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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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down some three or four times, the first
with Haney, and the thing is equally amusing and
marvellous.   A man with a rather good-looking
intelligent face, evidently a down-east Yankee, plays
on an accordion, to the lively music of which, hats
sometimes singly, sometimes by fives and sixes, os-
cillate about on the sawdust-covered floor.   He
also causes them to  dance  at the direction of a visitor s
stick, pointing alternately or irregularly at the hats.
Sometimes they oscillate being placed on the top of each
other.   Furthermore at a given signal, the removal
of a man s hat from his head or the scratching of the
latter, he obliges a hat to fall from the counter to
the floor.     Moreover he makes a table  dance,  even
with a corpulent man sitting upon it, produces sounds
from a violin, placed in an otherwise empty box, on
the floor, with more tricks of similar sort.   How
they are performed no one can detect.    He talks
a good deal of intentional nonsense about  getting
a bite out of the hats,   odic force  electrical affinities
and  the peppergram (!) being in full force &c  &
indeed does his fooling admirably.    An honest
rogue, altogether!      What these lying and preten-
tous mediums assume high spiritual airs of mysti-
cism on, is here done as an accompaniment to six-
penny mugs of lager and shilling stews.    By the
appearance of the place I should judge its land-
lord hadn t money enough to pay for a monts rent
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Ten: page one hundred and seventy
Description:Describes going to a performance of ''Dexter's Dancing Hats.''
Subject:Dexter; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Haney, Jesse
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-01-31


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Ten
Description:Includes descriptions of an explosion of a boat on the North River, New York literary Bohemians, boarding house living at 132 Bleecker Street, his freelance writing and drawing work, the death of writer Mort Thomson's young wife Anna, working on the publication ''Constellation,'' visits to the Edwards family, a falling out with Fanny Fern over an article he wrote criticizing ''The New York Ledger,'' a rumor that Fitz James O'Brien is the heir to an Irish baronetcy, and a change of landladies at his boarding house.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Publishers and publishing; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.