Search >> Clapp, Henry Jr. (1814-1875)
Editor, Poet, Journalist, Reformer, Translator.
Born in Massachusetts to a family of merchants and seamen, Clapp traveled to Paris as a secretary for Albert Brisbane, a wealthy reformer who wanted him to translate the socialist writings of Fourier. In Paris, Clapp abandoned his ardent sympathy for the temperance movement and embraced the leisurely café life of that city. Upon returning to New York in 1850, he sought to recreate this atmosphere, spending hours at Charlie Pfaff's beer cellar, to which he brought his own Saturday Press staff, eventually drawing other journalists as well as painters, actors, and poets to cultivate an American Bohemia in which participants admired and discussed the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Washington Irving. Junius H. Browne notes that "[Clapp] was nearly twice as old as most of his companions; was witty, skeptical, cynical, daring, and had a certain kind of magnetism that drew and held men, though he was neither person nor manner, what would be called attractive" (152). Clapp, sometimes referred to as the "King of Bohemia," was often telling stories and jokes and displaying a facility for word play and puns. Indeed, Pfaff's regular Elihu Vedder recalls that Clapp's verbal ability made up for his lack of physical attractiveness; Vedder calls him the "ugly one of the crowd, and his face was indeed a living attestation of the truth of Darwin's theory... [But it was often said] 'just let old Clapp talk, and he will talk that face off in fifteen minutes'" (Digressions 232). Others may have been more intimidated by Clapp's quick, satirical speech. In "First Impressions of Literary New York," William Dean Howells refers to Clapp as a man of "open and avowed cynicism" (63) and a "certain sardonic power" (65) which he employed "rather fiercely and freely" (65).
Clapp is best known as the tireless editor, instigator, and fundraiser for the Saturday Press, a short-lived but influential literary journal which showcased fiction, poetry, literary criticism, and social commentary by many of Pfaff's bohemians. Howells contends that the Saturday Press "embodied the new literary life of the city" ("First Impressions" 63). Clapp published the first issue on October 23, 1858, changing the title to the New York Saturday Press on December 4, 1858. Within the Press's pages, Clapp made efforts to include works by women writers like Ada Clare. She wrote the weekly column "Thoughts and Things" in which she discoursed upon a range of topics from women's rights to the status of the American theater.
Howells characterizes Clapp as an editor who was "kind to some neglected talents, and befriended them with a vigor and a zeal" ("First Impressions" 65). He includes Whitman in that number, estimating that the poet owed a great debt to the patronage of Clapp. Clapp was dedicated to establishing Walt Whitman's career by continually keeping his work before the public in the pages of the Press. Clapp published eleven of Whitman's poems and printed over twenty reviews of Leaves of Grass in addition to publishing eight poems written as parodies or homages to Whitman's distinct style. Clapp also gave ample advertising space to Thayer and Eldridge, the Boston-based publishing firm that had recently released the third (1860) edition of Leaves of Grass. Clapp remained a tireless champion of Whitman's work; Whitman would later muse that his own history could not be written without including Henry Clapp, Jr.
Unfortunately, the Press did not enjoy the same success as Whitman. On December 15, 1860, as the U.S. Civil War loomed and the Press faced mounting financial problems, Clapp temporarily ceased publication. He resumed it briefly between August 5, 1865 and June 2, 1866 when the paper folded permanently due to financial difficulties. In his declining years, Clapp suffered from a dependence on alcohol and spent time in the Binghamton Inebriate Asylum. When he died, the Daily Graphic entitled his April 16, 1875 obituary "The Late Henry Clapp. A Bohemian's Checkered Life."
References & Biographical Resources
- "A Visit to Walt Whitman." Brooklyn Eagle. 11 Jul. 1886: 10. [more about this work]
- Whitman describes Clapp as "a very witty man," remarking that he always took the head of the table amid the bohemians' reveries at Pfaff's. [pages: 10]
- Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. New York: MacMillan, 1955. [more about this work]
- Allen writes that Whitman began frequenting Pfaff's at some point after Clapp, who had recently founded the Saturday Press made Pfaff's his "informal club and gathered around him a coterie of writers and wits reputed to be very sophisticated, irreverent, and 'Bohemian'" (229). Allen mentions that at this time, the term "Bohemian" was not a common American terms and had been imported from Paris with by Clapp and others, who returned from visits abroad "with contempt for its [America's] puritanism and a mania for shocking it" (229). Allen describes Clapp during this time as follows: "Clapp was a former New Englander who had been a sailor, had educated himself to be a freethinker and skeptic, had aquired a varied experience in journalism, had worked for a while with Horace Greeley and Albert Brisbane in trying to popularize the doctrines of Fourier and socialism, and was not attempting to edit a smart and sprightly literary and critical journal, which did manage to achieve considerable prestige but could seldom pay its contributors" (229).
Allen briefly discusses Howells' interactions with Clapp during his first and only visit to the Saturday Press offices and Pfaff's (230-231). Allen responds to Howells' criticisms of Clapp by writing: "Clapp must have had more character and ability than Howells thought. In Whitman's later opinion he had 'abilities way out of the common,' which in a different environment and with financial resources, 'might have loomed up as a central influence' on American literature. Howells might have been partly right in thinking that Clapp had taken Whitman up because he was so obnoxious to respectable society, and Whitman's gratitude may have led him to exaggerate Clapp's importance. But the editor of the Saturday Press, along with Ada Clare, Ned Wilkins, and several others, did render a service to the history of American literature by giving Whitman companionship and encouragement when he greatly needed them. In his old age Whitman told Traubel that his 'own history could be written with Henry left out.' Since no complete file of the Saturday Press has survived, it is not possible to trace every detail of Henry Clapp's editorial support of Whitman, bt it seems not to have developed unitl late in 1859" (231).
Allen mentions that there is proof Clapp received advance, unfinished copies of the Boston publication of the third edition of Leaves of Grass. Allen also discusses Clapp's strategy for publicizing the book, including his role in sending review copies to several important persons, including Mrs. Juliette H. Beach. During this time period, Clapp appears to have been preoccupied with keeping the Saturday Press in business and managing its financial difficulties. He was able to get a letter to Whitman in Boston via his brother George which discussed mainly his concerns about the stability of the paper, but also assured Whitman of his success and pledged to help him advance his book (242-244).
Allen feels that Clapp was most likely the author of a long article on Leaves of Grass that appeared in the Saturday Press on May 19, 1860. The article began: "We announce a great Philosopher - perhaps a great Poet - in every way an original man." The critic also admitted, however, that the book had passages "which should never have been published at all." The critic also claimed, though, that the poems showed "the philosophic mind, deeply seeking, reasoning, feeling its way toward a clear knowledge of the system of the universe" and celebrated the "felicity of style" in phrases such as "bare-bosomed Night," "slumbering and liquid trees," and "Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon, just tinged with blue!" (260). When the negative review attributed to Juliette Beach appeared in the paper, Clapp included the editorial comment that "It gives us pleasure to print every variety of opinion upon such subjects." The next week, he ran a correction after Mrs. Beach wrote the paper to explain that her husband had intercepted her copy of the book and had submitted his own review for publication. Mrs. Beach's own review most likely ran two weeks later, signed by "A Woman" (261).
Allen notes that Whitman was "no match for the mercurial Fitz-James O'Brien, satirical George Arnold, or perhaps even his sardonic friend Henry Clapp" (270).
In the fall of 1862, after the Saturday Press had dissolved, Clapp, Ada Clare, and several other Bohemians were writing and working at the Leader (273). [pages: 229-31,242-244,260,261,269,270,273,280,494]
- Baker, Portia. "Walt Whitman and the Atlantic Monthly." American Literature. 1934. 283-301. [more about this work]
- Editor-in-chief of The Saturday Press. Clapp wrote a letter to Whitman about his anonymous contribution to the Atlantic Monthly. Clapp enjoyed the press commentary on the Atlantic Monthly at the publication of Whitman. [pages: 290, 292]
- Belasco, Susan. "From the Field: Walt Whitman's Periodical Poetry." American Periodicals. 14.2 (2004): 247-59. [more about this work]
- Belasco describes him as "Whitman's loyal friend, fellow Bohemian, and fiesty editor of the Saturday Press." Clapp is mentioned as believing, along with Whitman, "that any publicity [for Leaves of Grass] was good publicity" (251).
For the publication of "A Child's Reminiscence" on December 24, 1859, on the first page of the Saturday Press, Clapp included this notice at the beginning of his editorial column" "Our readers may, if they choose, consider as our Christmas or New Year's present to them, the curious warble, by Walt Whitman, of 'A Child's Reminiscence,' on our First Page. Like the 'Leaves of Grass,' the purport of this wild and plaintive song, well-enveloped, and eluding definition, is positive and unquestionable, like the effect of music.
The piece will bear reading many times--perhaps, indeed, only comes forth, as from recesses, by many repititions" (252).
Belasco notes that Clapp was "eager to attract attention and readers to his newspaper" and "not only published Whitman's poems but also printed parodies of Whitman's poems, as well as promotional advertisements for the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. Throughout the early months of 1860, Clapp was reguarly publishing Whitman" (252). "You and Me and To-Day" was printed in the January 14,1860, edition of the paper as one of Clapp's "original" poems, a feature which ran in nearly every edition of the Saturday Press, usually on the first page (252). Clapp published "Of Him I Love Day and Night" on January 28,1860, as "Poemet" with a notation "For the Saturday Press" at the upper left-hand corner of page 2. Clapp would publish a second "Poemet" ("That Shadow My Likenes," a Calamus poem) and "Leaves" ("whose three numbered verses became three distinct poems, two in the Calamus cluster and one in the Enfans d'Adam cluster in the 1860 Leaves of Grass) in this spot (252-253). [pages: 251,252-253]
- Belphegor. "Dramatic Feuilleton." New York Saturday Press. 2 Dec. 1865: 280-281. [more about this work]
- Belphegor expresses his agreement with Figaro's review of Sam (281). [pages: 281]
- Browne, Junius Henri. The Great Metropolis; A Mirror of New York. Hartford: American Publishing, 1869. 700 p. [more about this work]
- Browne cites him as the head of the "original" Bohemians of New York City and the United States. Clapp was their leader "as well by age as experience and a certain kind of domineering dogmatism." Browne notes that Clapp had been previously associated with several New York papers and was "one of the first to introduce the personal style of the Paris fuilleton into the literary weeklies" (152).
