Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Clement C. Moore, 1863 obit by Frank W. Ballard

Clement C. Moore
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Transcribed below is a fine memorial of Clement C. Moore by the New York correspondent of the Boston Post who signed himself "Nor'wester." The death notice and tribute from "Nor'wester" first appeared in the Post on August 17, 1863 and was reprinted anonymously thereafter in other newspapers, for example in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser on August 29, 1863.

Nor'wester was the pseudonym of New York insurance underwriter and journalist Frank W. Ballard (1827-1887), according to an article in the New York Evening Post titled "The People Who Write for the Papers" (reprinted in American Publishers' Circular and Literary Gazette, Volume 6).

 

As shown in a previous post on mid nineteenth-century newspaper correspondents, the same article that identified Ballard as "Nor'wester" also revealed that Melville's friend Henry T. Tuckerman "does up New York literature for the Boston Transcript."

LETTER FROM NEW YORK.

Correspondence of the Boston Post.
NEW YORK, AUGUST 16, 1863.

During that terrible period of excitement, which for years to come will be memorable as the riot week, there appeared one morning, in some of our journals, an announcement of the death at Newport, of one of our wealthiest and once one of our most respected citizens. So far as my knowledge goes not an obituary notice nor the least reference to his death has appeared, and, whether crowded out by the pressure of riot-news, or omitted for other reasons nothing but the bare mention of CLEMENT C. MOORE'S decease has found its way into any of our papers. Thus silently has been permitted to drop out from among us one who was the pioneer, in this country, of Hebrew Lexicography, by the publication in 1809 of a Hebrew and English Lexicon which paved the way literally for the general cultivation of that ancient language and literature in the Theological seminaries of the United States. In 1821, Mr. Moore was appointed "Professor of Biblical Learning" in the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. Subsequently his professorship became that of "Oriental and Greek Literature." A princely fortune had descended to him, by inheritance, consisting of plats of land by the acre in and about the Sixteenth ward of this city, and much of it lying from Nineteenth street to Twenty-third street between the Ninth and Tenth avenues--now covered with brown stone palaces or business structures erected by capitalists who pay a liberal rent for the ground. While connected with the Theological Seminary, Professor Moore bestowed upon the institution an entire block of this valuable ground. Mr. Moore, (or Dr. Moore, for he was an L. L. D.) was also somewhat celebrated as the author of several lively poems, among which was one which has been mouthed by every schoolboy of the last two generations and annually reproduced in thousands of our papers about Christmas time. This was "A Visit from St. Nicholas," commencing,
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
Few specimens of American poetry have had so long continued popularity as this Christmas poem. All the "Speakers" have included it in their tables of contents and in one form or another it has been published and republished until every line has become as familiar as a household word. During the last holiday season an edition of the poem was brought out by James G. Gregory of this city in luxurious style--the paper, type, illustrations, and tout ensemble displaying a rare combination of good judgment and good taste. Since 1850 Dr. Moore has lived a retired life, but, for what he had previously accomplished, his death, after four score years of usefulness, should not have been suffered to pass unnoticed....
--"Nor'wester" [Frank W. Ballard] in the Boston Post, August 17, 1863.

Boston Post - August 17, 1863 - 1 of 2
Boston Post - August 17, 1863 - 2 of 2
Moore died July 10, 1863 in Newport, Rhode Island. On August 19, 1863, two days after Ballard's letter appeared in the Boston Post, The New York Herald at last featured a substantial obituary headed "Death of Prof. Clement C. Moore, L. L. D."

Ballard's tribute to the late Clement C. Moore was reprinted in the Newport Mercury (Newport, Rhode Island) on August 22, 1863; and in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser on August 29, 1863.

Found on Newspapers.com   

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