Edgar Fawcett was born in New York in 1847 to prosperous merchant Frederick Fawcett and Sarah Lawrence Fawcett. After obtaining a public school education in New York, he entered Columbia College, where he became known as a man of letters despite his faulty academic record (Harrison). He was a member of the Alpha Zeta chapter of the fraternity Chi Psi, for which he served as Poet and Chairman in 1867 (Sloan 64). Monetarily supported by his family, Fawcett indulged in the "elegant leisue" of literature in various forms, including poetry, essay, and drama. Fawcett wrote novels most prominently, and his approximately thirty-five fiction works repeatedly attacked the high society of his home city (Harrison). Purple and Fine Linen was regarded as the best of Fawcett's works (Burt 247). His work is characterized by social satire, and he aligned himself philosophically with science and skepticism to religion (Harrison).
In the 1880s, Fawcett is mentioned in an article from the Brooklyn Eagle as the author of a poem about Pfaff's "wherein he is supposed to lament the worldly success that separates him from his old friends." The poem includes the following stanza: "Before I was famous I used to sit In a dull old underground room I know, And sip cheap beer, and be glad for it, With a wild Bohemian friend or two" (G. J. M. 9). The stanza is also quoted in an obituary of Barry Gray, in which Fawcett is said to have "sung the sweetness of that murky cellar" ("Old 'Barry Gray' Dead" 5).
Despite Fawcett's claims to fame, he was panned by critics for his monotonous subjects and stilted characters across multiple forms of his writing. Perhaps due to this critical contempt, Fawcett left America for England at the age of fifty-one and died in bachelor quarters of Chelsea in London (Harrison)
A Biographical Source for Edgar Fawcett. The main entry on Edgar Fawcett appears on page 247, although confirmation on birth and death dates appear on pages 168 and 300 respectively.
A poem by Fawcett "wherein he is supposed to lament the worldly success that separates him from his old friends" at Pfaff's is included with this article. Fawcett's poem mentions three Pfaffians in particular, "artist George," "splenetic journalistic Fred," and "dreamy Frank," which may refer to George Henry Boughton, Charles Frederick Briggs, and either Frank Goodrich, Frank Forester, Franklin J. Ottarson, or Frank Wood.[pages:9]
a brief biography of author and satirist Edgar Fawcett detailing his life and career.
Edgar Fawcett is mentioned as an author who has "sung the sweetness of that murky cellar," presumably Pfaff's. The following lines are printed within the obituary:
"Before I was famous I used to sit in a dull old underground room I knew, and sip cheap beer and be glad for it, with a mild Bohemian friend or two."
"I would cast, and gladly, from this gray head, it's crown to regain one sweet lost year with artistic George, with splenetic Fred, with Dreamy Frank, with the pipes and beer" (5).[pages:5]
SOURCE: Stoddard, Richard Henry. Poet's Homes: Pen and Pencil Sketches of American Poets and Their Homes. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co., 1877.
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015