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3/13/19
Pursuant to the postscript on yesterday's entry, I have just finished processing all the new evidence I gathered from "The Odd Fellow" at the American Antiquarian Society. The gist is that it appears I was correct on all counts--Mathew Franklin Whittier was signing as a single asterisk, or "star," in that paper, as well--including in 1846, the year that he was using the same signature in the New York "Tribune" (and not Margaret Fuller, as historians believe). He used it for brief theatre reports and reviews in Boston; a book review; reports of new Odd Fellows lodges and their activities; and also for travelogues (in this case, travelogues that involved visiting Odd Fellows lodges). Mathew also published poetry under "Bertram" on two occasions; and there are multiple instances where his work from other papers is reprinted in "The Odd Fellow," far beyond chance. For example, some of his "F."-signed pieces for the New Orleans "Daily Delta" in mid-1846 appear reprinted in "The Odd Fellow."

Another fascinating observation is that of the duo, "The Old 'Un" and "The Young 'Un"--Francis Durivage, and his side-kick, George P. Burnham--only Burnham's stories are reprinted in "The Odd Fellow"--about ten of them, all told. "The Old 'Un"--falsely claimed by Durivage--never appears there. This tells me that Mathew told the editor of "The Odd Fellow" that he was the real author of this series, and this editor (for once) believed him. In "The Flag of our Union," there are "Old 'Un" and "Young 'Un" sketches practically every week. This is in 1849. There is no other logical reason I can think of why the editor of "The Odd Fellow" would reprint so many "Young 'Un" stories from that paper, and none of "The Old 'Un," which are actually better-written. Durivage was a member of the Odd Fellows (I don't know about Burnham), so it wasn't favoritism on that basis.

I spent several hours checking all the dates given for Mathew's alleged work in this paper, with his known work in other papers. For example, if the "star" in "The Odd Fellow" signs with a date and a place, like Boston, Oct. 2, 1850, I checked all of Mathew's work in the Portland "Transcript," the Boston "Chronotype," and the Boston "Weekly Museum," to see where he was on those dates when writing with the other pseudonyms. It's a very complex picture, but I did not find any outright contradictions. What I found, was a consistent picture:

1) Mathew wrote each trip under its own pseudonym, partly depending on the paper he was publishing in. For example, in the "Museum," he was "Quails" (he used several in that paper); in the "Transcript," he was "J.O.B."; and in "The Odd Fellow," he was the "star." So if the "star" is in Boston as of Oct. 2, 1850, I looked to see where "Quails" and "J.O.B." were on or near that date. Say Mathew took a trip to New York as the "star"; then he turned around and visited his children in St. John, as "J.O.B."; then he traveled to Vermont and New Hampshire as "Quails."

2) When Mathew took a side trip for personal reasons, or perhaps in his clandestine work for the cause of Abolition, he simply omitted that part from his travelogue. Thus, "Quails" might report being half-way between Boston and New York, using the New York railway line; but his reported itinerary covers a full month, while what he reports would only have taken two weeks. But the "star" also mentions being in New York City and upstate New York during the same period. So he reported one leg of the trip as "Quails," and simply mentioned the other leg as the "star."

As for "Bertram," Mathew was doing with Abby, what I'm doing now--a cross-dimensional relationship. When he wrote a tribute to his wife, he simply lets the readers assume that she is physical. But if you read between the lines, and you know what you're looking for, you see the references. What happens sometimes, is that Mathew actually fools me along with everybody else. And I begin questioning myself, only to sheepishly realize that I've been taken in by the ruse that he had to adopt to remain hidden.

Again, that's the gist of it. I have to organize all of this and figure out a way to state it very succinctly, where I have to add it into my sequel. I'll get that done tomorrow or the next day.

Best regards,

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.

 

Music opening this page: "Won't Get Fooled Again," by The Who,
from the album, "Who's Next"

 

   

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