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Relationships of O'Brien, Fitz-James

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To explore the relationships between the various bohemian writers and artists who frequented Pfaff's bar, select a person or group, and then select a relationship type. This section of the site is currently under construction; new content is being added on a regular basis.

Displaying 1 - 77 of 77
acquaintances

Bellew, Frank Henry Temple (1828-1888)

Bellew published a cartoon in the Picayune which depicted Edward G. P. Wilkins, John Brougham, Boucicault, Cornelius Matthew, Charles Gayler, Fitz-James O'Brien, and Benjamin A. Baker as "playwrights registering their dramatic works before the first copyright law went into effect."

Bellew was a member of a New York group of artists and writers that existed before the Pfaff's Bohemians that also included Gayler, North, Eytinge, Charles G. Rosenberg, Seymour, and O'Brien.

Briggs, Charles Frederick (1804-1877)

Briggs wrongly published a statement naming Fitz-James O'Brien as an heir to the title borne by Smith O'Brien's brother, Lord Inchiquin. Fitz-James bore no relation to this family.

Fry, William Henry (1813-1864)

O'Brien mentions him as the musical critic of the Tribune.

Gayler, Charles (1820-1892)

Gayler was a member of a New York group of artists and writers that existed before the Pfaff's Bohemians that also included Eytinge, North, Bellew, Charles G. Rosenberg, Seymour, and O'Brien.

Gunn, Thomas Butler (1826-1904)

Gunn mentions seeing O'Brien in an upper room of a cafe and expresses his distaste for him (208).

Gunn talks about seeing O'Brien at Frank Bellew's one morning (184).

Gunn describes a picnic with New York artists and journalists where O'Brien and he were (23-5).

O'Brien revealed to Gunn that his piece would no longer be published in Harper's anymore (28).

Gunn recounts a conversation he had with O'Brien about Doestick's wife (31).

Gunn describes an encounter with O'Brien at the Saturday Press office (82-4).

Gunn describes seeing O'Brien at the bar of Crook and Duffs (89).

Ludlow, Fitz Hugh (1836-1870)

Ludlow was a member of Taylor's poetic group, along with Richard Henry Stoddard, Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard, Edmund Clarence Stedman, George Henry Boker, Fitz-James O'Brien, Christopher P. Cranch, and George William Curtis.

Mackenzie, Robert Shelton (1809-1880)

When O'Brien arrived in New York in 1852, he brought with him a letter of introduction from Dr. Mackenzie which he presented to prominent editors such as Major Noah and General Morris.

Mallen, Edward

Menken, Adah Isaacs (1835-1868)

Nast, Thomas (1840-1902)

O'Brien is mentioned as a frequenter of Pfaff's who, along with others, found Nast "amusing" and "took him to theatres and other cozy resorts and 'showed him the town'" (22).

Whitman, Walt (1819-1892)

antagonists

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

Gunn describes a quarrel between Clapp and O'Brien, "Talk, incidentally of O'Brien, who it seems, has quarreled with Clapp or something like it. O'B sent a lawyer's letter apropos of money owing to him for his "feulleton"izing in the Saturday Press, which Clapp related as an excellent joke. Then he passed into general comment on O'B. "He was too d____d infernal selfish altogether – there was no denying he was a smart man though, and he could stand anything but a fool – give him a rogue, a smart rogue, rather. He don't believe in the good, amiable, Christ like men" (how the ugly countenance grew uglier with spite and unbelief as he said the words) "like Greeley." (113-114).

North, William (1825-1854)

[pages:63]

Gunn writes about plagarism controversy surrounding O'Brien and North: "Apropos of O'Brien it's said that he plagiarized the idea of his "Diamond Lens" story from North" (63).

Winter recalls that O'Brien and William North were friends, but had had a falling-out. In "The Slave of the Lamp" (later "The Man of the World"), North "described and satirized" O'Brien in the character "Fitz-Gammon O'Bouncer" (68).

Parry describes North as "the first enemy he [O'Brien] made in America, called him [O'Brien] a braggart, a borrower, and a bully" (52).

It was alleged that O'Brien had taken the "Diamond Lens" from North's papers when he committed suicide (55-6).

collaborators

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836-1907)

O'Brien was one of the assistant co-editors of The Saturday Press with Aldrich and Winter for the years 1858-1860 (290).

