Dennis O'Sullivan, author, publisher, and printer, was probably born in Ireland, for in one of his stories entitled "The Lion of Limerick,"(1) he spoke of his schooldays in Ireland "many years ago." A manuscript note in a copy of "The Stirring Adventures of Corp'l Morgan Rattler, as Related by Himself," published by Frank Tousey in 1879 and now in the Harvard University Library,(2) states that O'Sullivan was born in 1838. Not much is known about him. He established The Emerald, a literary paper for the Irish, and published it at 8 Spruce Street, New York, beginning February 8, 1868, but retired from it with the issue of December 12 the same year. His only story for it was the serial "Hunted Through Life," which was begun in the issue for April 25, 1868.
The New York City Directory lists him from 1856 to 1871, part of the time at 8 Spruce Street, and gives his home as in Brooklyn. The Directories of the latter city before 1862 have not been seen, but from 1862 to 1877 a Dennis O'Sullivan is listed as printer. This probably was the writer, but it has not been definitely established. However, beginning in 1878, the Brooklyn Directories definitely give the author. In 1878 he is mentioned as a writer living at 405 Herkimer Street; in 1880 as a printer at the same address; in 1884 as a journalist at 849 Herkimer Street, and in 1885 as a journalist at the same address but with his business address at 34 North Moore Street, New York, which was the address, at that time, of Frank Tousey, the publisher for whom O'Sullivan wrote. Dennis continued at 849 Herkimer Street until 1892, in which year he was given as a printer. In 1893, a Dennis O'Sullivan appears as a printer at 69 Somers Street. He undoubtedly is the same man, for with him is listed a Joseph R. O'Sullivan, printer, who was also listed with him when he was at 849 Herkimer Street. He continued at 69 Somers Street until 1893. In 1895 both O'Sullivans were at 61 Somers Street, where Dennis appeared as proofreader. In 1896 both are listed as printers at the same address, and so remain until 1901. In 1905 and 1904 they are not listed, but in 1906 a Mary O'Sullivan is listed as "widow of Dennis." The street address is different and it is not determinable whether this refers to Dennis' wife. In 1909 a Hannah O'Sullivan, widow of Dennis, is listed, but this may be a different person.
A certain Dennis O'Sullivan, actor and singer, who was born in 1868, died in Columbus, Ohio, February I, 1908. If the birth date, 1868, is correct, this, of course, is a different man.
As O'Sullivan's pen names, Miller(3) gives the following Beadle authors: Morgan Rattler, John Emerald, and Jack Farragut. Corporal Morgan Rattler is probably correct, although the name, taken from one of O'Sullivan's novels, is not definite proof.(4) Emerald's stories are of Indians and Farragut's of the sea, while most of O'Sullivan's are Irish. The pen names, therefore, must receive the Scotch verdict, "Not proven."
Waverley Library (quarto). No. 92
|1||Arm Chair, V, August 30, 1884.|
|2||In litteris, William Van Lennep, Curator Theatre Collection, Harvard University, February 2, 1943.|
|3||W. C. Miller, Dime Novel Authors, Grafton, 1933.|
|4||That the name of a principal character in the novel of one author cannot be taken as proof that another novel having this name attached as author is by the same man is shown by "Nick Carter's" story "The Shooting of Jack Barnes." Here is a character called "Harold Payne," whereby one might inter that the author "Nick Carter," in this case F. V. Dey, also wrote under the name "Harold Payne." As a matter of fact, the latter was the pen name of George C. Kelly.|