Bierce Communication Board Archive

Bierce Communication Board Archive
scroll down from earliest posting to most recent

This is a simple archive, virtually cut and paste, of messages posted on
The Ambrose Bierce Communication Board. Since some of the messages contain useful information about Bierce I've tried to preserve the best of them. Note: many of these messages were written prior to 8/16/01 -- but in the process of archiving them I was unable to save the original posting dates. I realize this has become a rather large file -- and at some point, when I get the energy, I'll try to break it into smaller components. It's also in need of updating. For those who have the slightest interest in Ambrose Bierce, this is where the questions and answers are -- Don Swaim

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 04:52PM
Name: Leniegh J Schrinar

I am looking for the title of the following Ambrose Bierce quote:

A little of dust
A little streak of rust
A stone without a name----
Lo! hero, sword, and fame.

Does this quote ring a bell?

Leniegh Schrinar Riverton, Wyoming

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 04:54PM
Name: Don S
Comments: I eyeballed Bierce's two major books of poetry, Black Beetles in Amber and Shapes of Clay -- but didn't happen upon those lines, which certainly have a Bierce quality. Sorry.

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 04:56PM

Name: jwormley
Comments: Hi, I just picked up a second edition copy (1877) of The Dance of Death, by William Herman AKA Abrose Bierce. I am interested on any information about this particular book. Also, I am looking for any information on an inked stamp that was placed on the interior hard cover of both ends of the book. The stamp reads "Virginia Union Reform Club". I have tried a few places online, but no information has been available. Thank you for your consideration of my inquiry, Josh
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 04:57PM
Name: Don S.
Comments: In 1877 a San Francisco photographer named William Herman Rulofson invited several friends to express their opinions about dancing, particularly on a new form called the waltz. Rulofson's son in law, T. A. Harcourt, edited the satirical essays into a book under the pseudonym "William Herman." One of the contributors to the book, which claimed to be offended by the waltz, is believed to have been Bierce. How much he actually wrote for it is unknown. The hoax produced a second book "The Dance of Life," purportedly by "Mrs. Dr. J. Milton Bowers." This book defended the waltz. It is surmised that Bierce had a hand in this one too, since he earlier used the name "J. Milton Sloluck" on the title page of his second book, "Nuggets and Dust." It was not uncommon for private clubs in the 19th century to have their own libraries; thus, I presume your book was once in Virginia Union Reform Club's private library.
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:07PM
Name: Bob Mabbitt

Comments: About the Love & Kisses "piece" . . . Selective regurgitation of Wilde as a flaming, uppity knit-wit? Selective regurgitation of Bierce as a good ol' American hero on wry? And all you accomplish is dry-heaving your way into a shallow bucket of bitter-man worship and gay bashing. I thought you liked these guys!? I take that back -- we know all about you and Bierce. This Wilde/Bierce barf is an all too obvious and convenient way to channel the dead and your own urges. That was your intent, right?

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:08PM
Name: Don S.

Comments: Dear Bob, First, thank you for reading the piece about Bierce and Wilde, even though it seemed to offend you. I did try to capture accurately Bierce's opinion of the young Wilde. The first paragraph actually contains Bierce's own words about him: "...blowing crass vapidities through the bowel of his neck, of uttering copious overflows of ghastly bosh." Bierce never actually met Wilde, so his written attack on the poet was borne of a certain ignorance befitting a professional cynic, a military man, and a misogynist. By the end of the story, however, I attempted to instill in Bierce a degree of ambivalence toward Wilde that Bierce did not have at the beginning; that is, accepting the cigarette still damp from Wilde's lips -- and I deliberately left unanswered Wilde's question, "May I kiss you now?" My intent was not to channel the dead and my own urges (whatever they might be), but to try to show what might have happened had this unlikely pair actually met. This is a rather wordy response to your e-mail, Bob, but I hope it gives you another perspective.
Don Swaim

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:24PM
Name: Carreker, Alon D.
Comments: I was wondering did Ambrose Bierce write any short fables and If so, how do I locate them?
Shon Carreker
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:25PM
Name: Don S.

Comments: Bierce wrote many, many fables, some of them hilarious. They were first collected in 1899 under the title FANTASTIC FABLES published by Putnam. Republished by Dover, 1970. Many of them were gathered in "The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce," Citadel Press 1946 and in many subsequent Citadel reprintings. His fables were also included in his 12-volume Collected Works, long out of print. Bierce's nearly novel length THE MONK AND THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER may also qualify as an enlarged fable, available in many editions. (Some of his fables can be accessed through this website. Go to Other Bierce Sites.)

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:27PM
Name: Paul Cullivan

Comments: Hello from London, I've just looked at your site, and would appreciate your opinion on what you think are the most rewarding biogs of Ambrose Bierce. Of course, there's been a recent one ("Alone In Bad Company"), although Bierce fan Florence King seems to favour Richard O'Connor's portrait. I'm very sympathetic to the man, so I'd appreciate your view before I invest in one of the many works about him.

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:28PM
Name: Don S.
Hello, Paul. I don't care for the Roy Morris biography. Except for Civil War military activity, only pivotal to Bierce, it adds nothing knew. The O'Connor biography is marginally better, more in the realm of a popular biography. The best biographies are out of print, but thanks to the power of the Internet can probably be tracked down through sites such as
The Bierce biographies that helped me the most are: Ambrose Bierce: A Biography (by Carey McWilliams) NY. Albert and Charles Boni. 1929. (McWilliams was able to interview many of Bierce's associates who were still alive at the time.) and Devil's Lexicographer, The (by Paul Fatout) Norman. University of Oklahoma Press. 1951. (Fatout did a lot of legwork and brought the research up to date. He also wrote a book called Ambrose Bierce and the Black Hills, 1956, also University of Oklahoma Press.)
Let me know what you selected.
PS, If you live in London, you may know that Bierce was an ex-patriot there for several years (his two sons were born in England). One of the places in which he lived was Bath. Bierce also published his first three books in London.
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 05:34PM
Name: Alex Uhlmann
Comments: Hello Mr. Swaim, I watched your website and real audio discussion on with interest. You seem to be an expert.
Now to my query. I'm a student from Austria who is currently trying to write an research paper about Ambrose Bierce "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge". My research pager is 10 pages long. The interpretation (focuses about Bierce in context to the story) is just 2 pages long. Could you do me the favour and read the 2 pages interpretation and just tell me if I'm on a right track or totally wrong ?
I would send you the two pages as a soon as you answer. Please answer fast because my time is running out. ( one more week to go, then it must be handed out )
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 06:05PM
Name: Heather
Comments: Hi this is Heather and I am doing a report on Ambrose Bierce for my English class in school and I was wondering if I could get your help on his writting styles. The teacher wants us to talk about his writting styles and literary techniques, and I am not good at looking up information if I could get your help I would greatly appreciate it You seem to know an awful lot about Ambrose Bierce. Please email me back as soon as you can Thank you very much!!
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 06:06PM
Name: davej
Comments: Thanks for this site; my son is looking for information on a short story about Chickamauga and a young boy who loses his family in the battle. I've been unable to locate a copy of the story; have you seen one online? Thanks, David Johnson Hampton, NH
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 06:07PM
Name: Don S.
Comments: David, the story to which you refer is, indeed, titled "Chickamauga," and is one of Bierce's most famous Civil War tales -- beautifully written and horrifying at the same time. It was originally published in Bierce's book TALES OF SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS, later titled IN THE MIDST OF LIFE. I have not seen it on line -- unless it has been added to any of the sites on my "More Bierce Sites" link. However, the story is regularly anthologized and is available in any number of Bierce Collections, the most ubiquitous being THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF AMBROSE BIERCE, a Citadel Press paperback. Any well-stocked bookstore should have it -- and so should
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 06:09PM
Name: William J. P. Grace
Comments: Dear Mr. Swaim,
I am currently writing a novel in which Mr. Bierce makes an appearance. In the interest of "getting it right," I am endeavoring to learn as much as I can about his appearance, and his manner of speaking; i.e., what did his voice sound like? I would be most appreciative if you could advise me where such personal information might be found. Thank you for any assistance which you might be able to provide.
William J. P. Grace
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 06:10PM
Name: William J. P. Grace
Comments: Don, Thank you for your note. Your assistance is much appreciated. I will try to do justice to Mister Bierce in my magnum opus. I had planned to have him play a very minor part, but I suspect that he will insist upon moving to center stage. I suspect that he will do so, when he catches sight of Lola Montez. Some characters will do that! I enjoyed the excerpts from from your book, and will be buying a copy. Thanks again for your help!
William J.P. Grace
Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 07:31PM
Name: Keith Allen Daniels
Comments: Dear Mr. Swaim, I just discovered and thoroughly enjoyed your Ambrose Bierce website. The excerpts from "The Assassination of Ambrose Bierce" were especially amusing, particularly the Mencken and Wilde stories. I believe you've managed to capture the thought and essence of A.B. in your sparkling and witty dialogue. The story about the attempted toppling of the cross in Golden Gate Park had me in stitches!

Bierce has always been a literary idol of mine. He's influenced my own writing considerably. My long poem, "Sciomancy Nights," included in SATAN IS A MATHEMATICIAN, deals with two sciomancers who spend their evenings conjuring up the spirits of the illustrious dead. The first segment of the poem is a sonnet called "An Evening with Ambrose Bierce." That poem is also included in my book, THE WEIRD SONNETEERS. Both books are available from Anamnesis Press and Another poem of mine, "Chaulmoogra Mantra" (also included in SATAN), was inspired by Bierce's section heading, "A man, though naked, may be in rags," from "The Damned Thing."

My only professionally published work of fiction is a story about Bierce's disappearance in Mexico, published in the science fiction anthology OTHER WORLDS 2 (Zebra Books, 1980.) It's a fanciful tale in which Bierce is abducted by aliens while visiting the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan. The aliens place him in cryogenic suspension aboard their starship, but a malfunction causes him to awaken before they reach their destination, and...

It's nice to know that Bierce continues to live on through his own writings and those of his talented admirers. Best regards,
Keith Allen Daniels, Publisher
Anamnesis Press

Date: Thursday August 16, 2001 - 07:33PM
Name: Don S.
Comments: Keith, as you may have seen by now, I put links to your arresting Ambrose Bierce poetry on the main page of this Web site.
Date: Thursday September 20, 2001 - 02:11PM
Name: Jack Matthews
Location: Athens, Ohio
Don: Thanks for the apt culling of Biercism. A telling piece, fiercely biercely.
Jack Matthews
Date: Thursday September 20, 2001 - 02:16PM
Name: Walt Wheeler
Don... what a nice piece of work. I can't even imagine knowing an author's works so well as to be able to pluck forth the "just right" quotes from those works.
Walt Wheeler
Date: Friday September 21, 2001 - 01:12AM
Name: Wayne Cabot
Location: Glen Gardner, NJ
Wow. Deep thinking. Thank God I was on my second Bombay Sapphire. It.. and your craftsmanship.. made Bierce come alive.
Wayne Cabot
Post Date: 10/1/2001 10:44:06 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S.
Home Page:
Make Bierce come alive? What makes you think he isn't alive?
Date: Friday September 21, 2001 - 10:55AM
Name: Tom Redman
Don, Hello. I'll share some of my views with you about last weeks terrible national disaster that took place in New York, Washington, D.C. and outside Cleveland. First, I respect all views, even Bierce's, although I may vehemently disagree with some individuals. My feelings are this: For all it's twisted madness, I think there is or was a logical source in origin for a faction of a world society to act as they do.

Many people in the world, to many Americans amazement, really do not like us. In developing third world countries, we are often seen as fat, arrogant, greedy, and a self-righteous people full of itself. We are a strong part of multi-national corporations that use something close to slave labor to produce goods cheaply for us. It's been long known that we dominate one third of the worlds resources. We have air conditioning, plenty of gas, in our multi-car families, and a steak every night, if we wish. Most of the world does not live that way. -There is a price for it and we are paying for it, with innocent lives, as a result. By some, who chose to be hate groups, acting on their frustration and vengeance.

But we have hate groups here too, every country does. As is common sense, not all or even most Moslems are bad people. -I didn't see anyone beating up on white American guys after McVey and Nichols blew up the Oklahoma Federal Building.

But back to the foreign fanatical groups. They are only a tip of a larger problem, disparity and hopelessness for many peoples of the world. I wish it weren't so. We've been supporting corrupt regimes for many years that give something back in control, finances, and resources. But we are also a complex nation, and at times we do much good for some causes in the world which is counter to the other. I learned how the U.S. and the world really is, from a hard lesson in Vietnam. I was a young, naive lad, who thought as many others then, that I had to stop communist tyranny and aggression there. Many VN veterans still have chose to not learn from that. McNamara, the architect of keeping that war going on, eventually wrote a book to apologize for it's wrongdoing.

We tended to blow the hell out of a lot of innocent people and real estate in Vietnam and elsewhere since, then tried to slap a band aide on pitifully torn humans to vindicate ourselves. I have fears we will do this again. But this time we may be dancing a piano wire tightrope with the Moslem world as a whole. This may be a long and deadly war with lulls in between. I hope I am wrong in this assessment. And I hope the American people can stand the pain and losses over a long period of time, if it comes to pass.

I see all men as my brothers. I feel very sad that we as humans have learned so little about one another. However, right or wrong, I am an American, from a long lineage of Americans going back to the beginnings of this country. As General Robert E. Lee felt, with a heavy heart, I stand with my native state. The United States, this time.

