Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Deuceace on Herman Melville as "a very pleasant, entertaining fellow" in the Custom House

Boston Daily Globe - November 23, 1876
Deucease writes to the Globe-Democrat that Herman Melville is a very pleasant, entertaining fellow, with a great deal of culture, with broad experience in travel and large acquaintance with men. He has many friends, though he goes very little into society, and is likely to stay in the Custom House until he is in demand by the undertaker. --Boston Daily Globe, November 23, 1876
This 1876 item appeared under the heading of "Notes on New Literature." By "Globe-Democrat" I guess the anonymous writer of literary news for the Boston Daily Globe means the St Louis Globe-Democrat. "Deucease" apparently refers to the pen-name of a New York correspondent, somebody who included a character sketch of Herman Melville in a published letter to the Globe-Democrat in St Louis. Perhaps not too many days before November 23, 1876.

Maybe the name should be Deuceace, Deuce-Ace, after Algernon Percy Deuceace in Thackeray's Yellowplush Papers. Yes! Deuceace. Earlier in 1876 this Deuceace made a stir with, as the west-coast headline read, "Some information about the religion, or lack of it, of New York journalists" (San Francisco Evening Post, June 20, 1876, reprinting "Impertinent Personalities" from the New York Graphic of June 5, 1876). In August and September 1876 the Globe-Democrat ran a series on "Humorists" in which Deuceace referred to "London friends" (quoted by James E. Mueller in Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud). True Whitman fans already know Deuceace as the author of "Walt Whitman, Rhapsodist and Loafer" in the Globe-Democrat (July 2, 1882). Who the deuce was Deuceace? And what else did he have to say about Melville in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat?

It looks like GALE has the Globe-Democrat in the collection of 19th Century U. S. Newspapers. Unfortunately my local library does not subscribe. And my treasured NYPL card from last year's research trip expired months ago. Wilson Library calls, again.

Found! in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 19, 1876. For my transcription of the whole article by "Deuceace," please see the next post:

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