Monday, July 14, 2014

Trying to date Walt McDougall's encounter with Melville at Matt Morgan's studio

1874-1877 I'm thinking is the time frame. How so? Well, McDougall specifically names NY Graphic colleague Charles Frohman as one of the people he saw that one afternoon he went to Morgan's studio with Newark painter John Bolles. Frohman's tenure at the New York Daily Graphic was brief, lasting only from 1874 to 1877. Frohman (1860-1915) was only 14 years old in 1874. He worked in the circulation or advertising department "all day." Then
At night he sold tickets in the box office of Hooley's Theatre, Brooklyn.
--Who's who on the Stage

Also named is Walt Whitman, who as shown at the Walt Whitman Archive was contributing poems for the Daily Graphic in 1873 and 1874.

So the overlap for Frohman and Whitman at the Daily Graphic is 1874, which (if that's the right year) would make McDougall what, 16 years old at the time. 

But wait. Marion Harland needs to be home in Newark with her minister husband. Wikipedia says she relocated to Europe in 1873-1875, for her health. Damn! Let's make sure of that. Marion Harland's autobiography puts it this way: she finally got to Europe 21 years after her husband promised her a trip back in 1855, which would put the start of the trip October 15, 1876. They sailed for New York in late September, two years later.

This Free Dictionary entry for her son Albert Payson Terhune confirms from somewhere the dates as 1876-78. Seems that Edward Payson Terhune, Marion Harland's minister husband, 
  was the American chaplain at Rome, Italy, in 1876-1877. Free Dictionary
 (citing Appleton's Encyclopaedia)
And look, after Europe the family settled in Springfield, Massachusetts. So ha! we're back to 1874 as the only year in which Walt McDougall could have invited Melville home in Newark to meet his neighbor Marion Harland, and on the same day also have seen Charles Frohman of the Daily Graphic and Daily Graphic contributor Walt Whitman at Morgan's studio.

Next step: dip into Hershel Parker's biography, Volume 2, and find out what Melville was doing in 1874. Writing poetry, as Lizzie nervously revealed to the family in Boston, at Thanksgiving (777-8).

Later: Not sure if Whitman was on the scene in 1875 also.  For now, let's make it 1874-1875 to be safe.

Still later:  In 1876 Matt Morgan led efforts to relieve Walt Whitman in his widely publicized illness and alleged financial distress:
“Matt. Morgan, who is now trying to run the Lyceum in Fourteenth street as a vaudeville theatre, proposes to give a benefit to Walt. Whitman.” --Albany Evening Times, Friday, April 7, 1876; found at Old Fulton NY Post Cards
Morgan made his offer in a letter to the New York World, as reported in the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune:
A MATINEE benefit for Walt Whitman has been offered by Matt Morgan of the Lyceum Theater in New York, who has written a note to the editor of the World, making the offer, as follows
"Believing that my illustrious fellow countryman, Robert Buchanan, (making the necessary allowances for his poetical exaggerations) has struck the right cord in his allusions alike to the merits and the needs of Walt Whitman, fully appreciating Mr Whitman's services alike in the cause of literature and humanity, and sincerely believing that the heart of the great American people in general, and of the New York public in particular, will be quick to respond generously in the extremity of one of the most original writers and best men in the country, I feel myself honored in taking this opportunity of hereby offering my theater and my company for any matinee performance for the benefit of Mr Walt Whitman, to be given at such date as any of his authorized friends may designate.”
--Monday, April 10, 1876; found in the Newspaper Archives at Genealogy Bank
 Related posts at melvilliana;

No comments:

Post a Comment