Tom Redman

Post Date: 10/1/2001 10:40:19 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S.
Home Page:
I agree with you, Tom. Our hands (as Americans) aren't completely clean. But no matter what, we didn't deserve what the terrorists did to us. So far, Bush hasn't gone off half-cocked and bombed someone for the sake of bombing someone. But, as Ambrose Bierce suggests (in the q&a on the AB website), this sort of terrorism MUST be answered. The dilemma is how to do it -- and to whom -- and still be proud to be Americans.
Date: Saturday September 22, 2001 - 08:17PM
Name: Susan Shillinglaw
Location: San Jose, California
Don--I'm teaching CA lit, and we just discussed Bierce; the student who did the report, a teacher from Los Gatos, was both drawn to and appalled by Bierce. I handed to each student an intro to the Collected B, which I happened to have (a book my uncle owned) by Clifton Fadiman. It's a great intro, so if you don't have it, I'll send you a copy.
Take care--in these times. Susan
Date: Saturday September 22, 2001 - 08:19PM
Name: Don S.
Location: Bucks County, PA
Don't send it, Susan. I have it. I also have his Collected Works in 12 volumes (1909) from which I drew the material related to the WTC disaster. I'm also drawn to Bierce, infuriated by his narrowness, overwhelmed by his acuity.
Date: Monday, September 24, 2001 8:12 PM
Name: Fred Barrouk
Comments: Ambrose,et al
I was able to read over the prose of Ambrose Bierce, and I can only say that I must be on a different plane than him or perhaps you. Frankly, I didn't understand it at all. If you have the patience, and care to, you might put it in EASY english, and then I might be able to give you an opinion, or at least my opinion. If there is a possibility that you are talking about the current crisis, let me make myself clear....No excuse, and especially a religious excuse or two, can possibly forgive the actions of slaying several thousands of humans. I have a particular appreciation of the feelings of desperation that induce an individual to become a martyr. The counter to that is the fact that "leaders" , and with the use of "religious zeal', can lead the innocents to self-destruction, and justify to them destruction of others. I'm just sick at the thought. And I do my best not to dwell on the subject.
On another vein , Ambrose Bierce reminds me so many times of Stephen Ambrose, the histoiran who wrote so many good books...about D-Day, Eisenhower, The Lewis @ Clark expedition, the book about the transcontinental Railroad, and so much more. I was fortunate to meet him at a Civil War Institute here in Gettysburg, and had quite a conversation with him one evening over a beer---he had a full glass of Gin. I look back at that event as one of my highlights.
Enough for now...Fred B
Date: Saturday September 25, 2001 - 08:19PM
Name: Don S.
Location: Bucks County, PA
I can appreciate the fact that you didn't understand Bierce's comments, although a great many readers did (see the Ambrose Bierce Message Board accessible from my A.B. site). His language is a touch old fashioned; however, it is clear from your comments below that you agree absolutely with what Bierce has to say. If Bierce had met his namesake in Gettysburg I'm sure A.B. too would have had a full glass of gin, maybe more.
Post Date: 10/1/2001 9:08:58 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Tom Redman
Topic: Bierce & Pancho Villa
Is that really A. Bierce standing behind P. Villa?
This is all very interesting and I really do want to believe. What is the documentation and the info about this photo?
Post Date: 10/1/2001 9:09:49 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S.
Home Page:
I confess, I used a little literary license. Of course, it MIGHT be Bierce. Did you see the Pancho Villa page? I can't recall where I got the photo, somewhere online.
Post Date: 10/1/2001 9:11:04 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Tom Redman
I liked your Pancho Villa page, very good writing. And very good reading for me. Is the excerpt here of your manuscript in print? If so, where can I purchase the book if I chose to do so? Bierce firing his rifle on horseback: Don, that, as Villa said, "is very good shooting!"
A man firing his rifle on the back of a skittish horse, in the heat of battle and hitting not one but two targets and in the head, is nothing short of miraculous.
If the horse was a trained cavalry mount (which would be able to stand stationary under fire, unless perhaps mad with pain from a wound) and the rifleman, being a cool and excellent shot, could possibly pull it off to hit one, or perhaps both men somwhere in the body.
-But, I'm perhaps being to technical and critical here. I really enjoyed the short piece of writing.
What's up with the book availability?

Post Date: 10/1/2001 9:11:43 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S.
Home Page:
Dunno, Tom. Seems to me I saw John Wayne get off two good shots like those in one of his Western pictures for Republic.
As for the book we're looking for a publisher
Post Date: 10/1/2001 9:13:07 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Tom Redman
I enjoyed your brief banter back about John Wayne's trick shooting in the cowboy movies.
-Yes, Wayne's shooting ability on the Hollywood "Horse Opera" set was legendary.
All in good fun though.
Take care buddy, -Tom
Topic: Bierce on Patriotism
Post Date: 10/2/2001 4:13:24 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Ed Gullo
Thought for Today: `"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.'' -- Samuel Johnson, English lexicographer (1709-1784). (To which Ambrose Bierce replied, "I beg to submit that it is the first.'')
Topic: Ambrose Bierce modern Dance Performances
Post Date: 10/3/2001 9:31:12 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Lorin Richards Home Page:
Ambrose Bierce short stories come to life in 'An Occurrence Remembered', a modern dance musical with music and direction by Lorin Richards, choreography by Nicole Cavaliere.
Appearing Nov.9th and 17h at the Washington Square United Methodist Church, 135 West 4th St., New York City. For more information goto
Topic: About the New Bierce Message Board
Post Date: 10/1/2001 9:25:41 PM (Eastern USA) Author: Don S.
Home Page:
I changed message boards -- and transferred the messages from the old one to the new one, which accounts for the repetition in dates. In actuality, the messages were posted over some weeks...
Date: 10/13/01
Subject: no subject
Hey Don--
This is Roy Morris Jr. I really don't care for you or your uninformed opinion. And that is not Ambrose Bierce standing behind Pancho Villa, you jackass.
Topic: The Disappearance of Ambrose Bierce
Post Date: 10/13/2001 1:43:38 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S
Home Page:
Fellow Bierce fans,
In a satirical vein, I recently posted two pictures of Pancho Villa in which the captions suggested the man partially obscured behind Villa was Ambrose Bierce. I received some emails, including a virulently angry one [from Bierce biographer Roy Morris Jr.] calling me a jackass, questioning the captions.
I have removed the captions because I do not want to give the impression to the uninitiated that Bierce actually did become a companion to Pancho Villa. A junior high school student using the Internet to research a term paper might be misled, for example.
The fact is, Bierce vanished in Mexico at the end of 1913, and no amount of investigation has ever uncovered his whereabouts. All we have to satisfy our curiosity about this mystery is speculation.
The captions were all in fun, the way Bierce would have had it (read the message below involving his Dance of Death), and if I misled anyone it was not intentional.
Topic: Ambrose Bierce & the WTC Disaster
Post Date: 10/11/2001 7:19:21 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Bierce Phile
Due to a computer passing away and the events of last month, I have spent a good bit of time away from the computer at home.
I hope that you and yours came away as unscathed as possible from the recent events. I was far too close to the events as they unfolded, but thankfully, no one I knew was directly affected the the attack.
Ironically, I was reading a new old copy of "Skepticism & Dissent" that I had bought at the Strand at the time of the attack. You have to wonder how Bierce's mind would have wrapped itself around his idea of national honor and the implacable horror wrought of modern means and age-old religious fanatacism.
I do know that in the current atmosphere, our country truly needs a classic skeptic of prominence around. I think having Bierce around in the Post or wherever he would find nest these days picking apart everything from both sides would be a comfort.
However, we are just left with a situation that will get much worse before it gets better, with the only commentary provided by flag-waving yahoos or impractical leftists ready to sacrifice the country for supposed sins of the past, with no one of intellectual weight to find the sane middle road.

Post Date: 10/15/2001 4:37:27 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Chris
Could someone please tell me if and where did Ambrose Pierce say, " War is God's way of teaching geography to American's?" Thanks,
Post Date: 10/15/2001 5:52:49 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S
Home Page:
I've never run across that line, Chris. Maybe someone else has. It has a Bierce feel to it -- but then Bierce didn't believe in God (although he was perfectly willing to use the term). See a reference to this line on the Bierce in the News link on the AB site. There is also a reference to it on the Op Ed page of the LA Times at:
Topic: Great Website
Post Date: 10/16/2001 9:34:36 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Paul Goldstein
Home Page: "You've Tried The Rest, Now Try The Best"
I enjoyed it [the site] greatly, Don.
Keep up the great work. --Paul
Topic: ambrose bierce
Post Date: 10/21/2001 8:31:17 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: h sawyer
i am looking for a copy of one of a.b.'s short story, i believe its title is "a cold night" or "the cold night." can you tell me where i might find it, or where i can locate it on the internet. the title i am not 100% sure of, but it is about a civil war soldier who allegedly dies of a gun shot wound to the head, a blanket, and not in the dirt in the morning that says "you are forgiven."
i appreciate any help you might give me. thanks
h sawyer
Post Date: 10/21/2001 8:36:20 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S
Home Page:
Harriet, I could be wrong but I believe the story you are referring to is about a Union soldier who is pinned in the rubble with a hair-trigger rifle pointed at his head. This beautiful and frightening Ambrose Bierce story is called "One of the Missing," and is available online if you go to the OTHER AB sites link on the main page of this site.
Post Date: 10/24/2001 7:34:56 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: hsawyer
don, i appreciate your suggestion about "one of the missing." i found it and read it, a great goulish story. however that is not the one i am looking for the focus of the story is about a young soldier who appears to be dead so another soldier takes his blanket on this horribly cold night. . .but in the end the reader discovers the first soldier is not dead, but dies during the night of hypothermia (my word, not a.b.'s), but in the night before the second soldier dies, he write in the dirt, "you are forgiven." any more suggestions about what this story might be? thanks in advance for your help.
Post Date: 10/25/2001 9:51:10 AM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S
Home Page:
According to Ernest J. Hopkins, a Bierce scholar, Bierce wrote 25 Civil War stories. All 25 were gathered in a book edited by Hopkins called THE CIVIL WAR SHORT STORIES OF AMBROSE BIERCE (University of Nebraska Press 1988). Nowhere in this book is there a story with the situation you've described above. Bierce has been credited with a lot of brilliant lines that weren't his, and I suspect this is one of those cases. Could it have been penned by Stephen Crane? Perhaps someone else will know.
Post Date: 10/26/2001 6:59:09 AM (Eastern USA)
Author: hsawyer
Thank you for the info. I appreciate your persistance
Topic: Bierce in Translation (say what?)
Post Date: 10/31/2001 8:16:43 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S Home Page:
A Spanish-language website has published a short bio of Bierce:

The wondrous Google search engine permits an immediate translation, which leaves a little to be desired, not the least of which are the obvious inaccuracies. Here's part of it. Enjoy.

Of the life Ambrose Bierce any thing can be said, unless it were a rested and boring life.

It was born in 1842. The 5 years it saw how his father hung itself; later her mother left to him and her eight brothers (one of who forzudo of circus became, another one - to that Ambrose had cut a foot to him playing with an axe became jesuita; and one of its sisters went like misionera to Africa to finish in the stomach of the cannibals). To the 13 years, one began sexually with a woman who had passed the seventy; it participated in the war of the secession, where they hurt it of gravity; she was journalist and writer; the woman by whom she had left his wife left him as well; one of its children died by cocaine overdose, and the other in a street fight.

In 1913, to the 71 years, it left for Mexico to be united to the troops of Pancho Villa and nobody plus returned it to see. Although many editorials, and we among them, have been supposing it dead for more than 70 years (what it does to his work of public dominion), if le╚s these lines we want decirte, Ambrose, that nor it is happened to appear to you: acordate of which it happened to him to Patinetta.

Topic: Literary Techniques
Post Date: 11/12/2001 6:52:35 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Lefty2417
ANYONE that could please help, I need several literary devices or techniques that appear in "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" or "Chickamauga." Please email me at Thank you!
Topic: A Man Who is Hanged
Post Date: 11/28/2001 8:46:02 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Jason Shive
I'm looking for some information. Someone told me of a book of his that was something about a man who is to be hanged gets lose and goes about finding his wife only to realize it was a flash before he dies. If you could help me figure out the title of this book I would be most grateful.
Thanks in advance,
Post Date: 11/28/2001 8:47:02 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S
Home Page:
It's not a book. It's a short story called AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE, which is available as a link on this website.
Topic: Bierce Quote
Post Date: 12/7/2001 3:07:07 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Thomas Kelleher
You have quite an excellent site about Ambrose Bierce, so I thought I might trouble you with a question about him. Do you know from what source comes his quip, "There's nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet"?
TJ Kelleher
Thomas Kelleher
Natural History Magazine
American Museum of Natural History
79th Street at Central Park West
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Topic: info sought Post Date: 12/17/2001 3:22:40 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Colin Smith
I'm looking for some info on a supposed Bierce quote. It goes something like: "From childhood to youth is an eternity, from youth to maturity is a season, but old age comes in the night and is incredible." Anyone have any idea if it is Bierce, if it is accurate, and/or what the source is?
Thanks for your help.
Post Date: 12/17/2001 5:58:03 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Don S
Home Page:
I don't recall that precise quote, if it is, indeed, by Bierce. Perhaps one of our many other Bierce fans will recognize it. However, I found these (all from his COLLECTED WORKS):
"In childhood we expect, in youth we demand, in manhood, we hope, and in old age, we beseech."
"Yesterday is the infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age." "Every man was young once. I believe that we elders should dig, save, and go nearly as naked as the law allows. And if heaven doesn't reward us with success, we nevertheless will have the satisfaction of being a glittering example to American age and the pride and glory of our sons and daughters."
"Fiction's vigorous in its youth, decrepit in old age, and detested in its grave."
Post Date: 12/18/2001 4:21:30 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Colin Smith
Don: Thanks for that. Good quotes all, but not close enough, I fear. What it is, is that I'm editing a book in which the author uses the above quotation. I'm particularly anxious track it down and get it right, if possible, because the other quotations he has used have accorded well with Bierce's definition of "quotation": "The inaccurate repitition of an author." (I hope I have that right.)
Topic: Help on a quote "The time to go away is..."
Post Date: 12/18/2001 1:38:08 AM (Eastern USA)
Author: Andres Brunete
Slogan: Firmness, Generosity, Equanimity
Hi, I have just discovered Bierce, even if indirectly, by reading Gringo Viejo. I have found in that book (in Spanish) a quote that I suppose is from Bierce.
I would like to know whether it is really from Bierce and the original text in English.
I translate from Spanish to English: "The time to leave is when when you have lost an important bet, the vain hope of a possible success, the firmness and the love for the game". By the way, I think that it is not "and" but "or". Any of these conditions should be enough to justify leaving. Moreover, I would leave before lossing the firmness. But in any case the quote is really good!
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Post Date: 12/18/2001 1:01:44 PM (Eastern USA)
Author: Colin Smith
Yes, this is a Bierce quote, though I can't give you the exact original right at the moment. It's from an essay entitled "On taking oneself off," in which Bierce writes of suicide as justified (even required) in some circumstances. This essay is collected in "The Shadow on the Dial: and other essays," published in 1909.
re: Help on a quote
Colin Smith
12:53 pm thursday december 20, 2001
Mea culpa. The actual title of the essay is "The Right to Take Oneself Off." The text of the quotation is: "The time to quit is when you have lost a big stake, your fool hope of eventual success, your fortitude and your love of the game."
re: Help on a quote
Andres Brunete
6:16 am saturday january 26, 2002
Thank you very much Colin. I though I would be sent authomatically an e-mail when I would get a reply, and now that I have opened your website again I see that you have answered twice and found the quote and the book. Thank you very much again.
Carlos Andres
Thesis Questions
Greg W
5:16 pm tuesday january 8, 2002
Hi, I'm writing a report and need 5 thesis questions about Ambrose Bierce and his life around the time of the Civil War. These questions have to be rooted in history. So far I have, "How did Ambrose Bierce's writing change comparing his writing from the beginning of the Civil War to his writing from the end of the Civil War?"
re: Thesis Questions
Don S.
11:47 pm tuesday january 8, 2002
That is a very poor thesis question, Greg.
Bierce was only 19 when the Civil War began and had written virtually nothing outside of homework for school. Bierce's first published piece wasn't until 1867, a year after his arrival in San Francisco (and long after the war). I could be wrong about this, but I don't think Bierce began writing Civil War stories until around 1887, after he joined William Randolph Heast's San Francisco Examiner. Those stories were published in his best known book, TALES OF SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS, 1892. Don
Topic: An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge-Video?
4:29 pm monday january 14, 2002
When I was a Freshman in high school ( some 2,000 yrs ago ) I saw this film. I think of it constantly to this day. I would very much so like to know if it is on video or any format.
Thanks, Darin
re: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge-Vi
Don S
5:06 pm monday january 14, 2002
Darin, you are in luck. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is available on video tape from such sources as ($14.95). If you go back to the main Bierce page and open the AMBROSE BIERCE IN THE NEWS link, you'll find two related items: an obit of the director, Robert Enrico, who won an Oscar for this film. And news of a new film version being made by Susan Odom.
Topic: Biography help needed
6:32 pm thursday january 17, 2002
I need help with any information anyone cares to share with me about Bierce. I'm doing a presentation for a class and I would like to get anything about him outside of the brief bio the author's gave him. None of this is in order I'm just remembering information off the top of my head.
I know he served in the military. He got promoted from a private to a lt. after he had a successful battle. He moved to England with his wife. His two children died. He seperated from his wife and went back to San Fran. In San Fran he worked as an editor for awhile.
Then he went to go fight in some war in Mexico where he vanished. A relative did recieve a letter from him before it was discovered that he disappeared. That is about all I know.
Any other information would be greatly appreciated!
re: Biography help needed
Don S
6:38 pm thursday january 17, 2002
Go back to "The Ambrose Bierce Site" main page (, then click on the link "Other Bierce Resources & Works on Line." There you'll find scads of biographical and bibliographical info and pictures.
re: About Love ------&------ Kisses
v warda
9:07 pm monday january 21, 2002
Dear Don,
I've been quite entertained by checking out your site. Seems like I saw it a few years ago, too? I have been doing more of my own research on Bierce, but tuned in for kicks to see what you're doing. I tend to think your Love & Kisses piece is very plausible, even if it's only fiction. If Bierce HAD actually had an interchange with Wilde, it could have gone as you'd imagined, I believe. I've been fascinated by Bierce for about ten years - read a few biographies still to be found (6 - 7 altogether).
Recently I checked out the new Oakley Hall fiction works: Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Spades, Ambrose Bierce and the Death of Kings. I was curious if you'd read them and what you thought. AS an 80+ writer of standard mystery fare, Hall had fun with these. Pretty formulaic, but did something interesting to spark new interest in one of my favorite writers.
In 2000, I even went to the Rockerville, South Dakota area and scoped out where Bierce had his rough Black Hills experience. There I discovered that Paul Fatout erred in his statement in his epilogue - "Of the great flume, no trace remains...all long ago rotted away..." In fact, I carried home samples of the petrified pieces of wood still lodged between boulders and sitting along the edges of the "gashed earth" as Fatout called it. Since the pieces look like rock, it could have been easily missed - if Fatout had actually gone to research it in person (which he doesn't actually mention).
Again, I really enjoy your fiction and your take on Bierce - irreverent or imagined as it may be! Too bad some visitors to your site cannot read and just enjoy!
Thanks, Val Warda (CA)
re: About Love --------&-------- Kisses

