Born in Templeton, Massachusetts Stephen Pearl Andrews was the youngest of eight born to renowned Baptist clergyman and revivalist, Elisha Andrews. Often referred to as "Pearl" by his family and friends, "Andrews was a passionate publicist for nearly every cause of the mid-nineteenth-century reform era--abolition, phonology, universal language, Fourierism, individualist anarchism, phrenology, spiritualism, women's rights, free love, hydrotherapy, communism, temperance, and Swedenborgianism--not to mention his own original contributions to the ferment, Pantarchy and Universology" (P.
Though many details about his early life are in dispute, scholars agree that Arnold was born in New York City and that his father may have been the Reverend George B. Arnold. The family relocated to Illinois and then to Monmouth County, New Jersey where Arnold enjoyed a country upbringing. Though he apprenticed himself to a portrait painter in New York in 1852, Arnold soon determined that literature would be his true calling.
Very little is known about Anna Ballard. Mark Lause lists Ballard along with a group of Pfaffian women who “precious little is known” about (56). Lause mentions Ballard was one of the visitors to Ada Clare's house and that she was generally known for her groundbreaking interview with Madame Helena Petrovich Blavestky. O’Brien states that the Sun had many women reporters and lists Anna Ballard as "another Sun woman" who "wrote, among other things, the news stories that bobbed up in surrogates' court" (286).
Joel Benton was raised in the small town of Amenia, New York. He was the cousin of Myron Benton. He was educated at Amenia Seminary, where he stayed until 1851. He entered the publishing world at the age of nineteen when he was hired as managing editor of the newly created Amenia Times (The Sun, Sept. 16, 1911, 2). He also contributed pieces to the newspaper, the Mercury (Schmidgall 80-1). Benton was an avid fan of Horace Greeley; he returned to journalism in 1872 in order to support Greeley during his presidential campaign.
Little is known of Myron Benton’s early life. Myron was the cousin of Joel Benton and brother to Charles Benton. He was born and died in Troutbeck, NY. Charles notes in his introduction that Myron married and that his wife, Marianna Adams, whom he married in 1871, died in 1896, leaving Myron to wither in strength and resolve the following years until his death (Benton VI; Moulton 277). According to his obituary in the New York Times (written by Joel), he was an active poet and correspondent with Thoreau, Emerson, and Dial founder and editor, Moncure Conway (J.
Albert Brisbane was born into a moderately wealthy landowning family in Batavia, New York. He received most of his education from his mother until, at the age of fifteen, he was sent to a boarding school in Long Island, New York.
Born in Massachusetts to a family of merchants and seamen, Clapp traveled to Paris to translate the socialist writings of Fourier. In Paris, Clapp abandoned his ardent sympathy for the temperance movement and embraced the leisurely café life of the city. Upon returning to New York in 1850, he sought to recreate this atmosphere, spending hours at Charlie Pfaff's beer cellar, drawing a crowd of journalists, painters, actors, and poets to cultivate an American Bohemia in which participants admired and discussed the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Washington Irving (Martin 15-7).
Ada Clare (whose given name was Jane McIlheny) was born in South Carolina. As Thomas Gunn, a contemporary of Clare, describes she "made an attempt – several attempts – to become a tragic actress, but despite any amount of puffery on the part of fellows who knew her (or wanted to know her in a scriptural sense) failed. She had money and aspired for 'fame' only" (Gunn vol. 11, 160). She received a small inheritance upon her parents' deaths, which she used to travel to Paris.
Born the son of a Polish count, de Gurowski’s strong political opinions led to his expulsion from the Gymnasia of Warsaw and Kalisz, and later led to his imprisonment. His estates were confiscated because of his objections to Russian influence in the region. At the University of Berlin he studied philosophy under Hegel and later graduated from the University of Heidelberg in 1823. In Paris he studied with Charles Fourier, working on the notion of Pan-slavism which he developed in his book on the subject La Verite sur la Russie (1835).
Very little is know about Anne Deland’s early life. We do know that she was originally from Georgia and eventually made her way to New York to begin her career on stage (Lause 57). We also know that in 1857 she starred as Desdemona during a production of Othello in Newark and that Laura Kenne recruited Deland into New York City’s dramatic scene (57). Supporting this migration, Odell speculates that Laura Keene's company's performance of House and Home was the first appearance of Anne Deland (218).
