Semi-random notes and observations on George Frederick Pardon (Captain Crawley) . . .

I suppose that if an author set out to have a confusing pen-name, he could have done so better than George Frederick Pardon did.  Nonetheless, Pardon did a pretty good job of it.  In this post, I’ll get into that topic a little, and I’ll reproduce a copy of an obituary, which Mike Goodall kindly sent me.

Following is an image of the obituary.  It comes from the Printers’ Register, from September 6, 1884 (based on the handwritten note).  (I have seen other dates for Pardon’s birth and death.  The year of his birth is almost always shown as 1824, and Boase shows August 5, 1884 as the date of his death.)

As to George Frederick Pardon’s pen name, the picture is complicated somewhat by the fact that one of Pardon’s sons, namely Charles Frederick Pardon, used the pen name Rawdon Crawley, but I am not going to delve into that in this post.

Anyway, as to George Frederick Pardon’s pen-name Captain Crawley, this is how I basically see things.  George Frederick Pardon used the name Captain Crawley on many books.  He also used the name Rawdon Crawley, though whether he ever used it on a title page, I do not know.  Here are two examples, in which George Frederick Pardon used the name Rawdon Crawley:

Backgammon, London, [1858, apparently] (Preface):

The Billiard Book, London, 1866 (dedication):

Those two images are from Google Books.

Next is an image of somewhat remote relevance.  I had the impression that material by George Frederick Pardon had appeared in Every Boy’s Annual, and that turned out to be the case.  I happen to have a copy of the 1863 volume (published in late 1862), and I scanned two pages at the beginning, as shown below.

The portrait toward the left is of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII.  That is the person to whom Rawdon Crawley dedicated The Billiard Book, as demonstrated above.  The portrait is actually printed on photographic paper and glued to the background.

In the book, an orthodox title page follows the blank verso of the page on the right, above.

One other point.  I don’t have independent knowledge of this, but it has been reported in several reference works that George Frederick Pardon used the pen name “Quiet George.”  Likewise, two or three works intimate that George Frederick Pardon also used the pen name Uncle George, in editing the book entitled Parlour Pastime for the Young (London, 1857).  I do not know what evidence any of that is based upon.

—Tom Sawyer

November 2, 2012

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