Don S
11:00 pm tuesday january 22, 2002
Hi Val,
Yes, I'm familiar with Oakley Hall's Bierce-oriented mysteries. What makes them special, of course, is that BIERCE is in them, which counts for a lot.
You even read Paul Fatout's account of Bierce in the Black Hills! Now, that's rare. Fatout's biography of Bierce, THE DEVIL'S LEXICOGRAPHER, ranks among the top in my opinion, and while Paul may have skipped going to South Dakota, he did try to follow Bierce's footsteps and do original work.
And, yes, the Bierce site has been around for a number of years, but I began it rather tentatively. Stupidly, I put in chili recipes and stuff about banjos, before I became bold enough to try to make it as inclusive a Bierce site as I could. The site now gets more than a hundred visitors a day, no doubt many of them high school and college kids researching term papers (which is fine with me).
I might say parenthetically that the dialogue in "Love and Kisses,"-- not to mention the dialogue in the other pieces -- was composed (mostly) of Bierce's own words, as well as Wilde's. I was intrigued at the thought of having Bierce vie with people such as Mark Twain, Prime Minister Gladstone, Theodore Roosevelt, etc., so I created the imaginary dialogue using their own words. Obviously, I can't put all this material on the site.
Tells us about the nature of your Bierce research. And, Val, I'd like to include more original material to the Bierce site, so if you'd like to contribute let me know.
re: About Love ----------&---------- Kisses
val warda
6:53 pm wednesday february 6, 2002
Thanks for your quick response - yes, I appreciate quick responses, but was not so fast myself! As a high school teacher of English here in CA, one semester ending and another beginning has kept me fairly tied up. But, I forwarded this site to my computer favorites here at work. Between meetings this afternoon, I finally got to look at your response placed earlier.
I was impressed with the work Fatout did, don't get me wrong. I do think he just believed what others had written, maybe, rather than go check it out. After all, that WAS the focus of that entire book. Anyway...
Researching YOU, I was in awe of your past accomplishments and interviews undertaken. What a great number of fantastic opportunities you had with your radio show! I had a little radio experience myself, and would've loved to have more, but couldn't make a living in my area doing interesting interviews. Got my degree at CSU, Stanislaus where I conducted local civic leaders every Thursday night for 14 months. Have to say live radio can be tricky - and good for some "back-in-the-day" kind of stories!! Also stayed with my Journalism minor long enough to teach high school journalism - sponsoring a school paper for three years, then moved to teaching all English courses. Since they say there's no money in journalism - unless you're Helen Thomas (who I was fortunate enough to interview several years back) or a handful of others - I now get my kicks by writing a local opininon piece regularly for my local newspaper here in Mendocino County. It's a way to express some ideas. Maybe you'd be kind enough to give me a formal interview on a particular topic for a future column? I'll come up with a topic - or YOU can!
Playing with Bierce dialog is a kick, you better believe it - and you do it so well ! Knowing the character is half the work, then contriving the situation works the imagination, huh? I actually would love to finish a work I've started placing Bierce in the Black Hills. Would love to believe he must have talked to people or made comments about the notorious people who affected our history there at that time. Calamity Jane, Crazy Horse, the list goes on... If I can clean up a couple of pages maybe you would look at it?
Thanks again for your attention and time.
Don S
11:37 pm tuesday january 22, 2002
You can sort (index) the Ambrose Bierce Communication board two ways: by DATE (which is obvious) or by THREAD (which means a repy or replies to an earlier posting).
You can click on the options above, a little below Bierce's steamy picture.
If you index by THREAD you'll have to scroll down to the original posting, so it seems to me that indexing by DATE is the best way to go -- since the most current posting, no matter what the thread, will be at the top.
Topic: a cold night - short story
9:41 pm saturday january 26, 2002
can anyone help me find a copy of the bierce short story "A Cold Night"? - i am told that it was published in a collection of short stories put together by Evertte Blieler. i really need to find a copy of this story. any help would be greatly appreciated.
re: a cold night - short story
Don S
1:31 pm sunday january 27, 2002
Harriet, I believe you posted a similar query about "A Cold Night" some time ago. Well, I checked further, consulting the Bierce bibliography compiled by Joshi and Schulz. According to J&S, "A Cold Night" was first published in The San Francisco Argonaut and reprinted in the San Francisco Examiner in 1888. Its first book publication was in Bierce's 1893 collection of stories, CAN SUCH THINGS BE? That book went through some twelve printings through 1990. Strangely, Bierce left "A Cold Night" out when he compiled the writing that appeared in his COLLECTED WORKS. The most recent publication of "A Cold Night" was published in a reprint of CAN SUCH THINGS BE? in 1990 by the Carol Publishing Group, NY. Earlier, the Citadel Press (Secaucus, NJ 1974?) reprinted the collection, which also included the story. Hope this helps.
Good luck, Don.
PS: a cold night
Don S
2:37 pm sunday january 27, 2002
PS. You might find "A Cold Night" in THE GHOST AND HORROR STORIES OF AMBROSE BIERCE. Everett F. Bleiler, editor. Dover Books. But I would check the contents first.
New Version of Owl Creek
Susan Odom
4:09 pm tuesday january 29, 2002
Just thought I would send a quick update. Our new film version of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is well under its way and should be completed by June 1, 2002 if all goes well! Our retelling of this story is very true to the original, it leaves out very little. We have expanded on some of Bierce's ideas e.g. fleshing out some of Peyton's thoughts as he anticipates his fate.

We plan to take the film to several film festivals and markets. We are in the midst of the 'movie distribution' world! Wish us luck!

If you would like more information you can visit our website or to be added to our email list please email me at

Bierce's birthplace
Eric S.
11:51 am wednesday january 30, 2002
Hi all. I recently picked up a book of short stories by Ambrose Bierce, I forget the name, but it was all Civil War stories. I came upon "An Occurrence at Owl Creek". I saw the movie version in college, this was the first time I read any of his works and did not know he was born in Ohio, where I live. He was born in Meigs County, does anyone know the name of the town he was born in? Is there ANY commemoration of him in Ohio? And did he move to Indiana, where he fought in a Hoosier regiment? Reading his Civil War stories, being a Buckeye, and his mysterious disappearance really piqued my interest in the very underrated author. I can't wait for the film to be released! Eric
re: Bierce's birthplace
Don S
12:49 pm wednesday january 30, 2002
Bierce was born, literally in a log cabin, in an unincorporated village known as Horse Cave Creek in Meigs County not far from the Ohio River. Bierce's uncle, Lucius Bierce, attended Ohio Univerity, later became district attorney of Portage County and mayor of Akron. Bierce's first biographer, Carey McWilliams, says the family moved from Meigs County to a farm near Circleville (although this is in dispute). When Bierce was four years old, the family moved to a farm near the village of Walnut Creek, three miles south of Warsaw, in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Like Mark Twain, Bierce became a printer's devil, and worked for a newspaper in Warsaw. When he was 19 he enlisted as a private in Company C of the Ninth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. (Bierce's older brother Albert joined the Ohio Light Artillery). Bierce was wounded in the head by a Confederate sniper at the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia.

To my knowledge, the state of Ohio has completely ignored its native son, nor has the state of Indiana given Bierce his due.

As a result, California claims him. Bierce lived and wrote in the San Francisco Bay area between 1867 and 1899 -- except for three years when he was an expatriate in England and another year when he dug for gold in South Dakota. In 1899 he moved to Washington, DC, where he continued to write for the Hearst newspapers. In 1913 he left Washington for Pancho Villa's Mexico, never to be heard from again.

Don S
6:09 pm thursday january 31, 2002

I've posted a new page; a chronology of Bierce from 1842 through and after his disappearance. Go to the link on the Main Bierce Page.

Dwain Preston
10:32 pm thursday january 31, 2002
What has happened to the Enrico film "Chicamauga"? I can't find it anywhere?
re: Chickamauga Don S
10:34 pm thursday january 31, 2002
I don't know, Dwain. The last time I got on, they had it for sale.
re: Chickamauga
Dwain Preston
10:36 pm thursday january 31, 2002
Not any more. 30 years ago it was on 16 mm., and I thought they made it into a video, but...
re: Chickamauga
Don S
10:37 pm thursday january 31, 2002
Dwain, I'm pretty sure it's on video -- somewhere. It was on "The Twilight Zone." (maybe that's a lead) You'll probably have to find it used. Looks like it's getting rare. Maybe try ebay. Let us know about your pursuit -- this is getting interesting. (You probably saw on the AB site that Susan Odom should have a new film version of Owl Creek before the end of the year -- she's working on the music score now). Don
Don S
4:01 pm sunday february 3, 2002
There's now a site search box on the main Ambrose Bierce page. I thought it might be helpful for those looking for specific iitems relating to Bierce: "Twain," "Mollie," "Leigh," "Owl Breek Bridge," "Pancho Villa," "Chickamauga," etc. You get the idea. It aso allows a search of other site-specific pages, such as the online literary magazine "Errata."
3:04 pm thursday february 14, 2002
I need a little help on the thesis from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. If Someone can help asap. Please
re: thesis Don S
10:33 pm friday february 15, 2002
I think you'll have to be a little more specific, Matt.
Time: Wed, 20-Feb-2002 10:09:04 GMT IP:
BoardRoom: Analysis
could you tell me some sources about the analysis of Ambroce Bierce's "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"? i get a report to work on just around the corner. thanks.......
Time: Thu, 21-Feb-2002 02:43:51 GMT IP:
BoardRoom: U. S. History
Please e-mail me back the following information as soon as possible. What is the connection between the fate of the American writer Ambose Bierce and Pancho Villa?
Time: Thu, 21-Feb-2002 04:21:55 GMT IP:
BoardRoom: re: U. S. History
Jacqueline, There is a concise summary of Bierce's final adventure to Mexico that you can find on the main Ambrose Bierce Site page. Go to the Ambrose Bierce Chronology link.
Time: Mon, 25-Feb-2002 01:03:09 GMT IP:
BoardRoom: Bierce and Civil War
Hi, Don
Few days ago I picked up a copy of "Shadows of Blue and Gray, The CW Writings of Ambrose Bierce" (edited by B.M. Thomsen). A nice grouping of some of his fiction and non-fiction works of the war, which has allowed me to re-discover Bierce.
I am waiting to see what the book "Phantoms of a Blood-Stained Period..." will bring when published shortly (eds. Klooster and Duncan). Two quick questions:
What biographers have done the best job of covering Bierce's military career and how it relates to his works on the civil war?
What can you tell me about Bierce's "Battle Sketches" (pub. 1930) and "Battlefields and Ghosts" (pub. 1931)? Have they every been re-printed in any form?
[Also, I was curious to discover there is no good regimental history of the 9th Indiana.]
Thanks...keep up excellent work on the web-site...George
Time: Tue, 26-Feb-2002 02:53:37 GMT IP:
BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Civil War
We definitely need a new, definitive biography of Bierce.
But the bio that focuses most heavily on Bierce's Civil War experiences is also the most recent: ALONE IN BAD COMPANY by Roy Morris, Jr., Crown 1995.
You have a couple of nice finds, there in BATTLE SKETCHES, never again published in that form as far as I know. Ditto BATTLEFIELDS AND GHOSTS (Harvest Press, March 1931) Hang on to them!
I'm not familiar with SHADOWS OF BLUE AND GRAY. It's not in the Joshi/Schultz bibliography, so that sounds like a nice catch as well.
By the way Joshi and Schultz have put a lot of Bierce's autobiographical writings about the Civil War in A SOLE SURVIVOR, University of Tennessee Press, 1998. As close to a Bierce autobiography as we'll ever get.
George A. Hazelton ghazelton@NetReach.Net
Thanks for your response
Don: thanks for your response to my questions pertaining to the Civil War and Ambrose Bierce.
I did want to clearify that I do not own copies of Bierce's two works- Battle Sketches and Battlefields and Ghosts, I wish I did since they are rare items... I suppose these collections of his work are similar to what has been published in other Bierce/Civil War collections.
The most recent collection, which rekindled my interest in his writtings (plus I am a history buff) was Shadows of Blue and Gray: The Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce; Edited by Brian M. Thomsen...just published this month (Feb, 2002)...I picked it up at Boarders this past Friday...
Today, I called Univ. Mass. Press regarding their up-coming publication- Phantoms of a Blood-Stained Period: The Complete Civil War Writings of AB...unfortunately found out that this publication will be delayed until May 2002 (originally planed for this month)...This work reportatedly will also contain some of Bierce's maps which he prepared cirica 1863-4 during civil war, when serving as engineer (map-maker)as 1st Lt...Also, may contain some of his correspondence when touring old battlefields prior to his fade into history over the boarder...
I have taken your advise and have ordered the Morris Jr. biography- Alone in Bad Company...I see there is a devil's dictionary definition in the title! Likewise plan to order Sole Survivor (autobiographical replacement)...
Bierce can be contagious- after showing a friend (has office next to mine at work) the recent CW/Bierce publication- he has purchaced about 6 books...I guess 20-30 years ago a lot of his collections may have been harder to track down (so my friend says)...
Thanks again, I will watch your site for anything new...
George Hazelton
Telford, PA
BoardRoom: Tribute to Bierce: The Devil's Digital D
Time: Wed, 27-Feb-2002 18:53:30 GMT IP:
Hi there
I've produced my tribute to Bierce in the form of The Devil's Digital Dictionary at All contributions gratefully received.
Roger Green
Roger Green
Re: Devil's Digital Dictionary
Tnak you for your quick response. Typically, the day I start telling people about the site, my provider has DNS problems. I'll let you know when its working again.
BoardRoom: death of halpin frayser
Time: Thu, 14-Mar-2002 13:07:00 GMT IP:
is there anyone who has some background information or links to secondary literature on "the death of halpin frayser"? got to do a thesis on the topic and cannot find anything! can u help me get a copy of w. b. stein's essay "bierce's the death of halpin frayser: the poetics of gothic consciousness"?
please help!
much appreciated. nic
Don S
Time: Tue, 02-Apr-2002 01:36:21 GMT IP:
Bierce fans, Incredibly, Ambrose Bierce remains in the news -- nearly 90 years after his mysterious disappearance. The Washington Post is running a contest on who can write the canniest additions to THE DEVILS DICTIONARY. The wondrous Kronos Quartet is part of a new opera based on a Bierce story: Yes, OPERA! A new film of Bierce's AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE is in its final stages. There are a number of road shows with Bierce impersonators doing one-man performances. Go to the main A HREF="" BIERCE SITE and click on Ambrose Bierce in the News to find out just some of what's new. And if YOU have anything to add, don't hesitate to email me, or post it here -- so we'll all stay informed.
E Bryant Holman
Sunday, April 21, 2002 2:48 PM
the supposed disappearance of Bierce in Ojinaga
-- Jacob Silverstein in Harper's Magazine reports an elderly native of Marfan, Texas, learned second-hand that Bierce died of pneumonia and was buried in a common grave in a Marfan cemetery.