Browne notes that Clapp began the Saturday Press after the "inception" of the "informal society" of the Bohemians. Browne calls the Saturday Press the paper "to which the brotherhood contributed for money when they could get it, and for love when money could not be had" (152-3). Browne mentions that Clapp was able to keep the paper running for a year and tried to revive it twice after its first failure.
Browne mentions that Clapp was able to keep the paper running for a year and tried to revive it twice after its first failure. He claims that since then "Clapp, bitter from his many failures, now lives a careless life; writes epigrammatic paragraphs and does the dramatic for one of the weeklies. He is stated to be over fifty; but his mind is vigorous as ever, his tongue as fluent, and his pen as sharp" (153). [pages: 152-153]
- Clapp, Ebenezer. The Clapp Memorial: Record of the Clapp Family in America, Containing Sketches of the Original Six Emigrants and a Genealogy of their Descendants Bearing the Name. With a Supplement and the Proceedings at Two Family Meetings. Boston: David Clapp & Son, 1876. [more about this work]
- [pages: 39-40, 341-343]
- Clapp, Henry Jr. "Card." New York Saturday Press. 22 Oct. 1859: 2. [more about this work]
- Clapp includes a letter from the paper's "friend," H.C., Jr., that discusses the brilliance of the Saturday Press and the paper's subscription "crisis" (2). [pages: 2]
- Clare, Ada. "Thoughts and Things VII." New York Saturday Press. 10 Dec. 1859: 2. [more about this work]
- Clare defends her right to publish her opinions in her column and claims that they "will sometimes be diametrically opposed to those of the Editor, and Personne." She claims that neither man will take this personally or suffer any ill consequences from their difference of opinion (2). [pages: 2]
- Clark, George Pierce. "'Saerasmid,' an Early Promoter of Walt Whitman." American Literature. 27.2 (1955): 259-262. [more about this work]
- Posits that it was at Clapp's insistence that Gardette wrote a number of Whitman parodies for the Saturday Press in 1860, around the same time that Clapp was heavily promoting the 1860 Leaves of Grass in the pages of the Press (261). [pages: 261-262]
- Congdon, Charles T. Reminiscences of a Journalist. Boston: James R. Osgood, 1880. [more about this work]
- [pages: 338, 339]
- "Current Memoranda." Potter's American Monthly. Sep. 1875: 710-715. [more about this work]
- [pages: 714]
- Derby, J.C. Fifty Years among Authors, Books and Publishers. New York: G. W. Carleton and Co., 1884. [more about this work]
- Derby writes that at the time of the founding of the Saturday Press Clapp "was a man well-known at the time in journalistic circles." Clapp was editor-in-chief of the paper (232). Derby also writes about how Clapp often took charge of the Saturday Press's advertising receipts as he did not like to sleep in the morning and Aldrich often slept in (232).
He is mentioned as one of the "brightest and most popular humorous men of the day," known to rally around the book store of George W. Carleton. Derby calls him "that famous King of all Bohemia." Derby notes that "the noonday hour frequently found most of them at Pfaff's celebrated German restuarant, in a Broadway basement, near Bleecker-street, the rendezvous at that day of the so-called Bohemians" (239). [pages: 232,239,412]
- "Died in Bowery Lodgings: Sad Ending of the Career of George G. Clapp." New York Times. 10 Apr. 1893: 3. [more about this work]
- George G. Clapp's brother and leader of the Bohemian group that gathered at Pfaff's and made it "a famous resort back in the fifties."
The obituary notes that Clapp was known as the "'King of Bohemia,' a title by no means easy to win or hold in such brilliant company. He barely escaped genius. To this day the impresion of his remarkable gifts and strong personality is held in vivid recognition by those who knew him, however alightly." [pages: 3]
- Donaldson, Thomas. Walt Whitman the Man. New York; F.P. Harper, 1896. 276 p. [more about this work]
- [pages: 208]
- Edwards, Henry Sutherland. Personal Recollections. London: Cassell and Company, 1900. [more about this work]
- Edwards recalls that Clapp wrote a "highly laudatory article" about William North after his suicide and that Clapp "had known him intimately in London and Paris." Edwards also describes his own relationship with Clapp in Paris and states that Clapp introduced him to Horace Greeley. Of Clapp, Edwards says that "he had cultivated to a fatal point the art of saying disagreeable things in an innocent manner" and cites several examples of this behavior. Edwards states that he was surprised to hear Clapp described as a Bohemian, since Clapp did not drink alcohol at all when Edwards knew him. [pages: 83-88]
- Ego. "Letter from Paris [from our own correspondent]." New-York Saturday Press. 7 Apr. 1866: 4. [more about this work]
- Ego compares the style of Jules Janin's Fueilleton about Les Chanteurs Ambulants to Figaro's (4). [pages: 4]
- Ego. "Letter from Paris." New-York Saturday Press. 10 Mar. 1866: 3. [more about this work]
- Ego writes that the portrait of Jules Janin in the most recent issue of Illustration "appears as old as your 'Figaro' did when I saw him in Paris and nearly as good-looking" (3). [pages: 3]
- Ego. "Letter from Paris." New-York Saturday Press. 31 Mar. 1866: 4. [more about this work]
- Ego refers to an idea of Figaro's during his visit to Paris ten years ago which held that "academies, colleges, and all such institutions were established only to prevent diffusion of learning" (4). [pages: 4]
- English, Thomas Dunn. "That Club at Pfaaf's [sic]." The Literary World. 12 Jun. 1886: 202. [more about this work]
- English claims O'Brien, Clapp, and Arnold "used to laughingly class themselves as Bohemians, speak of Pfaff, his beer; but they spoke of no club" (202). English states, "I remember very well saying to one of these gentlemen, with a feeble attempt at pleasantry -- 'As there are so many buyers of beer among your people it is quite proper that you should have a cellar to receive you'" (202). [pages: 202]
- Epstein, Daniel Mark. Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004. 379 p. [more about this work]
- Described as "powerful, arch, and often caustic." Epstein also alleges that he might have been a lover of Whitman's.
Clapp is described as a "most skillful and devoted publicist," who"could make hay out of scandal." He ran both good and bad press for promoting Whitman. Epstein claims that Clapp gave Whitman the advice, "Better to have people stirred against you if they can't be stirred for you." [pages: 55-56,57,310,314]
- Erkkila, Betsy. Whitman the Political Poet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. [more about this work]
- Clapp was responsible for sending a review copy of Leaves of Grass to Juliette Beach that was intercepted by her husband. [pages: 311]
- Eytinge, Rose. The Memories of Rose Eytinge: Being Recollections & Observations of Men, Women, and Events, during Half a Century. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1905. [more about this work]
- Mentions Henry Clapp as one of the "group of men and women, all of whom had distinguished themselves in various avenues, — in literature, art, music, drama, war, philanthropy" who met at Ada Clare's house on West 42nd Street in New York on Sunday evenings (21-22). [pages: 22]
- Figaro [Clapp, Henry Jr.]. "Dramatic Feuilleton." New York Saturday Press. 14 Oct. 1865: 168-169. [more about this work]
- Claiming to be "seized with a fit of 'indisposition'," Figaro states that if he were a performer, he would send someone out to the audience to beg for him to be excused until next week (168). [pages: 168]
- Folsom, Ed and Kenneth M. Price. Re-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005. [more about this work]
- Mentioned as a writer Whitman met at Pfaff's. [pages: 61]
- Folsom, Ed and Kenneth M. Price. "Walt Whitman." The Walt Whitman Archive. http://www.whitmanarchive.org, 2006. [more about this work]
- Clapp is mentioned as both a friend of Whitman and an advocate of his poetry.
- Ford, James L. "New York's Bohemia: A Kingdom Which Still Exists, Although Pfaff's Restaurant is No More." The Philadelphia Inquirer. 27 Nov. 1892: 14. [more about this work]
- Identified as one of "The group of men at that table [who] constituted the Bohemia of a quarter of a century ago, the most notable gathering of its kind that one city has ever known."
- G. J. M. "Bohemianism: The American Authors Who Met in a Cellar." Brooklyn Eagle. 25 May 1884: 9. [more about this work]
- Clapp is referred to as "The King of Bohemia, the man who, above all others kept the band together." He is described as "a small, queer looking old fellow, with reddish gray whiskers, iron gray hair, a protruding forehead and a short, black clay pipe that he was forever smoking." The article also contains a never-before-published biography of Clapp's life dictated by Clapp himself to the author of the article. [pages: 9]
- Gailey, Amanda. "Walt Whitman and the King of Bohemia: The Poet in the Saturday Press." The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. 25.4 (2008): 143-166. [more about this work]
- Gardette, Charles Desmarais and Robert Shelton Mackenzie. The Whole Truth in the Question of "The Fire Fiend": Between Dr. R. Shelton Mackenzie and C.D. Gardette; Briefly stated by the Latter. Philadelphia: Sherman & Co., 1864. [more about this work]
- Mackenzie claims that Clapp knew when he published "The Fire Fiend" in the Saturday Press that the poem and its story were a hoax.
