16312.744 Poultney8 Bigelow, son of John7, (Asa6, David5, David4, John3, Joshua2, John1) and Jane (Poultney) Bigelow, was born at New York City on 10 September 1855. His first marriage was 16 April 1884 to Edith Evelyn JAFFRAY, born in NYC on 23 December 1861. She was the daughter of Edward S. and Anna (PHILLIPS) JAFFRAY. (Edward was born Sterling, Scotland and Anna in NYC.) The second marriage was on 07 April 1911 to Lillian PRITCHARD from Worchester, England. Poultney was a lawyer and member of the bar of the Supreme Court of New York. He left that profession for journalism in 1822 and became an editorial writer, editor of newspapers and owner of the Outing magazine. His wife was also a writer. Poultney died 28 May 1945 at Malden, NY. Lillian had died earlier on 01 December 1927.
Children of Poultney and Edith (JAFFRAY) BIGELOW:
16312.7441 Edith Evelyn,b 09 Feb 1885, London,Eng.;d _______;m 12 Dec 1906 James F. CLARK; res. NYC; 2 children.
16312.7442 Mildred, b 12 May 1866, Orange,NJ; d _______; m (1) 15 Dec 1906 Newell TILTON, (2) 1927 Herbert Clayborne PELL; 2 children.
16312.7443 Dorothy, b 17 Feb 1890; m Raymond HOLLAND.
The Bigelow Society, The Bigelow Family Genealogy,Vol II pg. 492.
Howe, Bigelow Family of America;
Bigelow Society records from family.
see Page 2 for more pictures and info.............................ROD 08/01/05
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 18:15:48 EST
I was surfing and saw your page .was wondering what you know about Poultney Bigelow . Was he the author of WHITE MANS AFRICA dated 1900.. The reason I ask is that I have a signed copy of that book .and I was trying to get more
history on it...thanks jim
Subject: Poultney Bigelow
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 00:44:06 -0700
From: Rita Rainville email@example.com
I was browsing through the Bigelow site (it's wonderful, thank you for all your work) and read about Poultney. I was interested because some years ago I found a Howe Bigelow book in an antique store and bought it. In it were many notes about the previous owner's (Ida Bigelow Merrell) lineage. She was somehow connected to Poultney and had a newspaper article from the Todelo Blade in 1926 about Poultney sueing H.G.Wells for $50,000 for calling him a bore.
This article is from the Toledo Blade (Toledo, Ohio) Friday, Feb 12, 1926, Page 31.
LECTURER SUES H.G.WELLS FOR $50,000 AFTER BEING CALLED BORE
MAD TEA PARTY STARTS DISPUTE
After Dinner Speaker Says Famous Author Looked Like Bond Salesman.
(New York, Feb 12, (AP) Poultney Bigelow, American Lecturer and author
has announced that he is starting a $50,000 slander suit in London against
H.G.Wells, The English novelist, because he resents being classified as a
The trouble started at a "Mad Tea Party" given sometime ago by Countess
Russell at her London apartment.
Mr. Bigelow published a version of the party in a London paper to which
Mr. Wells replied vigorously in an open letter.
Says Wells talked prices
The Bigelow version of the party said that Wells looked like a
"prosperous stock broker or bond salesman" and "chatted pleasantly of the
fabulous prices forced on him by the paradoxical publishers of hundreds of
periodicals in every corner of the world. Verily, it was a fairy tale gone
Then Anthony Hope, also of the party looked out of a window, Mr. Bigelow
averred and "expressed regret that so glorious a landscape and such graceful
arches as characterized the stone bridge should be marred by a rectangular
iron railway structure."
"Oh," exclaimed Wells in the Bigelow version, "How can you utter such
words? To me a railway has elements of sublimity. It is eloquent. It
"Even Anthony Hope winced," Mr. Bigelow wrote.
The Wells recital of what happened differs materially.
