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Nunes, Joseph A.

I cannot vouch my tale is true,
Nor swear, indeed, 'tis wholly new.
JOHN G. SAXE: The Romance of Nick. Van Stann

Joseph A. Nunes (sometimes, and probably correctly, spelled "Nunez"), peripatetic attorney, life insurance agent, manager of an opera house, playwright, and author, is represented among Beadle authors by a single tale, published in three different editions. Very little is known about him. He first appears in Philadelphia,(1) where he was admitted to the bar January 9, 1841. In 1848 appeared his "Aristocracy; or, Life among the Upper Ten," published by Peterson, of Philadelphia; and he had a poem in the Dollar Newspaper, Vol. VIII, July 10, 1850. He was probably in that city until 1857 or early 1858, for although the city directory still gives him in 1859, he was already in California in 1858, according to Allibone.(2) His "Fast Folk; or, Early Days in California," was played in the American Theatre, in San Francisco, in July, 1858, but was apparently not published until 1861, in Philadelphia. He was an attorney in San Francisco and listed in 1860, but only in that year.(3) Where he was from 1861 to †1863 is unknown †but on December 10 of the latter year, at Louisville, Kentucky, "Major Joseph N. Nunes, paymaster of the U. S. Army, formerly of San Francisco was married by Elder D. P. Henderson to Miss Juliette A. Shreeve." (Army and Navy Journal, New York, I, December 19, 1863, 269.) In the 186667 Directory of Louisville, Kentucky, he appears as a lawyer, with an office at the same address as Henry Nunes (Stoever & Nunes, Commission and Forwarding Merchants). In 1872 he appears in the same directory as General Agent, Chicago Life Insurance Co. Directories for 1873 to 1880 were not seen, but in 1881 he was listed as a lawyer, and here, for the first time, his name was spelled "Nunez." The Directories for 1882 to 1887 were not seen, and in later ones he was not given. In 1880, however, he was given in the Cincinnati, Ohio, Directory as lessee and manager of Pike's Opera House, with his residence in Louisville. Some time between 1882 and 1887 he left Louisville, for he appears in the New York City Directory for the first time in 1887-88, as Joseph A. Nunez, lawyer. He appeared for the last time in the directory for 1901-1902. In 1907 Juliette A. Nunez, widow of Joseph A. Nunez, appears and remains until 1915-16. A certain Hannah H. Nunez or H. Helen Nunez, apparently a relative, appeared at the same address as Joseph for the years 1890-91 to 1896-97. Her "Book of Poetry" was published in Philadelphia in 1873. In 1898-99, also living with Joseph Nunes, was Henrv Nunes, a lawyer, and he remains in the directory until 1901-1902; evidently the same Henry given in the Louisville Directory.

It thus appears that Nunes was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1841, remained in that city until 1857 or 1858, went to San Francisco and remained there at least to 1860, and appeared in Louisville in †1863. He remained there until 1881 and perhaps later. There is a hiatus in the directories from 1882 to 1887. He appears in New York for the first time in 1887-88, and is listed to 1901-1902. He is not listed from 1902 to 1906, but in 1907 his widow Juliette is given for the first time, consequently he must have died some time between 1901 and 1907.

He published "A Song of the Isle of Cuba" in Philadelphia in 1885, but that, of course, does not mean that he lived in that city at that time.

REFERENCES: Mrs. M. O. W. Oliphant, Days of My Life, 1899; Allibone, Dict. Eng. Lit., II, and Supplement, II; Book News (Philadelphia), XI, 1892, 383, with portrait; Ibid., XV, 1896, 637; Publishers' Weekly, LII, 1897, 19; Literary Digest, XV, July 24,1897, 369-79, with portrait; The Bookman (New York), IX, 1899, 528-33, with portrait; Critic, XXXV, 1899, 812-18, with portrait.

Irwin's American Novels. No. 3
Starr's American Novels. No. 2
Pocket Novels. No. 258

† Correction made as per Volume 3.


1 J. H. Martin, Bench and Bar of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, 1883, 298.
2 Allibone, Dict. Eng. Lit., II, 1444.
3 San Francisco Directory, 1860. Joseph A. Nunes, attorney-at-law, 34 Montgomery Block, dwl, 236 Washington st.
4 Louisville, Ky., Directory, 186667, Joseph A. Nunes, Lawyer, 81 Main st. r. country, 3 mi. from city; 1872, Joseph A. Nunes, General Agent, Chicago Life Ins. Co. r. 45 Broadway; 1881, J. A. Nunez, lawyer, r. 610 6th nr. Oak.

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