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Old 02-13-2015, 11:38 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Flushing, New York
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Default Richard Harding Davis

I happen to have a biography on Davis, who (in his day) was a leading reporter (and war correspondent) and even a novelist and dramatist. He is best recalled (if at all) for his stories about a man-about-town named "Van Bibber", his tale about a newspaper "go-fer" named "Gallagher" who gets a scoop on a missing criminal, and his animal novella, "A Dog's Life". His handsome, square jawed, appearance was used by Charles Dana Gibson as the model for the "Gibson Man" who dated the "Gibson Girl".

The biography is Arthur Lubow's "The Reporter Who Would Be King" (New York, Toronto, Oxford: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992). Davis came from an upper class Philadelphia family, and his first new scoop was his reporting on the aftermath (in May 1889) of the tragedy of the Johnstown Flood. Harding wanted broader horizons than Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. The following is from the start if Chapter 3 on page 40:

"In the summer of 1889, not long after the Johnstown flood, Richard accompanied the Philadelphia championship cricket team on a tour of England. Another PRESS reporter had snatched the plum assignment, but Richard (probably with Clarke's help) obtained credentials from the EVENING TELEGRAPH. Sometimes one must get away from a place to realize how oppressive it is. Philadelphia's Quaker plainness cramped Richard's flamboyant style, and its fusty deference to old families choked his social ambition. On his first trip to Europe, the rudeness of the class-conscious British dismayed him. More painfully, he was oppressed by the blue-blooded Philadelphia cricketeers, who snubbed him because of his western parents, his undistinguished college, and his grand affectations. Their teasing drove him to tears. In England he realized that back in Philadelphia, the houses he wanted to enter would never welcome him. When he returned in August he itched to leave. The destination was never in doubt."

Note that the account in our news file mentions in the first paragraph that Davis was in England in August. He did get an introduction (apparently) to Robert Anderson, who allowed Moore to shepherd him around.

The article also mentions they discussed Moore's involvement in the "Wimbledom" poisoning case of 1881, involving Dr. George Henry Lamson (tried, found guilty, and hanged for poisoning his brother-in-law Percy Johns at Johns' boarding school in December 1881 - Lamson was executed in April 1882). Moore apparently was involved in that case, but in looking at my copy of the "Trial of George Henry Lamson" in the "Notable British Trial" Series, I could not find any reference to Moore's involvement.

Jeff
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