2010 Queries

Copyright for “The Snake”

I am a freelance permissions editor, working on the permissions for a college textbook, to be published by a custom publisher, and our authors would like to use “The Snake,” by Stephen Crane in this book.  Although I believe his works are in the public domain, I realize that if our authors use an edited volume for their source, we would need to seek permission for the use of “The Snake” from the publisher of such a volume.  Is there an online source (i.e., public domain source) for Stephen Crane’s works that our authors could use as a source for this material?

Best regards,
Linda Blundell

Many of Stephen Crane’s works are online, but there is no general public domain
source for texts. I suggest you use the version in Volume 8 of the University of
Virginia Press edition of Crane’s prose and poetry for the text of “The Snake.”
Obtaining permission is more of a courtesy than anything else since there is no
substantial commercial value involved, but obtaining permission is the politic
thing to do.

–Stanley Wertheim

Howells’s “Hope” and “The Open Boat”

I am a student who is currently taking a class on classical American Literature, respectfully beginning with reconstruction and ending just shy of the twenty-first century. One of the writers that we are studying is Stephen Crane who to my understanding was influenced by William Dean Howell. Mr. Crane wrote a short story based upon his experience adrift called “The Open Boat.” I have heard that Mr. Dean’s poem “Hope” either helped inspire Mr. Crane’s story or was inspired by it. I would like to know which of the rumors, if either, is true. I humbly submit to your expertise on this matter as I have had difficulty shedding light on it myself.  

In all sincerity

James Knox


(cross-posted to the Howells Society site)

While there are apparent resemblances between the experience of sailing on a desolate sea and the relief of sighting land in William Dean Howells’ poem “Hope” and “The Open Boat,” it is almost inconceivable that Howells’ poem could have influenced Crane’s short story. In the first place, “The Open Boat” is, as its subtitle indicates, “A Tale Intended to Be Told After the Fact” and is based on the actual experiences of four men who survived the sinking of the filibuster ship, the Commodore. Second, and more important, Howells’ poem is basically religious, drawing a parallel between a time of danger and isolation and the experience of death, “a sea more desert and more dark/Than ever this was” until “perhaps—perhaps”  salvation is achieved “Like yonder land.” Crane was a nihilist to whom such aspirations were sheer superstition. This is exemplified in the death of the Oiler, he only experienced seaman among the four, when the dingy is beached. Rationality and hope were not qualities Crane found characteristic of the human experience.

–Stanley Wertheim

Karl Harriman and Kenneth Herford

I have a question about two Crane acquaintances, Karl Harriman and Kenneth Herford. I have found biographical information about Harriman and know something of his academic and professional careers. It’s Kenneth Herford who is a puzzle to me, however.

I ask because, in doing some research on Harriman’s writings for The Detroit Free Press, it has occurred to me that — and I recognize this may be far-fetched — Harriman may have used “Kenneth Herford” as a pen name.
There’s precious little to be found about Herford; what I do find remarkably parallels the Harriman’s life. What do we know about Herford?

Best wishes,

Bonnie Taylor-Blake

Despite the similarities in their careers, I’ve always assumed that Kenneth Herford and Karl Harriman were different people. In his Saturday Evening Post essay, “Young Blood—Stephen Crane” (18 November 1899), Herford recounts a conversation with Crane that occurred in 1893. That was ostensibly before Harriman and Crane were acquainted since in his memoir, “The Last Days of Stephen Crane,” New Hope, October 1934, Harriman specifically mentions that he met Crane for the first time when he visited Brede Place in 1899 with Robert Barr, who introduced him to Crane.

–Stanley Wertheim


I hope I might submit a follow-up in response to Prof. Wertheim’s recent comment on my question about Karl Harriman and Kenneth Herford. (By the way, I’m very grateful to Prof. Wertheim for taking the time to address my query. His reply has caused me to read “Young Blood — Stephen Crane” more carefully.)

I should note that a colleague and I have just found a piece in The Detroit Free Press (for whom Harriman and Herford wrote) that announces Harriman’s wedding to Edith Morse Lee. (This was printed as “Quiet Home Wedding,” 19 October 1899, pg. 7; PDF available on request.) An excerpt:

“This evening at the residence of her aunt, Mrs. Edgar Drury, occurred the marriage of Miss Edith Morse Lee, of Detroit, to Karl Edwin Harriman, who writes over the nom de plume ‘Kenneth Herford.’ […] The groom is a son of Judge Harriman, one of Ann Arbor’s leading citizens, and returned from a European trip three weeks ago.”