"Unable to Repulse Pest"
"Sometime ago I met a Mr. Poultney Bigelow at Lady Russell's flat in
London," he wrote. "He sought an introduction to me and forthwith started
at me with ill-mannered inquiries about my sales income and such like
impertinences. I did my best to convey to him that he had as much right to
pester me about these things as to ask where I bought my trousers or whether
I had an overdraft at the bank. After a time, I succeeded in stunning or
killing these tentatives to vulgarity and then he proceeded to discuss the
"A change in the topic meant no change in the quality of his discourse.
The Charing Cross bridge was ugly, materialistic, rectangular. To people
like Bigelow, anything curved is more beautiful than anything rectangular.
"The bridge," I said, exasperated beyond endurance, "at sundown or at
twilight, can be the most beautiful or most romantic thing in the world.
There was an American named Whistler who could have made even you see the
lovliness of it."
Mr. Bigelow, at his home, Maldon-on-Hudson, says "How am I to make a
living as an after-dinner speaker if I am slandered by being called a bore?"
Poultney Bigelow was educated in France, Germany,
and the United States. In Berlin in the early 1870's, he was invited to
become a playmate of Prince William of Hohenzollern, later the Emperor William II of Germany. The friendship persisted and a correspondence ensued. Poultney Bigelow entered Yale in 1873 and graduated in 1879, with a two-year hiatus during which,
for health reasons, he took passage aboard a sailing ship bound for the Orient; he was shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, Just
short of the vessel's destination.
After college Poultney Bigelow studied Law and
practiced briefly; from the early 1880's until his semiretirement in 1906,
however, he was active largely as a Journalist and author based in New York and London. He traveled extensively and his
writings cover a wide subject range with travel observations politics, and colonial Studies being most prominent. From this
Period of Poultney Bigelow's life there are sizable collections of letters from such associates as Henry Mills Alden (the Harper's editor), James Bryce, Roger Casement, Henry George, Mark Twain, and Israel Zangwill (the English writer), along with smaller groups of letters from many others.
After 1906 Poultney Bigelow wrote little for
the periodical press but never the less published five books, including a
two-volume autobiography. ( In all, he published eleven books.) His correspondence from this Later period includes sizable
collections of letters from such figures as Geraldine Farrar, Percy Grainger and Ells (Mrs. Percy) Grainger, Edgar bee Masters, Frederic Remington, and George S. Viereck (and smaller collections of letters from many others)
Family Correspondants of Poultney Bigelow
Annie Bigelow (sister)
Grace Bigelow (sister)
Jane Bigelow Tracy (sister)
Flora Bigelow Guest (sister) and husband
John Bigelow, Jr. (brother) and wife
Anne Tracy Eristoff (niece)
John Bigelow (1836)
The Following is from Ric Dragon Curator of the Bigelow Homestead.
A Visit to the Bigelow Homestead
(from Valentine's Manual of the City of New York 1917-1918)
On the west bank of the Hudson some ninety miles
from New York lies Malden --- a forgotten metropolis of the early
nineteenth century, with scarce a reminder of its former greatness save the frequent appearance on its streets of blue stone. A
century ago Malden dreamed dreams, and saw herself the London of the new world.
Were not the great capitols of Europe situated
on the banks of the great rivers miles from the mouth? Would not history
repeat itself? What of that upstart New York? It was wrongly situated geogrphically.
Circumstances had combined temporarily to give it a start. But Malden___
with unlimited land North, South and West___Malden with the great highway
would soon show what was what in cities. And were there not mountains and
mountains of blue stone in and all around it? So Malden built great wharves
and all the steamers stopped there. She laid out a city in a plan based on
the same lines as the Commissioners of New York, which was started in the
same year ___1807. Houses were built on city lots. Streets were laid out
on the familiar
checker board plan. Grandfather Bigelow being a learned man knew the whys and wherefores of City bulding and gave to the
newly born metropolis the benefit of his experience.
But something happened to the Blue Stone industry. The steamers no longer stop at Malden. The streets echo not to the tramp of millions of feet but only to the lowing of cattle and the cackle of hens. If it has no Great White Way, it has one with reverse English. The Stygian darkness of other towns is like the rosy dawn compared to the darkness of Malden at night. Even "culled pussons" look white when you meet them in the dark.
