Friday, October 23, 2015

"Pink" (J. W. Kennedy) and other newspaper correspondents identified

On September 12, 1859 the Boston Post outed professional correspondents of British and American newspapers whose contributions normally appeared over a pseudonym. The revealing letter from New York correspondent "NOW AND THEN" was dated September 10, 1859.

“Newspaper Correspondents.”

Correspondence of the Boston Post.
NEW YORK, SEPT. 10, 1859.

It is a natural curiosity that seeks to know who are the men who act as “our own correspondents” to the out of town press. Shall I name a few? 
First, rather from position and pay than because of any extraordinary pen-power, I would mention the New York correspondent of the London Times, who does up American politics and other heavy writing for the Thunderer. He is J. C. Bancroft Davis, the son of Hon (est) John Davis, and the nephew of the historian Bancroft. Mr. Davis was Secretary of the United States Legation to London when Hon. Abbott Lawrence, of grateful memory, was our Minister to Great Britain. How Mr. Davis secured his present appointment is explained by the circumstance, and by the fact of his being the nephew of his uncle. He succeeds C. Edwards Lester, who received an annual salary of fifteen hundred dollars. It is safe to suppose that the money-mantle of the predecessor has fallen upon the present incumbent of the position. The United States correspondent of the Illustrated London News is Col. Hiram Fuller, formerly of the Evening Mirror, and author of the “Belle Brittan” letters to the Express, and a book of travels yclept “Sparks from a Locomotive.” The Colonel drives a fast quill, with mighty little goose about it. Rev. T. L. Cuyler corresponds regularly with the Weekly Record, an influential London religious paper, and contributes a weekly letter to the New York Christian Intelligencer, the organ of the Dutch Reformed Church. His contributions bear his initials, and are always readable and racy. The New York correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger is A. K. McMillan, one of the editorial staff of the New York Express. He has written a daily letter to the Ledger for about twelve years, and in all that time has never brought the paper into a libel suit or any like difficulty. He deals freely in personalities, and dashes right and left with a well-pointed pen. He made some mischief, however, the other day, it is said, by giving publicity to the fact that an attaché of the Herald establishment was the New York correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer. There were, in connection with the Wise and Donnelly letter, weighty reasons why the secret should not be divulged just at that time. Mac also wrote the spicy “Spectator” letters which appeared in the Buffalo Commerical last winter. He is a lively, genial fellow, has a good style of his own, and can make bricks without straw.

