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  #1  
Old 05-22-2009, 08:58 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Default Frederick Best

In his forthcoming book, Andrew Cook argues that a Star journalist named Frederick Best was responsible for the "Dear Boss" letter.

I'm not sure how much biographical research Cook has done into this Frederick Best, but I thought it might be interesting to try to find him in the 1891 census. The man in the following entry seems a likely candidate. He and his wife are occupying one room in 111 Stamford Street, St Mary, Lambeth [RG 12/387, f. 101; p. 10]. (I have included some - though not all - of the occupants of the same house, in view of their colourful occupations.)

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From what has been posted elsewhere, it seems that the Star journalist Best would have been dismissed from the newspaper by this time. The census return identifies this man as an "Employer". He seems to be a reasonable match, except for the fact that he was born in Westminster, whereas apparently one of the documents discovered by Cook describes the Star journalist as a "compatriot" of the Star's proprietor, T. P. O'Connor, presumably implying he was an Irishman.

I have tried to find out more about the man in the census entry, but so far I have drawn a complete blank, both in other censuses and in the indexes of births and marriages. Perhaps someone else will have more success.
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2009, 09:20 PM
Archaic Archaic is offline
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Hi, Chris. Can you please tell me why Best was 'dismissed'? I know the story of how Bulling was fired, but not Best.

If Best and his wife are living in one room at the time of the Census, it would seem to indicate rather impoverished circumstances- though I'm not sure how much he would have earned as a journalist.

THANKS for digging up all the old documents & posting them! You are very generous with your time and your resources; I want you to know that I greatly appreciate it. I especially enjoy the period newspaper illustrations that you post.

Best regards, Archaic
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2009, 09:28 PM
Tom_Wescott Tom_Wescott is offline
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Yeah, Chris is pretty darn cool. We'll keep him around a bit longer.

Good find, Chris. It would be nice if Cook has irrefutably identified 'Best' and can offer more information on his alleged Ripper letter writing exploits.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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  #4  
Old 05-22-2009, 09:46 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaic View Post
Hi, Chris. Can you please tell me why Best was 'dismissed'? I know the story of how Bulling was fired, but not Best.

If Best and his wife are living in one room at the time of the Census, it would seem to indicate rather impoverished circumstances- though I'm not sure how much he would have earned as a journalist.
All I know about Best's dismissal comes from something posted on jtrforums.com by Paul Begg - who has apparently seen an advance copy of the book:
... the strongest evidence Cook has, in my opinion, being a letter from John Brunner, a director of the Star, to Henry Massingham, who replaced T.P. O’Connor as editor. This letter refers to two journalists, Frederick Best and William O’Brien, as ‘compatriots’ of O’Connor and of having been responsible for legal actions against the newspaper. Most importantly, it says that Best should have been dismissed for an ‘attempt to mislead Central News during the Whitechapel murders’.
http://www.jtrforums.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=170

The date of that letter is 7 July 1890, apparently:
http://forum.casebook.org/showpost.p...5&postcount=30

So I assume that the circumstances of the census entry might be explained by Best struggling to survive as a freelance journalist.

Thanks for your kind words (though I did wonder whether some of the newspaper articles you were thinking of might have been posted by Chris Scott rather than me).
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  #5  
Old 05-22-2009, 10:16 PM
Archaic Archaic is offline
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Hi, Chris; thanks for your response.

I believe you are right about some of the old news illustrations being posted by Chris Scott- I will make it a point to go thank him, too! Best regards, Archaic
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2009, 06:41 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Here is my attempt at a summary of the information about Frederick Best in Andrew Cook's book. Some of the information clearly refers to the man in the census entry I posted above, and may have come from that entry, but Cook rarely specifies his sources.


Page 24:

For the launch of the Star, those recruited by T. P. O'Connor included jobbing reporters Frederick Best and Michael O'Brian.

Sources for the chapter include "T. P. O'Connor Family Papers", "Brunner Family Papers" and "Records of the Newspaper Publishing Company Ltd (Reg # 24991)".


Page 58:

By early September Frederick Best and Michael O'Brian had been "put on the streets of Whitechapel by Parke to seek out human interest angles and to pick up quotes and comments from anyone with a story to tell. Best's wife Henrietta was born and brought up in Whitechapel, which gave him a great advantage in being able to use her local knowledge and family connections." They picked up from prostitutes stories about a "sinister prowler by the name of 'Leather Apron' who had apparently been threatening a number of them".

Sources for the chapter include "T. P. O'Connor Family Papers", but presumably the information about Best's wife comes from elsewhere.


Pages 102, 103:

The Dear Boss letter was compared with a sample of Best's handwriting which "dates to the late 1890s when one of Best's sinecures was as a correspondent in London for a French news agency".

Sources for the chapter include "Best Family Records".


Pages 106, 107:

"Best's family were of the belief that he had spent a period of time working in the USA during the 1880s. A recent thorough search of US immigration and labour records initiated by the Channel 5 documentary revealed that Best had indeed been in America and had returned to Britain some months before the Star was launched in January 1888."

