George William Bagby

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George William Bagby
George William Bagby.jpg
Born (1828-08-13)August 13, 1828
Buckingham County, Virginia, U.S.
Died November 29, 1883(1883-11-29) (aged 55)
Shockoe Hill Cemetery
Richmond City, Virginia, U.S.
George William Bagby signature.svg

George William Bagby (August 13, 1828 – November 29, 1883) was an American humorist.

Early life and education[edit]

Babgy was born in Buckingham County, Virginia to George Bagby and Virginia Evans. He attended Delaware College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied medicine.


After finishing his studies, Bagby became engaged in editorial work, especially on the Southern Literary Messenger, from 1859 to near the close of the American Civil War. Subsequently, he was made State librarian and became widely known as a lecturer and humorist, writing under the name "Mozis Addums". He having kept alive the old school of Southern humor, founded by Augustus Baldwin Longstreet and Johnson J. Hooper. An example of this humor, which contained local dialect, phonetic spelling and an eccentric character, is Rubenstein’s Piano-Playin. It is a short narrative of a surly, less-than-sophisticated soul, who describes how he was deeply moved by a piano concert. His works were collected in three volumes (Richmond, 1884–86).

Bagby is less known for his work as a journalist. As the Richmond correspondent of the Charleston Mercury during the American Civil War, Bagby covered the politics of the war and made a reputation for Hermes, his pen name, as a fearless writer who would criticize Confederate General Robert E. Lee as easily as Confederate President Jefferson Davis.


Bagby's most popular essay was "The Old Virginia Gentleman" (1877), a paean to antebellum plantation life in Virginia.


  • Wilson, James Southall. "Bagby, George William." Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. 1, Charles Scribner's Sons. 1928.
  • Trent, Southern Writers (1905)
  • American National Biography, vol. 1, pp. 868–869.
  • Andrews, J. Cutler. The South Reports the Civil War. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1970.
  • Bagby, George William, and Thomas Nelson Page. The Old Virginia Gentleman, And Other Sketches. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1910.googlebooks Retrieved May 10, 2008
  • The South Reports the Civil War by J. Cutler Andrews (Princeton University Press, 1970, and the Charleston Mercury, 1861 to 1865.

External links[edit]

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.