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Seymour, Charles Bailey (1829-1869)

Editor, Essayist, Music Critic, Theater critic

A former teacher, Charles Bailey Seymour moved from London to New York City in 1849. In New York, he began working as the dramatic and musical editor for the New York Times. In 1858, Seymour published the book Self-Made Men. The book, which won him a certain degree of fame, was "a collection of short biographies of British and American subjects that included [Henry] Clapp's old mentor, Elihu Burritt" (Lause 48). William Winter asserts that he "had the good fortune of friendly companionship" with him and describes Seymour as having "an especially attractive personality" (310).

Although it is unclear exactly when Seymour became associated with the Pfaffians, his connection to them has been identified by multiple sources. For example, A. L. Rawson counted Seymour among Ada Clare’s many friends, which suggests that he was part of the coterie of Bohemians who routinely gathered at her 42nd Street home (103). Tice Miller describes Seymour as a regular at Pfaff’s who likely worked with Henry Clapp during his brief stint at the Weekly Review (38), and other sources place him at the bar, which suggests that he was at least a curious visitor to the Cave (Browne 156, Literary 192). Seymour was also connected to Pfaff's through his friendship with William North. Seymour not only "broke the news to [Frank] Bellew that North had poisoned himself over a love affair," but he also served as the prominent defender of North's work after his death, according to Thomas Gunn (Lause 48; Gunn vol. 9, 78). The obituary of Henry Clapp also links Seymour to Pfaff's, including his name among a list of other individuals who were part of Clapp's bohemian coterie, though the authori argues that Seymour "was rather among the Bohemians than of them" (“Obituary” 7).

In addition to his stint as an editor at the New York TImes, Seymour edited the New York Weekly Review with Theodore Hagen for a few months in 1865 and served as a correspondent for the Times in 1867 at the World Exposition in Paris. Not long after his assignment in Paris, Charles Seymour died in Mary 1869 at the age of 38 (New York Times, May 6, 1869). William Winter remembered him saying "His temperament was sweet and his life was gentle. He was simple and sincere. He took his part in the everyday work of life, and he did his best to make it worthy" (312). While commenting on Seymour’s work at the Times, Winter notes that &quotFew writers have the equanimity and patience to use the critical faculty in a thoughtful, thorough, conscientious, impartial manner, and singers and actors are indeed fortunate who find themselves recognized in the press with an intelligent appreciation not less sympathetic and liberal than accurate and just" (310-311). Winter also observes that "Seymour was not content with appreciating artists for himself; he labored to interpret them to others. That service, fully performed, imparts a measure of permanence to those artistic achievements which, otherwise, are wholly ephemeral . . . That professional obligation Seymour always strove to meet, and therefore his writing was a benefit to his readers" (311-312).