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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Charles Farrar Brown

BROWNE, Charles Farrar, humorist, born in Waterford, Maine, about 1834; died in Southampton, England, 6 March, 1867. Mr. Browne was much better known as "Artemus Ward" than by his real name. He began learning the printer's trade when under fourteen years of age as a compositor on the Skowhegan (Maine) "Clarion," and when about fifteen was working in a similar capacity on the "Carpet Bag," a comic weekly journal in Boston. To this he made his first contributions. Before abandoning typesetting for literary work, he was one of the most expert compositors in the United States. After leaving Boston, he became a reporter on the Cleveland "Plaindealer," a daily paper of extensive circulation. Here the idea of writing in the character of a showman, and giving his observations on all sorts of topics, first occurred to him, and he began his first series of "Artemus Ward's Sayings." At the outset these articles were written carelessly, and without any expectation that they would serve for anything more than "filling"; but, finding that they attained an ex-tended notoriety, he bestowed more care upon them, and their real merit, made even the atrocious spelling attractive, and gained for him a reputation as one of the most clever and original humorous writers in the country. When "Vanity air" was established in New York, he was asked to become one of its contributors, and after a time its editor. Its existence was brief but brilliant. During this period he projected his humorous lectures, delivering the first one in Brooklyn, and afterward repeating the series in other cities. The titles were "The Babes in the Wood," "Sixty Minutes in Africa," etc. These proved very successful.

In 1862 he visited California and Utah in search of materials for illustrating the peculiar characteristics of Mormon life. The result of this expedition was a series of comic lectures on Mormonism with panoramic accompaniment, which were the best of their kind ever attempted either in this country or in England, and of so novel a character that they were very popular. About 1864 the premonitory Symptoms of pulmonary consumption, the disease from which he finally died, made their appearance, and he was obliged for a time to desist from public engagements. His health apparently improving in the spring of 1866, he resolved to undertake a lecturing tour abroad. He reached England in June, 1866, but was too feeble to lecture. In November he made his first appearance, was most warmly welcomed, and achieved popularity as unexpected as it was gratifying. For three months he continued his lectures with the greatest success, but his health completely failed early in February, 1867. He went first to the isle of Jersey. and thence to Southampton, intending to return home; but was not strong enough to attempt the voyage. By his will, after providing for his mother and for the education of a lad who had been kind to him in his last sickness, he left his property to found an asylum for printers, and for the education of their orphan children. His published books are as follows: "Artenms Ward, His Book," and "Artemus Ward, His Travels" (New York, 1865);" Artemus Ward in London" (1867); "Artemus Ward's Lecture, as delivered in Egyptian Italy, London," edited by T. W. Robert-son and E. P. Hingston (1869); "Artemus Ward, His Works Complete," with a biographical sketch by Melville died Landon (1875).

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