While not much is known about the early life of Edward Mallen, he is remembered as an artist and frequenter of Pfaff's. William Winter identifies "Edward F. Mullen" as one of the artists who frequented Pfaff’s Cave along with Launt Thompson, George Boughton, and Sol Eytinge, Jr. (Old Friends 66, 88). Walt Whitman, a close friend of his, is also quoted as saying that "Mullin" was "among the leaders" at Pfaff’s (Bohan 134; T. Donaldson 208-209). Fellow artist and Pfaff’s regular Elihu Vedder remembers that Mullin’s landlady characterized him as a "holy terror," a man who "was anything but neat, except in the matter of whiskey: he always took that neat" (Confessions 218). Vedder describes Mullin as being "ever on the verge of a fight, [but] I never remember to have seen him in one" like his pugilistic friend Fitz James O’Brien (219).
Mullen produced illustrations of “the very best grade of comic art” for the pages of Vanity Fair (Seitz 79). In addition, he contributed illustrations to the Saturday Press, the weekly journal published by the Pfaffs (Bohan 135). In fact, according to Bohan, he devised a new banner for the front page of the journal, which aligned more with the content published within it and promoted Bohemians' support for the arts (Bohan 148). According to Thomas Gunn, Mallen shared a desire with other Pfaffians including Fitz-James O'Brien to become an officer during the Civil War (Gunn, vol. 16, 224). Mallen did in fact become part of O'Brien's regiment, as Gunn recounted in his diaries (Gunn, vol. 18, 118). Mallen's connection to his Pfaff’s fellows continued to be strong. William Winter mentions that Mullen attended Fitz-James O’Brien’s funeral along with Frank Wood and Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Winter refers to Mullen as “the quaint, original artist of Vanity Fair” and states that they all rode in the coach together (“Sketch of O’Brien” xxvii).
By 1865, Mallen had returned to New York after contributing to the war effort. During this time, he contributed illustrations to Charles Farrar Browne's work, Artemus Ward: His Travels, which was a tribute to the Vanity Fair editor. In the later part of his career, Mallen's work appeared in a collection of artists' work called Beyond the Mississippi (1869). Following the Chicago fire in 1871, Mullen drew illustrations for the book Mrs. Leary's Cow: A Legend of Chicago (1872) (http://idesweb.bc.edu/becker/artists/mullen). In addition to his interest in comic art and engraving, Mullen possessed a talent for oil painting ("Art Notes" 7). His work is remembered alongside the productions of Eytinge, Launt Thompson, George H. Boughton, Wilson Fisk, and Frank Bellew. While an exact date of Mallen's death is unknown, Gay Wilson Allen wrote about a toast given by Whitman during his 1881 visit with Pfaff, during which he toasted a departed Pfaffian name "Mullin," which could likely have been Edward Mallen, his close friend from Pfaff's (Allen 494).
Mallen, possibly referred to here as "Mullin" may be one of the departed Pfaffians Whitman writes about toasting with Pfaff during his 1881 visit (494).
Source: Whitman - CW 5:21[pages:494]
The article states that Mallen, already an accomplished draughtsman, is embarking on oil painting.[pages:7]
Figaro writes that "Mullen" has "furnished" the Press with a new "top-piece" (5).[pages:5]
Gunn documents a group trying and failing to witness a fight: "To Haney's office. His attempt, in conjunction with Mort and Clif Thomson, O'Brien, Thad Glover and Mullen, the little 'Vanity Fair' artist, to witness the fight that was prevented by the combatants missing each other, on one being arrested, proved a miserable business" (233).[pages:233]
Gunn reveals that Cahill is going to brothels with Wood, Mullen, and the like, "Cahill's clothes discovered in the bathroom, he in bed. Whether, on coming home at 5. A.M., he disrobed himself with some drunken idea of bathing, I don't know. He has been drinking and going to brothels with young Fool Wood, Mullen and the like. This miserable "Vanity Fair" "crowd" show him the cold shoulder and insult him when he is hard up, now he has some command of money, they willingly drink and whore with him" (10).
Gunn journals about Cahill's money squandering. Mullen is present at Cahill's supper, "Our theory about Cahill's having squandered money which he couldn't replace proves correct. He gave a supper to most of the Vanity Fairians, including George Arnold, Mullen, Winter F. Wood, and others, not O'Brien, and certain of the colored prostitutes resident at the house in Greene Street which he and Bob Gun used to frequent, at a Broadway saloon, I believe the Jones house, where the whole delightful company got drunk, Cahill paying expenses" (34).
