Benjamin De Casseres: 1890 – 1899

According to his own statements and those of others in later years, De Casseres wrote prolifically for the Philadelphia Press during his years there (circa 1888 – 1899). However, I have not yet acquired access to an index of that paper during those years to find out whether any of those pieces acknowledged De Casseres’ authorship. As an assistant and proofreader, it’s possible that De Casseres wrote only unsigned pieces and paragraphs of pieces attributed to other authors.

The earliest published work of Benjamin De Casseres that I’ve found was printed in the October 1890 issue of Belford’s Magazine, a monthly periodical dedicated to commentary on political issues and personalities. The essay De Casseres wrote for Belford’s was a tribute to Congressman Thomas Brackett Reed (R-Maine), who had become Speaker of the House the year before. De Casseres was 18 at the time this piece was published.

The second published piece by De Casseres that I have found is a short poem titled “The Wisdom of Gautama.” It was printed on Aug. 18, 1898, the Oswego Daily New in Oswego, N.Y., and then again in the Aug. 30, 1898, Newton Daily Republican in Newton, Kan., indicating that it was likely syndicated. Assuming that the Oswego paper (to which De Casseres had no obvious affiliation) was not the first to publish the poem, I have not yet found its original source.

In 1899, Benjamin De Casseres was still living in Philadelphia. Over the course of the year, he wrote several letters to The New York Times Saturday Review, some of which received responses in the same forum. Evidence from those letters suggests that De Casseres moved to New York City, likely in late October or November 1899. Specifically, in all of his letters to the Saturday Review up to and including the one dated Oct. 24, 1899 (published Nov. 11), De Casseres provides his location as “Philadelphia, Penn.”; however, his letter to the Saturday Review dated Nov. 20, 1899 (published Dec. 9) – which is his final letter to that publication for some years – shows his location to be “New York.” Later biographical sketches, including several obituaries, indicate that he left the Press in 1899, and at least one notes that he began working for the New York Sun that same year. I have not yet found any evidence that further narrows down the date that De Casseres relocated.


Benjamin De Casseres: 1890 – 1899 Works
Title Periodical(s) Date Page(s)
Hon. Thomas B. Reed Belford’s Magazine Oct. 1890 775-777
The Wisdom of Gautama Oswego Daily News
Newton Daily Republican
Cortland Evening Standard
Aug. 18, 1898
Aug. 30, 1898
Sept. 16, 1898
(Likely printed earlier)
Life a Babel to Hall Caine The New York Times Saturday Review April 15, 1899
(written March 31, 1899)
Thinks It a Powerful Psychological Novel The New York Times Saturday Review May 13, 1899
(written April 22, 1899)
Too Much Fiction The New York Times Saturday Review Oct. 7, 1899 674
Not Fiction, but Great Truths The New York Times Saturday Review Nov. 11, 1899
(written Oct. 24, 1899)
Children of the Ghetto The New York Times Saturday Review Dec. 9, 1899
(written Nov. 20, 1899)