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Danforth, Jennie

Essayist, Journalist

Little is known of Jennie or (Jenny) Danforth despite the fact that she is mentioned frequently as one of the women who followed Ada Clare to Pfaff’s. Justin Martin places Jenny as one of the “other women” who “became part of the Bohemian circle at Pfaff’s and that she may have had a romantic tie to Fitz-James O’Brien (67-8). Wolle also mentions that O’Brien and Danforth were involved in an affair, but the true nature of their relationship is unknown and is merely speculation (130). Martin describes a letter between O’Brien and Danforth: “During a brief separation, she sent him a letter in which she commanded: ‘Remember me while I am away. Come when I return.’ Given his well-known penchant for alcohols, she added, ‘Be good. And let the festive cup alone.’ Instead, she urged him, ‘Drink me silently’ (68). Junius Henri Brown identifies her as “a writer for the weekly journals” (157), and Rufus Rockwell Wilson claims that “Jenny Danforth was also a witty and beautiful woman, the estranged wife, it was said, of a naval officer of high rank, but whose name was not Danforth. A clever writer, she lived for a few years a precarious but not wholly unhappy life and then falling into misfortune and poverty, finally vanished without her old friends knowing precisely when or how it happened” (143). Mark Lause lists her as one of the women who circled Pfaff's, but which there is "precious little" known of their lives (56). Danforth, according to Lause, may have vanished "without anyone knowing what had become of her" (57). Indeed, the author of Henry Clapp’s New York Times obituary called Danforth "a wild, impulsive Western woman" and seemed to be rather unsure about her fate: “is dead if we mistake not” (7).