Monthly Archives: October 2016

Charles Fort and Dreiser




Posted above as a downloadable PDF file is an article about the relationship between Charles Fort and Theodore Dreiser that appeared in Fortean Times, a British publication, (Mike Dash, “Charles Fort and a Man Named Dreiser,” Fortean Times, no. 51, winter 1988/89, pp. 40–48). The article is not referenced in the entry on Fort in A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia.



Charles Hoy Fort (1874-1932) and Theodore Dreiser met in 1905 and maintained a relationship until Fort’s death. According to the entry on Fort in A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia, the two “maintained a close, dynamic relationship.”

Born in Albany, NY of Dutch ancestry, Fort was an American writer and researcher who specialized in anomalous phenomena.


See Roark Mulligan, “Fort, Charles” in A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia, edited by Keith Newlin, pp. 144-145.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2016




According to the Wikipedia entry on Charles Fort at

The Fortean Society was initiated at the Savoy-Plaza Hotel in New York City on 26 January 1931 by some of Fort’s friends, many of whom were significant writers such as Theodore Dreiser, Ben Hecht, Alexander Woollcott, and organized by fellow American writer Tiffany Thayer, half in earnest and half in the spirit of great good humor, like the works of Fort himself. The board of founders included Dreiser, Hecht, Booth Tarkington, Aaron Sussman, John Cowper Powys, the former editor of Puck Harry Leon Wilson, Woolcott and J. David Stern, publisher of the Philadelphia Record. Active members of the Fortean Society included journalist H.L. Mencken and prominent science fiction writers such as Eric Frank Russell and Damon Knight. Fort, however, rejected the Society and refused the presidency, which went to his friend writer Theodore Dreiser; he was lured to its inaugural meeting by false telegrams. As a strict non-authoritarian, Fort refused to establish himself as an authority, and further objected on the grounds that those who would be attracted by such a grouping would be spiritualists, zealots, and those opposed to a science that rejected them; it would attract those who believed in their chosen phenomena: an attitude exactly contrary to Forteanism. Fort did hold unofficial meetings and had a long history of getting together informally with many of NYC’s literati such as Theodore Dreiser and Ben Hecht at their various apartments where they would talk, have a meal and then listen to brief reports.

Stephen Stepanchev, “Dreiser Among The Critics”



Posted here is a downloadable PDF file of an abridgment made by Stephen Stepanchev of his dissertation “Dreiser Among The Critics” (New York University, 1950). The abridgment is available at the New York Public Library.


– posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2016

The Dreiser Edition


The Dreiser Edition

General Editor: Jude Davies

Textual and Managing Editor: Thomas P. Riggio


Professor Jude Davies of The University of Winchester assumed the role of General Editor of The Dreiser Edition commencing with the publication of Dreiser’s The Titan: The Critical Edition in 2016. Prior to that, the General Editor was Thomas P. Riggio, now Textual and Managing Editor.




The Dreiser Edition is a publishing venture which was begun by the University of Pennsylvania Press and the University of Indiana Press to publish scholarly editions of the complete works of Theodore Dreiser, including the novels of Dreiser as well as primary documents such as Dreiser’s autobiographical writings, diaries, travel writing, correspondence, articles, and interviews with Dreiser.

The Dreiser Edition is sponsored by The University of Winchester, The University of Connecticut, and The University of Pennsylvania Library. With the publication of Dreiser’s novel The Titan in 2016, Winchester University Press has become The Dreiser Edition’s publisher.





