Reynolds' discussion of the paper includes Clapp's description of the bohemian as an individualist and his position on slavery, etc. The Saturday Press was revived by Clapp in 1865, but failed quickly.
The first incarnation of The Saturday Press's ran 25 pieces by or about Whitman between Dec. 24, 1859 and Dec. 15, 1860. Reynolds specifically notes female reviews addressed to Whitman appearing in the paper (esp. by woman calling herself C.C.P.).[pages:377,378,381,387,404,453,496]
Sentilles mentions Clapp's creation of the publication and its numerous contributors.[pages:142]
Stansell writes that Clapp incorported his "disdain for puffery" as a "point of principle for his Saturday Press" (117).
Stansell notes that while many contemporary sources claim that literary life was quite difficult in the 1850s in New York, evidence of the wide spread of New York publications, such as the Saturday Press to places like Columbus, Ohio, where it was noticed and contributed to by Howells, show that matters were improving for the New York literary world (121).
Clapp used the Saturday Press as a venue for "stirring up" issues around Leaves of Grass to promote the book. The paper seems to have discussed both the poetry and Whitman; publishing twenty items on Whitman in eleven months as well as poetic contributions, critical reviews of the work, notes about the poems, advertisements, and parodies (122).[pages:117,120,121,122,123]
Starr cites the primary location for the editing and reading of the Saturday Press as Pfaff's. In William Dean Howell's opinion, it was as good to be published in the Saturday Press as it was to be published in the Atlantic Monthly, since despite one critic's claim that "man cannot live by snapping turtle alone," Howells admitted, in response, that "the Press was very good snapping turtle" (4-5).
The paper was "suspended" December 1860, and later brought back by Clapp with the announcement, "This paper was stopped in 1860 for want of means. It is now started again, for the same reason" (5).[pages:4-5]
A notice of publication of "A Child's Reminiscence" in this paper appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Times on Dec. 24, 1859. Stovall also discusses Whitman's poems in relation to The Saturday Press.[pages:3 (n.), 4-5, 37(n), 132(n),226]
Praise is given then taken back by the paper "The Congregationalist."
The paper was a friendly media outlet for Whitman during the early days of Leaves of Grass.[pages:98]
Twain claims that "Clapp put it [the Jumping Frog story] in his Saturday Press, and it killed that paper with a suddenness that was beyond praise. At least the paper died with that issue, and none but envious people have ever tried to rob me the honor and credit of killing it. The 'Jumping Frog' was the first piece of writing of mine that spread itself through the newspapers and brought me into public notice. Consequently, the Saturday Press was a cocoon and I the worm in it; also, I was the gray-colored literary moth which its death set free. The similie has been used before" (450).[pages:450]
This brief article discusses those who think that the Saturday Press is the same type of newspaper as the Ledger and the submissions the paper receives from those who make this mistake.[pages:2]
Winter gives the precise date for the beginning of the "Saturday Press" as October 29, 1858; according to Winter, Clapp began the paper with Edward Howland. In the early days of the paper, Aldrich was hired to do book reviews and O'Brien was hired to do dramatic reviews; neither man stayed long - Aldrich about three months, and O'Brien only a few weeks. Winter indicates that Aldrich had other opportunities and that regular employment did not suit O'Brien's personality (66). Winter refutes Adlrich's biographer's (Ferris Greenslet's) claim that Aldrich had "[taken] the failure [of 'The Saturday Press'] with a light heart," arguing instead that during Aldrich's three months with the paper "he had not, at any time, any pecuniary investment in it" (295).
At the time of his employment, Winter states that "The Saturday Press," "all along, had led, and was leading, a precarious existance; and with that paper I remained associated until its suspension, in December, 1860" (57).
Winter continues, "The purpose of 'The Saturday Press' was to speak the truth, and to speak it in a way that would amuse its readers and would cast ridicule upon as many as possible of the humbugs then extant and prosperous in literature and art" (57).
Clapp's "'Saturday Press,' piquant, satirical, pugnacious, often fraught with quips and jibes relative to unworthy reputations of the hour, and, likewise, it must be admitted, sometimes relative to writers who merited more considerate treatment, eventually failed, but, during its brief existance, it was, in one way, a considerable power for good" (60).
Winter recalls that with public figures such as General George P. Moore, "actually accepted as the American Tom Moore," "The caustic 'Saturday Press' found ample opportunity for satire, and the opportunity was improved,--with beneficial results; for, in the long run, it is ever a public advantage that the bubble of a fictitious reputation should be punctured" (61).
"The Saturday Press" was originally printed on Spruce Street (137).
Winter remarks that Taylor, Stoddard, Stedman, and Boker were not among the group that gathered around Henry Clapp during the days of "The Saturday Press" and Pfaff's Cave; none of them led a Bohemian lifestyle, nor were they sympathetic to it (178).
Winter mentions that Stoddard occasionally wrote for "The Saturday Press," but often had difficulty obtaining payment, as did several contributors. Winter recounts a story that demonstrates the financial need of the paper: "...the resources of the paper were so slight that its continuance, from week to week, was a marvel. One day Clapp and I, having locked the doors of the 'Press' office, in order to prevent the probable access of creditors, were engaged in serious and rather melancholy conference as to the obtainment of money with which to pay the printer, when suddenly there came a loud, impatient knocking upon the outer door, and my senior, by a warning gesture, enjoined silence. The sound of a grumbling voice was then audible, and, after a while, the sound of footsteps retreating down the stairs. For several minutes Clapp did not speak but continued to smoke and listen, looking at me with a serious aspect. Then, removing the pipe from his lips, he softly murmered, ''Twas the voice of the Stoddard--I heard him complain!'" (293-294).
Winter notes that some contributors did not mind that "The Saturday Press" would be unable to pay them for their writing: "Some of its contributors were glad to furnish articles for nothing, being friendly toward the establishment of an absolutely independent critical paper, a thing practically unknown in those days. Among those friendly contributors were Henry Giles, Charles T. Congdon, Edward Howland (by whom the paper had been projected), Brownlee Brown, C.D. Shanley, and Ada Clare" (294-295).[pages:57,60,61,66,87,137,178,293-295]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015