There were other notable clues that tipped us off to Harriman’s use of a pen name (“Kenneth Herford”), which I’d be happy to share, so we were 99% there, but this recently found wedding announcement — offered in Harriman’s (and
“Herford’s”) newspaper — really does seem to seal the deal.

Of course, knowing that Karl Harriman was writing as Kenneth Herford is only helpful in that it may put a slightly different perspective on what we’ve come to know about Crane through Kenneth Herford (and, of course, Harriman).
On the other hand, finding this puzzle piece helped us solve an unrelated mystery touched on by Alexander Woollcott some 80 years ago.

All the best,
Bonnie Taylor-Blake


Did Crane read William James?

Is there any evidence that SC read William James’ Principles of Psychology; also, do you know of any discussions whether James’ stream-of-consciousness theories affected SC’s work?  Thank you.

Bob Emery, bemer@albanylaw.edu

I don’t believe that there is any documentary evidence that Stephen Crane read William James’Principles of Psychology, and considering his personal tastes, I would doubt it. Nevertheless, works like The Red Badge of Courage and “War Memories” do seem to approach stream-of-consciousness techniques. It so happens that Professor Patrick K. Dooley of Saint Bonaventure University is a prominent scholar of both William James and Stephen Crane. I suggest that you consult him on this question: pdooley at sbu dot edu.

–Stanley Wertheim

Whose scissors?

Thank you for answering my question about “taisy”. I have another question with “The Monster”. At the end of Chapter XIX, there is a sentence ” She snipped her words out as if her lips were scissors”. Some critics think the “she” in this sentence refers to Martha Goodwin, but analyzing from cohesion and coherence in this part, the “she” can be “Kate”. So whose lips were scissors, Martha Goodwin’s or Kate Goodwin’s?
Nora Shu


This is a good question. Crane treats Martha Goodwin with considerable ambiguity. While she empathizes with Dr. Trescott’s motives, she disapproves of his sheltering Henry Johnson in his home. The narrator describes her as “probably the most savage critic in town.” Her sister Kate comes downstairs from her room while Martha is listening to a diatribe by Carrie Dungen about Henry’s misadventures in Whilomville and his subsequent arrest. Since the dialogue is between Carrie and Martha and since the reference to her “blood-thirsty tones” seems appropriate to Crane’s characterization of Martha Goodwin, I would assume that it is Martha who “snipped her words out as if her lips were scissors.” Nevertheless, since the dialogue between Martha and Carrie is interrupted by Kate’s entrance into the room and the narrator’s graphic description of her shrugging shoulders, there is reason to question whether it is Martha or Kate who says “‘Serves him right if he was to lose all his patients,'” but it seems to me that the conversation is limited to Martha and Carrie.

–Stanley Wertheim

Crane Photographs

Hi, I was wondering where it would be possible for me to obtain high quality scans of the few photos of Crane that exist (Universities?  Publishers?)

Thanks so much,


The three university libraries with major Stephen Crane collections are Columbia University (Rare Books and Manuscripts), the University of Virginia (Alderman Library) and Syracuse University. They will provide copies of photographs, whether prints or scans, usually for a fee. You might also try the Johns Hopkins University Library, which has acquired a large collection of Crane photographs.

–Stanley Wertheim

“The Open Boat”

Who are the “seven mad gods of the sea” from Crane’s “Open Boat”?  Thank you.

Doris Sanders
The ancient term “seven seas”  was commonly used in Greek and Roman literature to refer to what were believed to be the great oceans of the world. Even in modern times the term has been used to refer to the seven largest bodies of water: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Some geographical classifications also count seven oceans in the world. The narrator of “The Open Boat” describes the hapless circumstances  of the men in the dingy amid the mindless chaos of the natural world, embodied in the waves that threaten to drown them, which in their collective minds is described as “the seven mad gods who rule the sea.”

–Stanley Wertheim


I’m now reading Crane’s The Monster. When Henry Johnson was walking on the town street, Reifsnyder marvelled “Ain’t he a taisy?”. (Chapter III). I looked up the word “taisy” in many dictionaries, but failed to get its meaning. I just guess this word has connotation with femaleness. Am I right?

Nora Shu
Strutting down the main street of Whiomville in his lavender trousers and straw hat, Henry Johnson attracts the mocking admiration of  the townspeople, among them Reifsnyder, the garrulous proprietor of the town’s barber shop, who in his German accented English ironically remarks, “Ain’t he a taisy?” Reifsnyder’s “taisy” stands for “daisy,” which in the late 19th century was a slang expression for the best in its class.

–Stanley Wertheim

Red Badge: Written in the Poconos?
Is there any evidence to support claim that Red Badge of Courage was written in the Poconos?

