Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Albert Bigelow Paine

Albert Bigelow Paine was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on July 10, 1861, according to passport applications filed in 1909, 1918, 1921 and 1923.

The 1870 and 1880 U.S. Federal Censuses recorded Paine in Xenia, Illinois. His parents were Samuel, a farmer, and Mercy. Paine had three older sisters and a younger brother.

The New York Times, April 10, 1937, said:

At 20 he went to St. Louis, learned photography, tramped with camera for three years through the South and then set himself up as a dealer in photographic supplies in Fort Scott, Kan. He kept this up for ten years, but wrote, too, and his first book, “Rhymes by Two Friends” (1893), was also the first book of William Allen White, for it was a collection of their verse.

A pleasant note from Richard Harding Davis, accepting a Paine story for Harper’s Weekly, decided him to turn author in earnest, and in 1895 he sold his photographic business and went to New York.

Paine’s verses were used in J.B. Lowitz’s Gazoozaland series for the month of November 1896 in the New York World.





According to the 1900 census, Paine was married and had two daughters, ages five and two. They resided in Queens, New York at 124 Delaware Street. Paine’s occupation was journalist.

In 1910 Paine was a biographer who lived in Redding, Connecticut on Georgetown Road. His first biography was Thomas Nast—His Period and His Pictures (1904). Paine’s Mark Twain: A Biography was published in 1912. He also wrote about actress Lillian Gish, Texas Ranger Captain Bill MacDonald, New York banker George F. Baker, and Joan of Arc.

Paine eventually returned to New York. The 1915 New York state census listed Paine, an author, in Manhattan at 200 West 74th Street.

In Paine’s second passport application, Bronxville, New York was his home in 1918. Europe was his home away from home.

Paine wrote novels, travel books, humor and verse. He produced material for adults and children, and was editor of many magazines. Paine was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Committee for several years.
The 1925 New York state census said Paine was in Bronxville at Alger Court on Pondfield Road. His address in 1930 was 62 Pondfield Road West.

Paine passed away April 9, 1937, in New Smyrna, Florida. His obituary in the New York Times was transcribed here. Paine was buried in Umpawaug Cemetery, Redding, Connecticut. 

—Alex Jay

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