I am cited in the Silverstein article as one of his sources, and I can tell you that his scholarship was a joke. He did not do any research to speak of, and his entire article is a fluff piece dedicated to promoting himself. Another person person cited in his article is an actual historian (Silverstein is anything BUT a historian) who has done more to investigate the supposed disappearance of Bierce in Ojinaga than any other, and here is a link to his article on the subject:

Bryant "Eduardo" Holman

BoardRoom: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Sun, 21-Apr-2002 19:59:16 GMT IP:
Bierce actually killed a federal officer in the Battle of Tierra Blanca, prior to Villa's enty into Chihuahua City at the end of 1913. He then most likely went with Panfilo Natera and Toribio Ortega for their unsuccessful siege of Ojinaga in December of that year. He likely did NOT cross into the US or go to Marfa, Texas, as is claimed by Jacob Silverstien in Harpers Magazine, and an article that is almost completely devoid of any scholarship or research of any type, but is rather a narcissistic piece of nihilist prose intended to launch the author's career as writer of that type of prose, and nothing else.
For the only really scholarly treatment of the subject of Bierce and Villa in existance, see
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Sun, 21-Apr-2002 23:11:58 GMT IP:
Eduardo, Thanks for the heads up on the Bierce A Href=" " Ojinaga webpage. It's an interesting and detailed article, but I question the author's claim that Bierce shot a Federal soldier at Tierra Blanca and was rewarded with a Mexican sombrero. There are no sources cited for this.

With regard to the letters Bierce sent to Carrie Christiansen -- notably the last one from Chihuahua -- it should be noted that Christiansen destroyed these letters and publicly supplied only her own summation of the contents.

I agree Jacob Silverstein's rather romantic speculation about Bierce's death in Marfa (Harper's Feb 2002) is nonsensical, but in fairness he doesn't draw any conclusions.

BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Mon, 22-Apr-2002 01:52:51 GMT IP: He did cite a source. He cited Katz
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Mon, 22-Apr-2002 04:02:10 GMT IP:
Eduardo, I stand corrected. Willeford did cite Friedrich Katz, author of a terrific, detailed nearly 1000-page biography of Pancho Villa published by the Stanford University Press, 1998. Unfortunately, Katz himself fails to substantiate the sombrero story, so until someone cites an authoritative source I believe the story is apocryphal. And someone should tell Willeford that this tale is probably bogus.

And about the Roy Morris biography of Bierce: Morris never concludes that Bierce somehow made his way to the Grand Canyon to commit suicide. That dumb theory was advanced by Bierce's one-time publisher, the silly and unreliable Walter Neale, whose "biography" of Bierce is filled with conjecture and supposition.

Half-heartedly, Roy Morris concludes that Bierce: "...probably did not die in Mexico. More than that, no one can say." As opposed to Morris, I would conclude that Bierce DID die in Mexico -- and more than that no one can say.

(For those who joined us late, this is all about where and how Bierce died, and whether it was at the Battle of Ojinaga, where Pancho Villa slaughtered a dispirited remnant of Mexican federal soldiers.)

BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Mon, 22-Apr-2002 04:45:56 GMT IP:
I agree that Katz's biography of Villa was excellent and detailed but also that Katz himself is not free of errors, of which there are several glaring errors in that work, as has been pointed out to me by Dr. Ruben Osorio, who, I think, is actually the best Villa scholar alive.

However, it would seem very logical that Bierce was at the Battle of Tierra Blanca, since the next time we hear from him he is indeed in Chihuahua after Villa took the city. At that stage, he reported that he was going to Ojinaga, but Mercado had already left Chihuahua, and Villa definitely was not planning on going himself at that point, as he had pressing business in El Paso trying to keep Carranza from causing problems for him with the Americans and derailing his planned drive on Torreon, which was his major objective at the time. Therefor, Willeford's assertion that he actually went to the Ojinaga area with Ortega and Natera makes sense. Ortega and Natera were outflanked by Mercado when Ortega foolishly abandoned the high ground overlooking Ojinaga from the hills above the banks of the Rio Grande just down river from Ojinaga, and Mercado led a coordinated sally out through that corridor and used the sallying cavalry to attack the rear of the main front that Natera held, while he simultaneously charged their front and shelled them, causing the villistas to go reeling back in a disorganized retreat until they could regroup, with great loss of both men and materiel. This was actually the most bloody episode in the whole saga, and this is what caused Villa to have to come to Ojinaga and drive the federales out of there, which took him about two hours to do, attacking mainly up the bluffs to the north which put him directly behind the fort there. This is where the bodies were buried in trenches. The federales, replete with their soldaderas and children, rowed, swam, and waded through the ford over into Presidio, Texas, and many of them drowned in the attempt, as the river was flooding at the time.

The Americans were well aware that this was going to be the outcome, and they had been for some time, and they were totally prepared to receive all of the refugees. As a result, the contention that Willeford makes (and I have heard Osorio say the same thing) that is would have been extremely unlikely that a person like Bierce should have gone unnoticed if he made it across the river is indeed a valid point, such that Silverstein's avowed credulity concerning these allegations seems either naive or feigned.

I would not doubt the part that Bierce did indeed shoot a "federale", however, because it was Villa's practice to employ American soldiers of fortune, and indeed, any Americans who arrived in their presence were assumed to be such and it would have been more out of the ordinary not to expect them to join in firing on the enemy than for them to abstain from doing so. If Katz does not provide any proof of this, I think that the logic of the situation would nevertheless call for the assumption that the story was very likely founded in truth.
Re: More Bierce and Pancho Villa
I put a link to your Ojinaga site on my main Bierce page. The link can be accessed by clicking on the photo of Pancho Villa. (There's still another link to it on the Research page)
Perhaps you read my account of Villa and Bierce at the Battle of Ojinaga (also accessible on the Main Bierce Page). It's fiction, of course, and makes no pretence at being any more than it is.
E Bryant Holman
Re: More Bierce and Pancho Villa
Thanks! I did read it, and I realize it was fiction, but it was cute, no doubt about it.
Thanks again!
BoardRoom: need help with a report
Time: Tue, 23-Apr-2002 18:08:13 GMT IP:
hey! i'm doing a report on the disappearance of our friend Mr. Bierce, and if anybody wants to help out it would be much appreciated. Thanks, Ben
Don S
Time: Tue, 23-Apr-2002 19:30:28 GMT IP:
You will find a new link I just put up exactly what you need. Go to The Ambrose Bierce Site Main Page and click on the photograph of Pancho Villa.
BoardRoom: Bierce Places @
Time: Fri, 26-Apr-2002 19:25:17 GMT IP:
I just wanted to let everyone know that I've just updated my Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society site (, and included therein is a new section on Bierce Places in the San Francisco area from my recent trip.
BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Sun, 28-Apr-2002 22:25:03 GMT IP:
This thread of notes was an interesting read. Similarly, the Willeford piece was interesting regarding Bierce's disappearence.
For someone, like myself, who is not as well knowledgeable about Bierce's disappearance, what are the 'primary' sources (references) that place him in Mexico- beyond those that indicate he was on his way to there.
Thanks, George
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Bierce and Pancho Villa
Time: Tue, 30-Apr-2002 03:23:36 GMT IP:
George, I think there is only one: a letter to his secretary, Carrie Christiansen dated 12/26/13 and postmarked Chihuahua. (I understand this letter no longer exists.)
Claims by the two prime Bierce biographers, Carey McWilliams and Paul Fatout, that Bierce was "cordially received" when he crossed into Mexico are not substantiated.
A reference by Villa biographer Friedrich Katz that Bierce, while in Mexico, shot a federal soldier and was given a sombrereo for his efforts is also not sourced, and therefore is of no value.
Thus, what happened to Bierce in Mexico is pure conjecture.
George A. Hazelton ghazelton@NetReach.Net
Re: Ambrose Bierce
Don: I went and checked your response out...thank you...I was under the impression there was very limited 'raw data' concerning Bierce in Mexico...and you have confirmed this...
I agree- much conjecture/speculation about his disappearance is spun on the air-ways - net...
For me the Bierce ending can remain a mystery, it is his writing style and what he wrote that are important...recently picked up a copy of the Sole-Survivor Bits of Autobiography. This was an interesting read, including Bierce's responses to his critics. In fact I thought it was very clever how Joshi & Schultz put the book together- but the typeset-font...much too small...about a 500 page book condensed to about 300 pages (ie, by shrinking the type!)...
BoardRoom: Hitchcock version of Occurrence
Time: Mon, 29-Apr-2002 21:43:23 GMT IP:
The best film version of "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was presented by Alfred Hitchcock on his old TV series. It was totally silent, with no dialog or music. Far superior to the French version, with its silly music.
Problem is, Universal had not released the Hitch version on video the last time I checked. Does anyone have an update?
BoardRoom: re: Hitchcock version of Occurrence
Time: Tue, 30-Apr-2002 01:23:49 GMT IP:
I actually came across a copy recently at a local swap meet. It was with a pile of videos that a vendor had. The case looked like it had been made by someone with a home PC label-printer kit. The label did not have any other information available about the original producer, and the seller had no information about it. But it is indeed the Hitchcock version, so it is out there. I'm getting a second VCR soon, so I may be able to make a copy if you are interested.
BoardRoom: Looking for an exact quote
Time: Fri, 03-May-2002 20:36:21 GMT IP:
Hello- I was wondering if someone could help me out with an exact quote. I saw this on some French site (translated via Google) and it really struck home with me.
From memory: "One must cultivate a taste for disgusting truths" also something about not leaving humanity to its own devices.
Can anyone help with an exact quote?
This isn't for any sort of class or anything... just something I might throw into my .sig file :) Thanks- Rick
BoardRoom: Ambrose Bierce criticism
Time: Mon, 06-May-2002 14:04:18 GMT IP:
Please if anyone knows any good sites for finding Literary criticism...particularly for Ambrose Bierce and Emily Dickinson please email me!! thanks
Re: BoardRoom: Ambrose Bierce criticism
Go to The Ambrose Bierce Site ( Click on Bierce research and scholarship.
Sonia Santos
BoardRoom: New Books on Ambrose Bierce
Time: Wed, 08-May-2002 08:44:14 GMT IP:
I am the author of a book in Spanish on tha phantastic tales on Ambrose Bierce, "La narrativa fantĚstica de Ambrose G. Bierce" (Valladolid, Secretariado de Publicaciones e Intercambio Editorial de la Universidad de Valladolid, 2000). I will soon publish a new book on Spanish translations of several writings (letters, essays, etc.) by Ambrose Bierce. My Ph. D. was "El relato fantĚstico en la literatura occidental durante el siglo XIX: E. T. A. Hoffmann y Ambrose G. Bierce" (Universidad de Valladolid, 1997). I know very well "Bitter Bierce".
I am Sonia Santos Vila, professor at the University of Valladolid (Spain).
My e-mail is Sincerely, S. Santos
Don S
BoardRoom: re: New Books on Ambrose Bierce
Time: Mon, 13-May-2002 12:50:22 GMT IP:
Dear Professor Santos,
I'm very pleased you are spreading the word about this great writer within the Spanish-speaking world. As you know, Bierce vanished in Mexico in 1913, a mystery that, unfortunately, sometimes transcends his often brilliant writing. But his Mexican connection alone is enough to make him intriguing to Spanish-speaking readers. (You are no doubt aware of the Carlos Fuentes novel in which the main character is Bierce.)

I know you've focused on his supernatural writing, but his American Civil War stories are considered by many to be the best writing to come out of that conflict.

Kindly keep us posted on your progress and, for the benefit of Spanish-language Bierce aficionados, where and how your Bierce books can be obtained. Don


BoardRoom: Bierce --&-- Mexico
Time: Mon, 13-May-2002 20:41:04 GMT IP:
I, too, am very interested in what Professor Santos has to offer. I'll be sure to put a notice on my site as well. Bierce has become quite a source of folklore in Mexico as I understand it. I even have a Mexican comic book about Bierce's life and times.