- Gay, Getty. "The Royal Bohemian Supper." New York Saturday Press. 31 Dec. 1859: 2. [more about this work]
- Referred to as "Baron Clapper."
- "General gossip of authors and writers." Current Literature. 1888: 476-480. [more about this work]
- Mentioned as one of the Bohemians at Pfaff's "gossiped" about by Rufus B. Wilson in a "reminiscent letter to the Galveston News." [pages: 479]
- Genoways, Ted. Whitman and the Civil War: America's Poet During the Lost Years of 1860-1862. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009. [more about this work]
- Glicksberg, Charles I. "Walt Whitman in 1862." American Literature. 1934. 264-282. [more about this work]
- Glicksberg writes about Clapp Written about in a discussion of Walt Whitman. Clapp was called "Figaro" and is noted as a Pfaff's regular. [pages: 273,275]
- Greenslet, Ferris. The Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1908. 303 p. [more about this work]
- He is mentioned as part of "a group of journalists and magazine-writers of great repute in their own day, but as remote as Prester John to ours" with whom Aldrich was familiar during his days in the "Literary Bohemia" in New York (38).
Greenlset describes him as one who has gone the way of the "journalists of yester-year" and calls him "perhaps the intensest personality of the group, the 'King of Bohemia'" (39). Greenslet describes him as "a clever, morose little man, a hater of the brownstone respectability of his day. He died in middle life after a brilliant but far from prosperous career in variegated journalism" (39).
Greenslet quotes Clapp's statement at the first failure of the "Saturday Press" in early 1860, "This paper is discontinued for lack of funds, which is, by a coincidence, precisely the reason for which it was started" (48). [pages: 38,39,48]
- Guarneri, Carl J. The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America. Cornell, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994. [more about this work]
- [pages: 73,361]
- Hahn, Emily. Romantic Rebels; An Informal History of Bohemianism in America. Boston; Houghton Mifflin, 1967. 318 p. [more about this work]
- [pages: 2,10,21,28-29,32-33]
- Haynes, John Edward. Pseudonyms of Authors: Including Anonyms and Initialisms. New York, 1882. [more about this work]
- This text identifies the following pseudonym: Figaro (36). [pages: 36]
- Hemstreet, Charles. Literary New York: Its Landmarks and Associations. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1903. [more about this work]
- Hemstreet describes Pfaff's and the Bohemians as follows: "There of an evening met the literary Bohemians of the city, in the days when Bohemia really existed and before the world had well-nigh lost significance and respect. They were gifted men with great power of intellect, who spoke without fear and without favor and whose every word expressed a thought. They were real men and they made the world a real place, a place without affectation, without pretense, without show, without need of applause, and without undue cringing to mere conventional forms. These were the characteristics of the Bohemians, and Bohemia was wherever two or three of them were gathered together. Bohemia was the atmosphere they carried with them, and whether on the streets or in Pfaff's cellar they were at home. Pfaff's happening to be a convenient gathering-place, and beer happening to be the popular brew with most of them, they gathered there. It is a tradition that the place came into favor through the personal efforts of the energetic Henry Clapp. He was attracted to it, so the tradition runs, soon after he started the Saturday Press in 1858" (212-14). Hemstreet claims, however, that it is unimportant if Clapp was solely responsible for calling attention to Pfaff's; it only matters that it became the Bohemians' meeting place (214). [pages: 212-214]
- Holloway, Emory. Free and Lonesome Heart: The Secret of Walt Whitman. New York: Vantage Press, 1960. [more about this work]
- Clapp is described as the "King of Bohemia" and Whitman's "avowed champion." [pages: 109,110,111]
- Holloway, Emory. Walt Whitman: An Interpretation in Narrative. New York & London: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926. [more about this work]
- [pages: 157,162]
- Holloway, Emory. "Whitman Pursued." American Literature. 1955. 1-11. [more about this work]
- [pages: 8]
- Howells, William Dean. "First Impressions of Literary New York." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Jun. 1895: 62-74. [more about this work]
- Howells doesn't refer to him by name, but it's clear from the context that he's talking about Clapp.
Howells claims that Clapp must have stolen the "shredded prose" style of the Saturday Press from the writing of Victor Hugo (63). Howells states that Clapp "brought it back with him from one of those soujourns in Paris which posses one of the French accent rather than the French language" (63).
Howells describes Clapp as "a man of such open and avowed cynicism that he may have been, for all I know, a kindly optimist at heart; some say, however, that he had really talked himself into being what he seemed. I only know that his talk, the first day first day I saw him, was of such a quality that if he was half as bad, he would have been too bad to be. He walked up and down his room saying what lurid things he would directly do if anyone accused him of respectibility, so that he might disabuse the minds of all witnesses" (63).
Howells states that he "could not disown" his fascination with Clapp during his first meeting with him, even though Clapp's language caused him "inner disgust" (63).
Clapp preferred the anonymity of writers in New York to the tradition and recognition of Boston writers (63).
Howells feels that Clapp was toying with him when he asked him of his impression and relationship with Hawthorne (63).
Howells discusses Clapp's death: "The editor passed away too, not long after, and the thing that he had inspired had ceased to be. He was a man of certain sardonic power, and used it rather fiercely and freely, with a joy probaby more apparent than real in the pain it gave. In my last knowledge of him he was much milder than when I first knew him, and I have a feeling that he too came to own before he died that man cannot live by snapping turtle alone. He was kind to some neglected talents, and befriended them with a vigor and a zeal which he would have been the last to let you call generous. The chief of these was Walt Whitman, who, when the Saturday Press took it up, had as hopeless a cause with the critics on either side of the ocean as any man would have" (65). [pages: 63-65]
- Hyman, Martin D. "'Where the Drinkers & Laughers Meet': Pfaff's: Whitman's Literary Lair." Seaport. 26(1991): 56-61. [more about this work]
- [pages: 58-61]
- "In and about the City: Death of Charles I. Pfaff. Something about the Proprietor of the Once Famous "Bohemia."." New York Times. 26 Apr. 1890: 2. [more about this work]
- The obituary identifies him as one of the "Knights of the Round Table" of the "lions of Bohemia." [pages: 2]
- John. "Dramatic Feuilleton." New York Saturday Press. 25 Nov. 1865: 264-265. [more about this work]
- John writes that he heard from the Saturday Press that Figaro "had gone back" on it and that it "is no great loss." John also blames Figaro's mental decay on being forced to write praise for plays and actors when he knew he should write the truth (264). [pages: 264,265]
- Lalor, Eugene T. The Literary Bohemians of New York City in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Ph.D. Dissertation, St. John's University, 1977. 364 p. [more about this work]
- [pages: 5,19-20,24-26,38,43,45-60]
- Lalor, Eugene. "Whitman among the New York Literary Bohemians: 1859–1862." Walt Whitman Review. 25(1979): 131-145. [more about this work]
- Lalor desribes him as one of the "brightest lights" of the New York Boehmians (131). Lalor writes that "at Pfaff's, he [Whitman] was a living shrine, a figure whom Henry Clapp, the recognized 'King of Bohemia,' would have liked to consider the ultimate Bohemian, whose success and artistry dictated adulation and deference" (133). Lalor writes that of all the people Whitman would encounter and associate with at Pfaff's, Clapp was the "individual most closely related" to him and "the most beneficial" (137). Lalor writes that of the "debts" Whitman owed to his "Bohemian interlude," they were "principally owed" to Henry Clapp (137).
Taylor, Stoddard, Aldrich, and Stedman are mentioned as the parties in New York involved in the "inconsistent opposition" to the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1859-1860. Lalor writes that "It was chiefly against this ambivalent group and against the naysayers of New England that Clapp did battle for Whitman, with a characteristic originality of method which was both a tribute to the Press at the same time it was a boon to Whitman" (137). Lalor infers that Clapp and Whitman met, Clapp introduced Whitman to Bohemia, and the two men worked together to publicize Leaves of Grass and Whitman; "Whitman seems to have had a sympathetic if somewhat aloof attitude towards his champion. However their initial meeting came about, it was certainly fortuitous for Whitman" (137). Lalor states that "In essence, what Clapp did for Whitman was make the public listen, to help others hear and hear about this new voice in literature" (137). While Lalor feels that it is an oversimplification to claim that the Saturday Press existed mainly for the exploitation of Whitman, he does argue that "without Clapp's assistance, Whtiman may not have achieved the recognition he did within his lifetime" (138). Lalor quotes Mabbott's estimation of the Saturday Press as "a smart New York paper" and Clapp as "brilliant and humorous, understood much of significance of Whitman" (138). Lalor also cites Emily Hahn: "if it hadn't been for Emerson's warm praise and Clapp's stubborn faith, even Whitman's self-confidence might have suffered. As it was, the staff of the Saturday Press made him a cause, publishing his work and declaring his genius" (138). Lalor also quotes Parry and Allen for perspectives about the influence of Clapp and the Press on Whitman's career (138). Lalor claims that "The aims and purposes of the Press were closely interrelated with the character of Clapp and he, its editor-publisher, regarded independence, a freedom of unbridled expression, as inherent" (140). As a show of support for Whitman, Clapp even allowed him use of the editorial column, "sacrosant property" to Clapp; however, he also "maintained a degree of editorial autonomy in the selection of material about Whitman" that was published in the Press (140). Of these materials, more than half were condemnations of Whitman or "transparent and acknowledged parodies of his style." Lalor feels that Whitman probably had little or no say on what was published on him at this time and that these publications may have been reflective of Clapp's idea that any notice is valuable or his desire to present both sides of the debate about Whitman (140-141).