Did Crane go to the Poconos to treat TB?
Where in the Poconos?
Thank you
No, Crane did not write The Red Badge of Courage in the Poconos. He was not treated for tuberculosis in the Poconos either, but he did consult a physician at the Andirondack Cottage Sanitarium, later called the Trudeau Sanitarium, at Saranac Lake, New York.

–Stanley Wertheim

Crane and E. J. Edwards

I am writing a book about a 19th-century newspaper reporter named Elisha Jay Edwards, a.k.a. E.J. Edwards. Using the pen name “Holland,” he mainly wrote for the Philadelphia Press. Around 1893 he befriended Stephen Crane in New York, and apparently urged his editors at the Press to run a serialized version of “Red Badge.” I know Edwards occasionally let Crane sleep at his NYC apartment. Can anyone shed more light on the relationship between these two men? Thank you!

Matthew Algeo


Yes, there was a considerable personal and professional relationship between Crane and Elisha J. Edwards. If you wish to learn the details of this relationship, would it be too obvious for me to suggest that you consult a few of the biographies of Stephen Crane? For the most detailed account, I immodestly recommend my own (with Paul Sorrentino) The Crane Log: A Documentary Life of Stephen Crane (1994). Whether or not Edwards recommended The Red Badge to the New York Press, there would have been no need for him to do so. The novel had already been accepted for publication by the Bacheller newspaper syndicate and D. Appleton & Company, and Crane was publishing extensively in the New York Press in 1894.

–Stanley Wertheim

Novel about Crane

Several years ago I read an excellent novel about Stephen Crane’s last months in Europe where his wife had taken him for his health.  Henry James figured in the novel which has gay themes.  I have lost the book and can’t remember the title of the novel.  I think “hotel” was in the title.  Can you help me?
Tom Hull


I know of no novel that involved Crane’s “last months” in Europe. If you mean Continental Europe, Crane spent less than two weeks  in Germany while he was dying, and Henry James was in England at that time. The only novel featuring Crane that I know of, other than Thomas Beer’s fictional biography, is Edmund White’s Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel (2008). That novel centers on gay themes, but any resemblance between the real Stephen Crane and the Stephen Crane depicted by White  is entirely coincidental.

–Stanley Wertheim

Crane’s use of imagery

While reading The Red Badge of Courage, I found quite a few images of what Henry (or the narrator) heard and saw while walking through the battle field which seemed to correspond with what Dante heard and saw on his journey though Hell in The Inferno.  I know that Longfellow published the first American translation of The Divine Comedy in 1867 and that Gustave Dore’s illustrations of it came out in 1890.  Does anyone know whether or not Crane read The Inferno or was aware of Gustave Dore’s illustrations?

Carrie Paulson

Performance of Three Stories by Stephen Crane
I am writing to you on behalf of Drama Committee Repertory Theatre in New York City.
On Sunday, May 23, 2010 starting at 3:00PM at 314 West 54th Street, Manhattan, Drama Committee Repertory Theatre is presenting staged readings of “The Monster”, “The Blue Hotel” and “The Open Boat.”  The three pieces are adapted to the stage by Arthur Reel.  Admission is free.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 914-659-3437.
Anne Marie Ross
Press Cordinator, DCRT
Crane at Akahista

Are you able to provide any information on time that I believe Stephen Crane spent at a village called Ahakista in Cork, Southern Ireland together with Harold Frederic. I am trying to track down the house they stayed at. Many thanks.

Crane and the Transcendentalists

I’m wondering if Stephen Crane ever made any comments regarding the
Transcendentalists. I’ve done quite a few online and library searches
and as yet haven’t come up with anything. I’m not sure if this is the
right place to go for this information, but if it’s not, I wonder if
you could point me in the right direction.

Thanks so much,
Chad Harrison

Yes, Crane alluded to Emerson several times. In a letter sent to the editor of Demorest’s FamilyMagazine in April or early May 1896, he wrote:  Preaching is fatal to art in literature. I try to give to readers a slice out of life; and if there is any moral or lesson in it I do not point it out. I let the reader find it for himself. As Emerson said, “There should be a long logic beneath the story, but it should be kept carefully out of sight.” Although Crane here misquotes from Emerson’s “Intellect,” he preserves the essential meaning of the passage: “We want in every man a long logic; we can not pardon the absence of it, but it must not be spoken. Logic is the procession or proportionate unfolding of the intuition; but its virtue is as silent method; the moment it would appear as propositions and have a separate value, it is worthless.” A sketch in Crane’s Notebook, “The Art Students’ League Building,” quoted an aphorism presumably from Emerson chalked on an old beam in a remote studio: “Congratulate yourselves if you have done something strange and extravagant and broken the monotony of a decorous age.” Kenneth W. Cameron could not find a source for this quotation in Emerson’s works, and it is apparently apocryphal. See Clarence O. Johnson, “Mr. Binks Reads Emerson,” American Literary Realism: 1870 1910, 15 (1982), 104-09.

