James Alexander Patten, journalist, editor, and author, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William D. Patten and his wife Sarah Ann Alexander. He was educated in the Brooklyn schools, and began his journalistic work as dramatic critic on the Evening Star. He was writing for the Sunday Mercury as early as 1859; later he wrote stories of Colonial and Revolutionary times in the New York Weekly (1868), New York Sunday Times, Street and Smith's Literary Album (1867), and New York Dispatch. He also wrote for the Daily Herald and Times; and for the Evening World he wrote stories of Old New York. He also produced some novelettes for Tousey. Among his biographical and historical writings are "Battle for Union," a Civil War history which ran for four years in the New York Weekly Mercury, "Lives of the Clergy of New York and Brooklyn" (1874), and "The Self-Made Men of Our Times," a series of biographies of living persons in Frank Leslie's Chimney Corner. A prize novel, entitled "Our Father's Bones," was based on the history of the Wallabout Prison Ships. He was assistant editor of Munsey's Weekly when it was first started and wrote sketches for the Argosy. For eleven years he was editor of a trade paper, and for a time editor of Frank Leslie's Weekly. At one time he was a director of a book company. He died at Roseville, New Jersey, April 17, 1913.
Besides the novel listed below, he wrote two series of "Talked About People" for the Saturday Journal, giving biographies of some fifty prominent men and women.
REFERENCES: Who's Who in New York City and State, 1907, 1022; Brooklyn Directories, 1867 to 1910; obituary notices in the New York Times and New York Herald, both of April 19, 1913; Publishers' Weekly, December 2, 1889, 1186.
Saturday Journal. No. 503
Half-Dime Library. No. 148
Pocket Library. No. 71