Lalor cites Charleton's account of Arnold and Whitman's fight at Pfaff's and notes that "Clapp broke his black pipe while pulling at Arnold's coat-tail" (135).
Whitman's relationship with Clapp appears to have ended in 1862, when Whitman left Bohemia. It does not appear that the two continued to correspond during the Civil War, while Whitman went on to the war and "the editor to slay other dragons and to puff other aspirants for literary fame." However, when Clapp revived the Saturday Press in 1865-1866, he paid Whitman tribute twice (141). [pages: 131,133,135,137-45]
- Lause, Mark A. The Antebellum Crisis and America's First Bohemians. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2009. [more about this work]
- Clapp was responsible (along with Fitz-James O'Brien) for introducing his group of literary friends to Pfaff's beer cellar (50).
Clapp was a devout abolitionist, and the Massachusetts "Washingtonian" clubs selected him to represent them at the World Temperance Convention in London in the summer of 1846 (8). However, his strong views on slavery and politics made him a number of enemies in the movement, particularly William Lloyd Garrison (8). Throughout 1848 and 1849, Clapp continued to tour Europe and attend peace conferences (9-10).
While living in London is 1848, Clapp formed part of the "literary Bohemia of that day" (12). After London, Clapp moved to Paris, and "found the French 'more ready, more genial, more witty' than English or Americans" (14). It was here than he began to develop a taste for strong coffee, alcohol, and "spending time with women, without marriage as a goal" (17).
Clapp returned from Europe as an admirer of Fourier, and remained a "'prominent spokesperson for the Socialists'" in the United States (17).
Though Clapp would later "largely be forgotten," Walt Whitman thought his abilities were "'way out of the common'" (18).
Clapp's views on religion were particularly controversial, and he once scoffed "'what is the use of Christianity?'" (96). However, he began as a pious New England man, who rejected the devil and his works (2).
Henry was a twin, and grew up in a large family in Nantucket (2). He held many jobs as a young man, and had much success in maritime and mercantile employment (3).
“Clapp and his circle started their own thoroughly independent and iconoclastic newspaper, the Saturday Press, as an expression of discomfort along the more radical margins of an increasingly successful Republican Party” (64-65). “In promoting what it saw as the best in its field, the Press became an advocate for good journalism and publishing” and received praise from many of its contemporary newspapers (78). However the war took a toll on the paper, and after a short attempt at restarting it in 1865, it was shut down for good (116). Afterwards Clapp became a “’casual writer for City journals’” but no longer held any real journalistic standing. By 1870 he had begun to take some solace in drink, and he died a few years later. Whitman said of him, “he died in a gutter—drink—drink—took him down, down” (116).
William Winter wrote an epitaph after his death:
Wit stops to grieve and laughter stops to sigh
That so much wit and laughter e’er could die;
But Pity, conscious of its anguished past,
Is glad this tortured spirit rests at last.
His purpose, thought, and goodness ran to waste,
He made a happiness he could not taste:
Mirth could not help him, talent could not save:
Through cloud and storm he drifted to the grave.
Ah, give his memory,--who made the cheer,
And gave so many smiles,--a single tear! (118)
Walt Whitman once said “’You will have to know something about Henry Clapp if you want to know all about me'” (53).
More than anything, Henry Clapp valued humor. He is known to have asked "'What is there here on the earth, or up yonder in the skies, to be so mighty solemn about? Nature herself is half the time on the broad grin. She laughs at us even through her tears" (126).
[pages: 47, 50, 61, 114, 119, 124, 125, 8-17, 71, 15-18, 95-97, 2-4, 64-65, 77-79, 115-116, 49-50, 74-75, 28, 51, 53, 58-59, 18-20, 21, 30, 31-35, 37, 38]
- Leland, Charles Godfrey. Memoirs. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1893. [more about this work]
- [pages: 234]
- Levin, Joanna Dale. American Bohemias, 1858-1912: A Literary and Cultural Geography. Ph.D Dissertation; Stanford University, 2001. 394 p. [more about this work]
- Levin notes that the group at Pfaff's "clustered around him." Levin lables him an "inconoclast" and credits him with the vision of a Parisian recreation at Pfaff's (6). Clapp picked Pfaff's for the quality of the coffee and beer and "foreign ambiance" (18). Clapp "'puffed' Pfaff's" (19) and set the tone for the group and created self-conscious Bohemian spirit (22). According to Levin, both Clapp and Whitman provide "direct links" in the discussion of the emergence of Bohemian "in the wake of antebellum reform movements and experimental utopian communities" (23).
Clapp refered to as both the "King" and "Prince" of Bohemia. Levin quotes William Dean Howells' description of Clapp on p.73. [pages: 6, 18,22,23,25,28,30-36,45-46,51,55,57-59,61,70-71,73,76-77,82,87,90,91,299]
- Levin, Joanna. Bohemia in America, 1858-1920. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010. [more about this work]
- Levin notes that the Bohemians of New York clustered around Henry Clapp Jr., “an iconoclast who had just returned from Paris with the idea of emulating la vie bohéme.” Clapp and others sought to create a Bohemia of their own at Pfaff’s beer cellar. “Clapp seized upon Pfaff’s because of its excellent coffee and beer and, most likely, because of its foreign ambiance” (18).
Henry Clapp is referred to as “Prince of Bohemia” by William Winter (19).
Levin states that it was Clapp who set the tone for the group of Bohemians and “created a self-conscious Bohemian spirit” (21).
Clapp started the Saturday Press in 1858. The paper attempted to employ Bohemian “freedom of thought,” but this often translated into a “scathing critique of what the Pfaffians took to be one of the central banes of bourgeoisie existence: humbuggery” (21). The paper helped “popularize notions of Bohemianism and its position within American culture (21).
Clapp provides a direct link between Antebellum reform and Bohemia through his lectures and writings on Abolitionism, Temperance, Fourierism, and Free Love (22).
Levin writes that for Clapp, “Bohemianism seems to have represented a disillusioned turn […] and he often used Bohemianism to articulate an agonized ‘politics of anti-politics.’” However, she notes that there is still some continuity between his Bohemianism and his earlier visions of reform (26).
Henry Clapp was against slavery and had once declared, "'Slaveholding is a sin'" (28).
Levin notes that Clapp had a very particular view of Bohemia, locating it "at the intersection of several overlapping yet distinct bourgeois discourses" (29). Though Clapp promoted the Bohemian sense of artistic entitlement and exemption from the requirements of bourgeois life, he himself must have been a diligent worker, having published several articles a week (36).
“Paradoxically enough […] Clapp viewed a ‘distinct national character’ as the very condition of a future, more broadly based American Bohemianism” (45).
Surprisingly, Henry Clapp appears to have possessed some anti-Semitism. He once stated “‘Jews excepted, I have from my youth up had a lively sympathy for all creatures who are the victims of general persecution’” (46). Still, Levin notes that “such sentiments did not prevent the Bohemians of Pfaff’s from welcoming the openly Jewish actress Adah Isaacs Menken to the beer cellar (47).
Clapp felt that New York “offered a liberating anonymity to its ‘aesthetic inhabitants,’ allowing them greater independence from bourgeois mores and control” (66).
After the Civil War, Clapp attempted to reestablish the Saturday Press, only to find that “the Bourgeois press was even more hostile toward Bohemianism than before” (68). [pages: 5, 18, 19, 21-29, 36-37, 55, 68-69, 42, 44-47, 57-60, 66]
- "Literary Items." Saturday Press. 23 Oct. 1858: 3. [more about this work]
- The section "The Magazines and Their Contents" lists Clapp's "The Old Grambrel-Roof" and "The Little Giant" as appearing in the November issue of the Knickerbocker Magazine. A note on Harper's Magazine lists Henry Clapp, Jr. among the "principal contributors" (3). [pages: 3]
- "Literary News." The Literary World. 1 May 1873: 189-192. [more about this work]
- He is described as the "Prime Minister of this realm [the Kingdom of Bohemia] and editory of the Press. Clapp's current whereabouts are described as follows: "Henry Clapp, alone of his goodly company, maintains his old allegiance, and is pointed out to strangers in New York as the sole remaining representative of a literary coterie that was a power in its day." [pages: 192]
- Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. Berkley Calif. : University of California Press, 1999. 568 p. [more about this work]
- Due to his leadership and influence, the Pfaffians were sometimes referred to as "Clappians."
Clapp was most valued by Whitman during Whitman's visits to Pfaff's and during early days of Leaves of Grass. Clapp promoted the book in The Saturday Press and read poems as part of this effort. Of this time period, Whitman told Traubel, "one must know about Clapp to comprehend fully the history of Leaves of Grass."
Loving mentions a late meeting with Whitman at Pfaff's in 1867. Clapp was a heavy drinker and died in the gutter of alcoholism in 1875. [pages: 235,236,237-239,241-246,260,304, 318-319, 352,371]
- Lukens, Henry Clay. "American Literary Comedians." Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Apr. 1890: 783-797. [more about this work]
- [pages: 793]
- Maurice, Arthur Bartlett. "Literary Clubland II: New York's Literary Clubs." The Bookman: A Review of Books and Life. Jun. 1905: 392-406. [more about this work]
- He is mentioned as the "king" of the "real literary Bohemians of the later fifties" who would gather at Pfaff's "at the noon-meal hour and through the evening until late into the night." [pages: 396]
- Miller, Tice L. Bohemians and Critics: American Theatre Criticism in the Nineteenth Century. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1981. [more about this work]
- "Henry Clapp believed in cutting his victims swift and deep" (77).
