Search Our New Beta Online Collections!

Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 253 [newspaper clipping], May 18, 1858

<< Back to search results

View this document

From collection:Part of:

Identifier: DX03615158

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 253 [newspaper clipping], May 18, 1858

Description: Newspaper clipping regarding the suicide of writer Henry William Herbert.




Shocking Tragedy in Broadway—Suicide of Henry William Herbert, the well known Author—Interesting Letters of the Deceased—Proceedings of the Coroner's Inquest—Sketch of the Life and Writings of Herbert—Appearance of his Late Home near Newark,

&c., &c., &c.,


Henry William Herbert, the author, better known by the nom de plume of "Frank Forrester," committed suicide about two o'clock yesterday morning, in his rooms in the Stevens House, Broadway, by shooting himself through the heart with a pistol. Domestic difficulties led to the commission of the rash act. The deceased was married about three months ago, but he had not been living with his wife [Sarah Herbert] more than six weeks or so when they quarrelled, and she separated from him. Herbert suffered intense mental agony in consequence of the severe blow, and in his ravings often threatened to commit suicide. He carried the dreadful threat into execution yesterday, and accomplished his purpose in a cool and premeditated manner.

About three weeks ago deceased left his home at the "Cedars," near Newark, N. J., and came to New York. He took a suit of comfortable rooms at the Stevens House, and resumed the labors of his profession as an author, until within the past few days, when he determined to put an end to his existence, and thus end all his earthly troubles. With that object in view he prepared himself for death; wrote a number of letters informing his friends of his intention to commit suicide, and giving them directions how to dispose of his body and his effects. It was not the intention of deceased to commit suicide as soon as he did, as the date of his letters evidently show that he had set apart to-day—the 18th inst. —for the commission of the deed. On Sunday Mr. Herbert sent for Mr. Philip H. Anthon, a friend of his, and requested him to remain with him as long as possible. The deceased complained of great loneliness, and signified his intention to commit suicide before twenty-four hours would elapse. Mr. Anthon passed the entire day with him, and endeavored to cheer him up and dissuade him from self-destruction. Herbert talked of nothing but suicide, and evinced where he last parted with his wife. He told Mr. Anthon that his wife had declined holding any further intercourse or correspondence with him, and that a letter to that [effect] had reached him through his lawyer in Nassau [Street on] Saturday. The effect produced by the deter[mination] on the part of his wife to cease all intercourse with him was such as to hasten the work of self-destruction some two days.

About two o'clock in the afternoon deceased and Mr. Anthon left the hotel for a walk, and returned about ten P. M. They went up stairs to the room occupied by deceased, when the latter again breached the subject of suicide and said he was determined to kill himself that night. While they were talking together, about two o'clock A. M., Herbert rose from his seat and went into his bedroom for a few seconds when the sharp report of a pistol startled Mr. Anthon. The work was accomplished. Simultaneous almost with the discharge of the pistol the exclamation "I told you I would do it," came from the lips of the suicide, as he staggered back into the parlor and fell to the floor. Mr. Anthon immediately pulled the bell rope and gave the alarm with the view of procuring the aid of a physician, but before any medical aid could be obtained life had fled. The ball from the pistol entered the left breast of deceased and punctured the heart, causing almost instant death.

When the room occupied by deceased was visited by Coroner Gamble yesterday morning, the scene presented. . . .

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1858-05-18

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper


Subjects: Authors


| More

Disclaimer: We are working to create a web-based collection index. Information available through this website should be considered "draft only."