In a related note of Spanish-language Bierce appreciation, there is an Argentinian anthology coming out this month featuring Bierce: _Clasicos De Terror (Clasicos Juveniles Coleccion)_. Also, a Spanish-speaking fan just e-mailed me to let me know that he will be expanding the Bierce section of his Website on the anniversary of his birthday. It is the only Spanish Bierce site I am aware of. He apparently also used to perform Spanish language recitations of some Bierce stories as part of his profession. The site is at:
Re: Ambrose Bierce
Time: Tue, 14-May-2002 17:06:15 GMT IP:
Dear Mr. Swaim: My books can be obtained via Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Valladolid (Spain) (Universidad de Valladolid Press), and if anybody has some problem, they can contact with me through Thank you very much for your answer. I know the whole work by Ambrose Bierce (essays, articles, letters, stories), and everything is fascinating. I try to make Bierce famous among Spanish students and researchers on North american Literature.
Sincerely, S. Santos
Don S BoardRoom: Keith Allen Daniels, RIP
Time: Mon, 13-May-2002 19:47:59 GMT IP:
I was remiss in not reporting the death of Keith Allen Daniels, author of three haunting poems about or dedicated to Ambrose Bierce. For details go to: Ambrose Bierce in the News And for a special page at which you can access Keith's poems, go to: Three Poems by Keith Allen Daniels Don
BoardRoom: Caricature of Bierce
Time: Wed, 22-May-2002 00:38:25 GMT IP:
Dear Mr. Swaim,
I noticed the interesting caricature of Bierce that you have on your home page. Is this the cartoon that Fatout and O'Connor refer to (without a footnote) coming from an issue of the Wasp? If it is, I would be grateful to know which issue it appeared in.
Many thanks.
Rich West
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Caricature of Bierce
Time: Wed, 22-May-2002 00:39:44 GMT IP:
Hi Rich,
The cartoon of Bierce was drawn by the Hearst editorial cartoonist James Swinnerton, who pictured Bierce in a number of cartoons attacking the railroad robber baron, Collis Huntington, during the congressional Funding Bill battle of 1896-97. The original drawing also showed a tiny picture of Huntington, his back turned, stalking away from Bierce in fury. I believe it appeared in a supplement of the San Francisco Examiner on Feb. 22, 1896. It did not appear in the Wasp.
BoardRoom: the death of halpin frayser
Time: Wed, 29-May-2002 09:17:03 GMT IP:
Help! Who has some information, interpretation, or anything at all about 'halpin frayser'? Desperately needed. Cannot find anything at all, so am very grateful for even the smallest amount of information. Where can I get the article by Stein? Thanx a lot. Nic
BoardRoom: re: the death of halpin frayser
Time: Wed, 29-May-2002 19:50:13 GMT IP:
In addition to the Stein article, off the top of my head, Davidson's "Experimental Fictions" and Joshi's "The Weird Tale" both contain literary analysis and criticism specifically on that story. I'd suggest looking for them at a college or university library. If they do not have them, they or your local library should be able to get them through inter-library loan.

There is nothing online on that story. Indeed, there is very little online criticism about Bierce. All of it that we've found or been told about is linked on Don's and my own site.

I assume that you came from my site, as you reference the Stein article, but if not, the full bibliographic entries on the above can be found in the Bibliography section of my Bierce site: I hope that helps.

Thomas Redman
Friday, May 31, 2002 12:03 PM
Saying Hi!
Don, I've been looking at your website and seeing some changes. I like the suttle toned 'Bierce' lettering behind the foreground imagery on your site. It gives it some really nice visual texture that enhances for example, my art and your information too. Bravo! I guess it's all learning stuff, over a period of time.

Thanks again, for passing on the UK, CW Roundtable guys email, to me. He's asking to use my Bierce art for the Roundtable magazine. It's for their small, learned group, with limited circulation. However, it's flattering to me, even if it's for gratis to them, to use it.

Don, I haven't forgotten about another piece of art of the 'old Bierce' for you to put up on your site. It will take some planning. I already have the image in my head and a model to portray Bierce, for me to work from. I need to contact the (model) gentleman. Hopefully, his health will be good enough when the time comes, to photograph him. He's had some health problems of late. He's also a Civil War buff, with a moustache, stately, handsome, and about the right age, with blonde hair going white. He even looks similar to Bierce from the later photos of him that you have, creepy. Reincarnation? He's not overweight, in fact, a bit thin, of meddium height and build.

Don, I need to know this, it's important here, so please email back when you have the time.
Questions: What height was Bierce, do you know? Also, was he thin or heavy set at the last? I'd like to depict him thinner and not a 'portly Victorian gentleman' of means.
Not sure how soon I can actually do this art. But the photo op is something I need to do soon. I'm always busy with juggling art, work and domestic duties.

Take care Don. -Tom

Alice I. Maldonado
Time: Thu, 13-Jun-2002 23:11:30 GMT IP:
BoardRoom: Phantoms of a Blood-Stained Period
Dear Friend, We thought you might be interested to see a description of the new book: "Phantoms of a Blood-Stained Period: The Complete Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce," edited by Russell Duncan and David J. Klooster.

----------------------------------------------- Alone among important American writers, Ambrose Bierce fought for four years in the Civil War. The writings he produced about that conflict comprise a body of work unique in our nation's literature. This volume gathers for the first time virtually everything Bierce wrote about the war, from the battlefield maps he drew as a topographical officer to his masterful short stories, from the detailed memoirs of specific battles to his final bittersweet ruminations before he disappeared into Mexico in 1914.

The collection is organized chronologically, following Bierce's participation in a wide range of battles, from the early skirmishes in the West Virginia mountains to the bloodbaths at Shiloh and Chickamauga and his near fatal wounding at Kennesaw Mountain. His overlapping accounts of these events provide a clear and compelling record of the sights and sounds of the battlefield, the psychological traumas the war induced in its soldiers, and the memories that would haunt survivors for the rest of their lives. In prose that anticipates the work of Ernest Hemingway and Tim O'Brien, Bierce's writings unflinchingly tell the truth about the war...

----------------------------------------------- Click here to read more at the UMass Press website: ----------------------------------------------- About the editors: Russell Duncan is associate professor of American history at the University of Copenhagen. His books include "Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Robert Gould Shaw" and "Where Death and Glory Meet: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry." David J. Klooster is associate professor of English at Hope College and lives in Holland, Michigan.
----------------------------------------------- University of Massachusetts Press

Don S
Time: Thu, 13-Jun-2002 23:20:16 GMT IP:
I'll be posting a detailed story about this shortly. The state of Ohio has put on hold a plan to honor Bierce with a marker because he may NOT have been born in Meigs County, Ohio -- commonly accepted as his birthplace. New research suggests he MAY have been born near Akron at the opposite end of the state, and that the Bierces may never have set foot in Meigs. If so, a major blow to his biographers!
BoardRoom: Sponsor A Bierce Film
Time: Fri, 14-Jun-2002 03:36:29 GMT IP:
Owl Creek Productions is looking for sponsors for their new film of "An Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge." There are a variety of sponsorship levels starting from $100, and in addition to tangibly helping a Bierce project, you can get listed in the film's credits, get a copy of a film, receive film merchandise, and many other bonuses depending on your level of involvement. I've posted the sponsorship forms on my site ( I also have links to the sponsorship area of the Owl Creek Website, but Susan informs me that the site is in the middle of a refit, so be patient if anything is awry.
It is a great way to help out a new Bierce project.
Now I'm back to waiting for birthplace news from Don.
Time: Fri, 14-Jun-2002 16:53:10 GMT IP:
Next june 24th is Ambrose Bierce's 160 Birthday. I'll be expanding my web site with a lot of information on him. Please visit Sorry the rest of the text is in spanish, but the info I'll be adding to my page will be in spanish too, so will be not much interesting for non-spanish speaking fans. Thanks to Damone for adding my page to his links and to Don for this nice communication board!

Con motivo del 160 aniversario del nacimiento de Ambrose Bierce, le estamos preparando una muy especial fiesta de cumpleaĎos, con su DICCIONARIO, sus FíBULAS, su BIOGRAFŇA, su BIBLIOGRAFŇA, los mejores ENLACES, algunos CUENTOS, refrescos y algo para picar. Y tÖ estĚs invitad@. °C█mo que d█nde? En ░°C█mo que cuĚndo?! ░Ah, ser pagano, marca en rojo el 24 de junio en tu calendario y no vuelvas a olvidarlo!

All╠ os esperamos.

Arnod Medvegia

Jack Matthews
Friday, June 14, 2002 9:52 PM
Interesting, Don, but the lack of pre-Civil War records is hardly justification to doubt the Meigs County connection.
Also, I have 2 questions: 1) I've always heard/seen his birthplace referred to as "Lost Horse Cave," not "Horse Cave." (Is this important? I don't know.); 2) Bierce's reference late in life that he came from "unwashed savages" is more suggestive of Meigs County than northeast Ohio, Uncle Lucius's stamping grounds--although in the 1840s there were probably enough unwashed savages to fill the state--nevertheless . . . . Nice website.
Cheers, Simonides, the Cretan (who said, "All Cretans are liars.")

P.S. Shortly after we moved to Athens in 1964, I ran an ad in the local (Meigs/Gallia County) newspaper, saying I wanted to buy any letters or other documents relating to a family name "Bierce"; I received no answer. But that, too, is inconclusive.

Maria --
BoardRoom: Looking for help
Time: Thu, 20-Jun-2002 04:07:41 GMT IP:
I am taking a short story course at a local college, and just learned about Mr. Bierce. The instructor talked about a story Bierce had written where a man is injured in the Civil War and his friend plans to "put him out of his misery" as a favor. The injured man did not want to die, but couldn't tell him. the instructor could not remember the name of the story, and I would like to read it...does anyone know the name of it so I could find it? I would appreciate any info.
Maria --
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Looking for help
Time: Thu, 20-Jun-2002 14:10:32 GMT IP:
The story is called "The Coup de Grace" by Ambrose Bierce. It has been anthologized many, many times. It is also available online.
Go back to THE AMBROSE BIERCE SITE. main page and click on the title "Ambrose Bierce and the Civil War."
Time: Sun, 23-Jun-2002 22:19:25 GMT IP:
La pĚgina mĚs completa en castellano sobre Ambrose Bierce ya estĚ lista. Como anunci╚ hace unos d╠as, con motivo del 160 cumpleaĎos del Gran MisĚntropo, se inaugurar╠a el sitio mĚs detallista sobre ╚l existente en la lengua de Cervantes. ░Y ese d╠a ya ha llegado! ░Felicidades Ambrose!

Y tÖ... ░░No te lo pierdas!! Vis╠tanos en:

░Te esperamos!

Don S
Time: Tue, 25-Jun-2002 02:36:44 GMT IP:
Rough English translation: The most complete page in Spanish on Ambrose Bierce is ready. As I announced some days ago, the most detailed page in the Cervantes's language about the great misanthrope would be unveiled on the occasion of his160th birthday! And that day has arrived! Congratulations Ambrose. And you... Don't miss it! Come see us at: ░We'll be waiting!
Don S
Time: Thu, 11-Jul-2002 03:22:00 GMT IP:
The translation of text in Spanish on Arnod's actual webpape is :

The Ambrose Bierce Site (English). Another excellent page on the North American writer and journalist. Mainly centered on the influence and presence of Bierce in the present time, it is the best place to learn any news, event or mention about him. Don Swaim, the page author, takes sentences originally said or written by Bierce and uses them to perform fictitious meetings or even present day interviews. This way, we can read hypothetical interviews between Bierce and Pancho Villa or Oscar Wilde, and even Bierce's opinion on the North American presidential elections. The page also has a bulletin board on Bierce. With The Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society, this is beyond doubt the best you can find in the Internet about Bierce:

Don S
Time: Mon, 24-Jun-2002 14:16:25 GMT IP:
A county historian in Ohio aims to prove Bierce's biographers wrong. Margaret Parker is heading to Akron to try to prove Bierce was born there, not in Meigs County, as has been long assumed.

We broke this story in which we reported Ohio has tabled plans to erect a marker in honor of Bierce.

The story's been picked up in an extensive article in the Akron Beacon-Journal.

Go to AMBROSE BIERCE IN THE NEWS. to read the details.

Rich Kurlich
Time: Mon, 24-Jun-2002 15:15:33 GMT IP:
Hi, I read with great interest the article in todays Akron Beacon Journal about the unknown origins of Ambrose Bierce. Having done genealogical research for approximately 27 years, the first thing that came to mind was has anybody obtained a copy of his Civil War service and/or pension records from the National Archives (NARA)? Generally, the enlistment papers for Civil War service include the place of birth of the soldier. This may only mention the county of birth, but it would certainly be of great help since the information would have been provided by the soldier himself. The pension papers also often included this information as part of the application. Another possibility is that his separated wife might still have applied for a spouse's pension if they weren't divorced or she hadn't remarried. I hope this helps.
Time: Mon, 24-Jun-2002 18:41:50 GMT IP:
I believe there is some dispute over his military service records. Off the top of my head, I know there is some question as to whether he ever received the brevetted majority that he claimed to have received. Certainly worth looking into if the researchers have not yet already.

As to his wife, she died soon after separation before the divorse became final. It is doubtful that she applied for any pension.

This is easiliest the biggest controversy surrounding Bierce to surface in a long time. It certainly is exciting.

Don S
Time: Mon, 24-Jun-2002 21:30:44 GMT IP:
Just received an email from Paula Schleis, who wrote the Birece birthplace story for the Akron Beacon Journal. She got a call from a reader who claimed that a Bierce descendant, Alice Bierce Thomas, had written a biography saying Ambrose was born in Tallmadge (wherever that is). The reader didn't know the name of the book. Has anyone ever heard of a biography (presumably of Bierce) by an Alice Bierce Thomas? If anyone would know it would be Damone, with his extensive bibliography at the Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society site.
Damone BoardRoom: re: BIERCE BIRTHPLACE MYSTERY THICKENS Time: Tue, 25-Jun-2002 01:26:41 GMT IP:
Actually, at my old ISP, I received an e-mail from a teenage Bierce decendant in California who mentioned a "family history." I only received one e-mail from him (which I am desperately trying to locate now from my archived mail) and he didn't reply to my response, but this may be what he was referring to.
Outside of some early family histories referenced in various biographies, I know of no such thing.
Paula Schleis
Time: Tue, 25-Jun-2002 14:27:15 GMT IP:
Just an FYI Don:
False alarm on the Tallmadge connection one of our readers thought he had remembered. He was wrong. Our local libary did have a copy of the Alice Bierce Thomas book (This I Remember) but she puts Ambrose in "southern Ohio'' like the rest of the biographers.
Akron Beacon Journal
Don S
BoardRoom: Ohio TV Surveys Viewers on Bierce
Time: Tue, 25-Jun-2002 14:09:18 GMT IP:
The Associated Press picked up the Bierce birthplace story -- and Cleveland's Channel 5 surveyed viewers on where a marker to Bierce should go in light of the controversy.
Check the results at: AMBROSE BIERCE IN THE NEWS.
Don't be surprised to learn that the majority of those surveyed haven't the foggiest idea.
Bierce would be pleased to be so validated.
david w bierce
BoardRoom: ambrose in akron
Time: Wed, 26-Jun-2002 18:06:02 GMT IP:
Don i am a decendent of ambrose living in tallmadge, ohio adjacent to akron. my great grandfather's uncle general lucius v. bierce was also ambrose uncle (my father's name was lucius v. and my son's middle name is ambrose). i'm intrigued by the beacon journal article regarding the placement of a marker... i've got my mom scouring family journals for any mention of ambrose residing in summit or portage county. there is a wealth of bierce family history at the tallmadge historical society 330- 633-9760 administered by a great lady named toby battista...give her a call. i'll let you know if we come up with anything at my mom's house...she lives in the tallmadge bierce homestead built by my great grandfather in 1855. best ragards
David W Bierce
ps: an excellent location for the marker would be at the bierce library at the university of akron.
Don S
BoardRoom: re: ambrose in akron
Time: Wed, 26-Jun-2002 19:33:43 GMT IP:
David, Lucius Verus Bierce was a fascinating character in his own right, bigger than life: lawyer, politician, mayor, soldier. He led an ill-fated invasion of Canada in 1838, got whipped, fled back to Ohio with a price on his head, was indicted for treason, beat the wrap, armed John Brown for Brown's bloody incusion into Kansas, led a fighting unit in the Civil War.