William Winter told his son Jefferson that "Whenever old Clapp knew I was at work on a bit of satire he would keep vigilant guard, like a sort of grim old bird over a nestling, fending off intruders and interruptions, sucking away at an ill-smelling pipe while we were alone, and furtively and eagerly watching me out of the corner of one of his bright, glinting eyes. He was terribly embittered, and the sharper the satire the more he liked it" (77). [pages: 1, 15, 18-42, 44, 47, 49, 51, 58, 64, 67, 69, 71, 74, 75, 77, 78, 80, 82, 101, 103, 104, 128-129, 130, 138, 165-167]
- Morris, Roy Jr. The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. [more about this work]
- [pages: 18-20, 24-25, 150]
- Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, Volume II: 1850-1865. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1938. [more about this work]
- Mott states that "Clapp was a man of volatile temperament, caustic wit, and a freedom and courage in criticism of the American scene which were rare in those days" (38). [pages: 38-40]
- "Obituary: Henry Clapp." The New-York Times. 11 Apr. 1875: 7. [more about this work]
- The Times "Obituary" begins: "No man was better known in the newspaper and artistic world a few years ago than than the eccentric and gifted King of the Bohemians Henry Clapp, Jr. He died yesterday, neither old nor young -- about the begining to a natural decline." Clapp is described as "a man of rare conversational powers, always entertaining and often inspired with wit and repartee."
The "Obituary" gives a brief biography of Clapp's professional life.
The "Obituary" mentions that when "the Saturday Press went the way of all journals that are too smart to live," Clapp, Stevens, and others started Vanity Fair, "the best imitation of Punch we have in this country." Vanity Fair is where several of the Bohemians re-assembled, but the periodical eventually went under.
The "Obituary" mentions that both before and after his experience with Vanity Fair Clapp wrote regularly for the Leader Clapp wrote his articles under the pen name of "Figaro" and did mostly dramatic and musical criticisms. Of these, "His writings were spicy and attractive, but his judgment was indifferent and they all passed like sea-foam--fresh and pleasant for one moment, but gone and forgotten the next."
The "Obituary" mentions that Clapp wrote for several City journals, but after Vanity Fair "he was merely a contributor, and had no regular journalistic standing." The author of the "Obituary" claims that he will be best remembered for his role as "King of the Bohemians" and the company which he kept during that period, many of whom have passed away. Clapp and Wilkins are cited as the "organizers" the "much wondered at, admired, and sought after" group of Bohemians. The "Obituary" states that it could name more of the Bohemians, but seems to feel that the enterprise is futile, especially now that death's "resistless sickle has swept in the first and practically the last of the Bohemians. [pages: 7]
- Odell, George Clinton. Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VI (1850-1857). New York: Columbia University Press, 1931. [more about this work]
- Odell cites to 1850 theater reviews in The New York Herald written by "Figaro." These reviews range from March to May (New York Public Library file ends May 10). [pages: 69-60]
- "Old 'Barry Gray' Dead." The New York World. 12 Jun. 1886: 5. [more about this work]
- Coffin's obituary does not mention Henry Clapp, Jr., by name, but rather refers to the "King of Bohemia," which was Clapp's nickname. Clapp is credited with having loaned $100 to Geroges Clemenceau so that Clemenceau could "go to Maine and court the present Mme. Clemenceau, once a pretty Yankee girl" (5). [pages: 5]
- Parry, Albert. Garrets and Pretenders: A History of Bohemianism in America. New York: Covici, Friede, 1933. [more about this work]
- Clapp was born November 11, 1814, in Nantucket, to "a family of seamen and merchants famous for longevity." His family did not support his early literary endeavors, which prompted the older Clapp to give this advice to young writers: "Never confide secrets to your relatives: blood will tell" (43). Clapp became "a radical and a cynic" after "a number of years at sea and behind the counter"; "When he finally emerged into the press and literature, he became known as the greatest hater of brownstone respectability of his time" (43). Parry writes, "It was said of him that exposed all kinds of sham except his own. But this was not quite true" (44). Clapp began his adult life as a Sunday-school teacher, temperence editor, and lecturer and later drifted towards Socialism, Bohemianism, and drinking; "To the end of his life he poked fun at almost all the new ideas and men discovered by him as well as at his old follies." Also, according to Parry, while he did bring Bohemianism to America, he did not enjoy the title of "King of Bohemia." Clapp helped Brisbane translate Fourier's works from the French, and the story he told about discovering that Brisbane had a glass eye when he was reading to Brisbane and he fell asleep seeming to have one eye open inspired O'Brien's "The Wondersmith" (44-45).
Parry writes that "it was the bon mots that were destined to make Clapp's reputation in American letters. After his death, even his enemies admitted that Henry Clapp said more 'good things' than any other American journalist of his time." Parry continues to provide several examples of Clapp's most notable, remembered, or famous "bon mots" (45). According to Parry, some of Clapp's personal targets were Wall Street, which he called "Caterwaul Street," the government for selecting "In God we trust" for the motto that appears on coins, the island of Cuba, and the Union College of New York's conferring on Gen. Grant an LL.D. (45-46).
Parry writes, "Clapp looked such an indefinite age that his confreres called him the Oldest Man. He was small of stature, haggard of appearance, but wiry and alert. His voice was thin and cutting. His eyes seemed the bluer and his beard the grayer for the incessant smoke of his pipe and the steam of his coffee. He looked the epithet of 'the intensest personality' often applied to him. The most characteristic sketch of him, drawn by an unknown admirer, hung on the walls of Pfaff's for many years" (46). Parry also includes the description of Clapp that appeared in the New York Leader in 1864, where he was then a contributor. Parry also notes, however, that other "more devastating characterizations" of Clapp began to appear in the press at this time. Both Clapp and Bohemia were attacked by outsiders and former Pfaffians turned "respectable." In answering these attacks, Clapp named "bogus Bohemians" among them, namely Stoddard and Stedman. Parry notes, however, that even Clapp had agreed that the pre-war Bohemia was much better than what existed after the Civil War and grew increasingly bitter and cynical over the years. According to Parry, "He was baffled by the fact that he, the oldest of the Bohemians, was outliving most of them. The brilliant of the group were dying fast, the mediocre lived on. Perhaps, he felt qualms as to the wisdom of lingering behind much longer in the doubtful company of Winter, who tried to make the American theater very respectable, and Stedman, who became a Wall Street broker to the detriment of his poetry." Parry also notes that Clapp took Arnold's death especially hard, and feels that this event started him "on his course of suicidal drinking" (47). According to Parry, "He knew that his end was approaching, and though he was cynical about America, her people, her politics, and her letters, he was cheerful about his own fate. There was something socratic in the Henry Clapp of the closing years. The few friends who understood him supplied him with money to buy the drinks. Herr Pfaff fed him gratis. But some meddlesome souls tried to save Clapp from his bliss; George Hall, mayor of Brooklyn, printer and temperance worker, sent him several times to the Binghamton Inebriate Asylum, but to no avail. Plainly, Clapp was proving how wrong William Douglas O'Connor was when he prophesied that Henry would most horribly end in respectibility as a member of the Common Council or Board of Aldermen -- 'the guilty result of Bohemianism'" (47). Clapp died April, 1875, and Parry reprints the harsh April 16, 1875 obituary from the New York Daily Graphic that states:
"There has rarely been a more pathetic picture than this poor old man presented, reduced to rags, consumed by a horrible thirst, and utterly without a hope for this world or the next. What memories must have haunted him of the young men who used to meet him at Pfaff's and whom he had educated to believe that drink and infidelity were the marks of literary genius! From temperance lectures and Sunday-school teaching to beggary, lonliness, and the degredation is a stride that no man can take without knowing the keen misery of mourning over a wasted life" (47).
The obituary then continues on, accusing him of corrupting and hastening the deaths of other young writers, such as Arnold, through his example. Parry also writes of Howells's negative remarks about Clapp and notes taht "there might have been consolation for the dying Clapp in the memory that he never paid Howells for his contributions" (47-48).
In discussing the project for a writer undertaking a history of Greenwich Village and what was in New York before Greenwich Village, Parry writes: "Yet earlier, the writer is compelled to trace a connecting link between a great genius like Poe and a talented dilettante like Clapp because both of them were called Bohemians and, in fact, Clapp's group gathered in Pfaff's saloon a few short years after Poe's death from alcohol and madness" (xiii). Parry continues that this first Bohemian group "was not still-born. It had a justification of its own, however negligent most of its achievements and results may seem now. It burst forth in the wake of the sluggish and ponderous Knickerbocker school. It stormed the prim fastness of literary Boston. Rebellion against the slow waters and mild breezes emanating from the ancient seat of American culture was the main raison d'etre of New York's first Bohemians. Henry Clapp, Fitz-James O'Brien, Ada Clare, and their group were the first organizers writers to insist on transferring contemporary life and literature from the prison of salons to the freer air of saloons. They upheld the memory of Poe, they helped enthrone Whitman, and they prepared the path for much of the unorthodox that was to follow in American letters" (xiii).
Clapp returned to New York and "boldly" declared himself a Bohemian after the "struggling journalist and theatrical critic" visited Paris. After this declaration he "named his articles feuilletons, and for lack of sidewalk cafes cultivated Pfaff's beer cellar under the Broadway pavement" (21). He was joined by actors, writers, artists, law and medical students who also called themselves Bohemians and was also imitated in several other New York saloons. "They too called themselves Bohemians; they kept late hours; they pretended to flout conventions, and they clothed their poverty with the poetical cloak of Murger's philosophy. The time was propitious, for by the beginning of the second half of the century America had produced a sizeable class of professional men of arts, but was not as yet ready to pay them more than a gingery and dubious admiration" (21). According to Parry, "It was Charlie's coffee that attracted Clapp, his discoverer and first booster" (22).