Another genius, sui generis, is Kennedy, the ‘Pink,’ of the Charleston Courier. Kennedy deals largely in small talk, gossip and chit chat, for which he pockets fifteen dollars a week. ‘Pink’ is a sort of man about town, but picks up lots of scandal, which comes back into the columns of our local papers, and is generally found to be news indeed.
The correspondent of Forney’s (Philadelphia) Press some say is Horace Seaver, but I am told “Tom Powell,” of Frank Leslie’s Magazine, is the individual. Powell is quite a literary celebrity, having written a book called “The Living Authors of America,” of some merit. He has also been connected with various newspaper enterprises, such as The Lantern, Figaro and Young Sam—the last having been started to make George Law President. Powell is about fifty years of age writes readable, but not entirely reliable, letters, and enjoys his ‘alf and ‘alf in jolly John Bull style. Col Du Solle, editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times, is the correspondent of the Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch. The Colonel is one of the most genial spirits of the New York press, fairly boiling over with wit, and was never known to pen a dull paragraph. He is a good liver, his person is portly, and they say his heart is as big as a balloon. The correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer (as has been before intimated) is Dr. Jones, of the Herald. The Doctor is a solid man, and his letters are somewhat lumpy, but a better informed man is not connected with the press. He was formerly Telegraphic Agent of the Associated Press. He is now the assistant financial and commercial editor of the Herald. He is a man of solid acquirements, fine tastes and genial temperament. “Frank” Abbot is the “Antelope” of the New Orleans Picayune. His letters speak for themselves. H. T. Tuckerman, the popular essayist and true poet, writes the New York letters to the Boston Transcript, as is well known. The man himself and his literary productions are above all praise. The Transcript is fortunate in having him for its friend. “Burleigh,” of the Boston Journal, is ex-Rev. Matthew Hale Smith. His letters are quite gossipy and contain many items of news that reach our own papers first via the Journal. He is frequently quoted, and sometimes contradicted; but he writes a most readable epistle. I may add that he is a thorn in the flesh to the many ministers and churches about whom he gossips eternally in his letters. 
Dwight’s Journal of Music has a good correspondent in Mr. Francis Williams, the musical critic of the New York Post, and the organist of Dr. Chapin’s church. This gentleman is a versatile writer, a genial companion, and full of humor of the juicy sort. A. C. Hills, author of “Matrimonial Brokerage,” writes the “Don Fernando” letters for the Syracuse Standard. Hills is a jolly genius, and delights in visiting and ventilating the out of the way places, such as witch-dens, rapping exhibitions, etc. He is also an attaché of the last named paper. One of the Charleston dailies is well represented here by Mr. J. Bouton, city editor of the Journal of Commerce. Mr. B. is a graceful, ready writer, and a gentleman throughout. Cornelius Matthews (“Puffer Hopkins”) is accredited with the letters from New York to the Saturday Evening Gazette of your city, with how much truth I cannot say. Connolly, who writes the lives of the felons for the Police Bureau, does an extensive business in the newspaper correspondence way. I have heard that he writes regular letters for from fifteen to twenty different papers throughout the country. One cannot help thinking that a brain thus overworked must sometimes “run emptins.” Frank Tuthill, of the Times, does some outside letter writing. His epistolary contributions to the Times are signed “Glaucus.” The Paris correspondent of the same enterprising journal is Dr. Johnston, whose nom de plume “Malakoff,” has been affixed to some capital letters, while the seat of war was unpatched. He resides at Paris, and is now engaged upon a history of the recent Napoleonic farce. The Panama representative of the Times is F. W. Rice, who keeps the paper posted in all Isthmian games, in a series of vigorous and attractive epistles. The foreign letter writer to the Tribune is by some supposed to be the Hungarian patriot Pulszky, spite of the doubts suggested by his signature, “A. P. C.” He goes very deeply into politics et id omne genus, and philosophizes in extra heavy style. 
The best foreign correspondent of any American paper is thought by many to be Rev. James W. Weir, who writes the English correspondence of the Pittsburg Presbyterian Banner. His accounts of religious movements, general occurrences, and revival incidents have been exceedingly well written, and have had considerable circulation as copied from the Banner. 
Our city papers have also a class of contributors who indulge the public with a taste of their quality, and gratify their own cacoethes scribendi, by writing occasional letters to the favorite paper. The best known of them is “E. M.” of the Journal of Commerce. Merriam does the “learned pig” for that otherwise well-conducted paper, and everybody wonders that so keen a man as Gerard Hallock should allow his paper to be made a leaden pipe through which such twaddle may flow. Merriam’s staple is stale astronomical “news,” compilations from newspapers about camphene accidents, with occasionally a rhapsody anent Greenwood or some other equally well dug-out theme.