–Stanley Wertheim, 5/11/10


Kenneth W. Cameron should have looked a littler harder for the quotation in Emerson’s work. He would have found it in the essay titled “Heroism” in the first series of Essays: “Adhere to your own act, and congratulate yourself if you have done something strange and extravagant, and broken the monotony of a decorous age.”
Christopher Benfey
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075


Crane and Copyright 

My name is Vincent and my production company is making an independent film adaptation of Stephen Crane’s short story, “A Ghoul’s Accountant.” It is apart of the Sullivan County sketches. My question therefore, is whether or not your Society is the authority on granting the rights to this short story or if there are any rights to be had at all. Perhaps this particular story fell into the public domain a long time ago. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,



The Stephen Crane Society does not hold the copyright on Crane’s works. The question of copyright is addressed below and on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Did Crane have any children?

Are there any living descendants of Stephen Crane? Thank you.

David Warren l Development Director

There are no known descendants of Stephen Crane. He was never married, and had no children recognized by law. I suspect that he may have had a daughter, but that lady is long dead and also had no descendants.

–Stanley Wertheim, 5/11/10

Was the poem ‘Because it is bitter’ published in Crane’s “Black Riders” book of poetry or in “War is Kind” ?
Thank you for your attention to this-
Duston Spear
It is from The Black Riders and Other Lines. You can find this if you go tohttp://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/crane/black.htm (or click on Works Online, Poems), press Control-F to open a search box, and type in a few words.
Crane and Rugby
Today’s New York Times (3/14/10) cites a reference that Crane was playing football in New Jersey at the time of completing Red Badge. We wonder if it was not rugby football and not gridiron (the American
version) that he was playing as gridiron did not become popular until the turn of the 20th century. Is there any reference to him playing or mentioning rugby? Thank you for any insight and should we follow up on a story your organization will receive full credit.

Buzz McClain

Crane was thoroughly familiar with gridiron football. While living at his brother Edmund’s home in Lake View, New Jersey, in 1893 he occasionally coached a boy’s football team. As a free-lance reporter, he covered two Harvard football games for the New York Journal in 1896. I can recall no mention of rugby in Crane’s writings, although I cannot guarantee that he never alluded to the game in his English journalism. However, he was captain of the Delta Upsilon fraternity cricket team in at Syracuse University in 1892.

–Stanley Wertheim


Crane’s poems: copyright?

Please tell me who has the copyrights to Stephen Crane’s poems.  I am writing a song cycle using his poems and am looking for legal permission to use them.  Thank you .

Neil Presnell
There are a number of musical cycles based on Crane’s poems. All of Crane’s writings are in the common domain and may be reprinted or quoted without permission. There is a technical caveat that if you are using a specific edition, the text of that edition my be copyright, so that it would be prudent to write a certified letter to the publisher requesting permission and to cite that edition as your source if your work is published.

–Stanley Wertheim

Sources for Mexico sketches

I was wondering if there is any information available regarding the sources or influences for Crane’s Mexico sketches, specifically those called “fables” in the UVA edition of Crane’s works.  These are “The Voice of the Mountain,” “How the Donkey Lifted the Hills,” and “The Victory of the Moon,” all of which were syndicated by Bacheller and printed in the Nebraska State Journal.  I have been unable to locate any scholarly work on these tales.
Thank your for your help,
Angie Calcaterra
Crane wrote satiric parables and fables both in verse and prose throughout his career. “The Voice of the Mountain,” “How the Donkey Lifted the Hills,” and “The Victory of the Moon” have little to do with Mexico other than that they were written shortly after he returned from his sojourn there in 1895. A similar fable, “How the Ocean Was Born,” was written a year before that. The title “Fables” was editorially supplied

–Stanley Wertheim

Crane and Red Badge

I hate to be so broad, but I feel as if a direct, blunt question would lead to a quicker, clearer response.

How was Stephen Crane able to write such a realistic novel about a war he never saw?


Katy Kaestner


The quickest, clearest answer to your question of how Crane was able to write a novel about a war in which he had not participated is that Crane’s behavior as a student was virtually the opposite of that of today’s students: He didn’t attend many classes, but he did a lot of reading. I would suggest that you look into more complicated, time-consuming answers to your question by imitating his behavior and reading a couple of Crane biographies.

