The bohemians of antebellum New York published regularly in the daily newspapers, literary weeklies, and monthly magazines that proliferated throughout the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War. Writers and artists at the beginnings of their careers published in periodicals as a way to build their reputations and attract the attention of book publishers. A number of the periodicals that began during this period, such as The New York Tribune and Harper's Monthly, became very successful and continued to be published well into the twentieth century. Many other periodicals, however, lasted only for a few years. Two such periodicals, The New York Saturday Press and Vanity Fair, began around the tables at Pfaff's bar. The Saturday Press ran from October 1858 until December 1860, and was briefly revived in August 1865 only to cease publication again in June 1866. Similarly, Vanity Fair began publishing in December 1859 and ended its run in July 1863. During that brief window, however, the two periodicals were a showcase for a variety of irreverent, playful, and socially savvy literary and artistic productions. Vanity Fair regularly featured illustrations and was primarly a humor magazine with a strong political bent; the Saturday Press was text-only and focused on literary and theatrical arts, as well as commentary on current events. When the Pfaff's bohemians no longer had Vanity Fair and the Saturday Press available to them as publication venues, many of them began contributing to The New York Leader, a weekly that ran from 1856 to 1871.
The Vault at Pfaff's provides scanned page images of the Saturday Press, Vanity Fair, and the Leader in a CONTENTdm viewer. Poems, illustrations, and articles from the Saturday Press and Vanity Fair have been indexed, with metadata and abstracts searchable on the site. Selections from the Leader will be indexed at a later date. In addition, many pieces by and about the Pfaff's bohemians that appeared in periodicals such as Harper's, Putnam's, The Knickerbocker, and Frank Leslie's Paper have been indexed for searching and, where available, links have been provided to external websites that house scanned page images or transcriptions.
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The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015