I understand Lucius was close to his nephew Ambrose and sent him to military school in Kentucky for one year.

And it's neat your mother still lives in the house Lucius built.

I suspect, however, a marker in honor to Ambrose wouldn't quite fit at the Bierce Library at UA. It would no doubt lead to the mistaken impression that the library was named for Ambrose, etc. Perhaps the most neutral choice would be on the capitol grounds in Columbus. Don

Jean Hibben
BoardRoom: Ambrose Bierce question
Time: Mon, 01-Jul-2002 22:33:19 GMT IP:
I am doing research on the Civil War and would like to cite a portion of Ambrose Bierce's story "What I Saw at Shiloh." Unfortunately, though copies of this story are easy to locate, the date it was written eludes me. Based on your informative and interesting web site on the man, I am writing to you in hopes that you have that information for my complete citation of his work. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
Jean Hibben
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Ambrose Bierce question
Time: Mon, 01-Jul-2002 22:37:29 GMT IP:
Jean, "What I Saw of Shiloh" by Ambrose Bierce was originally published in two parts in the San Francisco Wasp on Dec. 23 and 30, 1881. It later appeared in a revised version in the San Francisco Examiner on June 19 and 26, 1898. It was revised again for "Bits of Autobiography" in Bierce's Collected Works, Vol. I, February 1909.
Sonia Santos Vila
BoardRoom: New Book IN SPANISH
Time: Wed, 03-Jul-2002 09:26:51 GMT IP:
I have published a new book on Ambrose Bierce. It is a book on translations into Spanish of several writings of the author:

BIERCE, Ambrose G.: "Escritos desconocidos", (Traducci█n, introducci█n y notas de SONIA SANTOS VILA), (Disbabelia, nć 5), Valladolid, Secretariado de Publicaciones e Intercambio Editorial de la Universidad de Valladolid, 2002.

I hope DAMONE gets it and can publish the news in his webpage.

Yours sincerely,
Sonia Santos Vila

BoardRoom: re: New Book IN SPANISH
Time: Sun, 07-Jul-2002 17:48:38 GMT IP:
I was away for the American Fourth of July holiday. I will be sure to get the information up today, and please let us know of any more news about your work.
chris miller
BoardRoom: Write it Right 1st printing?
Time: Wed, 10-Jul-2002 23:24:46 GMT IP:
I am trying to determine if a copy of "Write it Right" is first edition/first printing.I know this book was published for a long time,many reprints,over many decades,but I cant find any positive information on Neale publishing co.,intro on dustcover mentions "price reduced/still another enormous edition-mass production-enables publisher to reduce the former low price",which seems to indicate that at least the dustcover is a later print/edition but copyright 1909 is the only date in book and it does'nt indicate a later printing.Looks like a first edition/printing,even has the publishers colyphon on title page which usually indicates first printing.Are later printings/editions "stated" on copyright page like most?Any help on this would be greatly appreciated! Thank's
Don S
BoardRoom: re: Write it Right 1st printing?
Time: Thu, 11-Jul-2002 01:59:24 GMT IP:
While I'm not an expert on rare books, it's likely (based on what you described, with the "price/reduced" blurb on the dj) your copy MAY be a first with a later dust jacket. But no matter what, it's a potentially valuable book, indeed.
According to "Merle Johnson's American First Editions," 4th edition 1965), the first edition of "Write It Right" is:
"New York 1909. Wrappers or cloth. Leaves of the first issue are 5 1/2" tall. "
(I understand the first is also in red cloth -- and that there are no statements of additional editions on the copyright page)
So measure the size.

Also, a quick check of ABE on the Internet also shows that:
The second edition measures 6 x 3 7/8 in., somewhat larger than the first issue.
This is a delicious (and futile) book -- and if some of the descriptions on ABE are accurate, which is iffy, a first of "Write it Right" can be had relatively inexpensively (if up to a couple of hundred dollars is thought to be inexpensive) -- but this won't last long.
So hang on to this one! Anyway, some of our more informed Bierce fans may have better information.

BoardRoom: re: Write it Right 1st printing?
Time: Thu, 11-Jul-2002 16:53:02 GMT IP:
Write It Right is a very tough nut to crack because the subsequent reprintings looked nearly exactly like the original. What I believe to be the case is that the original printing had different dust jackets placed on it, and that the edition itself that you have is the first edition printing, but the dust jacket is not that of the first release.

The original release of the book had either a limited edition cloth cover (which I've never been able to find), or a wrapper that has "Other New Neale Books" on the top of the back. Later (after poor sales, one would assume), the remainer of the original first edition priniting was re-released with a "Pre-Reduced" wrapper.

To make things even more confusing, the Union Library reprint issue of the book in 1937 copied the "Pre-Reduced" Neale wrapper. So, if your wrapper has "Union Library" anywhere on the cover, you may have a much older wrapper placed on a first edition book.

I do not believe that Neale made a second printing of the book, and all subsequent reprintings have different copyright dates, so more likely than not you have a first edition with a second release or later wrapper.

chris miller
BoardRoom: re: Write it Right 1st printing?
Time: Sat, 13-Jul-2002 21:24:28 GMT IP:
I found the answer in the "Bibliography of American Literature"."First printing is 6" x 3 7/8" in cream cloth",did'nt give details of later prints or editions because bibliography concentrates on first printing information.Anything other may be first edition but not true first printing.Info on the booksearches conflict and are confusing to say the least.Like the statement"The second edition measures 6 x 3 7/8 in., somewhat larger than the first issue",that is opposite the truth.The true first printing is 6"x3 7/8" and later prints are larger.Anyway thank's for the input,and by the way mine is the larger version in red cloth which may be early first edition but not true first printing.Thank's again
From: chris miller
Date: Mon Jul 15, 2002 07:34:26 PM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: re: Write it Right 1st printing?
The book is for sale on Ebay this week if anybody wants to take a look,just search Ambrose Bierce write it right.
BoardRoom: New CW Book
Time: Thu, 11-Jul-2002 01:06:39 GMT IP:
I have picked up a copy of the new book:
Phantoms of a Blood-Stained Period, The Complete Civil War Writing of Ambrose Bierce
I can very much recommend the book...very nicely done...
CG Welch
BoardRoom: The Ambrose Collector
Time: Fri, 12-Jul-2002 12:49:43 GMT IP:
A friend is trying to find a story he read that concerned Ambrose Bierce. I hoping someone here will remember it... I'll quote his email:

--A sudden strange interlude: I once read a story called "The Ambrose Collector", can not recall author nor source, though I think it was in a late fifties or later Argosy. The collector was out to get all the Ambroses he could -- which explained the mysterious disappearance of Ambrose Bierce and I think there was real-life judge named Ambrose who similarly walked out one evening and was never seen again. I'd like to find and read that tale again.
Ever heard of it? Any idea of author? (I think the narrator was also named Ambrose and at the end of the story he realizes he is about to be "collected" too. Something like that anyway.)
Does this story sound familiar? Thanks for your help.

BoardRoom: re: The Ambrose Collector
Time: Fri, 12-Jul-2002 16:08:21 GMT IP:
I do indeed. It is one of my favorite Bierce disappearance stories.
The author in question is Charles Fort, a paranormal investigator of the early 20th century. I do not know if "Collecting Ambroses" was ever serialized, but it appears in Fort's book _Wild Talents_ (1932). I do not think it is still in print.
For an except of the story in question, see here:
For more on Fort, see here:
Don S
Time: Sat, 13-Jul-2002 05:13:05 GMT IP:
It appears there is "some pretty good" evidence that Bierce was NOT born in the Akron area, the theory of a local historian in Meigs County, Ohio. The historian went to Akron on Friday (July 12) to pore through local records and apparently came up empty.
For details go to AMBROSE BIERCE IN THE NEWS. More info to follow.
Don S
Time: Sun, 14-Jul-2002 17:54:09 GMT IP:
No one knows how, where, or when Ambrose Bierce died -- but there's now little doubt where he was born.
For details go to THE AMBROSE BIERCE SITE.
Susan Odom
Time: Sun, 14-Jul-2002 18:40:05 GMT IP:
Don- Thanks for the update! It has been an interesting story to follow! I'm sure Mr. Bierce is pleased!
Susan Odom
From: Don S
Date: Sun Jul 14, 2002 09:02:15 PM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: communication board archive
Some of you may have noticed that messages on this board expire after 60 days.
In the interest of Bierce scholarship, I've archived all (or most of) the messages in sequence on a simple text-only page, which can be linked from the THE AMBROSE BIERCE SITE.
From: Jack Matthews
Date: Mon Jul 15, 2002 05:14:18 PM US/Eastern
Thanks, Don. Those of us in southeastern Ohio are happy to claim his birthplace. So much is true, only isn't it a trifle ridiculous that I, personally, should feel a certain satisfaction in taking him away from Akron, the home of Jake Falstaff (aka, Herman Fetzer)? Ah, well--that's not the only thing that's ridiculous about me--or, come to think of it, life itself! The best we can do is laugh, knowing that the gods snicker.
Captain Blifil
P.S. Incidentally, Jake Falstaff--in spite of his name--was a wonderful writer back in the 1920s & 30s. One of my favorite poems is his "Come Back to Wayne County, Chet Sherbondy"--you should read it. And rejoice.
From: Don S
Date: Tue Jul 16, 2002 08:27:07 PM US/Eastern
The Ohio Bicentennial Commission is moving ahead to honor its famous native son, Ambrose Bierce, who vanished mysteriously in Mexico while attempting to join Pancho Villa's revolutionaries.
After putting a Bierce historical marker project on hold -- following questions about his birthplace -- the controversy has apparently been ended.
For details -- plus a look at the Meigs County of Ambrose Bierce's birth, go to:
The Ambrose Bierce Site:
Don Swaim
Susan Odom
Time: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 11:43:57 -0400
Thanks for the info! Great story
Susan Odom
From: "Paula Schleis"
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 13:04:17 -0400
Subject: Re: bierce
Hi Don,
We'll be running what's called a ``First Word'' item on the front page tomorrow, explaining that Phil Ross is satisfied with the evidence and will seek to have the marker placed in Meigs. It's about three paragraphs and will simply state what you already know. I'm not sure if those First Word items show up on, but if not, i'll cut and paste the text and email it to you as soon as it's published.
Phil said all of the marker's will be dedicated during a 2-week period in late summer, so it looks like they might pass on Bierce's birthday. If I make it to Meigs for the ceremony, I'll certainly look for you!
I'll let you know if I hear anything further,
Thanks again for all your help. It was a fun ride :)
Ţ Paula
(Akron Beacon Journal)
From: Brian Reed
Date: Thu Jul 18, 2002 01:57:47 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Bierce pictures
Dear Mr. Swaim:
I am writing an update on the Ambrose Bierce historical marker for Meigs County, and read with great interest the material you provided to Charlene Hoeflich about the ongoing controversy.
Your Ambrose Bierce site is fascinating!
Our archives do not contain a portrait of Bierce, and since you have a number on your site, I was wondering if you could provide me with one to accompany my story?
I would appreciate your assistance, and congratulate you on your work.
Brian J. Reed
Pomeroy (ohio) Daily Sentinel

From: Sonia Santos Vila
Date: Fri Jul 19, 2002 04:50:19 AM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: Films based on stories by Bierce?
Could anyone tell me if there are films based on stories by Bierce? If so, which ones? where could I get them? how much does a copy cost?
Thank you very much,
Sonia Santos
From: Damone
Date: Fri Jul 19, 2002 11:20:48 AM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: re: Films based on stories by Bierce?
All the movies and TV adaptation of Bierce stories that I know about are in the "Bierce On Screen" area of my Web page:
As to cost and availability, it varies widely. Many of the films are educational or student films, with small distributions. The TV adaptations are probably the most available through TV video catalogs. Everything else, you just have to hunt for.
From: "Jocelyn Ruggiero"
Date: Mon Jul 29, 2002 05:37:42 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Bitter Bierce

Dear Mr. Swaim,
Your Bierce site really is quite impressive- congratulations!
I thought you would be interested in an upcoming theatrical event taking place at Location One: BITTER BIERCE by award winning playwright Mac Wellman (PR pasted below and attached as a word document). I do hope you might be able to list the event on your site.
Thank You so much for your consideration.
Jocelyn Ruggiero
Assistant Director
Location One
26 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013

From: Richard West
Date: Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:46:56 AM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: Bierce and the Wasp

I'm writing a book on the San Francisco Wasp, which Bierce edited from 1881 to 1885. Does anyone have knowledge of letters Bierce wrote that contain references to his time on the magazine or to people he worked with there? Does anyone have knowledge of information other than what is contained in the published biographies and essays about Bierce and the Wasp? Any information will be greatly appreciated.
Richard S. West

From: Damone
Date: Tue Jul 30, 2002 02:08:57 PM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: re: Bierce and the Wasp

There's far too much to go into here, suffice to say that all the biographies mention it, but I believe O'Connor spent the most actual pages on that period of his life.

A quick summation and highlights of his _Wasp_ tenure involves the continuation of "Prattle," the first appearance of "What I Saw At Shiloh," his famous attacks on his ex-employers, the step up of his campaign against the railroad, and the first appearances of the "Devil's Dictionary" articles.

If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of Bierce's contributions and involvement in the _Wasp_, I strongly suggest you get your hands on Joshi & Shultz's _Ambrose Bierce: An Annotated Bibliography of Primary Sources_, which lists out most of his articles and also contains information on Bierce archive repositories. You would also do yourself a favor by contacting Joshi & Shultz directly for help, as they've already been through the archives to compose their book.

Full bibliographic information on the books and Joshi & Shultz's e-mail addresses can be found on my site at:

Please let me know if you need any further assistance and please keep us up to date on your book. I know myself and others here would be interested in seeing it when it is complete.


Date: Wed Jul 31, 2002 02:44:27 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Ambrose Bierce
Is this the same Ambrose Bierce, related to Agustine 'Austin' Bearse (Bierce) and Mary 'Little Dove' Hyanno of Barnstable, Mass.? Hyannisport was named after Chief John Hyanno. I believe they were Ambrose's grandparents.
Please send reply to Sally
From: Damone
Date: Wed Jul 31, 2002 01:19:43 PM US/Eastern
Subject: BoardRoom: re: Bierce Lineage
I'll post this here as well, in case anyone is interested.
Yes, he was Bierce's great-grandfather, I believe. He changed the family name to Bierce upon emigrating to America and settling in Barnstable. Austin's son William--a revolutionary war veteran--begat Marcus Aurelius begat Ambrose.
From: "Rob Foster"
Date: Fri Aug 02, 2002 08:26:49 PM US/Eastern
Subject: 2-Act Ambrose Bierce play in Carmel, Calif.

Hi Don
I just stumbled onto your Ambrose Bierce website, about a year too late to tell you about my two act play, "The Last Stand of Ambrose Bierce," which got favorable reviews when it was produced in Carmel, last year.
You can see a few photos and review quotes at :
Since you had news of other theatrical shows related to Ambrose, I just couldn't bear to be left out. It's a decent play--I drove myself nearly insane trying to promote it last year, and wanted other Biercephiles to know about it. Would love to hear from you.