–Stanley Wertheim

Crane and Panorama

I am writing the first book from the American point of view about rotunda panoramas, the biggest paintings in the world, 50 x 400=20,000 square feet that were housed in their own rotundas which were 16 sided polygons. In 1893 Chicago had 6 panorama companies and 6 panorama rotundas. On September 18,2003 the F.W. Heine diaries[1879-1921] were discovered “hiding in plain sight” in a display case in the Milwaukee County Historical Society. These diaries are the only known narrative of a panorama company, and are highly illustrated. The diaries are now being transcribed in German, translated to English, and scanned onto a computer. The project is under the auspices of the Museum of Wisconsin Art, Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies, Goethe House Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County Historical Society. In 1885 a group of panorama artists under contract to William Wehner took a fieldtrip by train from Milwaukee to the battlefields at Chattanooga to photograph Missionary Ridge & Lookout Mountain. Later the panoramists went to the battlefield outside Atlanta and made photographs and interviewed the old veterans. Then the artists arrived at Asbury Park to the home of Theodore Russell Davis, campaign artist for HARPER’S WEEKLY during the Civil War. The Davis studio-home-on-the-beach was shared by his wife and two daughters, and contained a large collection of Civil War uniforms, haversacks, weapons, and the like. The artists would assume the role of models, dressing up in the vintage clothing and pose with various props while color sketches were made in this “open-air studio”[See ST. NICHOLAS MAGAZINE FOR CHILDREN, “How A Great Battle Panorama Is Made” December 1886]. Stephan Crane,born 1871, would have been 14-15 years old at the time .Davis mentioned in his article that the towns people of Asbury Park would look over his fence and behold the apparition of Civil War soldiers come to life albeit German panorama artists mapping their 1/10th scale panorama.

I wonder whether Stephen Crane might have looked over Mr. Davis’ fence to see the “soldiers”. The on-line biographical material on Crane mentioned that his relatives were journalists who worked for local newspapers, and I wonder whether there exist any feature articles locally that would mention the panorama activities at the home of Theodore Russell Davis. The Heine diary transcription-translation project has not yet reached the part concerning the trip to Asbury Park, but thought I would touch base with you. I have more info to share.

Kind regards, Gene Meier,
Well, Crane was only 5″6′ or 5″7′ feet tall, so he probably didn’t look over too many Asbury Park fences. Crane began working as an assistant to his brother Townley, an Asbury Park journalist, in 1888 at the age of 16, but there is no mention of panoramas in his journalism.

–Stanley Wertheim, 1/31/2010

“The Open Boat” and newspaper version

Can you tell me and my undergraduate class what the time frame was between Crane’s publishing “The Open Boat” and his news story about the sinking of The Commodore? if you can let me know asap, I’d appreciate it.


Laurie George


You seem to have the sequence of publications in the wrong chronological order. Crane recounted the circumstances leading to the sinking of the filibustering tug Commodore in his 7 January 1897New York Press report “Stephen Crane’s Own Story.” “The Open Boat” is a fictional reworking of subsequent events that occurred in the 30 hours he spent with the ship’s captain, the cook, and an oiler in a ten-foot dinghy on the Atlantic off the coast of Florida before the craft capsized in the surf at Daytona Beach on the morning of 3 January and William Higgins, the oiler, drowned. Crane intended “The Open Boat” to be accurate, but rather than a simple rendition of experience he strove for an interpretation that had broad social and metaphysical significance. The story appeared in the June 1897 issue of Scribner’s Magazine and was collected in the American and English editions of The Open Boat.

Is there no biography of Crane in the library of your college or university?

–Stanley Wertheim, 1/31/2010

Crane’s name and the GAR

Can you tell me what Stephen Crane’s middle initial was?

Was he ever an honorary member of the Grand Army of the Republic?

Did he ever write words to a tune called ‘Hymn of the Grand Army of the Republic’?

Thank you

Gib Young


You can find the answer to the first question on our Frequently Asked Questions page.


Crane was the only one among his siblings who had no middle name. As an adolescent, he once signed himself “Stephen T. Crane, perhaps for “Townley,” a popular name in the Crane family. Crane had no association with veterans groups of the Grand Army of the Republic. The typescript of his longest war poem , “All feeling God, hear in the war night” (This is the first line; Crane’s published poems were untitled), bears the title “The Battle Hymn,” but this poem is about the Cuban War, not the Civil War.

–Stanley Wertheim, 1/31/2010

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