The Courier and Enquirer has an out-of-town contributor, who is, in the season, its Albany correspondent, and who, as “Sentinel,” furnishes the public through that paper some of the very best letters extant. His name is William H. Bogert. He is a finished scholar, a classic writer, and withal a deep thinker. He resides in Cayuga county, in this State. The Journal of Commerce is occasionally the recipient of some good travelling letters of the sketchy sort from the pen of W. C. Prime, brother of “Irenaeus.” His contributions are signed W., and are quite readable. He is somewhat of a book writer, having been an Oriental explorer. Although not germain to the present subject, I may add that the Boston correspondent of the Tribune is Edmund Quincy, a writer witty but waspish, and a capital hater of the peculiar institution. The “Occasional,” whose Washington letters to the Philadelphia Press are often quoted is generally thought to be J. W. Forney himself, the proprietor of that paper. As you, my dear Colonel, are supposed to know your own business best, I need not say a word about the various epistolary contributors to the wide-awake Boston Post. And here I rest my case. 
NOW AND THEN.
In the following year, the New York Evening Post (Tuesday, August 14, 1860) recycled the story in a compressed version that was picked up by numerous eastern newspapers. Below, the Evening Post version as reprinted in the American Publishers' Circular and Literary Gazette, Volume 6:
THE PEOPLE WHO WRITE FOR THE PAPERS.—Here is a list of newspaper correspondents, rather fuller than the scanty paragraphs our readers have seen going the rounds of the press at odd times. It was printed not long ago in the Boston Post. The first-named are New York correspondents of the respective papers: J. C. Bancroft Davis does American for the London Times at twelve or fifteen hundred dollars a-year. C. Edwards Lester was his predecessor. Hiram Fuller represents us in the Illustrated London News. George Wilkes is engaged to write letters for another English paper. Rev. T. L. Cuyler corresponds with our British brethren through the London Weekly Record. A. K. McMillan writes the daily letter to the Philadelphia Ledger, and has done the same fourteen years. "Pink," of the Charleston Courier, is a Mr. Kennedy. Forney's Press is posted up by Thomas Powell, of Frank Leslie's paper. Colonel Du Solle, of the Sunday Times, is the correspondent of the Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch. Dr. Jones, of the Herald, serves up Gotham, in good style, for the Richmond Enquirer. The "Antelope" letters in the New Orleans Picayune are written by "Frank" Abbott. Henry T. Tuckerman does up New York literature for the Boston Transcript. Rev. Matthew Hale Smith is the "Burleigh" of the Boston Journal. Frank W. Ballard is said to be the "Nor'-wester" of the spicy Boston Post. J. Bouton, of the Journal of Commerce, writes to the Charleston Mercury. A. D. Munson, "Areola," corresponds with several Minnesota papers. Cornelius Mathews ("Puffer Hopkins") is reported to be the correspondent of the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette. W. Francis Williams writes a letter to Dwight's Journal of Music, and A. C. Hills to the Syracuse Standard.
Then there is E. Meriam, who, under his initial, acts as book-keeper or journalizer to the clerk of the weather, and we have also a Mr. Connolly, Clerk to the Police Commissioner, who writes regularly for some fifteen or twenty country papers. Frank Tuthill ("Glaucus") of the Times corresponds, also, for the enlightenment of the rural districts. An initial "W" in the Journal of Commerce stands for W. C. Prime, who ventilates his pencillings by the way through the Wall street journal's columns. "Sentinel," of the Courier and Enquirer, is William H. Bogart, of central New York. The Tribune's Boston correspondent is said to be Edmund Quincy. John W. Forney, himself, is reported to be "Occasional," of the Philadelphia Press. John G. Saxe is "Rambler," of the Boston Post. The "Malakoff" letters to the Times are written by Dr. Johnston, in Paris. The Panama correspondent of the same paper is F. W. Rice. The Tribune's foreign correspondent is thought to be Pulszky, the ci-devant Hungarian hero.—Evening Post.
In The Powell Papers, Hershel Parker gives a bit of the same article from the Vermont Chronicle, September 11, 1860.  Also reprinted in the Plattsburgh [New York] Republican November 10, 1860; and the Albany Evening Journal, November 22, 1860.  About "Tom Powell," the original Boston Post letter from "NOW AND THEN" added:
Powell is quite a literary celebrity, having written a book called “The Living Authors of America,” of some merit. He has also been connected with various newspaper enterprises, such as The Lantern, Figaro and Young Sam—the last having been started to make George Law President. Powell is about fifty years of age, writes readable, but not entirely reliable, letters, and enjoys his ‘alf and ‘alf in jolly John Bull style.  --Boston Post, September 12, 1859
It's good to have fuller lists that allow us now to identify (for instance) the person who wrote this early mention of Bartleby over the signature of "PINK":
Putnam’s Monthly is out before the month has closed, laden with literary merits. There is a freshness and originality about Putnam’s Monthly which makes its appearance always welcome. “Bratleby, the Scrivener, a Story of Wall-street,” is concluded, which is attributed to the pen of Herman Melville, author of “Typee,” “Omoo,” &c. There is a beautiful poem in this number, which could have been written by no one else than Longfellow. The circulation of this sterling periodical is gradually and steadily indreasing, affording a fine field for young writers, as well as paying them at a living rate for their contributions. --"Charleston Courier. “Putnam’s Monthly is out before the month has closed, laden with literary merits. There is a freshness and originality about Putnam’s Monthly which makes its appearance always welcome. “Bratleby, the Scrivener, a Story of Wall-street,” is concluded, which is attributed to the pen of Herman Melville, author of “Typee,” “Omoo,” &c. There is a beautiful poem in this number, which could have been written by no one else than Longfellow. The circulation of this sterling periodical is gradually and steadily indreasing, affording a fine field for young writers, as well as paying them at a living rate for their contributions.  --"New-York Correspondence" by "Pink" in the Charleston Courier. December 1, 1853; found in the archives of historical newspapers at Genealogy Bank.
So "Pink" of the Charleston Courier "is a Mr. Kennedy." That would be J. W. Kennedy, as confirmed in The Newspaper Press of Charleston where L. Israels is revealed to be the second New York correspondent for the Courier named "Pink." J. W. Kennedy was Pink #1.

I don't know much more about Kennedy yet, beyond his real name. The prior article in the Boston Post described his job as a collector of "small talk" and "scandal," and revealed to the world   the amount of his weekly pay:
Another genius, sui generis, is Kennedy, the ‘Pink,’ of the Charleston Courier. Kennedy deals largely in small talk, gossip and chit chat, for which he pockets fifteen dollars a week. ‘Pink’ is a sort of man about town, but picks up lots of scandal, which comes back into the columns of our local papers, and is generally found to be news indeed.

Related melvilliana post:

No comments:

Post a Comment