Across the river from the Bigelow Homestead can be seen the blackened
walls and charred remains of historic Clermont, the
old home of Chancellor Livingston. From the front porch John Bigelow witnessed Lafayette's arrival at Clermont and the
reception accorded him by the Chancellor and his friends.
John Bigelow's life spanned but a few years short of a century. He was
the las connecting link with the Golden Age of "Old
New York." It seems strange to speak of a man scarcely gone, who was the contemporary and friend of Washington Irving,
Fitz-Green Halleck, William Cullen Bryant, Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens and Thackery. In the library ther is still the
copy of the "Life of Washington---With the kind regards of your friend Washington Irving" in the clear cut regular penmanship
of New York's greatest author. A copy of Praed's poems, a very popular writer in the mid-Victorian era, is inscribed "From
Charles Dickens on his departure from America with many kind wishes." It recalls the visit of this distinguished novelist, while a
complete roster of the autographed books would read like a page of American Bibliography.
Scarcely a generation has passed since the death of Franklin when his
biographer was born. Franklin's memory was still a
mighty influence in public affairs and the great American philosopher grew daily in the esteem of the people.
The latter years of Franklin's life were largely spent abroad, chiefly
in Paris, and it was John Bigelow's good fortune to live also
for many years in the same atmosphere. As Lincoln's great minister to France during the dark days of our civil war he
underwent to a startling degree an experience similiar to Franklin's in the Revolution. It was perhaps only natural therefore that
he should become the biographer of the great statesman. Fortune threw in his way most of the private papers of Franklin,
among them his diary. The latter is now in the library of Mr. Henry E. Huntington who regards it as among his most valued
treasures. A cast steel medallion head of the great philosopher graces the Bigelow garden. It is the only one of its kind in the
world having been molded by Capt. Zalinski, inventor of the dynamite gun, during one of his experiments with the latter.
Another interesting item, also in the garden, is the first seal for the
Public Library made by the Academy of Munich. It was
rejected by the Trustees but is an interesting souvenir of the great institution of which Mr. Bigelow was President and of which
as Trustee of the Tilden Will he did so much to create.
But perhaps the most striking memento in all the many interesting and historic memorabilia with which the garden abound is the marble bust of Samuel J. Tilden which stands at the left of the porch. Notwithstanding the vast sum which was received by the City of New York from the Tilden estate, there is nowhere a statue to the memory of this public spirited citizen. It would seem that the Library at least should have one. The statue at Malden is today the only one in existence to the memory of the Sage of Greystone.
The Bigelow Homestead is now owned and occupied by Poultney Bigelow, his
distinguished son. It is maintained in the same
primitive style as when grandfather Bigelow brought Miss Isham there as a bride in 1807. There is the same Dutch oven. The
same candles to light the way to bed. The same pans and the same four posted bedstead. The old well sweep still furnishes
water as it has done for over a century, and the same Franklin stove supplies heat for the Library, and old grandfather's clock
still chimes out in cathedral tones the passing of the hours, and a wood lot still provides fuel for domestic uses. An old fashioned
vegetable and flower garden, sleek, well-fed, pedigreed Jersey cattle, and the Orpingtons, Leghorns and Rhode Island reds
furnish the main table supplies, while the fruit trees provide dainties long after the season has passed. Everything is as it was.
The sun dial marks only the shining hours and life passes quietly in the old homestead.
