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JOSEPH LEWIS FRENCH
Joseph Lewis French (1858-1936) was a prolific writer and anthologist known for his popular themed collections, such as Masterpieces of Mystery (1921, 4 vols.) and Great Pirate Stories (1922). French led an active literary life: early in his career he founded two magazines, The New West (circa 1887) and The Wave (circa 1890). He then went on to work for newspapers across the country and contribute articles and poetry to periodicals. However, despite publishing over twenty-five books between 1918 and his death in 1936, French struggled financially. Desperate for work in 1927, French was urged by the tabloid daily New York Graphic to write an article on his life's story, which the scandal sheet's editors titled "I'm Starving--Yet I'm in Who's Who as the Author of 27 Famous Books."
Joseph Lewis French's "A Ballad of Old Cheese," undated
French's lighter side is on display in this undated poem manuscript. The poem is written as a ballade, a verse form associated with fourteenth and fifteenth century French literature and consisting of three stanzas and an envoi, wherein the last line of each stanza is a refrain.