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). House also became the agent for all Dion Boucicault's plays in the United States (89).
Mentioned in Charles Pfaff’s obituary as one of the “Knights of the Round Table” of Bohemia, House was a friend of Henry Clapp and considered a regular at Pfaff’s (Miller 82). Browne writes, "House is a good fellow, handsome, well-bred, winning in manners; is still a bachelor; does little work and gets a good deal for it; and enjoys himself as a man of the World ought" (154). House was one of the distinguished guests which gathered at Ada Clare’s house on Sunday nights (Eytinge 21-22) as well as one of the “young men friends” of Whitman (Whitman 327-329). Whitman’s letters report that he received notification about the publication of his poems in the Tribune from House (47-48), and Stovall suggests that House may have helped Whitman to get published.
Despite that friends remember House as "'a good fellow, handsome, well-bred, winning in manners," Thomas Butler Gunn recalls a row which occurred at Pfaff’s between House and O’Brien (Lause 61). After House was known to have spread true, though unflattering, rumors about O’Brien regarding his taking credit for the works of other men, O’Brien slapped him across the face. Though a smaller man, House rushed at O’Brien, and the two engaged in a scuffle until Wilkon and Shepherd broke them up. Gunn writes, “Most of the Bohemians side with O’Brien in the matter. They all live in such glass-houses that any throwing of stones becomes an impertinence, to be generally resented. I dare say House’s loose talk has made him privately objectionable” (13.80-2).
House traveled to Paris around 1860, meeting Georges Clemenceau there (Baldensperger 18), but returned during the Civil War to became the Tribune’s war correspondent. Starr describes the many horrific and life-threatening situations which House encountered during the war, including a time in which House had "one ball whiz by his ear, got frightened, falloped 22 miles to Washington, and there reported 500 killed, and that the press had fled the field" (44, quoting Hill Stedman). After Bull Run, House wrote in the Tribune: "All was lost to the American army, even its honor...The agony of this overwhelming disgrace can never be expressed in words" (50).
After the war, he turned to theatrical management for about three years. In 1868 he returned to the staff of the Tribune and he joined the New York Times staff two years later. In 1869, Browne wrote, “He has quitted journalism, at least for the time, and made a good deal of money, it is said, by sharing the authorship of some, and being the agent in this country of Boucicault's plays" (154).
While in New York, House visited Pfaff’s and became acquainted with Richard Hildreth, author of Japan As It Was and Is (1885). Hildreth inspired House’s love of Japanese culture and encouraged him to seek employment as an English professor at a university in Tokyo. House studied Japanese theater and also served as "an officer in the Educational Department of that Government” at the time of Clapp’s death in 1875 (“Obituary: Henry Clapp” 7). While there, he wrote a novel, Yone Santo, a Child of Japan, which satirizes missionaries and was serialized in the Atlantic Monthly in 1888 prior to its publication. In addition to teaching, House accompanied his friend Shigenobu Okuma, an imperial councilor, on a punitive expedition to Formosa. House wrote about this venture in dispatches to the Herald and became Japan’s first official foreign publicist (Wildes). One newspaper column writes that House spent “fifteen or twenty years as American Consul at some port in Japan” before returning to America (“General gossip” 476-80).
Upon his return to America in 1880, House discovered that only a “few besides his old-time comrades remembered him" (Current Literature 479). House relocated to London in 1881 living with Charles Reade, assisting actor Edwin Booth (one of William Winter’s favorite thespians) with his British tour, and aiding in the management of Saint James’s Theater in London. After suffering a stroke, House returned to Japan and remained there for the rest of his life. He received honors from the Japanese government and worked to popularize Western music. He facilitated the formation of what became the Imperial Conservatory of Music.
Clemenceau met House in Paris around 1860. When he went to visit House at the Tribune he was initially told that no such person worked there; a clerk could not understand the Frenchman's accent and he was forced to write down the name in order to be understood (18).[pages:18]
House is mentioned as a being "for years connected to the Tribune," a friend of Clapp, and a contributor to the Saturday Press (154).
At the time of Browne's writing "He has quitted journalism, at least for the time, and made a good deal of money, it is said, by sharing the authorship of some, and being the agent in this country of Boucicault's plays" (154).