Date:at, 3 Aug 2002 23:19:32 EDT
Subject:Bierce Site

Ran across your site when searching for Bierce quotes. My compliments on a very well done site.

From: "Rob Foster"
Date: Fri Aug 09, 2002 04:02:30 AM US/Eastern
Subject: It's Online!

"The Last Stand Of Ambrose Bierce" is online and ready to roll!
Here's the web location to attach your link to:
There is no direct link to it from my website, it is free-standing. Go there yourself and see what I've done. I hope it's worthy of inclusion on your site. What I'll do is add a general link on my links page to The Ambrose Bierce Site.
You'll see I already have "Back to The Ambrose Bierce Site" clicks on the play's page.
Hope this brings something good both our ways, Don. May your browsers enjoy!

From: Don S
Date: Fri Aug 09, 2002 12:30:39 PM US/Eastern

The entire script of Rob Foster's two-act play, THE LAST STAND OF AMBROSE BIERCE, which was staged in Carmel, California, in March-April 2001, has been posted on line.
To read it go to The Ambrose Bierce Site
Or directly to

From: "Rob Foster"
Date: Fri Aug 09, 2002 01:47:49 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Big Thanks

Good morning, Don!
It's morning here at the moment, anyway. I just went to the Ambrose Bierce Site and yes... CLICKED everything. What a thrill! Thank you for including my meager contribution to Biercedom. I hope where ever he is, he's at least getting a good belly laugh out of this (compared to him) greenhorn's attempts to capture a portion of his presense and preserve it for modern audiences.
Thank you again, Don. Keep 'em flying! I'm sure we'll be communicating again.

From: Don S
Date: Wed Aug 21, 2002 09:04:45 AM US/Eastern
BeSeen, the software company that provides our message board, is discontinuing the service as of August 26. I'm trying to find another message board to replace it. Suggestions are welcome.
Meanwhile, all pertinent messages on the board over the past year or so have been archived and can be read at:
Ambrose Bierce Communication Board ARCHIVE

Date: Thu Aug 22, 2002 05:46:05 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Forum Notification
You've reached the new Ambrose Bierce Communication board -- set up by The Ambrose Bierce Site. The old board went defunct. I've carried over a few of the most recent messages. Otherwise, this marks a clean slate.
Never-the-less, all pertinent messages on the board over the past year or so have been archived and can be read at: Ambrose Bierce Communication Board ARCHIVE Some of these messages contain valuable information about the life and times of Ambrose Bierce.
Don Swaim
Date: Fri Aug 23, 2002 12:38:00 AM US/Eastern
Subject: New Bierce Play - Thoughts

Here is a rough version of my thoughts on the performance. I'll have a final version with scan of the fliers on my site, hopefully tomorrow.
Bitter Bierce
A work-in-progress written and directed by Mac Wellman
Starring Stephen Mellor
Location One, NYC
August 22, 2002

The first thing that needs to be said is that this was a work-in-progress, which means that it is not a finished piece. It is not scheduled to premiere until February of 2003 at PS122 in New York City. This means that everything that I say here may likely be moot when it officially premieres. This was also the first time Mellor was performing the piece publicly. Apparently, the previous two evenings performances were technical tests to get the interactive elements working.

The second thing is that, though a fairly well-heeled theater-goer, I am in no way qualified to talk about or deconstruct the playwrights work in any academic way. I╠m sure there are many things about Bitter Bierce that completely passed me by.

Writer and director Mac Wellman has worked on Bierce subjects before. One of his last projects was the opera version of A Difficulty Crossing A Field that played in San Francisco earlier this year. Wellman has achieved great critical acclaim and has won several Obie Awards, the Village Voice Off-Broadway theater awards.

There needs to be a preliminary bit about the staging. This was an interactive presentation. In the center of the stage was a simple table set where Mellor performed Bierce. On either wall on either side of him were two projections. These were images of Mellor interspersed with images and movies relevant to his topic at the time. These were either directly topical to his subject (war films when discussing the Civil War, a stereotypical cartoon of Chinese when discussing the race problems in San Francisco), random images pulled from the top results of a Google search on keywords from the actor╠s text (when on the topic of ¤woods,Ë the image was of Tiger Woods), or the actor╠s text itself. Three remotely located individuals in Amsterdam, Colombia, and New Jersey were providing this content. While I sometimes found the images interesting or thought provoking, for the most part, I thought they were a little distracting, but I am sure there is some theatrical meaning I am not privy to.

The performance itself was a Mellor as Bierce giving his biography from his family history to his death. Each new topic was introduced with appropriate selections from The Devil╠s Dictionary. Though mostly a linear progression through his life, it revised several key topics repeatedly, such as the war and Mollie. The majority of the play was taken directly from Bierce╠s own words, or his own words slightly modified. There were also entire Bierce stories or parts of stories that were included in the performance.

> That was one of the things with which I had the most trouble. The piece included both autobiographical writings (¤What I Saw Of ShilohË) and completely fictional stories (¤My Favorite Murder,Ë ¤Oil Of DogË) with no real differentiation. Mellor launched into the stories with no preface that this was a remembrance or a story. As someone familiar with Bierce, this did not confuse me, but I had to wonder how disconcerting it might be for someone not versed on his life. For example, the first non-autobiographical Bierce story that was presented in the play was ¤My Favorite Murder.Ë Now, to someone who is being exposed to Bierce for the first time, that first-person narrative may be seen as actual autobiography by Bierce. There is a school of thought that there is a great deal of true emotions towards his parents in the Parenticide Club stories, and perhaps that was the playwright╠s intent.

Luckily, I had my girlfriend along with me who is relatively unexposed to Bierce despite spending time with me. She was a little confused when ¤My Favorite MurderË was introduced into the play, but after that, she said that she was able to pick out the stories from the autobiographical content. However, she actually thought that all of the stories about Bierce╠s failed marriage and the horrible deaths of his children were also fictional stories. So perhaps the intent was to show the parallel nature of the tragedy in Bierce╠s life and his stories.

Another nice bit that is likely lost on anyone unfamiliar with Bierce was the framing of the last part of his life with ¤An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.Ë Right before going into the last period of his life, Mellow starts the story, and the performance ends with the last paragraph of ¤Owl Creek.Ë As a fan, I found this to be an exceptional touch, but I think it will be lost on anyone unfamiliar with the story. Outside of a curiously out-of-place, abbreviated version of ¤Jupiter Doke,Ë the Bierce material fit in well to the whole.

Although Mellor does not look the part in any way, I was quite impressed by his performance. I feel he really projected Bierce╠s moral outrage and frustration with a fallible and hypocritical world, as well as his sorrow at the death of his sons and the ending of his marriage.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening. The play runs about an hour and a half, and at the very least, it is a pleasant review of some of the best of Bierce by a talented actor. Despite some rough spots that no doubt will be worked out during these trials, it is a no brainer for Bierce fans and will be something I will see again when it premieres next year.

From: "Rob Foster"
Date: Sun Sep 01, 2002 05:18:21 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Relocation of Ambrose Play
Hi Don!
I come to ask a small favor of you. I am facing moving out of state very soon, which means my website will be coming down for a while. That also means the Ambrose play will be without a server, and would therefore be inaccessable.
If I were to send you the html documents and jpegs (by attaching them to an e-mail--they aren't huge), would you be willing to place the webpage on your own server, so that it would still be up? Damone at the Bierce Appreciation Society could also relink to it there.
The documents are just raw html, written in Mac Simpletext, no fancy software required...
I am so glad and thankful to have it out there in cyberspace, I don't want unrelated complications in my realspace life to blow it away. Please let me know. Thanks again.
From: Don S
Date: Sun Sep 01, 2002 11:45:34 PM US/Eastern
For anyone who may be interested, I've posted my one-act stage play about Bierce's confrontation with novelist Gertrude Atherton, which occurs in 1891 shortly after the death of Bierce's son in a murder-suicide. You can read it at THE AMBROSE BIERCE SITE or directly at AMBROSE AND GERTRUDE. This incident actually happened, although I had to imagine the dialogue, of course.
From: "Rob Foster"
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2002 09:31:51 -0700
Subject: Relocation of Ambrose Play
Hello Don
Typing from a friend's computer--mine hasn't been put back online yet. I just took a gander at the "new" link to my play. Gee, looks like nothing ever was changed. Great job. And thank you, Don, for all the patience and interest. I hope to be back up and running soon. I am here in good ol'e Washington making my start all over again. I'll write again when I have my own online time to burn. But had to write to say thanks again! P.S. I read your piece about Ambrose and Oscar Wilde. Now there's another play in the making there! I was in an original play about Wilde called "Wilde About Oscar," in which I played the Marquess of Queensbury. Take care. Ţ Rob
Name: Tyler McBee
Date: Thu Sep 12, 2002 05:17:02 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Abrose Bierce on....
Mr. Swaim,
I am a student at the University of Oklahoma and am currently researching Ambrose Bierce for my senior thesis in the class "Twain's America." It is my intention to draw on such subjects as AB's views on slavery, war, race, women or patriotism. Luckily, I have access to the two books by Paul Fatout as he published them through my university. I was hoping you might refer me to some of AB's writings that could help answer my question. I am especially interested in his views on war and patriotism. Thanks
From: Don S
Date: Thu Sep 12, 2002 06:18:17 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Abrose Bierce on....
Hi, Tyler,
I can recommend two super books that lay out Bierce's views on many subjects, including those you cited -- by topic and in a coherent form.
1. A SOLE SURVIVOR: BIT OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY, edited by Joshi & Schultz, University of Tennessee Press 1998.
2. THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE: AN AMBROSE BIERCE READER, edited by Brian St. Pierre, Chronicle Books 1987.
And from my own website, Bierce's actual words on war, patriotism, and religion -- culled from his Collected Works. See BIERCE ON THE TWIN TOWERS DISASTER and BIERCE ON THE AMERICAN TALIBAN: at THE AMBROSE BIERCE SITE
Also, THE AMBROSE BIERCE APPRECIATION SOCIETY website has a terrific bibliography.
Good luck.
From: Damone
Date: Fri Sep 13, 2002 09:25:02 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Subject: Re: Abrose Bierce on...
Everything Don said is right on the money, however, you may also want to get your hands on Joshi & Shultz's _Fall Of The Rebulic And Other Satires_, which also deals with the topics you discussed.
From: "thomas redman"
Date: Mon Sep 30, 2002 11:14:08 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Bierce painting,
Greetings! Just to let you know about where things had left off with the new Bierce image. I was able to take some photos of the fellow I mentioned awhile back, who was to be my model for the Bierce painting as an old man. As it turned out, his health is in a somewhat improved state and he was most happy to model for a photo op.
I have some additional shots left from a second role that I need another model to pose for this week, for an unrelated painting. After that, I will process the film and begin to plan for the pictorial painting we spoke of. I will start on it sometime this season.
Take care for now. Hope all is well with you and yours.
-Tom Redman
Date: Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:47:39 PM US/Eastern
Subject: 9th Indiana Infantry

While doing some research for someone I found that her relative had served in Company B of the 9th IN while Bierce served in Company C. No doubt that they knew each other. His name was Gustavus Thompson. Just like out of a Bierce story this soldier Gus Thompson had served throughout the war with Bierce at his side. Gus is buried at the Westville IN cemetery and is listed as a deserter. Nothing could be so much from the truth. At worst Gus may have gone home to Indiana a few days early. As the 9th IN reported to New Orleans (where he is listed as deserting) on June 16th 1865. The war had been over for months at this time. Just as Bierce he had enlisted on 3 different occasions. Once for 90 days and then for 3 years and then another hitch. For a soldier who had been with Bierce during Shiloh,Stones River, Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Pickett's Mill, Franklin, Nashville, etc and leaving home a few days early (if in fact he did that) to be listed as a deserter is a true to life Bierce nightmare. I guess my question is did Bierce write anything of his fellow soldiers during the Civil War?

Date: Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:51:35 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: 9th Indiana Infantry

Most of Bierce's comments on specific Civil War figures are on commanders and civil leaders. I can't recall off the top of my head any references to anyone specific of the enlisted level. No doubt there may be mentions in his personal correspondence, but none that I have seen. Also, there is the possibility that some of the characters in his stories are based on people he knew in the army, but given his writing style that is likely not the case.

Date: Thu Oct 03, 2002 03:21:12 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Owl Creek bridge
Email: dennis_brooke2001

During college I wrote a compare contrast story with the Owl Creek Bridge story of Bierce and the Great Locomotive Chase in Georgia in 1862.
You would have to understand the story of the "Chase" but it seems to me Bierce may have got his idea of the Owl Creek Bridge with the episode of "Andrews Raiders" Anyone familier with both stories, I would like to hear some feedback

From: Don S
Date: Thu Oct 03, 2002 09:16:48 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Owl Creek bridge
Hi, Dennis.

Obviously, I'm more familiar with AB's classic story than the details of the Great Locomotive Chase. But I don't see a lot of similarities, other than the ringleaders of the chase (including a civilian named Andrews) were hanged. Bierce's is a psychological tour de force that holds up to this day.

You would probably know better than I.

I'd LOVE to read your "compare/contrast" story. And perhaps it's something I could post on the AB Site since I'm always looking for original material about Bierce. (you know my email address).

Date: Fri Oct 04, 2002 03:58:33 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Re: Owl Creek bridge
Yes Don, he sure is. It's been too many years ago now but I can remember this. Both people had been bridge burners. (Andrews and the main character in the Owl Creek) After the raiders were captured some of them escaped again, some were caught and some were re-captured. Some made it to freedom and other were hung as you said. Also note that all of the raiders with the exception of Andrews were from Ohio, as was Beirce. The more you look into it the more you can see how maybe this event shaped Bierces story.

I will tell you some things that you may not know of about Bierce in which you can confirm. Bierce did get out of the Army in Jan of 1865. His old unit was the 9th IN Infantry. I found it interesting that Bierce would retrace his Civil War steps in such detail. The 9th Indiana was sent to New Orleans in June of 1865. From there they were sent to San Antonio, Texas where they were mustered out of service in Sept. of 65. They also went to another place in Texas before they went to SA. Bierce also went to NO and to SA before entering Mexico. If his pattern can be followed then he too would have gone to the town that the 9th had visited. Using google as a search engine enter "Civil War Roster" When there hit regiments and enter the 9th Indiana. You will see their history and their movement. Knowing Bierce I would bet he went to almost everywhere where they were even though he had got out in Jan of 65.

