A Dictionary of Selected Jacksonian Writers

cited in Edgar Allan Poe's "A Chapter on Autography"

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BENJAMIN, Park 1809-1864 – Lawyer, poet and one of the first editors of the New England Magazine. Worked with Charles Fenno Hoffman on the American Monthly Magazine (1837) with Horace Greeley on the New-Yorker, then on Brother Jonathan, a literary weekly paper. In 1840, he started the New World, working with Epes Sargent and Rufus W. Griswold. The Meditation of Nature (1832), Poetry, a Satire, (1832), and Infatuation (1844), are the best known of his longer poems. "The Tired Hunter,” "The Nautilus,” "To One Beloved,” "The Departed,” and "The Old Sexton”are the most successful of his shorter poems.

BIRD, Robert Montgomery 1806-1854 – A novelist and dramatist who was briefly a doctor. His drama The Gladiator (1832) attacked slavery by portraying a Roman slave revolt. His plays Orallloossa (1832) and The Broker of Bogota (1834) were set in South America. He was popular as novelist, and wrote the novels Calavar (1834), The Infidel (1835) and Nick of the Woods (1837). He later became literary editor and part owner of a newspaper.

BROOKS, James 1810-1873 - A Maine journalist who began as a lawyer, he went to Washington in 1832 for the Portland Advertiser. He then wrote a series of letters from Creek, Cherokee and Choctaw country in Georgia and Alabama, just at the time these tribes were being forced west. In 1836, he established the Express in New York. He served in the New York legislature and then in Congress from 1843 to 1873, when he was censured for his dealings with the railroad. In 1871-2, he had traveled around the world and wrote about his trip in the Express and in A Seven Months' Run, Up and Down and Around the World (1872).

BROOKS, Nathan Covington 1819-1898 - A noted educator, he organized the Baltimore female college in 1848. Aside from a number of Latin and Greek textbooks, he wrote various occasional poems, such as “Shelley’s Obsequies” and “The Fall of Superstition”. His Complete History of the Mexican War (1849) was once considered a standard work.

BROWN, David Paul 1795-1872 - A Philadelphia orator and lawyer. Though very successful, he spent a good income over-generously. He supposedly wrote his tragedy Sertorius, or the Roman Patriot (1830) on evening horseback rides. This and other works for the stage were not successful. He also wrote The Forum, or Forty Years' Full Practice at the Philadelphia Bar (1856) and The Press, the Politician, the People, and the Judiciary (1869) His son, Robert Eden, edited and published The Forensic Speeches of David Paul Brown (1873).

BROWNSON, Orestes Augustus 1803-1876 - He went through numerous belief systems, including several Christian denominations and a variety of Socialism, rejecting Christianity and then serving as a pastor, before becoming a Catholic in 1844. This history was reviewed in his The Convert; or, Leaves from my Experience (1857). He also edited and founded a number of publications, including The Boston Quarterly Review (1838). His positions on Christianity, property and slavery led to various conflicts and controversies over his life.

BRYANT, William Cullen 1794-1878 – Poet and journalist. He published his first book of verse, The Embargo, or Sketches of the Times; A Satire by a Youth of thirteen, in 1808. His most famous poem, “Thanatopsis” (1817) appeared while he was still practicing as a lawyer. In 1821, he published Poems, which included the famous “To a Waterfowl”. From 1826 to 1829, he became editor and then chief owner of the New York Evening Post. Though he was a celebrated poet, his association with the paper and its political stances then dominated the rest of his life.

BURTON, William Evans 1804-1860 - English actor who came to the United States in 1834 and established New York’s celebrated Chambers Street Theatre in 1848. Burton himself was successful in a wide range of parts from Shakespeare, Dickens and other authors. He wrote "The Actor's Soliloquy” and "Waggeries and Vagaries” and edited the Literary Souvenir in 1838 and 1840. In 1837, he established The Gentleman's Magazine, of which Poe was briefly assistant editor (1840). He also published a Cyclopedia of Wit and Humor (1858).

copyright 2004, 2006 Jim Chevallier.
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