Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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NEAL, Joseph Clay, humorist, born in Greenland, New Hampshire, 3 February, 1807; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 18 July, 1847. His father, who was a clergyman, died when the son was two years old. Joseph passed much of his early life in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and settled in 1830 in Philadelphia, where in 1831-'44 he edited the "Pennsylvanian." After a tour abroad in 1842 for the benefit of his health he established the "Saturday Gazette," which proved remarkably successful and abounded in humorous satire. In 1846 he married Alice Bradley. (See HAVEN, ALICE B.) Neal possessed much genial humor, which he devoted to the description of a peculiar class of small spendthrifts, inferior pretenders to fashion, bores, and loafers. A quaint vein of speculation ran through his humorous dialogues. His first character sketches were published in the "Pennsylvanian" under the title of the " City Worthies." and were subsequently collected in book-form as "Charcoal Sketches" (Philadelphia, 1837), and republished in London under the auspices of Charles Dickens. They were followed by "Pater Ploddy and other Oddities" (1844), and a second series of " Charcoal Sketches," published by his widow (1849).
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