Biography and History

Charles Godfrey Leland was born on 15 August 1824 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Charles and Charlotte Leland. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1845, and also studied in Heidelberg and Munich, Germany.

A humorist, poet, essayist, and editor, Leland, is not well known today, although his Hans Breitmann (fictional German persona) ballads enjoyed an immense popularity (1860s-1890s). He edited such well-known publications as the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Knickerbocker Magazine,Continental Magazine, and the Philadelphia Press.

Leland was also very interested in the mysterious and occult, as well as gypsy lore and language. His extensive writings include several books on these topics: The Poetry and Mystery of Dreams (compiler, 1856), The English Gypsies and Their Language (1873), The Gypsies (1882), Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling (1891), and Old Rabbit the Voodoo and Other Sorcerers (1893).

Leland died on 20 March 1903 in Florence, Italy.

Source: From the finding aid for C0204