By Browne's description: "House is a good fellow, handsome, well-bred, winning in manners; is still a bachelor; does little work and gets a good deal for it; and enjoys himself as a man of the World ought" (154).[pages:154]
C.B.S. notes that De Walden and House have prepared a special piece for De Walden's upcoming benefit (329).[pages:329]
The Editorial Comments lists Mr. E.H. House as one of the passengers sailing for Liverpool from Boston today (4).[pages:4]
Refers to House as part of the Bohemian "group of men and women, all of whom had distinguished themselves in various avenues, — in literature, art, music, drama, war, philanthropy" who met at Ada Clare's house on West 42nd Street in New York on Sunday evenings (21-22).
Eytinge includes an anecdote about House's visit to the Boston Theatre during a production of "The Lady of the Lake" when he is drafted into writing lines to add to the play in order to move Roderick's body offstage. At first House refuses "pleading utter lack of preparation, and unfavourable conditions for wooing the Muse" (51). Yet he is "besought and bullied and urged, and finally was hustled into a little room on the stage, half dressing-room, half office, where, after having been provided with paper and pencil, the door was locked upon him . . . his release depended upon his production of the required lines" (51-2). Eytinge reports that "at last he complied with the rigorous demands of his captors" and he produced the following lines for the play: "Now hard by Coilantogle Ford / The chieftain's corse lies on the sward;/ It is not meet so great a foe / Untended by his clan should go. / Summon his henchmen tried and true, / To bear away brave Roderick Dhu" (52).[pages:22,51-52]
Figaro credits House with writing the final verse of "The Wearing of the Green" from Arrah-na-Pogue. Figaro credits Boucicault for the first two verses (25).[pages:25]
Mentioned as one of the Bohemians at Pfaff's "gossiped" about by Rufus B. Wilson in a "reminiscent letter to the Galveston News." The blurb gives "updates" on the whereabouts of many of the former Bohemians.
"Ned House spent fifteen or twenty years as American Consul at some port in Japan. When he came back, not long ago, he found that few besides his old-time comrades remembered him."[pages:479]
Is mentioned as reaching Washington ahead of Aldrich when Aldrich was separated from their traveling party in the woods in Virginia. The index also mentions that House was the war correspondent for the Tribune (page 56 cannot be viewed on Google books).[pages:56,57]
The obituary identifies him as one of the "Knights of the Round Table" of the "lions of Bohemia."[pages:2]
House 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).
"In many respects, Edward Howard House personified the bohemian ideal as a practicing musician, journalist, and theatrical agent" (61).
Friends remember House as "'a good fellow, handsome, well-bred, winning in manners'" (61).
House was the agent for all Dion Boucicault's plays in the United States (89).
House enjoyed writing on Asian affairs, and though he was a drama critic for the Tribune, he was given the assignment to cover the arrival of the first Japanese embassy in Washington. This event effected him profoundly, and further deepened his love for Asian culture (105).
House was against slavery, and wanted to introduce an anti-slavery dialogue in the Saturday Press, to which Henry Clapp was opposed (109).[pages:61, 89, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110, 64, 83, 104, 87]
The article mentions that he is in Japan, working as a Professor of English Literature.[pages:192]
A regular at Pfaff's. House worked as the dramatic editor and critic for the New York Tribune (82).
House was present during a confrontation between Edwin Forrest and dramatic critic Andrew C. Wheeler (149).[pages:16, 82, 149]
The column reports that E.H. House will be sailing for Liverpool in June 2 on the same ship as Artemus Ward (4).[pages:4]
He is described as a regular at Pfaff's. At the time of Clapp's death, House is said to be in Japan, "an officer in the Educational Department of that Government."[pages:7]
House is mentioned as one of the "happy, careless children of Bohemia" who attended the "carnivals in Pfaff's cellar" (5).[pages:5]
A regular in the bohemian circle at Pfaff's.[pages:142]
Starr writes that in the days prior to the Civil War, like many others in New York, the "Pfaffians were exposed increasingly to the clamour of a world beyond their ken. Something like a revolution was afoot in the realm of journalism, a revolution that would lift these light-hearted pranksters from their subterranean retreat ad whirl them in its vortex. Soon O'Brien, Aldrich, Thomson, Williams, and Stedman, together with others in Clapp's happy coterie--Charles G. Halpine (who stammered to fame at Pfaff's, speaking inadvertantly of 'H-H-Harriet Beseecher Bestowe'), William Conant Church, William Swinton, E.H. House, Charles Henry Webb, a couple of artists, Frank H. Bellew and Thomas Nast: in all more than half of the identifiable clientele at the Cave--would take the field along with hundreds of other youths of like mind to participate in the greatest undertaking in the history of journalism" (9).
