At his death, Robert Barry Coffin ("Barry Gray") was remembered as a "venerable author and Bohemian" ("Old 'Barry Gray' Dead" 5). He was born in 1826 and was a descendent of the Coffin family and "old Admiral Coffin" of Cape Cod.
Irishman John Savage showed early artistic promise, winning the silver medal of the Royal Dublin Society at art school in 1847. While at school he became involved with the “Young Ireland” movement, which ultimately led to Savage’s early forays into journalism. Savage supported insurrection in actions as well as words and had to flee to the United States as a result, arriving in New York City on November 7, 1848. Shortly after his arrival he met Horace Greeley who hired him as a proofreader for the New York Tribune.