Sources for the chapter include "Best Family Records" and "US Immigration Records; 1880/1889, US Department of Labor".


Page 197:

A letter from John Brunner to Henry Massingham dated 7 July 1890, after Massingham had been informally offered the editorship, included this:

"Mr Stuart advises that you would be agreeable to the proposals made by the company and we are most encouraged by your undertaking with respect to the standards expected of the newspaper. I have submitted on a number of occasions that Mr O'Connor's former use of compatriots such as Messr. Best and O'Brien have not only been responsible for several potential legal
actions against the Star, but in the unfortunate case of Mr Parke, a somewhat more serious consequence in January last.

Furthermore, Mr Best's attempt to mislead Central News during the Whitechapel Murders should have led to an earlier termination
of his association with the newspaper."


Sources for the chapter include "Brunner Family Papers", "The Massingham Family Papers" and "Records of the Newspaper Publishing Company Ltd (Ref # 24991)".

The "serious consequence" for Parke in January 1890 was his libel conviction in respect of material he had printed about the Earl of Euston relating to the Cleveland Street Scandal, as editor of the North London Press.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2009, 07:07 PM
j.r-ahde j.r-ahde is offline
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Hello Chris!

There might be a possibility of Frederick Best being a "compatriot" of T.P.O'Connor.

This possibility is not directly connected to F.Best, but to another mr. Best; I've read, that Pete Best (the former Beatle drummer) has Irish ancestory.

How seriously one can take this statement, is naturally another question!

All the best
Jukka
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"When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2014, 04:15 AM
nashwan nashwan is offline
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All the Best men or women found using the keywords 'author' and 'journalist'

Quote:
1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
Prospect Villa, 1, Leigh Hill, Leigh, Rochford, Essex, England

George A Best Head Married Male 36 1865 Accountant Author & Journalist Brecknockshire, Wales
Mary L Best Wife Married Female 30 1871 - Hackney, Middlesex, England
Stanley G Best Son - Male 10 1891 - Little Ilford, Essex, England
Leslie G Best Son - Male 6 1895 - East Ham, Essex, England
Desmond R Best Son - Male 4 1897 - Leigh, Essex, England
Terence H Best Son - Male 2 1899 - Leigh, Essex, England
Kathleen L Best Daughter - Female 1 1900 - Leigh, Essex, England
Kathleen Lawrence Servant Single Female 20 1881 General Servant Domestic Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
23 Lytton Avenue Cheetham Manchester, North Manchester, Lancashire, England

Richard Edward Best Head Married Male 41 1870 London Md CR Journalist Author
Elizabeth Annie Best Wife Married Female 38 1873 Liverpool Lancs Domestic
William Thomas Best Son - Male 13 1898 Liverpool Lancs Scholar
Emily Florence Best Daughter - Female 8 1903 Heywood Lancs Scholar
Edward Russell Best Son - Male 6 1905 Manchester Lancs Scholar

1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
34, Burton Crescent, St Pancras, London, England

Edward Best Head Married Male 50 1851 Journalist -
Annie Best Wife Married Female 37 1864 - Cornwall, England
Elsie Best Daughter Single Female 12 1889 - Kennington, Surrey, England

1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
26 Framfield Road Highbury N, Islington, London, England

Edward Frank Best Head Married Male 67 1844 Germany Resident Sice 1871 Writer Journalist
Mary Frank Best Wife Married Female 47 1864 Cornwall Penweathers -

1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
50 Northumberland Place Paddington W, Paddington, London, England

Florence Maud Best Head Single Female 45 1866 Hellesdon Norfolk Writer Of Fiction Journalist

1891 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
Stamford Street, Lambeth, London, England

Frederick Best Head Married Male 33 1858 Journalist Westminster, England
Henrietta A Best Wife Married Female 23 1868 - Whitechapel, England

1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
40, Apsley Street, Ashford, West Ashford, Kent, England

Stephen B Best Head Married Male 76 1825 Retired Working Engineer Stepney, Middlesex, England
Jane Best Wife Married Female 71 1830 - Ashford, Kent, England
Walter Best Son Single Male 32 1869 Journalist Ashford, Kent, England
Olive Best Grand Daughter Single Female 13 1888 - -

1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
14 Edinburgh Road Ashford Kent, Ashford, Kent, England

Walter Best Head Married Male 42 1869 Ashford Kent Journalist-Newspaper
Matilda Jane Best Wife Married Female 39 1872 Maidstone Kent -
Elsie Mary Best Daughter - Female 8 1903 Ashford Kent -
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2014, 11:03 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Default T. P. O'Connor

I notice his connection to at least one or two of the Bests here. O'Connor was a very prominent newspaper editor in the late 1880s, a supporter of Parnell and the Home Rule movement. Certainly his papers must be available somewhere to look through regarding these Bests.

As for Ernest Parke, he served some time in prison (like six months or so) and then resumed his editorial work. At least that is what I recall reading.

Jeff
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2014, 01:37 AM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Hello Jeff. Thanks.

For T P try "The Star." Parke went up, if I recall properly, in conjunction with libel over the Cleveland st business.

Cheers.
LC
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