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Stephens, William


William Allan Stephens was a co-founder of Vanity Fair. Henry Clapp’s obituary mentions that "when the Saturday Press went the way of all journals that are too smart to live, Mr. Clapp, with Mr. Stevens [sic] and others, started the best imitation of Punch that we have had in this country-- Vanity Fair. Around this nucleus gathered the circle so widely known as ’The Bohemians,’ of whom Mr. Clapp was the head and exponent" (“Obituary” 7). Stephens, as editor of Vanity Fair, was closely linked to the happenings at Pfaff’s because many of the bohemians contributed regularly to the magazine, and Pfaffian Frank Wood was also an editor at the magazine (C. Leland 234). Under Stephen's direction, Vanity Fair was a fairly conservative publication, demonstrating a traditional embrace of racial stereotypes, a hostility for abolition, and an unwillingness to endorse the Republican Party (Scholnick, 29, 33, 36). Stephen's political and racial conservativism set him at odds with one of the magazine's editors, Charles Godfrey Leland. Unable to reconcile thier policial differences, Leland left Vanity Fair after just nine months and Stephen's hired the more politically likeminded Artimus Ward to replace him. (Scholnick, 33)