Julian Hawthorne

The most famous reporter who covered the trials of Adolph Luetgert, Hawthorne was the son of Nathaniel Hawthorne and a noted novelist and journalist in his own right.

Born: June 22, 1846.
1873-1896: Publishes 26 novels: Bressant, Idolatry, Garth, Sebastian Strome, Achibald Malmaison, Dust, Fortune's Fool, Beatrix Randolph, Love
— or a Name, John Parmelee's Curse, Sinfire, An American Penman, A Tragic Mystery, The Great Bank Robbery, Section 558 or the Fatal Letter, Another's Crime, A Dream and a Forgetting, The Professor's Sister (the Spectre of the Camera), A Miser of Second Avenue, An American Monte Cristo, Millicent and Rosalind, A Messenger From the Unknown, The Golden Fleece, A Fool of Nature and Love Is a Spirit.
1896: Abandons novel writing and begins working as a journalist for William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. He covers the presidential campaign of William Jennings Bryan and interviews leading figures of the time, including Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Robert Ingersoll.
1897: Commissioned by Cosmopolitan magazine, Hawthorne travels to India to report on the plague and famine devastating the population there. In the fall, he covers the first trial of Adolph Luetgert.
1898: Hawthorne reports from Cuba, where his dispatches help to build public sentiment for a war against Spain.
Read about Julian Hawthorne in Cuba.
1908: Hawthorne becomes involved in a scheme to sell shares in a Canadian mine.
Read the sales pitch Hawthorne wrote to lure investors.
1912: After Hawthorne and his cronies persuade investors to buy $3.5 million in mine shares, but no dividends have been paid, the federal government investigates. Hawthorne and three others are put on trial for fraud.
March 23, 1913: Hawthorne is entenced to a year in the federal penitentiary, including time already served. He is sent to the Atlanta Penitentiary, where he is released July 25. He later writes about the experience in his book The Subterranean Brotherhood. Read an excerpt.
1915: Hawthorne moves to California and continues writing.
1923: Hawthorne begins writing for the Pasadena Star-News, which he continue until his death.
Died: July 14, 1934, in San Francisco, a month after suffering a heart attack.

Read Hawthorne's account about the English fad of palmistry.

In my childhood I was surrounded by grown-up persons, but it never occurred to me that I would ever be like them. Later, when I discovered that time bears some relation to age, I parried the blow by thinking that I would be taken out of the maze while still in the bloom of my youth After that I had a persuasion that I would at any rate die early, and at last I fixed the precise date as the month of April, in the year 1897, and that I was be drowned at sea. But when the time arrived I was in Jubbulpore, in the midst of the Punjaub (sic), where there was not even water enough, fresh or salt, to take a bath in. But by this time I was past fifty years of age, and people of fifty, in my young days, were called old. I now perceived, however, that human age ought not to be confounded with mere lapse of years. I felt that I was still young within, and that to consider myself old would be to submit to a popular delusion.

— from Shapes That Pass: Memories of Old Days by Julian Hawthorne (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1928).

The trouble with Chicago is, not that it is not central enough, but that it is too central. From whatever point on the plane you start it takes forever to get here. And on all sides there is that interminable stretch of flat and doleful country to be got over before you arrive… Chicago people admire the changing colors of their lake. The color does change often, but after watching the variations for a couple of months, I have only twice or thrice seen a good color. I prefer the hues of the ocean.

— from Humors of the Fair by Julian Hawthorne (Chicago: E.A. Weeks & Company, 1893).

In the book Hawthorne's Son: The Life and Literary Career of Julian Hawthorne (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1970), Maurice Bassan offers this assessment of Hawthorne's literary work:

The literary reputation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's only son, Julian, led some critics in his own day to compare him favorably with George Eliot, Henry James, and William Dean Howells, as well as his father. This was a mistake, but time has repaired it — indeed, has savagely reversed the scales.

Julian, the young pretender to the glorious family name, certainly outwrote his somewhat slugglish father quantitatively; he was the author of no less than twenty-six long and short novels, over sixty short stories, almost a hundred essays, and several lengthy works of biography and autobiography. Yet who today remembers a single one of his books — unless it be the still well-regarded Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, the reverential biography? The primary reason for Julian Hawthorne's decline ought to be stated frankly at the outset: in an age of giants like Clemens and James  — to speak only of his American contemporaries  — Hawthorne was a pygmy. He was a fascinating but shallow man, and his works reflect more of the shallowness than of the fascination. "No good novel," James wisely remarks, "will ever proceed from a superficial mind." Yet, surprisingly, there are quite genuine if rare treasures scattered here and there in the works of the younger Hawthorne, treasures that ought to be recovered unapologetically.