Aldrich and O'Brien, "applied, almost simultaneously" to be the Aid of General Lander, leader of the New York Seventh Regiment, in April, 1862. Aldrich initially won the appointment, but the letter with his assignment to be delivered to Portsmouth never reached him, so the appointment went to O'Brien.

Bellew, Frank Henry Temple (1828-1888)

O'Brien is included in Frank Bellew's 1856 Picayune cartoon "depicting playwrights registering their dramatic works before the first copyright law went into effect (52).

Brougham, John (1810-1880)

Brougham may have appeared in Fitz-James O'Brien's A Gentleman from Ireland on Dec.11, 1854.

O'Brien notes that Brougham was given the "comparatively insignificant" role of Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice. O'Brien also writes that Brougham "was the good-natured, meddling, babbling, brainless, talkative bore to the life."

O'Brien writes that he, Brougham, Goodrich are currently working on a three act play titled The Dark Hour Before Dawn to be performed by amateurs for a Dramatic Fund Association benefit in the chief cities of the Union.

O'Brien points out the errors in either the play writing or Brougham's performance in Wheat and Chaff. O'Brien notes that some of Brougham's "impromptu witticisms" during the performance were successful.

Aldrich recalled that when he first met O'Brien, "he was trimming the wick of 'The Lantern,' the paper started by Brougham (76).

Butler, William Allen (1825-1902)

Butler's poetry is comp.ared to O'Brien's

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

O'Brien's poetry was printed in Clapp's columns of "original" poems, which usually appeared on the first page of the Saturday Press (252).

O'Brien is mentioned as one of Clapp's assistants at the Saturday Press (7).

When Clapp began the "Saturday Press," O'Brien was hired to write about the Stage. However, Winter remarks that "O'Brien was a man to whom the curb of regular employment was intolerable," and he was only associated with the paper for a few weeks (66-67).

Winter claims that Fitz-James O'Brien's story, The Wondersmith was inspired by an anecdote that Clapp told in O'Brien and Winter's presence (69).

Heron, Matilda (1830-1877)

Keene, Laura (1826-1873)

Keene's theater produced O'Brien's play Tycoon in the summer of 1860.

Nast, Thomas (1840-1902)

O'Brien is mentioned as one of Nast's colleagues at Frank Leslie's Illustrated Paper (21-2)

Raymond, Henry Jarvis (1820-1869)

When the Times doubled its size in 1852, O'Brien was among the "brilliant corps of assistant editors" hired by Raymond (354).

Smith, Mark

O'Brien, along with John Brougham, Edward G. P. Wilkins, and Mark Smith formed "The Bees" in 1856 (44).

Wallack, John Lester (1820-1888)

O'Brien's play, My Christmas Dinner, written "expresly for this theater" opened at Wallack's on Dec. 25, 1852. A Gentleman from Ireland played at Wallacks in Dec. 1854. O'Brien also adapted The Sisters from the French for Wallacks for Dec. 27, 1854.

Wilkins, Edward (Ned) G. P. (1829-1861)

O'Brien, along with John Brougham, Edward G. P. Wilkins, and Mark Smith formed "The Bees" in 1856 (44).

Winter, William (1836-1917)

O'Brien was one of the assistant co-editors of The Saturday Press with Aldrich and Winter for the years 1858-1860 (29).

friends

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836-1907)

Greenslet states that "Of the group that failed to come through, perhaps the most engaging personality, and the one dearest to Aldrich, was Fitz James O'Brien" (38).

Greenslet claims there are "numerous memorabilia" of the "warm, peppery friendship between Aldrich and O'Brien." Greenslet cites and anecdote that Aldrich used to tell about how O'Brien borrowed $40 dollars from him to buy a suit of clothes and then used it to buy a dinner to which Aldrich was not invited. At one point, due to some misunderstanding, O'Brien challenged Aldrich to a duel, which Aldrich managed to resolve by claiming that it was in violation of the "punctillo of the duello" to challenge someone to a duel when one owed the other money (40).

Greenlset also cites an anecdote that Aldrich told that when Aldrich was staying at 105 Clinton Place, "in the absence of the Frost family," O'Brien suggested they live for a week in the "Venitian manner," in which they would "sleep all day and live all night." The two attempted this lifestyle for a while, "exploring the streets all night and going to bed at seven A.M., but it seems soon to have palled on them" (40-1).

Aldrich recalled that when he first met O'Brien, "he was trimming the wick of 'The Lantern,' the paper started by Brougham (76).