Memories of the days at Potsdam and San Souci seem far away. Turbulent
scenes in Borneo, Java and the Phillipines seem
never to have been and the war-like implements gathered the world over seem strangely out of place. Poisoned arrows, cruel
looking scimitars, blood curdling machetes, swords of Sumari days, countless trophies of a soldier of fortune, strike a jarring
note in the present pastoral surroundings. The Iron Gates of the Danube, strenuous days in South Africa, and on the Bulawayo
with the ill fated Roger Casement, ship wrecks and moving accidents by floods and field are all very unreal, yet very much in
evidence. Viscount Bryce writes in a note, "I have always had a great fondness for the Danube and were I twenty years
younger, I would follow your example and take the same delightful way of seeing its romantic shores." In the Library one sits
down to write on a table, an exact model of the one on which Luther translated the Bible. It came from Castle Warthburg in the
Thuringen Forest. On the wall is a portrait of Emperor William dated 1888, the end of his first year as Kaiser of Germany. It
bears a message: "With my very best thanks for your kind sketch of me, Wilhelm" and refers to the article in the Century by
Bigelow reviving the events of this apparently auspicious reign. In the hallway is a still earlier portrait, 1880, of the Emperor with
a frank, open, boyish face in his student days. Many others of still earlier and perhaps more interesting days, are about the
house but never shown. They cover the period of Biglow's personal friendship with the Emperor, which continued
uninterruptedly till the trend of Prussianism became unmistakable and a parting of the ways inevitable. It is an undoubted fact
fact that Emperor William never had, nor was it in his power to have, a more unselfish, genuine friendship with any human being
on earth than he had with Poultney Bigelow. Rainy afternoons in the attic of the old Palace at Sans Souci, when Prince William,
Prince Henry, Poultney and another boy played Indians, when Bigelow was the Heap Big Chief and delighted the two little
German boys with his realistic rendering of the redskins war cry ---those are the memories that puzzle one and throw a strange
glamour on the sinister events of the present day. What would not the historian of the future give for a personal first hand
account of these memorable days! It is hard to get. I led gently up to the subject on a recent visit. Bigelow sat at the piano idly
strumming a vagrant air. "Yes," he replied, which was no reply at all, "I think some of the fold lore songs I have heard sung by
the natives of Borneo deserve preservation---listen." And off he went into as delightful a medley of curious airs as I have never
before been privileged to hear. One had to admit the weirdness, the tragedy, the joyousness of the strange music as it unfolded. But you listened in vain for an answer to your query.
Near the piano is the photograph of a slim almost frail looking young man and below it is a letter. It is dated Oyster Bay, L.I., Aug. 2nd, 1882, and begins "Dear Poultney" and reads in part "By jove old man you had a narrow escape." Elsewhere in the letter referring to an invitation for an outing, the writer bewails the fact that "he is now a married man and does not know how Mrs. R. would treat such a desertion in spite of her fondness for the instigator of it." Needless to say the writer is none other than our hero T.R.
A beautiful bronze bust of Sitting Bull who slew General Custer, and probably the only one ever modeled from a living Indian is a present from the late J. Kennedy Tod. It is by Kemeys whose group in Central Park is still so much admired. All around the walls are remembrances from famous men and women. Mark Twain inscribes his books, "To Poultney Bigelow with the love of Mark Twain." Henry W. Stanley is seen as a White Friar and his portrait recalls the fact that it was taken at the club dinner given him at Anderton's in London in 1890, just when he had emerged from darkest Africa. He is shown holding a lighted candle against that part of the world which his labors had just illuminated. It is fitting that Gertrude Atherton, the great, great niece of Benjamin Franklin, should be represented by a portrait in her girlish days indited to the "One and only Poultney Bigelow," nor is it strange that Grances Hodgson Burnett should say "From the keeper of the Deer Park to one of the Dears."
Carroll Beckwith is remembered with a painting of the original Gibson Girl taken from the model Gibson was then using in Paris and from which this famous series originated. R. Caton Woodville who painted the last portrait of King Edward, sends a
spirited drawing of a horse inscribed "To my friend." Mrs. E. R. Thomas is represented by a charming portrait of Billy Burke.
Miss Dewing Woodward by Autumn Voices, Samuel Isham by a painting ultimately designed for the Malden Library. Thure de Thulstrup, Alfred Parsons, R. F. Zogbaum are among the other artist who have delighted to honor this friend of thiers by some
little personal memento. James Russell Lowell, John Hay, Elihu Root and many others must be mentioned ere the list of friends
One must not forget the medallion bust of John Bigelow which occupies the place of honor in the front court. Nor the curious little headstone which flanks the front stoop inscribed to "Corporal Peter Snyder of Co. H., N. Y. Infantry." Snyder was the name Joe Jefferson bestowed upon Rip Van Winkle's dog and, as the scene of Rip's long slumber is right back
of the house, Mr. Bigelow gave the homeless headstone a final resting place.
