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
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COFFIN, Robert Barry, author, born in Hudson, New York, 21 July, 1826; died in Fordham, New York City, 10 June, 1886. He was seventh in line of descent from Tristram, and his great-grandfather, Alexander Coffin, was one of the original proprietors of Hudson. He became fond of books at an early age, spending his savings for them, and at the age of ten owned a small library. He spent several years at the collegiate institute in PoughCOFFIN keepsie, New York, and soon began to contribute anonymously to various journals. In 1845 he became book-keeper in an importing house in New York City, but left on account of failing health in 1849, and in 1852 opened a book-store with his brother in Ehnira, New York He stuD. Divinity in 1854, intending to take orders in the Protestant Episcopal church, and at this time was a contributor to the • 'Churchman." He went to New York again in 1857, and in 1858 succeeded T. born Aldrich as assistant editor of the " Home Journal," to which he had contributed since 1849, becoming at the same time art critic for the "Evening Post." He was appointed a clerk in the auditor's department of the New York custom-house in April, 1863, and retained the office till the winter before his death, with the exception of the years from 1869 till 1875. He edited "The Table," a monthly publication devoted to gastronomy, in 1873, and from 1882 till 1886 contributed regularly on the same subject to the "Caterer," a Philadelphia magazine. Mr. Coffin's humorous sketches, published in various periodicals over the signature of " Barry Gray," have been widely read. In 1881 he delivered some verses at the reunion of the Coffin family in Nantucket. He published "My Married Life at Hillside" and "Matrimonial Infelicities " (New York, 1865); "Out of Town : A Rural Episode" (1866); "Cakes and Ale at Woodbine" (1868); "Castles in the Air and other Phantasies" (1871); and "The Home of Cooper" (1872). He left a completed book in manuscript.
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