The identity of "Fritz" has caused considerable speculation. On the basis of the title of one novel, "The Blacksmith of Antwerp," he has been "identified" as John O'Keeffe, † Caroline Pichler, and as Pierce Egan the Younger. As a matter of fact, the O'Keeffe play and the Egan †and Pichler novels are entirely different from the "Fritz" story,(1) and are different from each other, but all †four are based on the life of Quentin or Quintin Matsys, Massys, Metseys, or Metsys, a Flemish painter who was born in Louvain about 1466 and died in Antwerp in 1530. As a youth he is said to have been a blacksmith and later became a famous painter. Examples of his work are in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, in Antwerp, Berlin, and Leningrad.
A blurb in Tales, Traditions and Romance, No. 6, says that " 'Fritz' is an American." †The story originally appeared in the New World as a serial beginning in Vol. IV, February 26, 1842, 131, with the by-line "Fritz." He was described as "An American, living in Avondale, near Newark." His contributions to the New World began in 1841, and ended in 1843. No clue was given as to his true name.
Dime Library of Choice Fiction. No. 2
Dime Novels. No. 546
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||For synopses of the play by O'Keeffe and the novels by Egan and "Fritz," see under Dime Library of Choice Fiction, no. 2|