James Redding Ware

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James Redding Ware (1832  – c. 1909, pseudonym Andrew Forrester) was a British writer, novelist and playwright, creator of one of the first female detectives in fiction. His last known work was a dictionary.

Early life[edit]

James Redding Ware was born in Southwark, South London, in 1832, the son of James Ware, a grocer, and Elizabeth, née Redding. By 1851, his father had died, and his mother, according to the census, was a grocer and tea-dealer, and James Redding Ware was her assistant. By 1861, the household was no longer in place, and J. R. Ware was not readily identifiable in the census.[1] But in 1865, James Redding Ware became a Freemason, at the Westbourne Lodge No. 733, and he was living in Peckham. He became a Junior Warden at the Urban Lodge, no. 1196, and by 1872 a Worshipful Master (WM).[2]

Literary career[edit]

His detective works include: The Female Detective (c. 1863/1864),[3] 'edited by A.F.'; Secret Service, or, Recollections of a City Detective (1864?); The Private Detective and Revelations of the Private Detective (both c. 1868).

"Forrester" was for many years known to be a pseudonym, but who he was actually was unknown. However, one of his stories, "A Child Found Dead: Murder or No Murder?", was discovered, reprinted as a pamphlet and published under the name of J. Redding Ware, as "The Road Murder", an analysis of the Constance Kent case.[4] With this as a clue, Forrester/Ware's first stories of the female detective can be found in a journal entitled Grave and Gay in summer 1862. The character predates the 1863/1864 appearance of W. S. Hayward's The Revelations of a Lady Detective[5] although not that of Ruth Trail.

In 1860 a novel, The Fortunes of the House of Pennyl. A Romance of England in the Last Century (Blackwood's London Library) was published, with illustrations by Phiz, under the name J. Redding Ware. By 1868, he was a contributor to the Boy's Own Paper, the series of penny-bloods owned by Edwin Brett, although no particular work has been attributed to him. He also contributed to Bow Bells Magazine.[6]

Ware wrote The Death Trap, a play staged at the Grecian Saloon, City Road, Shoreditch, with George Conquest, the theatre manager, as the villain.[7] He had now become a jobbing writer for hire, producing books on chess; a book on the Isle of Wight with photographs by William Russell Sedgefield and Frank Mason Good; a volume of The Life and Speeches of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold; Mistaken Identities. Celebrated Cases of Undeserved Suffering, Self-Deception, and Wilful Imposture; as well as writing extensively for magazines. His only seeming connection to his early days as a writer of detective stories was with the publication, possibly in 1880,[8] of Before the Bench: Sketches of Police Court Life (London, Diprose & Bateman). Posthumously, he was most famous for Passing English of the Victorian Era. A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase (London, Routledge, 1909), published shortly after his death.

Works[edit]

  • The Fortunes of the House of Pennyl: A Romance of England in the Last Century (1860 as JR Ware)[9]
  • A Nice Quiet Cottage. A One-act Farce (1863)
  • The Revelations of a Private Detective (1863)
  • The female detective: [the original lady detective, 1864], London: British Library, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7123-5878-1 Reprint of the 1864 edition.
  • The Road Murder. Analysis of this Persistent Mystery (1865)
  • Tales by a Female Detective (1868)
  • Opera Comique (1870)
  • The Death Trap; Or a Cat's-Paw. A Drama in Four Acts (1870)
  • The Modern Hoyle; Or, How to Play Whist - Chess - Cribbage - Dominoes - Draughts - Backgammon, and Besique (1870)
  • The Isle of Wight (1871)[10]
  • Bothwell: A Drama in Four Acts (1871)
  • Pipermans' Predicaments. A Farce, in One Act (1871)
  • Bothwell. A Drama, in Four Acts (1871)
  • The Meadows of St. Gervais. A Farce-comedy, in Two Acts (1871)
  • One Snowy Night. A Comedy, in One Act (1871)
  • In Quarantine. A Comedy, in One Act (1871)
  • The Polish Jew: a drama in three acts (Emile Erckmann, Alexandre Chatrian, trans JR Ware 1872?)
  • Before the Bench: Sketches of Police Court Life (1880)
  • Some Social Science. A Satirical Comedy, in Three Acts (1880)
  • Alpine Betrothals. A Swiss Eclogue, for Music (1880)
  • Constant Woman: A Drawing-room Drama for Two and a Parlourmaid (1881)[11]
  • A Woman Will be a Woman. An Original Duologue (1883)
  • Twenty and Forty. An Original Comedy (1883)
  • Life and Speeches of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold (1884)
  • Wonderful Dreams of Remarkable Men and Women (1884)
  • Famous Centenarians (1886)
  • Mistaken Identities: Celebrated Cases of Undeserved Suffering, Self-deception, and Wilful Imposture (1886)
  • The Life and Times of Colonel Fred Burnaby (with RK Mann, 1886)
  • Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase (1909)[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1841, 1851, 1861 UK census
  2. ^ The Era, 1 December 1872; he was still a member of the Urban Lodge, according to the Era, 22 November 1891
  3. ^ 1864: British Library catalogue suggested date; acquisition stamp date in British Library copy: 9 January 1863
  4. ^ J. R. Ware, The Road Murder. Analysis of This Persistent Mystery, Published in 1862, Now Re-Printed, with Farther [sic] Remarks, by J. R. Ware (London, W. Oliver, 1865)
  5. ^ Judith Flanders. "Commentary: The Hanky-Panky Way". TLS, 18 June 2010
  6. ^ Bookseller. 1868. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ The Era. 12 June 1870. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Suggested date in British Library catalogue
  9. ^ The Fortunes of the House of Pennyl: A Romance of England in the Last Century at Google Books
  10. ^ The Isle of Wight at the Internet Archive
  11. ^ Constant Woman: A Drawing-room Drama for Two and a Parlourmaid at the Internet Archive
  12. ^ Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase at the Internet Archive

External links[edit]