Gunn indicates that Mullen's rambling lead to an altercation between O'Brien and House, "These particulars being dropped into Mullen's ear, of course found vent at his mouth; when drunk he confided them to O'Brien, not naming his informant. So O'Brien, conscious, it may be, that House is a thinner and sparer man than himself, chivalrously determined on punishing his detractor. He told Shepherd that he was going to be very quiet, didn't want a row &c but yet chose Pfaff's as the scene for this altercation, when the whole crowd, Clapp, Wilkins, George Arnold – in short all the Bohemian gang – were present. He had just got a $10 check in part payment for the "Tycoon" burlesque at Laura Keene's written or adopted by him in conjunction with Rosenberg. Of course his self esteem was swollen by the possession of money and he felt a truly Irish desire to distinguish himself before the crowd. So approaching House who sat swinging his legs on a side-table, in the cellar, where the Bohemians assemble, he put a few questions to him and suddenly slapped his face. House made a rush at him, O'Brien retreating and squaring off, and forced him against the wall, seizing him by his collar or throat. There was a confused struggle, ended by House's breaking away, running to the table and endeavoring to seize a tumbler or decanter, for the purpose of throwing it at O'Brien, which intention was frustrated by Wilkins and Shepherd, who held him from his adversary. After that there was clamor and cackle. House asserted the truth of his statements, called O'Brien "a muscular beast" more than once, told him he would not have dared to attack a man physically his equal and sat down calling for drinks, inviting the company to partake. They did not do this, so he drank his lager himself. O'Brien said but little in reply, keeping aloof with Shepherd and Winter or Mullen, and presently departing with them. A whimsical mistake ended the affair; House having looked about for his hat, O'Brien mistaking a table-napkin for his adversary's handkerchief, handed it to him, with a dignified Celtic bow. House, drawing himself up, replied, "I cannot accept anything from that person! And Pfaff receiving the napkin, walked off with it! O'Brien subsequently sent Mullen to House, offering him the "satisfaction of a gentleman" but House, not recognizing "the code," the business is supposed to have terminated" (81-82).
Gunn documents Mullen being present the night of the row, "Walt Whitman, Winter, Mullen, a friend of Wilkins and others were present at Pfaffs on the night of the row, besides the persons I have mentioned" (85).
Gunn sees Mullen in the cellar with Arnold and Whitman, "Arnold was there, in the "Bohemian" cellar, with Walt Whitman and Mullen, whom I saw for the first time – a coarse-looking young fellow, with his coat off, in deference to the sultriness of the evening. I left soon and went to 745" (87).
Gunn journals about his short stop in Sheperd's room, "In Shepherd's room for five minutes after supper, finding foolish young Wood there, to whom and to Shepherd, enter O'Brien with a big patch over his eye, carrying a bottle of brandy, and Mullen. O'B" (215).[pages:10, 34, 81-82,85,87, 215]
Mullen is among several Gunn saw at Pfaff's, "Turned into Pfaff's, thinking I might find Shepherd. Only Mullen, F. Wood, Launt Thompson the sculptor, Sears and one Shanley present, the last an Irishman, not unlike O'Brien. I sat half- an-hour drinking with them; the talk was dreary enough, Phallic, newspaperish and the like" (30-31).[pages:31-32]
Gunn writes of seeing Mullen at Frank Wood's: "Evening at Frank Wood's, 40th street. Colt, Mullen and Shanley there. Whiskey, smoke, some sparring and talk, but altogether a slow evening" (187).[pages:187]
Gunn mentions meeting Mullen at Haney's, "To "Nick-nax" office, saw Larason; at Haney's met Mullen, and anon saw Bobbett in the street, where a fire had recently occurred, demolishing one of the houses" (38).
Gunn indicates that Mullen was present when Cahill went to Pfaff's, "Descended together, joined Cahill and the man and walked to the Smithsonian with them, when I learnt that on leaving me, on Saturday night, he went down to Pfaff's, where were George Arnold, O'Brien, Mullen, the brother of Clapp and others" (49).
Mullen is present in the cellar. Gunn journals that Mullen and Banks were arguing, "In the cellar I found George Arnold (with his hair cut pugilistically short as a preventative of baldness) Sears, Banks, Mullen and others. Banks talked of volunteering (about the best thing he can do) and Sears goes on Wednesday – he invited me to join his corps. Mullen and Banks got to wrangling; verbosity on one side, demi-brutality on t'other. Arnold being appealed to, to still the squabble reminded Banks (who, of course talked on) of an imaginary new rule in operation there; "that no man should make a d____d fool of himself," which I demurred at, as calculated to convert Pfaff's into a howling desert" (118).
