Van Tassel Sutphen

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William Gilbert van Tassel Sutphen
Born (1861-05-11)May 11, 1861
Died 1945
Nationality United States
Occupation Writer, editor

William Gilbert van Tassel Sutphen (1861–1945) was an American Episcopalian minister, authority and author of publications on golf, playwright, librettist, novelist, and editor. Sutphen was born in Philadelphia 11 May 1861.[1] His parents were Rev. Morris Crater and Eleanor (Brush) Sutphen.[2] He went to Princeton University and graduated 1882.[3]

Sutphen wrote several novels, the most famous of which was The Doomsman, a very early science fiction or post-apocalyptic novel. Suggestions have been made that Sutphen "purloined" scenes from English novelist Richard Jeffries in writing this book.[4]

In his own time, Sutphen was probably more famous as an authority on and writer about golf than for his novels. He was the first editor of the early Golf magazine, published by Harper Brothers.[5] He also coined the term "the 19th hole". He gave the library at Princeton a collection of 75 books about golf.[6]

As a reader[7] and editor,[2] Sutphen worked for many years for Harper Brothers publishers. At some point he became (the second) Joseph Harper's brother-in-law.[8][9] While at Harper, Sutphen edited Theodore Dreiser.[10] As one of the Harper elite, Sutphen attended Mark Twain's 70th birthday celebrations in New York.[11]


In 1914 Sutphen was Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the New York Centre of the Drama League.[12] He was a member of the Esperanto Society,[13] and he was listed in the New York Social Register.[14]


  • First aid to the injured: a farce in one act (1896)
  • The cardinal’s rose: a novel (1900)
  • The nineteenth hole: being tales of the fair green (1901) (Golficide?)
  • The official golf guide for 1902, Edited and Compiled by W. G. Van Tassel Sutphen
  • The gates of chance (1904)
  • The doomsman (1906)
  • Narragansett Pier: an original comic opera in two acts (1909)
  • The eve of grace: a cantata for Christmas and Epiphany season (1914)
  • In jeopardy (1922)
  • The Sutphen Family (1926)
  • King’s champion (1927)
  • I, Nathanael, knew Jesus (1941)


  1. ^ Biographical directory of the State of New York, 1900. New York: Biographical Directory Co. 1900. p. 479. 
  2. ^ a b Who’s Who among North American authors. Los Angeles: Golden Syndicate Publishing Company. 1921. p. 344. 
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge (Volume 26). New York. 1920. p. 103. 
  4. ^ Mike Davis, “Golden Ruins/Dark Raptures: The Literary Destruction of Los Angeles” in Dark Raptures: Mark Davis's L.A., Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California at Berkeley (1 September 1997)
  5. ^ Harvey (ed.), George B. M. (1900). The North American Review (New York) 170 (4-6): 592 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Biblia (Friends of the Princeton Library) 8 (1): 15. March 1937 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Harper, J. Henry (1912). The House of Harper. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 280. 
  8. ^ Howard, June (2001). Publishing the family. Duke University Press. p. 82. 
  9. ^ Exman, Eugene (2010). The house of Harper: one hundred fifty years of publishing. HarperCollins. 
  10. ^ Lingeman, Richard (1990). Theodore Dreiser: At the gates of the city : 1871-1907. Putnam. p. 81. 
  11. ^ "Celebrate Mark Twain’s Seventieth Birthday". Mark Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections, & Related Resources. Barbara Schmidt. Retrieved 20 January 2011.  (Quoting the New York Times 6 December 1905)
  12. ^ Sutphen, Van Tassel (24 May 1914). "Work Done by Drama League" (PDF). The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Harvey (ed.), George B. M. The North American Review (New York) 186. 
  14. ^ Social Register, New York. Social Register Co. May 1920. p. 682. 

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