The master of the house arrayed in the picturesque costume of the French peasant, blue shirt, loosely fitting corduroy trousers, the surmounted by an immense towering Mexican sombrero, bids you a friendly farewell. And you depart with the curious sensation of having lived for a time in a world strangely different from the one that awaits you in New York.
Subject: Poultney Bigelow
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 11:55:22 -0400
From: Theresa Collins < firstname.lastname@example.org >
I thought you might wish to know that I have just come across correspondence
between Bigelow and Thomas A. Edison from 1911. We shall eventually publish
the letters in Part V of our image edition (edison.rutgers.edu), but I thought
you would be pleased to know of the material sooner rather than later, in
case it is not duplicated in the NYPL collection or elsewhere.
Theresa M. Collins
Thomas A. Edison Papers
Rutgers, The State Univ of NJ
Subject: Poultney Bigelow
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2000 22:29:23 -0500
From: "Albert Baggetta" < email@example.com >
Hi. My name is Albert Baggetta and I teach English at Agawam High School in Masschusetts. About 30 years ago I found a menu card with a group of autographs on the back, in pencil. One of them is Poultney Bigelow. I've been researching the card since then and wonder if you can fill me in on his connection with Ellen Terry and Henry Irving (also on the card) and the Beefsteak Club of the Lyceum theater. Thank you for any information you can give me. Al Baggetta
also contact: Ric Dragon firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Poultney Bigelow
Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2001 11:07:14 -0700
From: John Arbeeny < email@example.com >
My interest in your family comes from a pair of journals (1899-1901 unpublished) written by Edward I. Horsman, Jr., son of E.I Horsman, founder of Horsman Toys, New York, perhaps the best known and most successful toy company at the turn of the century. Edward Jr. obviously knew the Poultney Bigelow family quite well, perhaps Poultney's first wife Edith best of all, and visited them in France on his annual summer jaunts to the Continent. The journals reveal a detailed glimpse of their family life in Dinard, France, a tremendously energetic Poultney (although overcoming some serious illnesses to include Typhoid Fever) and a wife worn down by the crushing workload as private secretary. Clearly she labored in Poultney's shadow. She struggled professionally as a writer but had some commercially successful novelettes at the turn of the century. I have an original entitled "The Middle Course" published in 1903 in hardback that was also published in the "Smart Set" magazine in installments. Edward's visit in 1899 coincides with her attempt to finish the work and get it ready for publication. While the novelette is nothing more than a 1900 version of a modern romance novel (lots of heaving breasts, flushing cheeks, longing looks and very tough reading for a 55 year old 20th Century male!) it never the less provides some fascinating insights into the relationship between Poultney and Edith. It was not all that happy a marriage apparently: an active husband consumed with adventure, success and prominence, just the thing to attract a worldly woman yet the same characteristics which leave her alone and miserable when he fails to give it all up for her. I guess you can't have it both ways! The autobiographical parallels are specifically addressed by Horsman in the journals and indeed Edith was reluctant to publish it for fear that Poultney might read it and discover her inner feelings. The journals closely parallel the exciting and gay (yet ultimately unfulfilling) life Edith fills her day with in the absense of a close relationship to her husband with the heroine of her novel. Well apparently Poultney and Edith were divorced some time after the journals but before 1910 and he remarried in 1911 to Lillian Prichard (nee). Edith thereafter drops from sight except for an occassional solo trip to the Continent (last recorded 1915).
Do you have any information on Edith E. Bigelow, the divorce or other
family matters surrounding this time period? Do you have any information
about the relationship between the Bigelows and Horsmans (they obviously
were very good friends). I have the journals' text on CD, along with about
400 photos, recorded music of Edward's famous friends, copies of original
art work by his friends, and much background information (ships, companys,
locations, etc.) which I plan to publish as an intimate glimpse into the
end of the Victorian Age. I would be happy to provide you extracts from the
journals relating to your family as well for your enjoyment or inclusion
in a family history. Thanks for any information that you can provide.