[Arthur Gilbert Bedell, printer of New York newspaper the Westchester Times.] Unpublished Autograph Memoir filled with reminiscences of prominent New Yorkers ('Boss' Dick Croker of Tammany Hall, Louis J. Heintz, Theodore Roosevelt) and local politics

Arthur Gilbert Bedell (b.c.1851), printer with his brothers Edwin Bedell and George Canfield Bedell of New York newspaper the Westchester Times ['Boss' Dick Croker; Tammany Hall; Louis J. Heintz]
Publication details: 
Without place or date, but Bedell is in his 81st year at the time of writing. [New York, 1930s.]
SKU: 13853

192pp., 8vo., on 188 letterheads of the Village of Scarsdale, Westchester County, New York. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Irregularly paginated to 179d. Six pages (6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17) are lacking, but the missing text is supplied in an accompanying typescript, with two carbon copies, of the first 31pp. of the manuscript, each of the three copies being 11pp., 8vo. The author of this memoir, Arthur Gilbert Bedell (b.c.1851), was printer and proprietor, with his brothers Edwin Bedell and George Canfield Bedell, of the Westchester Times. They were three of the seven children of William Alfred Bedell (1812-1890), bookbinder with the Methodist Book Concern and the American Bible Society, and his wife Elizabeth Walker Owens (b.1816). Another son, Reginald Heber Bedell (1848-1892), was a noted New York physician (see his obituary, New York Times, 7 March 1892). Further information on the family is to be had in Edwin Bedell's 'The Descendants of John Bedell, who lived in the Passaic Valley, New Jersey' (1885). A rough draft of a rambling, raw memoir, with the author reminding himself to 'give experience', and heading the last page 'Conclusion (I now pause.)'. Writing in an uncomplicated, homespun style, Bedell mixes family anecdotes and business reminiscence with revealing stories of local politics and prominent nineteenth-century New Yorkers (William Cauldwell, George Stoughton, Charles N. Lawson, Andrew H. Green, Henry D. Purroy, Judge Robertson, Henry P. DeGraff, Russell Sage, Jonathan David Hyatt). The author can switch from an incident involving an office boy to a discussion of how 'Furniture was made to last when I was a boy'. Perhaps the most surprising anecdote in the memoir concerns 'support' received by Bedell's weekly newspaper from a future United States President: 'The first money that the paper ever received was from Theodore Roosevelt when he ran for Mayor. It was for $100 and it was a most complete surprize [sic] when the morning's mail was opened. It is needless to say that we have since received others, and it surely was a tribute to our standing coming as it did unsought. | Theodore appeared in the District when he ran for governor. He spoke in Zeltius Hall at Third Ave. and 161st Street and I can well remember his emphatic words "Exactly, Exactly, Exactly.' The memoir begins, under the heading 'How It Came To Be Written', with Bedell explaining that his wife (née May Frances Benton) was 'cleaning house' when she 'remembered a box of old letters up in the garret which she thought would now be interesting. They were mostly family letters reading back fifty, seventy-five and one hundred years gone. After a short perusal, she turned to me questionly [sic] and asked, why don't you narrate what the eighty years of life has brought to you?' His aim is to record 'incidents of life of an American born who existed in the interim of change between the life of Civil War times and the equally hectic life of to-day'. He considers that 'The thirty-five years of newspaper life in what is now the Northern portion of Greater New York City was peculiarly advantageously [sic] located for such a narration.' Other sections titled 'How It Came To Be Called Tremont', 'People In The Office' and 'Our Banks' follow. He begins by describing his family background ('My parents were both born in New York City and lived in that portion where later came Al Smith - Tim Sullivan and other founders of Tammany Hall'), and how his business career began 'in a city wholesale notion house, but the doubling of my salary by my employers would not induce me to stay. From the meager salary given in those times to starters I was able to bank in a savings institution that year a grand total of $50.00, and this, with a promissory note for $100.00, enabled my brother and me to purchase a small stationery store. To obtain this hundred dollars a friend of my brother's pawned his diamond ring. [...] I was fifteen years old when I graduated from what was then the Tremont Grammar School, and sixteen when the firm of Bedell & Brother started.' Of particular interest is Bedell's account of the story of the Bedell Brothers' dealings with Louis J. Heintz (1861-1893) and his attorney, Civil Justice William G. McCrea, a story much reported in the New York papers of the 1890s. It reads: 'I do not think that Louis J. Heintz when he set out to unite his forces with ours intended to injure us. Rather we were to help each other. Events and poor advice was the reason of the smash up. It [had] been agreed that we were to support him locally and the control of the paper otherwise to be with us. He was to put in $10,000 and if the paper was a good thing to give $10,000 more to make it a permanent investment. | Well it went for a year and was going nicely, nearly paying its way, when Governor [...?] stole the state Senate and undertook to gather up all the offices which the legislature could control and one of these was the Public Works of the Bronx to which Heintz had been elected. Hill told Heintz that the paper would have [to] support the [Democratic] administration. We said no and Heintz by the advice of his lawyer McCrea undertook to oust the Bedells. During that period the Bedell revenues ceased and Heintz & co. added $10,000 to their investment to run it. We started a rival paper on the same property. McCrea wrecked Heintz concern and the printing plant was taken out and shortly after we moved in and began over again. Shortly after Heintz died in Washington suddenly. A "reform" administration frequently needs reforming. It was so with the political organisation of Heintz which was shown in the efforts to oust the Bedells. The next day that they were put out the place was re-taken by the Bedells when it was shown that the Heintz people had in type for publication the real estate boom consequent to the construction of the Grand Concourse when they had bought up or had options on the property to be affected. | McCrea was then judge of the local court. This action on his part contributing to his failure to get a recommendation. Subsequently he wanted me to testify in his behalf in a suit which he anticipated bringing against the estate of Louis J. Heintz.'Also of interest are Bedell's reminiscences of 'Boss Croker' and the Tammany Hall scandal. He describes Croker as 'a medium sized man' who was 'heavily built but ad considerable physical vigor. He had coarse features with a large heavy chin. In the early part of his career he had killed his man in a political brawl and the action was characteristic of the dominant nature of the man. | Croker was the only politician who ever attempted to rule our two wards by sending a perfect stranger to reorganise the party to be subservient to Tammany Hall on 14th ST. His man in this case was named McCartney and he lasted but one campaign. He was tuberculous and he soon died and in that campaign Croker was defeated and the result was the house democrats again ruled.' Bedell recalls that 'At one time they pressed him pretty hard and he angrily retorted "Yes I am working in politics for my pocket all the time!" It was in the same week that I saw him in the Safe Deposit branch of the McMorris cutting coupons from bonds.'