“HALYARD, HARRY” - American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

“HALYARD, HARRY” (dates unknown). “Harry Halyard” is the pseudonym of the unknown author of twelve novels published in the midnineteenth century. Five of them were intended to exploit public interest in the Mexican War: The Chieftain of Churubusco (1848), The Heroine of Tampico (1847), The Mexican Spy (1848), The Ocean Monarch (1848), and The Warrior Queen (1848). Others have a vague association with sensational historical events such as the Salem witch trials of 1692 (The Haunted Bride [1848]), the American Revolution (The Rover of the Reef [1848]), or the French Revolution (The Heroine of Paris [1848]).

All are exactly 100 pages long and reflect the emphasis on glib dialogue and fast-paced action characteristic of the emerging “dime novel” tradition. They were published by F[rederick]. Gleason, whose stable of hack authors during this period included Maturin M. Ballou,* Benjamin Barker,* and “Ned Buntline,” pseudonym of Edward Zane Carroll Judson.* Any or all of these authors may have ghostwritten the “Harry Halyard” series, although the emphasis upon women as the works’ heroes may suggest a woman author. The novel The Bandit of the Ocean; or The Female Privateer, a Romance of the Sea (1855) uses Halyard as the pseudonym and includes Barker’s name on the cover as the presumed author. As the “Halyard” tag and some of the titles suggest, all of the books are principally or partly set on the sea. The other four Halyard titles are The Doom of the Dolphin (1848); Geraldine (1848); The Peruvian Nun (1848); and Wharton the Whale-Killer! (1848), presumably a source that Herman Melville* used for Moby-Dick* (1851).

Joseph Flibbert