An old family—the Adamses
dwelt in the Garden of Eden
Captain James Fenimore Cooper Adams ("Bruin" Adams) supposedly was a nephew of James Capen Adams,(1) the bear tamer. A fancy portrait of him was given in The Saturday Journal,(2) accompanied by a "biography" by "Ralph Ringwood" (Capt. A. D. Hines), and heretofore most writers on dime novels have considered him to have been a real person.(3) The name, however, was a pseudonym of Edward S. Ellis.(4) Novels published under the name of "Bruin" or J. F. C. Adams are listed in this book under the author's true name.
|1||Edmund Pearson (Dime Novels, Boston, 1929, 122) spoke of James Capon Adams as "an extraordinary person, with a peculiar name." However, the middle name actually was Capen, a not uncommon name, whose genealogy "Descendants of Bernard Capen of Dorchester, Massachusetts," by Hayden and Tuttle, was published in Minneapolis in 1929. Bernard Capen's house in Dorchester, which is still standing, is considered by many to be the oldest house in New England.
James Capen Adams was born in Medway, Massachusetts, October 20, 1807, and died at Neponset, Massachusetts, in 1860. His biography, "The Adventures of James Capen Adams, Mountaineer and Grizzly Bear Hunter of California," was written in the form of an autobiography by Theodore H. Hittell, and was published in two editions, one in Boston and one in San Francisco, in 1860. A new edition was published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1911.
|2||No. 45, January 21, 1871.|
|3||Edmund Pearson, loc. cit.|
|4|| While no author is given on the title page of I—AT, it is listed in every number of the second series as by Edward S. Ellis. The same story reprinted in 68-DL is given as by J. F. C. Adams.
The list of publications in the back of Pocket Novel No. 11, as well as in the back of other novels, gives No. 12 Pocket Novels, "Bess, the Trapper," as by the author of 'The Boy Miners,' 'The White Tracker,' etc.," both of which are by E. S. Ellis. Furthermore, the list on the back cover of Pocket Novels No. 32 gives the author as Edward S. Ellis directly. When Pocket Novel No. 12 appeared, however, it had on the title page the name "Lieut. J. H. Randolph" as author. Therefore, Randolph is a pseudonym of E. S. Ellis. But the same story, under the title "Buck Buckram; or, Bess, the Female Trapper," appeared in Pocket Library No. 95, and in Half-Dime Library No. 85, as by J. F. C. Adams. Adams, therefore, is Randolph, who is Ellis. Quod crat demonstrandum.
Coomes, on the other hand, in a letter to Dr. O'Brien which is now in the New York Public Library collection, said: "I feel very confident that Mr. (William) Adams told me he was the author of "Ned Hazel" and "The Blackfoot Queen." These novels have on the title pages the name of J. F. C. Adams. It is likely that Coomes was mistaken in his recollection of the conversation after so many years (October 2, 1917), but at least he retained the impression that J. F. C. Adams was a fictitious person. There seems to be no doubt whatever that Ellis wrote the J. F. C. Adams' tales. They are quite in his style.