In a discussion of various Pfaffians's attempts to emulate or uphold the memory of Poe, especially his "distrust of mankind and his despair of the world," Parry writes that Clapp "endeavored to be as sexless and as sublimely morose as Poe, but since Henry was essentially a cynic and a wit he failed, and turned out to be caustically sullen instead -- yet quite sexless" (9).
Parry writes that Clapp "reluctantly answered" to the title "the King of Bohemia" and that he and Ada Clare "were consorts in name only." According to Parry, Clapp was the "least active" of Clare's many admirers. "Clapp, in spite of his volubility, kept much to himself; he liked to talk of everything except himself; no on knew whom or when he loved" (19).
Clapp founded the Saturday Press in October 1858; the paper was "jestingly referred to as the house organ of Pfaff's." According to Parry, "The public gasped at the editorial paragraphs of Henry Clapp. For the first time in the memory of the living, the whiskers of American gods were pulled by a weekly with such nonchalant energy and air of authority." Parry also writes, "Often, Clapp and his paper appeared to be naive and hitting at small fry, but on the whole it did valuable spading of American life and spanking of the native arts" (24). Parry mentions that Clapp wrote under the "transparent incognito" of "Figaro" (24). Parry also notes others' views of Clapp and the Saturday Press: "When, in August, 1860, Howells paid a personal visit to New York and Clapp's editorial office, he found himself displeased with the foreign character of Henry's coterie which he called 'a sickly colony, transplanted from the mother asphalt of Paris, and never really striking root in the pavements of New York.' Winter said that in temperment and mentality Clapp was really more of a Frenchman than an American; he even compared him to Voltaire, in looks, at least. Even his enemies in the contemporary press wrote of Clapp: 'He caught the trick of French terseness and sharpness, and he feuilletons might have been written by a Parisian'" (24).
Parry writes that after the Civil War, despite the losses among the former Pfaffians, illnesses, and changes in spirit, Clapp attempted to "revive the old spirit" of Bohemia. He brought back the Saturday Press on August 5, 1865, and several national newspapers gave positive reviews to the papers' first few issues. Pfaff advertised the paper's return (32).
In terms of publicizing and reinforcing Whitman's ego, at Pfaff's Whitmat "was the shrine to which Clapp brought the faithful" (38). Parry notes that Clapp helped to spread Whitman's fame and would often show him off to visitors at the bar. Clapp missed him the rare evenings he did not show. While Clapp seems to have liked and enjoyed Whitman's presence at Pfaff's, several other regulars, such as Stedman and Winter did not mind when he was absent and did not miss his "gross bigotry." Parry cites Whitman's birthday toast of "That's the feller! to Clapp as one instance in which "Winter though it mighty poor eloquence in honor of Clapp and still worse English" (39). Clapp, "one of the first to proclaim the genius of Walt Whitman," however, would sometimes make friendly jests at Whitman's expense: "Walt, you include everything. What have you got to say to the bed-bug?" (39). According to Parry, "Clapp and his journal brought upon themselves the ire and the admiration of the day for their insistance that Whitman was greater than Longfellow" (39-40). Parry gives and overview of the poetry, editorials, parodies, and reviews of Whitman's work that Clapp published in the Saturday Press. During this period, Clapp and Whitman kept up a correspondence in which Clapp discussed some of the financial problems of the Saturday Press with Whitman. According to Parry, Whitman especially liked the stories in which Clapp would barricade the paper's office doors to prevent the entry of bill collectors and would prompt the staff to remain silent when creditors tested the doors; Whitman called Clapp's efforts "the most heroic fight to keep the Press alive" (40). Clapp introduced Burroughs to Whitman, as he knew both men through the Saturday Press, which is also how Burroughs took notice of Whitman's work. Parry notes that even though the Press died, "Clapp still championed the cause of Walt in a world so hostile to both of them" (41).
Parry mentions that in the Summer of 1865, when Clapp attempted to "resurrect New York's Villonia, the opposition was terrifc." His former co-workers at the Leader strongly opposed the idea and went as far as to write articles and editorials to that effect (60). Much later, when the idea of Bohemianism was revived, in the form of the New Bohemian writers like Eva Katherin Clapp contributed based on claims of blood ties to Clapp, and the paper made "other mistakes that showed their complete ignorance of that old Bohemia which they tried to claim as their honorable family-tree" (186). [pages: xiii,9,19,21,22,24,32-33,38-41,43-48,44(ill.),49,60,61,68,97,99,100,110,118,125,138,186,212,284]
- Pattee, Fred Louis. The Feminine Fifties. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Incorporated, 1940. [more about this work]
- [pages: 293,300]
- "People of Prominence." Pittsburgh Dispatch. 20 Sep. 1889: 4. [more about this work]
- "Pfaff's [from the N.Y. correspondent of the Boston Saturday Express]." New York Saturday Press. 3 Dec. 1859: 2. [more about this work]
- Clapp is not mentioned by name here, but there is a description of "the king" of bohemia sitting atop his throne.
- Philo-Figaro. "A New Nation in Prospect." New York Saturday Press. 23 Sep. 1865: 120. [more about this work]
- Rawson, A. L. "A Bygone Bohemia." Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly. 1896. 96-107. [more about this work]
- [pages: 97-100]
- Renehan, Edward, Jr. John Burroughs: An American Naturalist. New York: Black Dome Press, 1998. [more about this work]
- [pages: 56-57, 62]
- Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995. 671 p. [more about this work]
- Nantucket-born, spent time in Paris and pronounced himself a bohemian upon his return in mid-1850s. Clapp is described as becoming "the archetypal bohemian, lashing out at everything but standing for little besides a love of fine coffee, strong liquor, and lively repartee."
Clapp worked as a Sunday-school teacher,temperance lecturer, and an abolitionist. At one point, he became involved in socialism and translated Fourier's works for Albert Brisbane. Clapp also joined Stephen Pearl Andrews' free-love league after returning from Paris. He wrote against conventional marriage in 1858 in the free-love book Husband vs. Wife. Briefly revived The Saturday Press in 1865. Around 1867, Clapp worked as a clerk in a New York public office.
In describing his career, Whitman told Traubel, "You will have to know something about Henry Clapp if you want to know all about me."
- "Richard Henry Stoddard." Watchman. 1903. 5-6. [more about this work]
- The obituary states that "By the best of his leisure he struggled up into self-education, and the companionship of such men as Bayard Taylor and Henry Clapp" (5). [pages: 5]
- Rogers, Cameron. The Magnificent Idler, the story of Walt Whitman. New York: Garden City, Doubleday, Page and Co., 1926. 312 p. [more about this work]
- Clapp, who is identified as "a young newspaperman, with a journal of his own," is described as someone "whose ideas grow proportionately more shining with the recession of the dark tide [of liquor] in the bottle before him" (199).
Rogers says that Clapp "breaks a spear in [Whitman's] defense daily" (200). Rogers writes of a trip to the opera that Clapp and Whitman take on the evening of April 13, 1861, in which Clapp attempts to call Whitman's attention to a beautiful actress on the stage only to have Whitman respond cooly ("'Look Walt, ain't she a beauty? Why, she smiled right at you.' But Walt was granite" .) [pages: 199-200,204-06,296]
- Schmidgall, Gary, ed. Conserving Walt Whitman's Fame: Selections from Horace Traubel's Conservator, 1890-1919. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006. [more about this work]
- Seitz, Don Carlos. Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne): A Biography and Bibliography. NY: Harper & Brothers, 1919. [more about this work]
- [pages: 76, 96, 99, 147]
- Sentilles, Renee M. Performing Menken: Adah Isaacs Menken and the Birth of American Celebrity. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2003. [more about this work]
- Sentilles describes him as "a living illustration of the connection between American bohemianism and middle-class idealism." [pages: 141-142]
- Stansell, Christine. "Whitman at Pfaff's: Commercial Culture, Literary Life and New York Bohemia at Mid-Century." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. 10.3 (1993): 107-126. [more about this work]
- He is listed as one of the Pfaffian writers that "have fallen into obscurity." Stansell wonders how much influence these writers weilded on Whitman's literary career (108). Stansell notes that Clapp "set the tone" at Pfaff's and "was known for his slashing wit and withering bon-mots: a disdain for puffery was a point of principle for his Saturday Press" (117). Stansell also writes that one can understand the "superheated conditions of literary work" in the 1850s from Clapp's correspondence to Whitman (117).
Stansell writes that "Henry Clapp himself thought bohemia to be an entirely French phenomenon, impossible to transplant to America" (110).
As one of the "Pfaffian regulars" who did "serious writing along with journalism", Clapp wrote criticism (114). Stansell writes that at Pfaff's "There was verbal play with literary material: O'Brien took the idea for a sensationalist Poe-esque story about a glass eye from a story Clapp told one night" (117).
Stansell observes that the way Whitman referred to Clapp is similar to "the sort of evasion and half-glimpse which Whitman often used as a sexual code" and suggests that the two might have been lovers. Regardless of this fact, Stansell notes that Clapp was a "champion and friend" of Whitman; "a much needed ally at that time...when almost the whole press of America when it mentioned me at all treated me with derision or worse," and also, "Henry Clapp stepped out of the crowd of hooters" (119). Clapp was 44 and Whitman 39 when they met, and they "shared a general affiliation to radical reform." Clapp was born in Nantucket and had worked as an abolitionist lecturer in the 1830s, edited a temperance newsletter, and worked as the secretary to Albert Brisbane, the American Fourierist. Stansell notes that Clapp's political positions seem harder to gauge in the 1850s, as he separated his political and literary works, but notes that he attended a "star-studded convention of radicals in Rutland, Vermont" in the late 1850s -- "a gathering of spiritualists, free-thinkers, advocates of women's rights and free love, and abolitionists" (119). Stansell writes that "more salient...to Clapp's friendship with Whitman was his involvement in free love circles" and notes that he was arrested in a police raid in 1855, during a meeting of the New York Free Love League, "a discussion group of men and women presided over by the anarchist and sex radical Stephen Pearl Andrews." According to Stansell, Clapp was a prominent member of this group and spoke for them both the night of their arrest and at their trial (119-120). Stansell writes, however, that "By the time Whitman met him...Clapp sought a more protean oppositional identity than radical reform offered. He impressed others as a bohemian genius who set his entire existence against the forces of convention" (120).
