The troublesome nephew of a prominent Massachusetts Congressman and Civil War general, Benjamin Butler, George H. Butler was a theater critic and writer. During the Civil War, Butler served as lieutenant in the Union army (New York Times, May 12, 1886, 2). After the war, he returned to New York, where he was an editor for the Arcadian (Record of the Year, vol. 2, 57). Later, he served as a writer and dramatic critic for the publication, Spirit of the Times (New York Times, May 12, 1886, 2).
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).
Charles Constant Delmonico is identified as one of the “friends of Henry Clapp in the city of New York,” but not necessarily as a Pfaffian (“Current Memoranda” 714). His family’s restaurant Delmonico’s was referred to in the Saturday Press piece “Sixes and Sevens.”
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Stephen Ryder Fiske achieved journalistic success at a young age. He was a paid contributor to several newspapers by the time he was twelve and, two years later, became the editor of a small newspaper. He attended Rutgers College until 1860, when he was asked to leave after he was found to be responsible for writing book chapters that satirized the college professors, according to D. W. Miller.
Known in the New York journals as "the Literary Policeman," George S. McWatters was a New York City police officer who occasionally visited Pfaff's and there earned the respect of the bar's bohemian patrons (McWatters xix). A.L. Rawson writes, "McWatters was a genial and kind-hearted policeman, and fond of children. When Ada [Clare]'s boy came he named him 'the Prince,' and the title was at once accepted by the coterie. . . . The coterie [at Pfaff's] helped to get him appointed on the 'force,' where he served until retired for long and faithful service" (107).
The unofficial biographer of the Pfaff’s crowd, William Winter was born in coastal Massachusetts, and his mother died when he was young. Winter attended school in Boston; he also went to Harvard Law School but decided not to practice ("William Winter, 19). By 1854 he had already published a collection of verse and worked as a reviewer for the Boston Transcript; he befriended Pfaffian Thomas Bailey Aldrich after reviewing a volume of his poetry. He relocated to New York in 1856 "because he believed [the city] offered the best field for writers" (Levin 153).