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Notes and Comments: How Artemus Ward Became a Great Lecturer

Watson, J. W. "Notes and Comments: How Artemus Ward Became a Great Lecturer." North American Review. 01 Apr. 1889: 521-522.
history, biography, autobiography

Watson describes his involvement in appointing Ward as the editor of Vanity Fair and his subsequent role in encouraging Ward to become a lecturer when it ceased publication shortly after this appointment. He also gives an account of Ward's first foray into lecturing, which involved delivering a "Lecture About Ghosts" at Pfaff's.

People Mentioned in this Work

Arnold, George [pages:521]

Watson lists George Arnold as a contributor to Vanity Fair (521).

Clapp, Henry [pages:521]

Watson lists Henry Clapp as an editor of Vanity Fair (521).

de Walden, Thomas [pages:522]

Watson claims that he convinced de Walden to manage Artemus Ward's initial public lectures, relating that "I knew an actor, and sometimes manager, by the name of De Walden, then part of the old Wallack company, who had some money, and I managed to get him interested. He took Niblo's saloon, now the dining-room of the Metropolitan Hotel, for one night, with the privilege of six. The first night, with the help of the press, who were all friends of Artemus, was a triumph, and he ran the week, clearing for himself and his manager $4,200."

Leland, Charles [pages:521]

Watson lists Charles G. Leland as an editor of Vanity Fair (521).

O'Brien, Fitz-James [pages:521]

Watson lists Fitz-James O'Brien as a contributor to Vanity Fair (521).

Stanley, (Henry) [pages:521]

Watson lists Henry Stanley as a contributor to Vanity Fair (521).

Stephens, William [pages:521]

Watson states that "[a]bout thirty years ago there was a paper published in this city by several brothers named Stephens, called Vanity Fair..." (521).

Ward, Artemus [pages:521-522]

Watson claims that he suggested Artemus Ward as the new editor for Vanity Fair and that he solicited Ward on behalf of the publishers to leave Cleveland for New York and assume the editorial position. Watson recounts that the paper ceased publication a few months later and "regretting the result," he urged Ward to take up lecturing rather than return to Cleveland, suggesting "ghosts" as his first topic (521).

Watson further relates that "Artemus had promised to write such a lecture and to meet a knot of literary and artist friends the next evening at Pfaff's, on Broadway, near Bleecker Street, a noted restaurant and resort of Bohemians, and read what he had written. He came with about half his effort, and for three-quarters of an hour the party was, literally, in a roar. He called it 'A Lecture About Ghosts,' and no small part of the fun was that there was not a word about ghosts in it" (521-522).

Wood, Frank [pages:521]

Watson lists Frank Wood as an editor of Vanity Fair (521).