Winter mentions a letter he received from Aldrich in 1880 in which "Aldrich, in his serio-comic way, mentions facts about O'Brien that help to make more distinct the image of his erratic personality and the story of his wayward career."

Arnold, George (1834-1865)

Arnold, along with Clapp and O'Brien "used to laughingly class themselves as Bohemians."

Winter consulted Arnold, who knew O'Brien before his behavior deteriorated and Arnold described his friend: "When I first knew O'Brien, in 1856-'57, he had elegant rooms; a large and valuable library; piles of manuscripts; dressing-cases; pictures; a ward-robe of much splendor; and all sorts of knick-knackery, such as young bachelors love to collect" (99-100).

Arnold was among the dinner party that O'Brien held at Delmonico's (101).

Bellew, Frank Henry Temple (1828-1888)

O'Brien states that Bellew's "imaginative power and sense of humor are not surpassed, perhaps, by any living caricaturist."

Bellew is referred to as an intimate friend and former roommate of Mr. O'Brien.

Booth, Edwin (1833-1893)

Brisbane, Albert (1809-1890)

Winter claims that Fitz-James O'Brien's story, "The Wondersmith" was inspired by an anecdote that Clapp told about Brisbane.

Brougham, John (1810-1880)

Brougham says that O'Brien never cared for any person with whom he did not quarrel

O'Brien attended Brougham's weekly dinners at Windust's.

Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)

According to Allen, in terms of debate at Pfaff's, "He was no match for the mercurial Fitz-James O'Brien, satirical George Arnold, or perhaps even his sardonic friend Henry Clapp" (270).

English claims O'Brien, Clapp, and Arnold "used to laughingly class themselves as Bohemians."

Gunn discusses the friendship between O'Brien and Henry Clapp: "O'Brien consorts with Clapp, and affects to admire his powers of conversation. Morally they are on the same level, basing their every act on utter selfishness. They swindled their landlord in this (Bleecker Street) of some hundred dollars or so and the man came to a smash in consequence. This I had from Mrs Potter. Some acquaintances of hers, seeing Clapp and O'Brien entering this house in one of their visits to Haney, warned Mrs P. against them, thinking they might design boarding with them. By the word swindling I mean they owe that amount to their unlucky entertainer" (15-16).

According to Lause, it was Clapp and O'Brien who first discovered Pfaff's in 1856 (47).

Eytinge, Solomon Jr. (1833-1905)

Eytinge was a member of a New York group of artists and writers that existed before the Pfaff's Bohemians that also included Gayler, North, Bellew, Charles G. Rosenberg, Seymour, and O'Brien.

Halpine, Charles Graham (1829-1868)

Leland, Charles Godfrey (1824-1903)

O'Brien describes Leland as "fantastic, and frequently inimitable."

North, William (1825-1854)

Gunn describes North as O'Brien's "crony" (27-8).

Winter recalls that O'Brien and William North were friends, but had had a falling-out (67-8).

Stoddard, Richard Henry (1825-1903)

Parry writes that Stoddard attempted to "wean" his "valued friends" O'Brien, Stedman, and Taylor away from Pfaff's; "O'Brien resisted succesfully, and died tragically, but Stedman and Taylor were easily led into respectability" (59). Stoddard would later refer to O'Brien as "the best of the Bohemians" (77).

Winter also notes that both Taylor and Stoddard were friends with O'Brien, but their friendship did not last. According to Winter, "the most censorious review" of Winter's collection of O'Brien's work - Poems and Stories - in 1881, appeared in "The New York Tribune" and was written by Stoddard (295).

Taylor, Bayard (1825-1878)

Taylor is mentioned as a friend of O'Brien and was incorporated into the intimate circle that included the Bohemians. In John Godfrey's Fortunes, Taylor bases the character Brandagee on O'Brien.

Wallack, John Lester (1820-1888)

O'Brien also wrote short stage plays and was friends with both Lester Wallack and his father (76).

Whitman, Walt (1819-1892)

Winter, William (1836-1917)

Winter met Fitz-James O'Brien in 1859 and quickly formed a friendship with him: "Winter admired his frankness; the two men because friends and remained so until O'Brien was killed fighting in the North in 1862" (73).

Winter states, "Among those Bohemian comrades of mine,--all dead and gone now and mostly forgotten,--O'Brien was at once the most potential genius and the most original character. As I think of him I recall Byron's expressive figure, 'a wild bird and a wanderer'" (67).