House, of the Tribune is mentioned as a member of a December dinner party led by Sam Wilkeson (also of the Tribune) who had a valuable reporting connection to the War Department through Cameron, who was present at the dinner. John W. Forney of the Philadelphia Press was also present (73).
General McDowell suggested that the reporters covering the war "had best stay out of the way by keeping together," prompting the correspondents to travel in a large group. Starr describes the group that rode through Virginia as "such a calvalcade as had never before been seen." House, "a dramatic critic and fixture af Pfaff's," with Adam S. Hall and William A. Croffut "ready to give their all for the Tribune (43). During a "preliminary skirmish" House was assited by Hill Stedman wrote to his wife that House had "one ball whiz by his ear, got frightened, falloped 22 miles to Washington, and there reported 500 killed, and that the press had fled the field." House was also with Stedman and Villard when Villard decided to climb a tree for some cherries "when a terrific roar burst out from the woods seemingly within a few steps of us" and he fell from the tree with a mouthful of cherries. Villard later wrote, "I can truly say the music of the bullet, ball and grapeshot never had much terror for me thereafter" (44).
Starr writes that during Bull Run, there is "ample ground for the observation that the men who write 'history on the run,' as some dramatists styled reporters, sometimes make it." Starr writes that House was "roused at one in the morning to join Tyler's advance in the moonlight" and he, Stedman, and others witnessed the "opening cannonade at sunrise" (45). Of the events of the late afternoon, Starr writes: "What happened next military historians still debate, but there is no question what happened to the newspapermen. They were engulfed in a wild panic among teamsters, spectators, and horses naer th Stone Bridge. From there, confusion billowed like smoke from the mouth of a cannon. 'A perfect frenzy was upon almost every man,' House wrote. 'Some cried piteously to be lifted behind those who rode horses, and others sought to clamber onto wagons, the occupants resisting them with bayonets...Drivers of heavy wagons dashed down the steep road, reckless of the lives they endangered all the way...Every impediment to flight was cast aside. Rifles, bayonets, pistols, haversacks, cartridge boxes, canteens, blankets, belts and overcoats lined the road.'" Russell attempted to stop the drivers from being reckless, while Stedman was seen attempting to rally the Massachusetts Fifth, waving their standard "in vain." The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter lost his horse and took off bareback on a Conferderate horse while Villard atempted to calm the men (46-47). House was among a group that arrived at Centerville to see if McDowell "would be able to check the retreat" and learned that McDowell had given up hope of making a stand and ordered a general retreat (47-48). When the reporters present were allowed to write their stories, Starr reports that "some accounts read like transcriptions of nightmares" while "reporters caught in the panic enormously exaggerated its significance." House wrote in the Tribune: "All was lost to the American army, even its honor...The agony of this overwhemling disgrace can never be expressed in words" (50).[pages:9,43-48,50,73]
It is possible that House acted as an intermediary in order to get Whitman published in the Tribune.[pages:6,7]
"It is a striking fact that the number of young men prominently connected with the New York press as writers is greater now than at any former period...the chief editorial work in these journals is done by men between the years of twenty-five and forty" (4).
"Then, too, in the same office, are Clarence Cook, waging war against all bad pictures and some good; Edwin H. House and William Winter, dramatic critics; Nathan Urner and Kane O'Donnel, comparatively new arrivals in Gotham..." (4).[pages:4]
Whitman has been told by Mr. House that James Russell Lowell with publish his "Bardic Symbols."[pages:47,48]
Whitman mentions that Mr. House informed him about the poem's upcoming publication.[pages:47]
Whitman mentions that during his stay in Brooklyn, he has met with Edward House.[pages:328]
Whitman mentions running into Edward House and some other of his "young men friends."[pages:328]
Among his works for the Japanese government, House worked to secure the return of the "Simonoeski Indemnity" From the US government, which was effected in 1882.[pages:272]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015