Arthur Colfax Grissom, the son of William Grissom, a Methodist preacher, and his wife Elizabeth Hartwell, was born in Payson,(1) Illinois, January 21, 1869. Like a number of other dime novelists, he began writing at a very early age. He contributed to the Modern Argo of Quincy, Illinois, at the age of twelve, and at thirteen sold a twenty-thousand-word story to a New York publisher for ten dollars. In 1882 his parents removed to Slater, Missouri, and he was employed on the weekly newspaper of that town, where he learned printing and editorial work. His first venture in newspaper publication was a juvenile story paper Out in the West.(2) In 1885 he became associate editor of Dawn of Day, another juvenile paper, published in Detroit. Early in 1885 his parents removed to Independence, Missouri, and in December, 1886, he became editor of Western Young Folks. For two summers he was City Editor of the Independence Daily Sentinel. In the meanwhile, he also managed to be graduated, in May, 1887, from Woodland College in Independence. He went to Kansas City in the autumn of 1887, and was on the staff of the Kansas City Daily News. In October, 1888, in Kansas City, he and C. M. Harger(3) organized the "Western Authors' and Artists' Club," and ran it for four or five years, hoping to make it the salon of Western literature. Other members of the Club were William R. Eyster, Tom Morgan, Will Lisenbee, John Whitson, Maro O. Roife, John Musick, and Joseph E. Badger.
From this time on, he divided his time between Kansas City and New York. In 1891 he was for a short time associate editor of the Marine Journal, and later of the Sunday Advertiser. He returned to Kansas City and in 1895 became managing editor and editorial writer for the Kansas City Evening World. In 1895 he was married to Julia Stone Wood, the daughter of Willis Wood, the then mogul of Kansas City, president of the Bank of Commerce, builder of the Willis Wood Theatre and other important buildings. She met him in New York and they were married at the Little Church around the Corner. They had one daughter, Gladys, and were later divorced. In 1896 Grissom again removed to New York(4) and in 1899, with George Creel, Wilson's propagandist, he began The Independent, a weekly story paper of the Saturday Evening Post type. At this time and earlier he was also contributing to the Banner Weekly, Golden Days, Life, Puck, Truth, and Frank Leslie's publications, and also published a book of poems over the initials "A.G." A few Nickel Libraries were also his. He founded and became editor of Smart Set, remaining with it until his death from typhoid fever, December 3, 1901. He was buried at Independence, Missouri.
Grissom wrote some stories under the name "Albert Cecil Gaines."
REFERENCES: Besides the articles mentioned in the footnotes, there are brief references, although no good biography, in the following: The Journalist, February 26, 1887, August 18, 1888 (with portrait), June 7, 1890, March 7, 1891, May 9, 1891, November 14 and 21, 1891, February 6, 1892, December 12, 1891 (with portrait), January 21, 1893, and December 7, 1901; The Author, II, 1890, 155; "Writers of the Day," The Writer, XIII, February, 1900, 28; Fourth Estate, December, 1901; Who's Who, 1901-1902; Carrie W. Whitney, History of Kansas City, Missouri, I, 395; LaTouche Hancock, "The Poets of Printing House Square," Bookman (N. Y.), XV, 1902, 269-71 (with portrait); Oscar Fay Adams, A Dictionary of American Authors, Boston, 1905, 493; Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century, Chicago, 1906, 427.
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 440, 558, 621
Under the name "Albert Cecil Gaines" he wrote:
Popular Library. No. 32
Half-Dime Library. No. 1101
|1||Gilbert Patten, in the Saturday Evening Post, February 28, 1931. incorrectly gives Independence, Missouri, as his birthplace.|
|2||In litteris, John H. Whitson, to Ralph Adimari, July 11, 1932.|
|3||Personal communication by C. M. Harger to me, March 13, 1941.|
|4||Kansas City Directories, 1896 and 1897. The latter states that he had removed to New York.|