Bart Kennedy

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Bart Kennedy (1861–1930) was an English novelist, memoirist and journalist.


Kennedy was born in Leeds of Irish parents.[1][2] From the age of 6 until about the age of 20 he worked in cotton mills and machine shops in Manchester, England.[2] At age 20 he left England, working as a deckhand on a cargo ship[2] which landed him in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] Illiterate and with no money or formal training, he used the force of his strength (and fist) to "tramp" his way westward across North America.[2] He worked at various laboring jobs including as an oysterman on a skipjack on the Chesapeake Bay; a miner in New York; building railroad sheds in the Canadian Rockies; and panning for gold in the Klondike.[2] He eventually ended up in California where he had various jobs in the theater, including as a singer and actor, before returning to England where he married in 1897.

In 1898, Kennedy married Isabel Priestley, a political activist.[3]

Writing career[edit]

Illustration by Tom Browne from the article "Stone Fishing" by Bart Kennedy. The caption is "He immediately began to argue vigorously", The Wide World Magazine, volume 9" (May-Oct 1902)

Kennedy published his first novel, Darab's Wine Cup, in 1897, followed by The Wandering Romanoff (1898). A fair amount of autobiography is contained in A Man Adrift (1899), A Sailor Tramp (1902) and A Tramp in Spain (1904), books about his "tramping" exploits around the world.[1] John Sutherland (1989) says "As an author, he is one of the early advocates of 'tramping', as the source of literary inspiration."[1]

Kennedy also wrote articles for magazines such as The New Age.[4]

A review of A Tramp in Spain notes that Kennedy took several opportunities in that work to voice his disapproval of the United States that he had seen in 1882-1897.

Published works[edit]

  • Darab's Wine Cup (1897)
  • The Wandering Romanoff (1898)
  • A Man Adrift (1899)
  • A Sailor Tramp (1902)
  • A Tramp in Spain (1904)
  • Slavery (1905)
  • The Green Sphinx (1905)
  • A Tramp Camp (1906)
  • The German Danger (1907)
  • Soldiers of Labour (1917)
  • Golden Green (1926)


  1. ^ a b c John Sutherland. "Kennedy, Bart" in Companion to Victorian Literature. Stanford University Press, 1989.
  2. ^ a b c d e f From A Man Adrift
  3. ^ "What members are doing". Fabian News. March 1898.
  4. ^ Castaway. "S.O.S. Catalonia Calling: The Catalonians by Bart Kennedy". Retrieved 19 September 2014.

External links[edit]