Monday, July 25, 2016

An Anniversary Gossips Missed

Little did I know that July 7, aside from being the day my mother was born in 1912, was the day when, in 1802, The Wasp was first published. Gossips has written about this early Hudson publication a few times, but it wasn't until this morning, when a reader brought it to my attention, that I realized The Wasp was considered to be the first comic book or The Wasp and its editor, Harry Croswell, had gotten the attention of the History Channel: "First Comic Fuels Political Feud." The item is recommended reading. One thing that's left out, however, is that Croswell, as the editor of The Balance, wrote what is considered to be the first definition of a cocktail.



  1. A correction to the History story: Harry Croswell's defense was not Anthony Hamilton but US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and subject of the Broadway hit musical "Hamilton." An addition to the History story: The first trial defending Harry Croswell was held in the First Columbia County Courthouse still standing on Route 23B, Claverack.

  2. At the age of 36, Croswell was made deacon of Christ Church, located at the corner of Union and East Court Streets. The career change reportedly saw an end to his excellent and scathing sarcasm.

    But for his Wasp he deserves a historic plaque "upon the spot now occupied as a garden connected with the residence of Mrs. Erastus Patterson, in Warren near Second street" (Stephen B. Miller, 1862).

    With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton, who was Croswell's counselor, the satirical Wasp occasioned a quantum leap in the legal definition of libel which protects every newspaper, blog, and comment thread in America today.

    1. Since you, unheimlich, have no compunction about correcting others on minor points, I will mention that in 1814, when Harry Croswell was 36, the church building on the corner of Union and East Court streets did not exist. At that time, Christ Church was located at State and Second streets, on the site of what is now Zion AME.

    2. An excellent and welcome correction.

      Happily, there's no operative compunction which prevents me from thanking you for the clarification (heh).