Born in Cayuga, New York in 1820, Ossian Euclid Dodge was devoted to both his parents, especially his mother to whom he made a vow never to drink alcohol, a promise he kept his whole life. His father had earned a national reputation as a mathematician having brokered the British government’s disputed claims in Canada. At the age of five, Dodge displayed musical proclivities much to the dismay of both his parents. He went on to become a singer of “moral comic songs which he composed and wrote himself” (Wilson & Fiske 194).
Born the son of an architect in 1812, Charles L. Elliott’s artistic talent was not allowed to blossom until he reached adulthood. His father, "did not encourage the boy’s artistic ambitions and placed him as a clerk in a store" (J. Holt). In 1829, Elliott's father finally relented and allowed Charles to travel to New York City, where he would study to become a painter. In New York, he worked under the guidance of John Trumbull for a brief time before working for six months in the studio of John Quidor.
While William Henry Fry’s presence at Pfaff’s remains unconfirmed, he is listed among the many associates of Ada Clare, the “Queen of Bohemia” (Rawson). A native of Philadelphia, Fry was born into a prominent native American family to parents William and Anne (nee Fleeson) Fry. His father was the publisher of the National Gazette, and his mother was the granddaughter of Judge Plunkett Fleeson. Having displayed musical talent at an early age, Fry taught himself to play the piano after listening to his older brother's piano lessons.
Charles Desmarais Gardette was born in Philadelphia in 1830 to an aristocratic family and received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1851 (Rawson). Soon moving from medicine to journalism, he published in the Evening Journal and Record of Philadelphia, as well as the Evening Post of New York. His work includes fiction, poetry, and essays. Like some of his compatriots at Pfaff’s, including Aldrich, Nast, Shanly, and Arnold, Gardette tried his hand at writing for children, publishing the didactic Johnnie Dodge, or, The Freaks and Fortunes of an Idle Boy in 1868.
Getty Gay, born Gertrude Louise Vultee, was an actress as well as a major contributor to the Saturday Press (Gunn 11.162, 14.16-7). Although not much is known about her artistic career, the obituary of Henry Clapp calls Gay "a talented bit of womanhood" (7). A. L. Rawson connects Gay to the scene at Pfaff’s through Ada Clare and Charles Gayler: “Ada [Clare] was never without a woman companion, and one of them was Getty Gay, who was pretty, bright and witty. Her lithe and petite figure and sweetly sad face were ever welcome among the Pfaffians” (103).
Born to a family of tradesmen in New York City, Charles Gayler began his career as a teacher before he moved to Ohio and worked as a journalist and editor. While there, he developed an interest in politics that led him to write songs and speeches for Whig Presidential candidate Henry Clay in the 1844 election. In 1846 he married Grace Christian, with whom he had eight children. While one source suggests that his wife was actress and fellow Pfaffian Getty Gay (Rawson 103), Thomas Butler Gunn indicates that Gay was Gayler’s mistress (10.34).
The daughter of respected portraitist and miniaturist George Freeman, Mary Freeman Goldbeck was a poet and a talented painter in her own right, referred to as "a genius in water-color miniatures" (Rawson 103). As Anna Mary Freeman and Mary Freeman Goldbeck, she published poems in The Galaxy, Knickerbocker, Living Age and the Saturday Press.
Charles Graham Halpine was born in Oldcastle, co. Meath, Ireland to Reverend Nicholas John Halpin and Anne Grehan. Although originally educated for the medical and law professions at Trinity College in Dublin, the early death of his father caused Halpine to take up journalism. Immigrating to the United States in 1851 (Boarse), he initially supported himself by working in advertising and later as the private secretary to P. T. Barnum (Monoghan). He would later become a well-known poet and journalist most recognized under the name Miles O’Reilly.
Edward Howard House, also known as “Ned,” was born near Boston and became a musical prodigy under his pianist mother's tutelage. Her early death turned him to his father's trade, that of a bank-note engraver. He gained standing in the world of Boston literati, and eventually moved to New York to work as the drama critic for the Tribune (61). As a contributor to the Saturday Press, House wanted to create a dialogue supporting his anti-slavery beliefs, but Editor Henry Clapp opposed it (Lause 109).
Born into an anti-slavery family of eight children, Howells aided his family by setting type in his journalist father's printing office. Though he never finished high school, Howells would later receive honorary degrees from six universities as well as the offer of Ivy League professorships. Howells published frequently in the Saturday Press (Belasco 252) and was one of the “foremost writers of fiction” in novel form. Percy Holmes Boynton puts him in the company of such writers as Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Walt Whitman in being “scrupulously careful writers” (49).