Stansell discusses Howells's visit in detail, focusing on Howells's interactions with Clapp when he visited the Saturday Press (120). According to Stansell, "Howells' mistake was to be from Boston. We can view the entire account of his meeting with Clapp as materializing from his decades-long battle against the ascendancy of New York over his beloved Boston as literary capital of the country. Howells was both drawn to the literary dynamism of New York and repelled by it, and he preserved until the end of his life a nostalgia for the well-bred Boston literary elite which had enfolded him in their circle when he first migrated to the city from the Midwest in 1861. For Howells, Clapp's 'bad' qualities were inseparable from his New-York-ness: 'he embodied the new literary life of that city.' And at the heart of that life was a contempt for Boston, 'a bitterness against Boston as great as the bitterness against respectability'" (120-121).
According to Stansell, during the 1850's, the publishers and writers of New York "were just beginning to take advantage of the possibilities the new markets offered for a publishing business free of the dominance of the Boston critics and publishers. Clapp was a leader in this process, and Whitman would in some ways be its first great success. Clapp's prescience lay in his comprehension of how publicity and celebrity could, within a changing literary market, obviate the need for critical and moral approval. Whitman seemed to have something of this in mind when he noted that Clapp was the writers' avant-garde, 'our pioneer, breaking ground before the public was ready to settle.' At a moment whne some gentleman writers still shied away from advertising their books, Clapp fully grasped the democratizing features of the market. 'It is a fundamental principle in political economy,' he instructed Whitman in 1860, 'that everything succeeds if money enough is spent on it'" (121-122). [pages: 108-10,114,117,119-23]
- Starr, Louis Morris. Bohemian Brigade; Civil War Newsmen in Action. New York: Knopf, 1954. 367 p. [more about this work]
- According to Starr, "Regularly toward nightfall, Pfaff escorted any unwary patrons who were sitting in the vault to some other part of his restaurant, Henry Clapp, Jr., took his seat at the head of the table, the initiates appeared, and presently, in Whitman's words, 'there was as good talk around that table as took place anywhere in the world'" (4). Starr writes that it had been about five years since "the bright-eyed, witty Clapp" had returned from Paris, where he had become "infatuated" with Henri Murger's Scenes de la Vie de Boheme and "set himself up here as 'the King of Bohemia.'" Starr continues, "No one, to judge from substantial evidence, was quite sure what Bohemia was all about, but the movement, if anything, was stronger than ever. 'The New Theory of Bohemia' was warmly discussed in the current Knickerbocker, and the New York Illustrated News of February 23, 1861, had a starry-eye piece on the Pfaffians -- 'free-thinkers and free-lovers, and jolly companions well met, who make symposia, which for wit, for frolic, and now and then for real intellectual brilliance, are not to be found in any house within the golden circles of Fifth Avenue'" (4).
As an example of his claim that "The wit and frolic, at least, were beyond cavil," Starr cites the following exchange: "Charles F. Browne ('Artemus Ward') read a telegram from a California lecture bureau: 'What will you take for forty nights?' Clapp sang out: 'Brandy and soda, tell them,' an answer that endeared Browne to the West Coast" (4).
Clapp and Bohemianism were attractive to antebellum reporters, Starr claims: "So it was that, as 'tails' of a coinage stamped withteh names of the great opinion-makers, reporters in the metropolis of journalism were of sufficiently low estate to find in Clapp's Bohemia a certain rationale, and tehy embraced it with such fervor that the term 'Bohemian' would cling to them long after Clapp and his movement were forgotten" (7).
Of the advances made by several papers in their printing processes, Clapp said: "The daily papers have taken to boasting that everything they print is stereotyped; we thought this fact had been patent from the beginning" (31). [pages: 4,7,31,62]
- Stovall, Floyd. The Foreground of Leaves of Grass. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974. [more about this work]
- Called the "Prince of Bohmemia." Stovall discusses Clapp's publication of Whitman's poetry in The Saturday Press and his "Bohemian fraternity." [pages: 4-5, 6, 7,8,14, 37(n), 226]
- "The Queen of Bohemia [From the Philadelphia Dispatch]." New-York Saturday Press. 10 Nov. 1860: 1. [more about this work]
- "Three New York Poets." Scribner's Monthly. Jul. 1881: 469-472. [more about this work]
- The writer refers to the "king of Bohemia" without directly referencing Clapp by name. The writer specifically mentions Clapp's tragic end, stating, "[t]he old king of Bohemia died a pauper, a half-dozen years ago, and some of his old subjects passed the hat around among the trim young journalists, who had never known him, and collected enough to put a head-stone over his grave" (469). [pages: 469]
- Traubel, Horace. Intimate with Walt: Selections from Whitman's Conversations with Horace Traubel, 1888-1892. Ed. Schmidgall, Gary. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001. [more about this work]
- Whitman recalls his loyalty during early days of Leaves of Grass. Clapp and The Saturday Press were much needed allies. [pages: 98-99]
- Twain, Mark. "A Private History of the 'Jumping Frog' Story." The North American Review. Apr. 1894: 446-453. [more about this work]
- Twain claims that Artemus Ward gave Clapp the Jumping Frog story as a "present," and "Clapp put it in his Saturday Press, and it killed that paper with a suddenness that was beyond praise" (450). [pages: 450]
- Twain, Mark. The Autobiography of Mark Twain. Ed. Charles Neider. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. [more about this work]
- [pages: 199]
- Vedder, Elihu. The Digressions of V., Written for his Own Fun and that of His Friends, by Elihu Vedder; Containing the Quaint Legends of his Infancy, an Account of his Stay in Florence, the Garden of Lost Opportunities, Return Home on the Track of Columbus, His Struggle. Boston & New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1910. [more about this work]
- Walsh, William Shepard. Pen Pictures of Modern Authors. Ill. Jay Charlton. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1882. 333 p. [more about this work]
- "He had the greatest sort of contempt for any writer who would use a word of two or more syllables when the same meaning could be conveyed in one syllable. This man's name was Henry Clapp, Jr. He believed it to be his destiny to establish a new sort of literature in New York, something that would become national, and that would cut off from all newspaper and magazine articles the long Norman words, and keep all utterances confined to the short, expressive Saxon. With this object in view he drew around him many of the promising literary men of the day. Pfaff's restaurant on Broadway, a few doors east of where it now is, near the Grand Central Hotel, was selected as the headquarters where the genial company met and very soon the 'Pfaff's' had a national reputation[...]" (162). [pages: 162, 166]
- Watson, J. W. "Notes and Comments: How Artemus Ward Became a Great Lecturer." North American Review. Apr. 1889: 521-522. [more about this work]
- Watson lists Henry Clapp as an editor of Vanity Fair (521). [pages: 521]
- Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Henry Clapp, Jr., June 12, 1860." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 55. [more about this work]
- The letter is addressed to Henry Clapp, Jr. [pages: 55]
- Whitman, Walt. "Letter to William D. O'Connor, May 5, 1867." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 327-329. [more about this work]
- Whitman mentions running into Henry Clapp on Broadway. [pages: 328]
- Whitman, Walt. "Letter to William D. O'Connor, May 5, 1867." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 327-329. [more about this work]
- Whitman has met with Henry Clapp in Broadway. [pages: 328]
- Whitman, Walt. "Letter to William D. O'Connor, September 15, 1867." Walt Whitman: The Correspondance. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 338-340. [more about this work]
- Whitman mentions chatting with Clapp at Pfaff's over some lager. [pages: 339]
- Whitman, Walt. Letter to John Burroughs. 1867. 340-341. [more about this work]
- Whitman, Walt. Complete Writings of Walt Whitman. Eds. Richard Maurice Bucke, Thomas B. Harned, and Horace L. Traubel. New York: Putnam, 1902. [more about this work]
- Whitman records in his journal on August 16 that he met with Charles Pfaff for an excellent breakfast at his restaurant on 24th Street. “Our host himself, an old friend of mine, quickly appear’d on the scene to welcome me and bring up the news, and, first opening a big fat bottle of the best wine in the cellar, talk about ante-bellum times, ’59 and ’60, and the jovial suppers at his then Broadway place, near Bleecker street. Ah, the friends and names and frequenters, those times, that place. Most are dead—Ada Clare, Wilkins, Daisy Sheppard, O’Brien, Henry Clapp, Stnaley, Mullin, Wood, Brougham, Arnold—all gone. And there Pfaff and I, sitting opposite each other at the little table, gave rememberance to them in a style they would have themselves fully confirm’d, namely, big, brimming, fill’d-up champagne-glasses, drain’d in abstracted silence, very leisurely, to the last drop.” [pages: 5:21]
- Wilson, Rufus Rockwell and Otilie Erickson Wilson. New York in Literature; The Story Told in the Landmarks of Town and Country. Elmira, NY: Primavera Press, 1947. 372 p. [more about this work]
- [pages: 63-65]
- Wilson, Rufus Rockwell. New York: Old & New; Its Story, Streets, and Landmarks. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1903. [more about this work]
- [pages: 140-42]
- Winter, William. Old Friends; Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1909. 407 p. [more about this work]
- Winter recalls having been in New York only a few days before he was hired by Clapp as a sub-editor of "The Saturday Press." Winter states that Clapp started the paper in 1858, "that, all along, had led, and was leading, a precarious existance; and with that paper I remained associated until its suspension, in December, 1860" (57). Winter gives the precise date for the beginning of the "Saturday Press" as October 29, 1858; according to Winter, Clapp began the paper with Edward Howland (66).