Gunn sees Mullen in the cellar, "Looked into Pfaff's on returning. The two Arnolds, Sears, Tracy, Mullen and others in the cellar. With his hair cropped like a convict, George Arnold looks like something between Jack Sheppard and a bad portrait of the first Napoleon" (129-130).
Gunn annotates and labels a newspaper engraving (158).
Gunn says Mullen and others are anxious to be officers, "Clarence has been at some meeting, in common with O'Brien, Sears, Mullen and others of that kidney, anent going to the Wars – all professing to be anxious to do it – as officers. O'Brien (who was so drunk during a parade at Washington, as to oblige his commanding officer to order a man to conduct him to his tent [Burger (our ex-boarder) told Cahill this.]) expects a captaincy" (224).
Gunn journals Shepherd's discussion, saying that Mullen and others had a big drink at the Highlands, "Return by 5. Shepherd up in the evening. He told how Shanley, Mullen and F. Wood, and I think others, and been down to the Highlands to visit George Arnold, all of them having a "big drink" together" (246).[pages:38, 49, 118, 129-130,158(ill.), 224, 246]
Mullen and his connection with Vanity Fair is mentioned in a newspaper clipping, "[newspaper clipping] –Among the litterateurs and artists interested with Col. J. Augustus Page in the formation of a regiment are Mr. Fitz James O'Brien, and Messrs. Frank Wood and Edward F. Mullen, the latter well known from their connection with Vanity Fair. Thomas Bailey Aldrich, the poet, is also anxious to follow to the field some warlike lord. [Gunn's handwriting] All bosh. They didn't go" (25).[pages:25]
Gunn and his group joined Mullen at the counter of Crook and Duff's, "To F. Leslie's, met F. Bellew there; together to Crook and Duff's, where we found Mullen, on a stool at the counter, taking a solitary oyster stew. He joined us, talked a curious blending of b'hoy-filibuster and artist, called Bellew 'Frank,' and assumed an amusing familiarity. Bellew gave him a sketch and notion to carry out for 'Vanity Fair.' Mullen was a lieutenant(!) in the regiment to which O'Brien belonged; has loafed in uniform all the summer, has now thrown off both it and his volunteering. He is 'no abolitionist,' he says. We walked up Broadway together" (118).
Gunn annotates a newspaper sketch, "'Artemus Ward' by Mullen" (150).
Mullen informs Gunn that Howland went to Europe" "Howland went off to Europe again on the day intended, as I learnt from Mullen, who made his acquaintance at Pfaff's. Among the things mentioned by Howland to me, during his call in company with Yewell, was that Stone had gone into the army" (169).[pages:118, 150(ill.), 169]
Gunn writes that he walked uptown with Mullen, "Walked part of the way up-town with Mullen. Found Edge in Cahill's room. He dined with us, jawed with Jewitt and presently came up into my room where he stayed till 10, in company with Boweryem" (13).[pages:13]
Gunn details Mullen's character: "Mullen. A coarse-looking fellow with appropriate manners. An ex-filibuster under Walker; a blackguard with some artistic abilities. Irish" (19).
Mullen is referred to when Gunn describes a couple from the boarding house: "One of the most odious couples I have ever known, even in boarding-house life. The fellow's aspect is of the 'fancy-man' order, he dresses showily and is prone to talk in a strident, bullying tone of his 'being a gentleman'. It is understood that his wife has money, but that she won't trust it out of her own hands or set him up in business. He is called 'Doctor' and addresses others without any prefix to their names, loudly; as 'Mullen', 'Cahill'; has conversation generally consisting of abuse of abolitionists, 'Greeley', the Tribune, Beecher and the like, uttered in the most offensive manner"(19-20).
Gunn journals about Mullen: "Up town; damp; left M. S. for Gilmore. Dozing. Cahill and Shepherd odiously drunk at the dinner table, and the coarse ruffian, Mullen talking at me, for which I overhauled him, subsequent to their departure, and found that the brute had taken offence at my not returning a nod of his, two weeks since! I was ignorant of the omission and supposed he had chosen to champion the other blackguards; who came home during the small hours, this day, and in their bestial inebriety converted the staircase into a privy" (31).
Gunn documents that Mullen was in his room: "Stayed with Haney till near 11; had ale at Ayliffe's and Haney came home with me, having occasion to see Mullen about a drawing (which wasn't begun). Mullen in my room with us afterwards yarning about his filibuster experience with Walker in Nicaragua, and the execution of two deserter's there" (69).
