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The Immortal Casey

Wilton Lackaye and the Press Club elocutionists who are fond of reciting" Casey at the Bat" will probably be interested in the discussion over the verses’ author in the New York Sun. In one issue of that dally, in the 'literary column, the following appeared: The famous baseball ballad, 'Casey at the Bat,' was 'sent out anonymously. because the author’s father, a master mariner, was opposed to literature and po¬etry, and would have 'no literary fellows about his craft.' ‘Casey at the Bat' was written by George Whitefield d'Vys on a Sunday many years ago while lying on 'the grass in Franklin, Park, Boston. . As soon .as his father died in 1900 Mr. d'Vys immediately began his literary career, and won for himself recognition in. both poetry' ,and fiction. The author was born in Boston and spent most of his boyhood life afloat with his father. During his school days he was much inter¬ested in the game of baseball, and 'Casey’ was founded upon the famous Mike Kelly, who a few days previous to the writ¬ing of the poem ‘fanned’ at an inopportune time. The poem was completed and sent forth the day it was commenced, and has aroused much discussion ever since as to the identity of the author. Mr. d'Vys has a story in the May St. Nicholas called 'The Young Welters.' "

This innocent item aroused the ire of "Ned" Townsend, who sped to his typewriter and click-clicked off this letter:

"To the Editor of the Sun-Sir: In one of the para¬graphs printed in today's Sun under the heading 'Books and Authors,' that grand poem, 'Casey at the Bat,’ is at¬tributed to George Whitefield d'Vys. I am glad of this, for Mr. d'Vys is the only writer, living or dead, to whom it has not been attributed-at least from Chaucer to Ella Wheeler Wilcox. I have this on the authority of the man who really wrote the poem, Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Harvard '85¬ known to an admiring class and the few Brahmins who are aware of the actual authorship as Phinnie Thayer. Indeed, sir, I rejoice that' his publishers have entered Mr. d'Vys; we longed for the only missing one.

Source: THE WASP
Page 28, June 27, 1908


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