Winter states, "Clapp was an original character. We called him 'The Oldest Man.' His age was unknown to us. He seemed to be very old, but, as afterward I ascertained, he was then only forty-six. In appearance he was remotely suggestive of the portrait of Voltaire. He was a man of slight, seemingly fragile but really wiry figure; bearded; gray; with keen, light blue eyes, a haggard visage, a vivacious manner, and a thin, incisive voice [...] He was brilliant and buoyant in mind; impatient of the commonplace; intolerant of smug, ponderous, empty, obstructive respectability; prone to sarcasm; and he had for so long a time live in a continuous, bitter conflict with conventionality that he had become reckless of public opinion. His delight was to shock the commonplace mind and to sting the hide of the Pharisee with the barb of satire" (57-58).
Winter states that "at the time of our first meeting I knew very little of his mercurial character and vicissitudinous career, but with both of them I presently became acquainted" (58).
Winter mentions Clapp's long residence in Paris and states that "indeed, in his temperment, his mental constitution, and his conduct of life, he was more Frenchman than American" (58).
According to Winter, Clapp "had met with crosses, disappointment, and sorrow, and he was wayward and erratic; but he possessed both the faculty of taste and the instinctive love of beauty, and, essentially, he was the apostle of freedom of thought" (58-59).
Clapp was born in Nantucket, November 11, 1814. In his early adulthood, he was associated with the church, the temperance movement, he was an anti-slavery activist under Nathaniel P. Rogers of New Hampshire, "a man of brilliant ability, now forgotten, to whom he was devotedly attached, and whose name, in later years, he often mentioned to me, and always with affectionate admiration." Clapp's early writing career was based in New England, where he published early journalism essays in New Bedford and he edited a paper in Lynn, Mass., during which time he was also jailed for his aggressive pro-temperance editorial stance. According to Winter, Clapp's "views, on almost all subjects, were of a radical kind, and, accordingly, he excited venemous antagonism." Winter also mentions Clapp's in Fourierism and his assisting Brisbane in translating "The Social Destiny of Man." "His career, when I was first associated with him, had been, in material results, more or less, a failure, as all careers are, or are likely to be, that inveterately run counter to the tide of mediocrity. Such as he was, -- withered, bitter, grotesque, seemingly ancient, a good fighter, a kind heart, -- he was the Prince of our Bohemian circle" (59-60).
Clapp "delighted in the satire" of the "Figureheads" of his day (61). Winter discusses some of Clapp's targets and the expected dislike for some of his satires. After the first failure of the "Saturday Press," Clapp wrote for "The New York Leader," then edited by John Clancy and Chareles G. Halpine (Miles O'Reilly). In about 1866 or 1867, Clapp brought back the "Saturday Press" with the announcement "This paper was stopped in 1860, for want of means: it is now started again for the same reason" (61-62).
Of Clapp's later years, Winter says that "Over his signature, 'Figaro,' the vivacious old Bohemian, for several years, writing about the Stage, afforded amusement to the town; but gradually he drifted into penury, and, although help was not denied to him, he died in destitution, April 2, 1875: and I remember that, after his death, his name was airily traduced by persons who had never manifested even a tithe of his aiblity or accomplished anything comparable with the service which, not withstanding his faults and errors, he had rendered to literature and art" (63-63).
Winter claims that Fitz-James O'Brien's story, "The Wondersmith" was inspired by an anecdote that Clapp told in O'Brien and Winter's presence. Clapp's story follows: "'Once, while I was working for Albert Brisbane' (so, in substance, said the Prince of Bohemia), 'I had to read to him, one evening, many pages of a translation I had made, for his use, of Fourier's book on the Social Destiny of Man. He was closely attentive and seemed to be deeply interested; but, after a time, I heard a slight snore, and looking at him, in profile, I saw that he was sound asleep--and yet the eye that I could see was wide open. The and thus I ascertained, somewhat to my surprise, that he had a glass eye'" (69).
"His grave is in a little cemetary at Nantucket. His epitaph,--written by me, at the request of a few friends, but not approved by a near relative then living, and therefore not inscribed over his ashes, contains these lines:
Wit stops to grieve and Laughter stops to sigh
That so much wit and laughter e'er could die;
But Pity, conscious of its anguish past,
Is glad this tortur'd spirit rests at last.
His purpose, thought, and goodness ran to waste,
He made a happiness he could not taste:
Mirth could not help him, talent could not save:
Through cloud and storm he drifted to the grave.
Ah, give his memory,--who made the cheer,
And gave so many smiles,--a single tear!" (63).
Winter includes "One of Henry Clapp's grim witticisms on that subject [O'Brien receiving the military appointment initially intended for Aldrich]: 'Aldrich, I see,' he said, 'has been shot in O'Brien's shoulder.'" Winter qualifies this by stating that "The old cynic did not like either of them" (77).
He is listed by Winter as one of the Bohemians who frequented Pfaff's Cave (88).
In discussing the true nature of Bohemia and celebrations at Pfaff's Cave in response to Howells's recollection of the "orgy" he witnessed, Winter discusses a birthday celebration for Clapp in which Whitman was called upon to give the toast: "I have regretted the absence of Mr. Howells from a casual festival which occurred in Pfaff's Cave, much about the time of his advent there, when the lads (those tremendous revellers!) drank each a glass of beer in honor of the birthday of Henry Clapp, and when he might, for once, have felt the ravishing charm of Walt Whitman's clossal eloquence. It fell to the lot of that Great Bard, I remember, to propose the health of the Prince of Bohemia, which he did in the following marvellous words: 'That's the feller!" It was my privilege to hear that thrilling deliverance, and to admire and applaud that superb orator. Such amazing emanations of intellect seldom occur, and it seems indeed a pity that this one should not have had Mr. Howells to embroider it with his ingenious fancy and embalm it in the amber of his veracious rhetoric" (91-92).
Aldrich writes in a letter to Winter that Clapp, Arnold, and possibly Winter were in attendance for a dinner at Delmonico's thrown by O'Brien using $35.00 borrowed from Aldrich. Aldrich was not invited (101).
Winter reiterates that Clapp and Howland began "The Saturday Press" on Spruce Street in 1858. Aldrich was briefly associated with Clapp and writing in that paper. Winter contributed poems to the paper, such as "Orgia" before he was hired as a reviewer and sub-editor. Winter states that this began his "Bohemian life" (137).
Winter mentions that Clapp had made the acquaintance of Stoddard and that Stoddard sometimes contributed to "Saturday Press." Stoddard "had difficulty, not unusual, in obtaining payment; for the resources of the paper were so slight that its continuance, from week to week, was a marvel. One day Clapp and I, having locked the doors of the 'Press' office, in order to prevent the probable access of creditors, were engaged in serious and rather melancholy conference as to the obtainment of money with which to pay the printer, when suddenly there came a loud, impatient knocking upon the outer door, and my senior, by a warning gesture, enjoined silence. The sound of a grumbling voice was then audible, and, after a while, the sound of footsteps retreating down the stairs. For several minutes Clapp did not speak but continued to smoke and listen, looking at me with a serious aspect. Then, removing the pipe from his lips, he softly murmered, ''Twas the voice of the Stoddard--I heard him complain!'" (293-294).
Winter identifies which writers were specifically associated with Clapp and Bohemia and which writers have been mistaken as Bohemians and, in some cases, were adverse to the lifestyle (295).
In a discussion of William North, Winter calls upon information he received from Clapp: "Henry Clapp, who knew him well, told me that it was one of North's peculiarities that, in whatever room he chanced to be, at night, he could not bear to have the door stand open, even an inch: yet the door of the room in which he died was found to be standing ajar by persons who, at morning, discovered the corpse" (316-317).
Winter reprints a letter from Aldrich, that includes a "playful allusion to an old associate of ours, long since passed away--Henry Clapp, editor and publisher of 'The Saturday Press.'" Aldrich wrote Winter when Winter returned, in 1895, a copy of Aldrich's "The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth," that had been sent to Clapp in the form of a presentation copy from Aldrich. Winter states that he returned this copy becasue Aldrich "preferred to suppress the work as an immature production." Aldrich writes: "My long-forgotten little book, which you were so good to send to me, is much more unsubstantial and ghostly than the slightest of your 'Shadows,'--for they are of yesterday. How on earth did that particular copy fall into your hand? Did poor old Clapp express it to you C. O. D., by some supernatural messenger? The yellow pages have a strange, musty odor: Is that brimstone?" (375-376). [pages: 56(ill.), 57-60, 61,62-69,77,88,91-92,101,137,293-294,295,316-317,375-376]
- Wolle, Francis. Fitz-James O'Brien: A Literary Bohemian of the Eighteen-Fifties. Boulder, Col.; University of Colorado, 1944. 309 p. [more about this work]
- Called the "King" of the Bohemians. The history of how Pfaff's became the "favorite resort" of the Bohemians is described. [pages: 1, 2, 65, 92, 124-126, 128, 129, 166, 168, 174, 181, 192, 247]
- Zweig, Paul. Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1984. [more about this work]
- Clapp became Whitman's champion for a while. Clapp's influence helped make Whitman known and "located him on the margin of literary respectability." Clapp published reviews of Whitman's work and "nursed controversies and kept Whitman in the public eye as a radical new voice."
Clapp edited The Saturday Press until it ran out of money. [pages: 263,310,314,322,325]
- "[Notices]." New York Saturday Press. 18 Jun. 1859: 2. [more about this work]