Mullen is documented as being present at the party in the basement: "Got back to Bleecker Street by 11, finding a select party, Mrs. Boley, Jewitt, Cahill, Shepherd, Mullen and Richardson in the basement, drinking whiskey and finishing the dinner's turkeys" (74).
Gunn says Shepherd lied about drinking with Mullen: "Shepherd has been drinking with Mullen for the last three days, and now lies in the room of the latter in a state of utter nervous prostration, while Watson, without fire and light (for the stove hasn't been put up and Cahill neglects to buy kerosene, or has squandered his last week's salary) wanders about of evenings, like a small, imprisoned Banshee" (75).
Gunn claims Mullen and Cahill dislike each other: "Boweryem has Shepherd as room-mate. Cahill and Mullen hate each other – cause Miss Delany: Bowery- em proposes to 'divery their frenzy' by himself paying attention to the lady, 'to which end a neat copy of verses will, he thinks, be desirable'" (193).
Gunn describes a letter from Boweryem: "Finally, about 2 o'clock, after fidgeting round the room to our intense annoyance and disgust, he left to try the effect of his blandishments on Cahill and Mullen. Cahill would none of him. Then trying Mullen he fared no better, but exasperated that gentleman to a pitch of excitement furiously grotesque. Rising from bed Mullen came to our room for a light, calling down the malediction of Heaven on his own respectable liver and lights. Then he set out, in his shirt-tail, to hunt Edge through the house. He had gone to bed drunk, so you may imagine his amiable mood. Descending through the various floors with a torch of twisted newspaper, he breathed fire and slaughter: I doubted whether Edge had enough blood in his emaciated anatomy to satisfy the avenger on his track. Coming back, Mullen exhaled blasphemy and wrath; he swore in such a manner as to assure me that the army of Walker in Nicaragua must have been as proficient in that military accomplishment as eke that of Flanders. Fascinated, as a bird by a snake, Edge discovered himself, and Mullen addressed him as follows: 'Now lookee here, Mister Edge! This is played out, you know! And I'm damned if I'll have it! By –– ! that's so! You, a comin moonin' round this 'ere house in the night! Creeping round in the dark by ––! It's a damned outrage! and it's quite improper! Curse me if I knew whether you were a ghost or an animal! I wouldn't object to you if you was a ghost, and I've a damned good mind to make one of you! You've been into my room, you have; and I didn't know whether you were there still or not! First I hear you in the room, and I sing out 'Who's that?' and you says 'It's me!' Damn you! who's me? What right have you got here anyhow? It's the bloodiest proceeding I ever witnessed and it's mean. You know you've no right to do it, and why the hell do you do it, then? By the Lord it's villanous, besides it's ungentlemanly! Yes! it's ungentlemanly! And there's no need of it! If you haven't got money to pay for a lodging, why don't you come and tell me so like a man and I'll give you half-a-dollar or a dollar –– 'Yes!' said Edge, in a mendicant's whisper 'do! please lend me a dollar'. 'I'll see you damned first! I'll lend you twenty five cents – that's all I'll let you have. And I'll rip you open if you're not out of the house in two minutes and a half'. All this took place in our room by the light of a tallow-candle, stuck in an ink-bottle. The object Edge and the irate Mullen contrasted finely. Edge had on his spectacles and kid-gloves; Mullen was in his shirt. Edge got 5 cents first, and declared he would keep it, when asked to hand it back in exchange for 25, for which Mullen intended it. Finally with 30 cents, Edge cleared out and has no more been seen since" (194-96).[pages:19, 19-20, 31, 69, 74, 75, 193, 194-196]
Gunn explains that Halsted occupies his old room. Mullen is in the adjoining room. "Halsted (whose soldiering seems to have ended, and who was Cahill's partner in the Canterbury Hall water-girl affair) occupies the room, now, Mullen the adjoining one" (156).
