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St. John, Percy B.

Don't meddle with matters you don't understand.
THOMAS INGOLDSBY (Richard H. Barham), A Lay of
St. Dunstan,
line 4 of the "Moral"

Percy Bollingbroke St. John, an English writer, eldest son of James Augustus St. John and his wife Elizabeth Agar, and brother to Bayle, Horace R., Spencer, and Vane Ireton St. John, was born in Camden Town, England, in 1821. He accompanied his father, who was a journalist, to Madrid when the latter was searching for material for his "Life of Sir Walter Raleigh," and also traveled in America. Here he is said to have acquired an "intimate" knowledge of the Wild and Wooly West, yet in his translation of Aimard's "Prairie Flower" he permitted the chapter on an ostrich hunt on the prairies of the Upper Missouri to pass without comment!

In 1846 he was editor of The Mirror of Literature, in 1853 of The Guide to Literature, Science, Art and General Information, and in 1861 of The London Herald. He contributed various stories to Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper in 1853, to The Parlor Journal in 1860, to The Welcome Guest and The London Journal in 1863, to The Young Englishman's Journal in 1865, to Boys of England in 1866, to The Young Men of Great Britain in 1868, and to The Lads of the Village in 1874.

He died of psoriasis in a low lodging house in London, March 15, 1889, after he had lost his money in a publishing venture.

One of St. John's pseudonyms was "Lady Esther Hope." Another was "Henry L. Boone."(1) Others, according to Miller,(2) were J. L. Freeman, J. T. Brougham, Harry Cavendish, Warren St. John, and Captain McKeen. Harry Cavendish and Warren St. John are the only ones of these names occurring among Beadle authors, and are the only ones that I have tried to trace. No attempt was made to trace the others. "Harry Cavendish" was Henry R. Shipley, about whom nothing is known, not even whether the name is true or false. "Warren St. John" (q.v.) probably also was not Percy St. John.

REFERENCES: Allibone, Dict. Eng. Lit., II, and Supplement, II; Henry L. Williams, "The Braddon-Maxwell Book-Making Factory," The Writer, V, February, 1891, 28; Thomas Frost, Reminiscences of a Country Journalist, London, 1886, 181; W. D. Adams, Dict. Eng. Lit., London, 1878, 601-602; The London Journal, Nos. 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, 1918.

Dime Novels. Nos. 141 to 150 (installments), 168, 169, 174, 244, 255, 410, 446
Saturday Journal.
No. 55
New and Old Friends. No. 3 (n.s.) (unfinished)
Twenty Cent Novels. Nos. 7, 19
Dime Library.
Nos. 57, 86
Pocket Novels. No. 178
Boy's Library
(octavo). No. 130


1 DeWitt's Champion Novels, No. 31, by Henry L. Boone, is the same as "Keetsea," No. 244 Dime Novels, by Percy B. St. John.
2 W. C. Miller, Dime Novel Authors, 1860-1900, Grafton, 1933.

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