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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 264 [1874]

              [newspaper clipping]
  We herewith present a portrait of George
Alfred Townsend, the most widely known of
American newspaper correspondents.  He was
born at Georgetown, Delaware, January 31,
1841, and is therefore thirty-three years old.
This fact will surprise thousands of our read-
ers who have heard and read of the cor-
respondent for these sixteen years.  The
anomaly is explained by the fact that Mr.
Townsend began to write when a boy and
made his mark instantly.  His father and
mother were Marylanders, from the remotest
part of the Eastern Shore, and his birthplace
was incidental to a clergyman�s change of
parish.  His only brother is a lecturer at the
Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia,
and in his profession is no less widely recog-
nized as a man of intelligence and promise.
  The life of George Alfred Townsend has
been fresh and unique amongst newspaper
men, attended with much travel and adventure,
and his themes and style are therefore buoy-
ant, enlivening, and original.  His versatility
and dispatch are instanced by the great number
of places at which he appears, the vivid manner
he has of sketching men, things, and atmos-
pheres, and the apt, quaint, and often profound
generalizations he makes in the course of his nar-
rative.  He has been an ardent historical student,
particularly of American local and neighbor-
hood history, and the free and manly flow of 
his ideas borders upon humor on one side and
eloquence on the other.  Few American jour-
nalists have equal felicity to lay a subject or
character bare, and at the same time qualify 
severity with some magnanimous concession
which gives the verdict the power of justice.
He is essentially a teacher and illustrator, with
the poetical and practical qualities combined
in very rare proportions.  As an author and a 
lecturer he has had success in equal measure,
apparently without great effort, and his income
for several years past has been about twelve
thousand dollars per annum.  The calls upon
his pen are bounded only by the limits of
strength and performance.  He resides in
Washington City, where he has a family, and
of the interests of that city, to which he is
attached by geographical and social ties, he has
become a warm champion.  Among the jour-
nals to which he has been a fertile contributor
are the New York and Chicago Tribunes, the
New York World and Herald, the Cincinnati 
Commercial, the Boston Post, the New York
GRAPHIC, the Cleveland Leader, the Missouri
Democrat, and the Philadelphia Press.  He has
three times visited Europe, and been in every
State of the Union and in the West Indies.

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