Gunn states that Cahill, Shepherd, and Mullen are in debt with Boley, and then goes on to further describe Mullen's behavior: "Of course he is in debt with Boley, as are Shepherd and Mullen, the last of whom lies in bed till 12 or 1, draws or goes abroad, returning in a state of reeling, staggering drunkenness, when he tumbles over chairs or the stove, and finally staggers to bed. Once, attracted by the light at which I was writing he made an irruption into Halsted's and my room, being disposed to be very friendly. A perfectly wild Irishman is Mullen, yet he has ability with his pencil, He swears and blasphemes like the ex-filibuster he is, delights in rushing about the attic floor in a seminude condition, with a blanket wrapped round him Indian fashion, or got up like a ridiculous Turk. What with him, Cahill and Shepherd, Mary Ginnerty, the robustuous chambermaid lives in a perpetual state of scuffle and yell, when on our floor. She likes the exercise, however, and is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. Mullen never wears drawers or underclothing and exhibited two a pairs of socks, which he once bought to Shepherd as an admirable curiosity Shepherd once, in the boarding house parlor, turned up the bold Mullen's trousers, in illustration of his not having adopted civilized customs. He was very savage at it. When Boley duns him, he swears at her. He does caricature theatrical portraits for Haney and outside jobs, laboring not a minute more than suffices to keep him in drink" (165-166).
Gunn describes a dinner experience with Miss Delany: "Well, Boweryem of course fell in love with her and addressed her in high flown sonnets, miles above her comprehension, behaving like a jealous tan-tit when Mullen and Cahill entered the lists, in their peculiarly refined styles. Mullen made Orson-courtesies over the dinner-table, Cahill was facetious and familiar, talked impudently and 'took liberties.' He boasted absurdly about his intentions being 'strictly dishonorable' and talked with characteristic brothel phrase – when Boweryem would primly ask Mrs Phillips (late Miss Trainque) whether she regarded Delany as a friend – whether she would not warn her against the openly avowed designs of a villain and a libertine and what not. He spoke to Mrs Boley, too. There was cackle, the girl turned sulky and this, with alternate familiarity, is the state of things at present, Mullen having retired" (167-169).
Gunn describes Mullen's eviction: "Mullen has been cleared out, after a prodigious row with our landlady. He owes her some three or four weeks board, wouldn't pay her when he had money, and came home, staggering drunk, on two or three successive nights. So I heard Boley jawing him as he lay in bed at 2 P. M. – the controversy involving oaths on both sides. At its conclusion the bold Mullen, rather penitentently wrapped up the whole of his personal effects in a piece of brown paper and departed, to borrow $2 from Haney, where- with to get drunk on, at the House of Lords, subsequent to which he was very miserable and talked about drowning himself" (183).[pages:156, 165-166, 167-169, 183]
Discusses Mallen as an artist who sketched Whitman at Pfaff's.
Described by Lalor as a "non-literary artist," perhaps a painter or a sculptor (3).[pages:3]
Winter mentions that Mallen attended O'Brien's funeral, along with Frank Wook and Thomas Bailey Aldrich (xxvii).[pages:xxvii]
Parry calls him Edward T. Mullen here, and mentions that O'Brien's efforts to recruit in New York led to the publication of his "friendly cartoon" in Vanity Fair. Parry reprints the cartoon on p.54.[pages:53, 54 (ill)]
Quelqu'un refers to a caricature of Mullen's in the last issue of The Comic Monthly in his discussion of Miss Cushman (3).[pages:3]
Seitz names Wood, Mullen [Mallen], and Shanly as staff members at Vanity Fair who were inspirations for characters in Artemus Ward's Woshy-Boshy. Mallen is described as a comic artist who worked with Artemus Ward: His work is remembered alongside the productions of Eytinge, Launt Thompson, George H. Boughton, Wilson Fisk, and Frank Bellew. Don Carlos Seitz contends that “to such associates Artemus Ward came as one to the manner born. The evenings were gay with converse and many libations of Pfaff’s brew” (99). The acquaintance with Artemus Ward produced rich comic fruit; Seitz named Wood, Mullen, and Shanly as the staff members at Vanity Fair who inspired the minor characters in Artemus Ward’s Woshy-Boshy (90).[pages:79, 90, 99, 183, 282, 322-326]
Characterizing Mullin's art as "forgotten gems" which once adorned the pages of Vanity Fair, Vedder dryly observes, "It may be imagined that Mullin's hand was unsteady, but by concentrating his will and taking good aim he managed to hit the spot every time; and being a good artist this very unsteadiness gave a delightful freedom and a style of his own to his drawings which were veritable little gems and offered the greatest contrast to the drawings of all around him" (220).[pages:218-220, 241]
He is listed by Winter as one of the artists who frequented Pfaff's Cave. He is refered to here as "Edward F. Mullen" (66).[pages:66,88]
Winter mentions in a footnote that Mullen attended Fitz-James O'Brien's funeral along with Frank Wood and Thomas Bailey Aldrich; Winter refers to Mullen as "the quaint, original artist of Vanity Fair" and states that they all rode in the coach together (xxvii).[pages:xxvii]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015