Date: Sat Oct 05, 2002 11:10:06 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Re: 9th Indiana Infantry
I received an email from the Westville cemetery today. They agree that the soldier in Company B of AB old regiment the 9th IN did not merit such a title. They will change the records and now this true to life Bierce nightmare can end. I think AB would be proud!!
From: "Rob Foster"
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 22:22:34 -0700
Subject: Hello Don
Hey there Don
Ţ Is it too early to start saying 'Happy Holidays?' Hope you and yours are well. Thank you again for hosting my work on your own piece of cyberspace. I am becoming more ensconced by the day up here in Washington state. Just got my new license plates. Whoopie. This is just a quick note to let you know that my website (what's left of it) will be officially going off-line on October 31. So your version ofŢmy play-page will be the only one out there. And I thank you yet once more for generously hosting it. I hope others are enjoying it too. I've now read both the Gertrude and Wilde stories you've written--you're quite a wordsmith yourself, Don. I enjoyed both very much. I'm hoping to develop another website eventually. I'll keep you posted on that. In the meantime, take care, and keep warm. Ţ Rob
Date: Sun Nov 03, 2002 04:47:08 PM US/Eastern
Subject: HELP: Need critical commentaries!
Hey everyone,

I am very desperate here. I am doing a research report on Bierce for my AP Literature class. We have to find 3 critical commentaries on stories he wrote - one for each story. Does anyone know where I can find some? I wrote summaries for An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge, The Man and the Snake, and The Boarded Window - so I'd *like* to find critical commentaries on them, but I'd rather have critical commentaries on other stories and have to write new summaries then have no cc's at all! So as much or as little help as anyone could spare would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you soon!


Date: Mon Nov 04, 2002 11:40:59 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Need critical commentaries!
All of the books here mentioned are out of print, but should be easily avilable through inter-library loan. The full bibliographic entries on these works are available at my Website's bibliography (, so please forgive the abbreviated versions: Davidson's _Experimental Fictions Of Ambrose Bierce_ : covers "Owl Creek" and "Man And Snake."
Joshi's _The Weird Tale_ : covers "The Boarded Window" and "Man And Snake." Woodruff's _The Short Stories Of Ambrose Bierce_ covers "Man And Snake" and "Owl Creek," but Woodruff is decidedly more negative about Bierce's abilities than the other two.
Date: Mon Nov 04, 2002 05:40:45 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Re: HELP: Need critical commentaries!
Thank you very much, Damone. I'll see if I can find those books, and I will let you know how it all turns out./ Thank you very much!!!
Date: Wed Nov 06, 2002 04:20:03 AM US/Eastern
Subject: The Boarded Window

About The Boarded Window. I have read and reread this short story. I can not decided if the wife was indeed dead or if the husband mistakenly prepared her for burail. Was she dead and came to life somehow to fight off the panther and save her husband? Or was she not dead as her husband thought and fought off the panther saving her husband? Any thoughts?

Name: Damone
Date: Mon Nov 18, 2002 06:12:32 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: The Boarded Window

I think the only certain thing is that the wife was alive at the time of the attack. The evidence points to that.
Whether the wife prematurely prepared for burial by the husband or re-animated to save him is up to the reader's interpretation.

From: Don S
Date: Sat Nov 09, 2002 06:43:13 PM US/Eastern

Bierce fans,
I received this belated email from the daughter of a 92-year-old Bierce relative who recalls stories about Ambrose as he grew up in Meigs County, Ohio:


I am writing this in regard to your article in the Sentinel (June, 24, 2002) concerning Ambrose Bierce. My father is a great nephew of Bierce and lived in Meigs County until 1953, thus I am including this letter from him to you regarding the birthplace of Ambrose Bierce.

My name is John Chappelle Talbott, the son of John Grimes Talbott and Iola Chappelle Talbott. I am 92 years old and the great nephew of Ambrose Bierce. My grandfather, Ambrose Albert Chappelle was Bierce's nephew. My mother, Iola Chappelle Talbott, was Bierce's great niece, thus making him my great, great uncle. Grandfather Chappelle was named for Ambrose and his brother Albert Bierce. Grandfather Chappelle lived in Middleport which is in Meigs County. As a child, he told me stories about my great, great Uncle Ambrose. He told me the site where Ambrose Bierce was born was at Horse Neck Cave in Meigs County. According to my grandfather, the Bierce family made their living as poor, migrant farmers who often moved to survive. Grandfather Chappelle said that when Ambrose Bierce was a young child, he and his family left Meigs County to go to Indiana. Our family has never had reason to not believe that Ambrose Bierce was born in Meigs County.

Respectfully yours,

John Chappelle Talbott
62818 3rd Avenue
Cambridge, OH 43725

P.S. I am his daughter, Suzanne Talbott Peters, and I live in Columbus, OH. If we can be of any help to you in keeping the marker in Meigs County, please let me know.

Suzanne Peters
Columbus, Ohio

From: Don Swaim
Date: Sat Nov 09, 2002 06:46:12 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Bierce in Meigs County, Ohio
Thanks for the information, which I've put on the Ambrose Bierce Message Board to share with other Bierce fans:
Don Swaim
Date: Wed Nov 13, 2002 05:27:41 PM US/Eastern
Name: Joe Kelly
Subject: Re: 9th Indiana Infantry

Sorry but the war wasnt over for months in June 1865. Texas and Louisiana seen skirmishs up to May so this soldier did dessert in war time. The official end of the Civil War is 1866. Stand Waties surrendered the last Brigade in June 1865 and Shelby took his men into Mexico the same month.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- Replying to: While doing some research for someone I found that her relative had served in Company B of the 9th IN while Bierce served in Company C. No doubt that they knew each other. His name was Gustavus Thompson. Just like out of a Bierce story this soldier Gus Thompson had served throughout the war with Bierce at his side. Gus is buried at the Westville IN cemetery and is listed as a deserter. Nothing could be so much from the truth. At worst Gus may have gone home to Indiana a few days early. As the 9th IN reported to New Orleans (where he is listed as deserting) on June 16th 1865. The war had been over for months at this time. Just as Bierce he had enlisted on 3 different occasions. Once for 90 days and then for 3 years and then another hitch. For a soldier who had been with Bierce during Shiloh,Stones River, Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Pickett's Mill, Franklin, Nashville, etc and leaving home a few days early (if in fact he did that) to be listed as a deserter is a true to life Bierce nightmare. I guess my question is did Bierce write anything of his fellow soldiers during the Civil War?

Date: Mon Nov 18, 2002 06:17:16 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Oakley Hall Series
I've just received a pre-publication version of Oakley Hall's latest Bierce novel: Ambrose Bierce and the One-Eyed Jacks. I was just wondering if anyone else is reading these dreadful books. While passable mysteries and accurate period pieces, I can't help but utterly utterly cringe at the mischaracterization of Bierce. I was wondering if I was alone in this opinion, as this series seems popular enough to keep spitting out these penny dreadfuls.
Date: Mon Nov 18, 2002 08:14:57 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Oakley Hall Series
I read the first one: "Ambrose Bierce and the Queen of Hearts." It's been four years since I read it, but my reaction at the time was that it was dull, dull, dull. It captured Bierce's spirit in t he novel ONLY through the use of his name, plus in many respects Bierce was a minor player in the novel.
Personally (he said, with chest puffed out), I think I captured Bierce's essence in my own short fiction about him -- notably the stories dealing with Bierce and Pancho Villa, H.L. Mencken, and Oscar Wilde -- posted on my website, THE AMBROSE BIERCE SITE . However, Oakley Hall is an octogenarian with a long and distinguished literary background -- and I think we should all give him credit for that.
How do you see Hall's vision of Bierce as a mischaracterization?
Don Swaim
PS. Thanks for coming to grips with many of the questions posted on the Bierce Message Board. It's good to know someone so analytically attuned (I'm more of an AB buff than a scholar).
Date: Tue Nov 19, 2002 03:43:39 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Re: Oakley Hall Series

It is simple: Hall wants to write Sherlock Holmes stories and has cast Bierce in the role. And while Bierce was certainly known for his interest in certain unexplained supernatural phenominon, casting him as a detective infatuated with such mundane matters is folly. The premises have just gotten more and more unlikely. The second novel had him dealing with the monarchy of the Sandwich Islands as someone greatly concerned with the issue, whereas the real Bierce had publically stated his lack of interest in the matter. The current book has Bierce helping Hearst and his mistress cover up some compromising photos. Can you even imagine a plot so implausible?

Even the most kind reviewers acknowledge the work as Doyle rip-offs. Bierce is Holmes, Tom Redmond is Watson, down to function, mannerisms, and behavior.

And what's more, if you look up reader reviews, a lot of people are accepting this information as fact because there is so little public knowledge of Bierce. That is the greatest crime of all, in my opinion.

While anyone that old certainly deserves respect to his person, I cannot apply to Hall's work if it is even remotely as bad as these three books have been.

Date: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:51:18 AM US/Eastern
Name: Damone
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Oakley Hall Series

Not to follow-up to myself, but I've had the opportunity to run through this monstrosity. They're actually getting worse becuase the books have developed a pattern and stock characters that can be interchanged:


- Tom's love interest (former Catholic prostitute, turned Protestant rescuer of Chinese slaves)
- Tom's love interest contrived reason for ultimately leaving (to become a nun because she promised a priest she would if Tom returned safely from a kidnapping)
- Tawdry sexual element (photographic pornography, Chinese and white slavery)
- Inconsistent characterization of Bierce's views even within the book (Chinese)
- Part of SF featured to showcase Hall's knowledge of the period (Sausilito, Chinese mob)
- Way to throw in Tom's Catholic, pro-railroad father (Tom's engagement to said former prostitute)

Date: Thu Nov 21, 2002 01:49:22 PM US/Eastern
Name: Anonymous
Subject: No Subject

Did Ambrose Bierce say "War is God's way of teaching American's geography."

Date: Thu Nov 21, 2002 04:42:07 PM US/Eastern
Name: Damone
Subject: Re: No Subject

With the corrected non-possesive, yes. It is actually getting quoted quite a lot recently, given the current geopolitical situation. A slight variation is attributed to comedian Paul Rodridgez, (Sometimes I think war is just God's way of teaching us geography.), but Bierce obviously came first.

From: Don S
Date: Thu Nov 21, 2002 04:49:02 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: No Subject (war)

I'm skeptical about this, as I've never seen the statement in any of the Bierce material I've read. In what piece did Bierce say it? I suspect Bierce is given credit for a lot more than he actually said .

Date: Sat Nov 23, 2002 08:46:13 AM US/Eastern
Name: David E. Schultz
Subject: Re: Re: No Subject (war)

I've looked high and low through my electronic archive of Bierce's writings (c. 4.5 million words) and have never come across this. I've found numerous attributions to Bierce on the Web, but believe that Paul Rodriguez is probably the originator.

Date: Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:23:35 PM US/Eastern
Name: Damone
Subject: Re: Re: Re: No Subject (war)

I certainly defer to David on the authenticity matter, but I believe that the quote was attributed to Bierce long before Rodriguez came around. I think what confused me is that I probably read this in a quote book or some similar compilation featuring Bierce that I sometimes pick up, ironically enough, to check authenticity. I'd have to poke around when I have some time, but if nothing else, I believe Bierce to have been the *presumed* source predating the comedian.

Date: Sat Nov 23, 2002 04:40:08 PM US/Eastern
Name: David E. Schultz
Subject: Re: No Subject (war)

I think that Bierce often is elected as the originator of certain pithy statements just because it seems like something he might have said. For example, Bierce supposedly said, "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." I've looked through our texts for this as well and have never found it. (Admittedly, we haven't typed quite everything yet; and an unfortunate typo would render a search null, though I try several to get around that problem.) I find that this latter quote is attributed to Laurence J. Peter--author of THE PETER PRINCIPLE. I don't think the quote sounds Biercian--he doesn't seem like a person who would have regrets about anything he said, angry or not. In any case, I've never been able to find these 2 "quotes" in any of Bierce's works, so if they could be located, I'd feel much better. We should ask Mr. Rodriquez if he himself coined the "war" quote.

Date: Fri Nov 29, 2002 03:27:42 PM US/Eastern
Name: madeleine
Subject: occurence at owl creek bridge summary

i really need a summary of bierce's "occurence at owl creek bridge".
mad from germany/sylt

Date: Mon Dec 02, 2002 11:05:43 AM US/Eastern
Name: Damone
Subject: Re: occurence at owl creek bridge summary

Do you just mean a plot summary, or something else?

Date: Mon Dec 02, 2002 02:32:42 PM US/Eastern
Name: madeleine
Subject: Re: Re: occurence at owl creek bridge summary

thank you for your answer
i only need a plot summary until tomorrow!!! otherwise later it doesn't matter.

From: Anonymous
Date: Mon Dec 02, 2002 04:19:59 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Re: Re: occurence at owl creek bridge summary

The quick and dirty plot summary that does the original no justice:

Peyton Fahrquhar, a Southern symapthizer, is being hung as a spy on Owl Creek Bridge by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Before the deed is done, we are given the background of who Fahrquhar is and how he got tricked into trying to sabotage the bridge. As the plank beneath him is released, the rope around his neck snaps. He struggles in the water to get free of his bonds and escape pursuing Union soldiers. Safely arriving on shore, he struggles through the wilderness, driven on by the vision of his wife and family. As he reaches home, and is about to embrace his wife, he feels a sharp pain and sees white light. He is hung, and everything after the plank feel a hallucination.

I strongly suggest you read the original. There is the full text available online with explanatory notes at:

From: Don S.
Date: Fri Dec 06, 2002 10:23:31 PM US/Eastern

A marker close to to the birthplace of Ambrose Bierce will be erected in rural Meigs County, Ohio, on Oct. 27, 2003. Watch the Ambrose Bierce Site for details. I should have a new story up shortly, along with the text that will appear on the marker. This will be the first formal acknowledgment of any worth to Bierce anywhere in America, so it's a big deal.

Also, Susan Odom's film of Bierce's most famous story, "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," is tentatively scheduled to premier in April in Virginia, the details still being finalized -- so we'll wait to hear from Susan for definite word.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across some outfit on the Internet which is soliciting money to erect a memorial to Bierce, I think in Texas. They were going to hold the money in "escrow" until they had enough for a marker. I was in a rush and didn't have a chance to check it out. I suspect it's a scam, although I can't say for sure. If anyone knows about this, please let us know. But until the facts are in I wouldn't send a dime to anyone asking for money to memorialize Ambrose Bierce. The Ohio marker is legit, and is being financed by private and state funds.

Date: Thu Dec 12, 2002 10:39:48 PM US/Eastern
Name: Gordon
Subject: Bierce in Milwaukee

Anybody out there know if Bierce ever spent any time in or contributed to newspapers in Milwaukee in 1880? I am looking at an anonymous article from the Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph in May 1880 about a forthcoming sham battle in association with a Union veterans' reunion. Its tone and language sound like Bierce. Thanks.

From: Don Swaim
Date: Fri Dec 13, 2002 07:01:13 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Bierce in Milwaukee


Very unlikely it was an article by Bierce (although newspapers in those years blatantly reprinted each other's stuff, which they received by mail, kind of a forerunner to the wire services. Bierce had no known affiliation with the Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph.

In fact, Bierce had all but abandoned writing in 1880. He contributed infrequently to the Argonaut that year (Joshi & Schultz, in their bibliography, record just three submissions by Bierce in all of 1880). In June Bierce took a job as a mining superintendent in South Dakota, which knocked him out of the saddle for the rest of that year as far as writing was concerned.

Perhaps more scholarly Bierce fans than I can shed better light about his literary output in 1880.

Date: Sat Dec 14, 2002 12:36:57 PM US/Eastern
Name: Damone
Subject: Re: Re: Bierce in Milwaukee

The low literary production in 1880 is no doubt due to the fact that it was the year of Bierce's ill-advised forray into mining with the Black Hill Placer Mining Company.

As Don mentioned, newspapers copied each other's work quite extensively during this time period, so it is possible that the article in question is from Bierce.

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