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Watson, Henry Cood (1816-1875)

Composer, Editor, Journalist, Music Critic, Poet

Born to a musical family in London, Henry Cood Watson followed suit. He first made his singing debut at the Covent Garden performing Weber's "Oberon" in Novemeber 1829. While still in London, Henry Watson laid the foundation for his career working as both a composer and musical critic ("Watson" 391).

Henry Cood Watson arrived in New York City in 1841 and immediately began working as a music critic for the New York World. Watson also published several poems within the publication. He was involved in several other publication including the Musical Chronicle and the New York Albion. In 1845, he helped to co-found the Broadway Journal with Charles F. Briggs and Edgar Allan Poe. He later would found his own monthly musical publication called the Musical Guest before he served as the editor-in-chief of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Ladies' Magazine. In 1863, he became the music critic for the New York Tribune ("Watson" 391). It was likely through his connections with these various publications that Watson became associated with members of the Pfaffian crowd. In an obituary of George G. Clapp, Watson is described as one of Henry Clapp’s associates at Pfaff’s when it was “a famous resort back in the fifties” (“Died in Bowery Lodgings” 3). Watson also worked for Horace Greeley, who shared connections with the bohemians gathered at Pfaff's, at the Tribune from 1863 to 1867 (Howard, “Henry Cood Watson”). He was not only a critic of music, but a composer of it as well; he published numerous songs throughout his life and occasionally lectured about various aspects of music.