Poultney Bigelow

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Poultney Bigelow

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of John Bigelow and Jane Tunis Bigelow
Husband of Edith Evelyn Bigelow
Father of Edith Evelyn Clark; Dorothy Holland and Sylvia Bigelow
Brother of Lt. Colonel John Bigelow, Jr.

Managed by: Mary Duffy
Last Updated:

About Poultney Bigelow


Poultney Bigelow (10 September 1855 – 28 May 1954) was an American journalist and author.

He was born in New York City, the fourth of eight children of John Bigelow, co-owner of the New York Evening Post, and his wife Jane Tunis Poultney.

In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, when Bigelow was six years old, his father was appointed United States consul in Paris, and subsequently (1865) Minister to France, and Poultney was sent to a Potsdam preparatory school. While there he became a friend of Prince Wilhelm and his younger brother, Prince Henry, playing "Cowboys and Indians" with them in the schoolyard. His friendship and correspondence with the Kaiser continued throughout their lives, though their relations became somewhat more reserved just before World War II as a result of some of the opinions expressed in Bigelow's articles. For a time, Bigelow was an admirer of both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini—an admiration which ended when they demonstrated their violent natures.

Bigelow entered Yale College in 1873. For reasons of health, he took a two-year leave from studies, sailing for the Orient, which left him shipwrecked off the coast of Japan. He returned to Yale and graduated in 1879. He obtained a law degree from Columbia Law School and practiced briefly.

His chief occupation from the 1880s till his retirement in 1906 was as an author and journalist. He traveled extensively, and wrote often on the subject. He was a London correspondent for several American publications and was correspondent for The Times (of London) in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. He was a voluminous correspondent with the leading figures of the day, including Roger Casement, Henry George, Mark Twain, Geraldine Farrar, Percy Grainger, Frederic Remington, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Israel Zangwill and George S. Viereck.

He was the author of eleven books, including a two-volume autobiography, and several on history and colonial administration.

He founded the first American magazine devoted to amateur sports, Outing, in 1885.

Bigelow married twice. His first wife, with whom he had three daughters, was Edith Evelyn Joffrey (Jaffray)[1889 NY Social Register]. They married 16 April 1884, and divorced in 1902. His second wife, Lillian Pritchard, was a librarian in the library founded by John Bigelow at Malden. She died on 1 December 1932.

He retired to his family's home at Malden-on-Hudson.

In 1930, at the age of 74, he noted that "it's hell to live so long", but still made annual trips to visit the Kaiser at Doorn.

He entered the Dale Sanitarium on 14 January 1954, where he died at the age of 98, at which time he was Yale's oldest alumnus, and the oldest member of the Athenaeum of London.



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Poultney Bigelow's Timeline

September 10, 1855
February 9, 1885
Age 29
Malden, Ulster County, New York, United States
February 17, 1890
Age 34
Malden, Ulster County, New York, United States
Age 98