William Allen Butler

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William Allen Butler in 1902

William Allen Butler (February 20, 1825, Albany, New York – September 9, 1902)[1] was an American lawyer and writer of poetical satires.


Son of the poet and lawyer Benjamin Franklin Butler and nephew of naval hero William Howard Allen, Allen graduated at the University of the City of New York in 1843 and became a New York lawyer.[2] Butler eventually headed the firm of Butler, Stillman & Hubbard, and served as president of the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. On March 21, 1850 he married Mary R. Marshall.[3]

He contributed travel writing and comic writing to The Literary World, a series on 'The Cities of Art and the Early Artists' to the Art Union Bulletin and also wrote for the Democratic Review.[4] His most famous satirical poem, Nothing to Wear, was first published anonymously in Harper's Weekly in 1857 (see 1857 in poetry), though Butler was forced to reveal his name after someone else claimed authorship.[5] His son Howard Russell Butler was born in 1856.[6]


  1. ^ Herringshaw, T. W., Herringshaw's national library of American biography, 5 vols, 1909-14.
  2. ^ Appleton's cyclopaedia of American biography, 6 vols, 1888
  3. ^ Hall, H., America's successful men of affairs, 2 vols, 1895-96.
  4. ^ Duyckinck, E. A. & Duyckinck, G. L., Cyclopaedia of American Literature, 2 vols, 1856
  5. ^ The national cyclopaedia of American biography, 11 vols, 1898-1909
  6. ^ Butler, William Allen. A Retrospect of Forty Years, 1825-1865 p.427. 

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