[PW] Firmin Dredd - pseudonym for who?

Donna Halper dlh at donnahalper.com
Tue Mar 27 09:32:59 PDT 2018

ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> I haven't been able to find out who was behind the name "Firmin
> Dredd", but I did notice that it displayed some longevity. Of course,
> it may have been used by more than one person.  The "Chicago Tribune" on March 9, 1900 referred to an article about
> dime novels by Firmin Dredd in "The Bookman"... [snip]  The name was employed in yet another decade. It appeared in 1922 in
> "The New York Herald".

Dennis Lien then noted correctly that the noted scholar and professor of 
Latin Henry Thurston Peck edited The Bookman during this time and 
surmised he might have sometimes assumed the identity of Firmin Dredd.  
This theory is given some credence with a comment I found in one of the 
many obituaries for Peck.  He was, by all accounts, "brilliant but 
erratic"-- he committed suicide in March 1914, and reporters noted he 
died in "a cheap boarding house," a far cry from his former life in 
academia.  Although widely quoted and admired for his scholarly work, he 
also lived far beyond his means and often had money problems, as well as 
having problems with women, one of whom sued him for "breach of promise" 
("philanderer" was a word applied to him posthumously).  But in one 
obituary I found, which originally ran in the New York World, the author 
noted that Peck supplemented his income by writing articles and opinion 
pieces under a variety of pseudonyms.  Unfortunately, the obit does not 
say whether "Firmin Dredd" was one of them.  But given that Peck died in 
1914, Garson's comment that several people may have used this name seems 
possible-- especially if Peck may have been one of the folks who 
operated with this pseudonym.  I'll dig further!

Donna L. Halper, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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