University of Pennsylvania Press

Sister Carrie: The Pennsylvania Edition; historical editors, John C. Berkey and Alice M. Winters; textual editor, James L. W. West III; general editor, Neda M. Westlake (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981)

The American Diaries, 1902-1926; edited by Thomas P. Riggio (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982)

An Amateur Laborer; edited by Richard W. Dowell, James L. West III, and Neda M. Westlake (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983)

Dreiser-Mencken Letters: The Correspondence of Theodore Dreiser and H. L. Mencken, 1907-1945 (two volumes); edited by Thomas P. Riggio (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986)

Journalism, Volume One: Newspaper Writings, 1892-1895; edited by T. D. Nostwich (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988)

Newspaper Days; edited by T. D. Nostwich (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991)

Jennie Gerhardt, edited by James L W. West III (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992)

Dreiser’s Russian Diary; edited by Thomas P. Riggio (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996)

Twelve Men; edited by Robert Coltrane (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998)


University of Illinois Press

A Traveler at Forty; edited by Renate von Bardeleben (University of Illinois Press, 2004)

Interviews; edited by Frederic E. Rusch and Donald Pizer (University of Illinois Press, 2004)

The Genius; edited by Clare Virginia Eby (University of Illinois Press, 2008)

A Picture and a Criticism of Life: New Letters, Volume I; edited by Donald Pizer (University of Illinois Press, 2008)

Letters to Women: New Letters, Volume II; edited by Thomas P. Riggio (University of Illinois Press, 2008)

The Financier: The Critical Edition; edited by Roark Mulligan (University of Illinois Press, 2010)

Political Writings; edited by Jude Davies (University of Illinois Press, 2011)


University of Winchester Press

The Titan: The Critical Edition; edited by Roark Mulligan (University of Winchester Press, 2016)




Dreiser’s Literary Criticism

European Diaries

Dawn (the second volume of Dreiser’s autobiography)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2016

a key source for “Sister Carrie”?


The following article does not appear in Dreiser bibliographies because it is not about Dreiser:

Henry, Sarah M. “The Strikers and Their Sympathizers: Brooklyn in the Trolley Strike of 1895,” Labor History 32.3 (summer 1991): 329- 53

However, the article would presumably be of interest to Dreiser scholars. It covers the Brooklyn trolley strike of 1895, which Dreiser drew upon for the plot of Sister Carrie.

In chapters XL and XLI of Sister Carrrie, the strike is described in great detail. Hurstwood, who is at first sympathetic to the strikers, becomes a scab out of desperation to find employment. He works as a trolley car motorman for a single day, and is subject to obloquy and physical abuse by strikers and their sympathizers.

The above referenced article is posted on online at

It is not downloadable except for a fee and with permission of the publisher.


— Roger W. Smith

   October 2016

contemporary newspaper accounts about the real life Hurstwood’s theft








item re Hopkins (returned money) - Chi Tribune 2-19-1886, pg. 8.jpg





Theodore Dreiser’s first novel, Sister Carrie, was based on real people and incidents: (1) Dreiser’s sister Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser  (Carrie Meeber in the novel); and, (2) Emma’s lover L. A. Hopkins (George Hurstwood in the novel). They absconded to New York after Hopkins, a married man, stole money from his employer in Chicago.

The incident in which Hopkins stole cash from his employer, Chapin & Gore (Fitzgerald and Moy in the novel), a firm that owned a number of Chicago saloons, and absconded — a central incident which underpins the plot of Sister Carrie (where Hurstwood does the same things) — happened in February 1886 and was covered in contemporary newspapers.

Five such newspaper accounts are attached here as downloadable files:

“The Safe’s Contents Missing,” Chicago Inter Ocean, February 16 1886

“Cashier and Money Missing,” New York Times, February 16, 1886

“Hopkins’ Skip,” Chicago Inter Ocean, February 17, 1886

“Hopkins Is Sorry,” Chicago Tribune, February 17, 1886

news item re return of money by Hopkins, Chicago Tribune, February 19, 1886


— -Roger W. Smith

   November 2016

Roger W. Smith, “Lorenzo A. Hopkins, Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser, and Family”


‘Lorenzo A. Hopkins, Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser & Family’

See downloadable Word document above.



Lorenzo A. Hopkins (aka L. A. Hopkins; 1847-1897) was the real life counterpart of the character George Hurstwood in Theodore Dreiser’s novel Sister Carrie.

Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973), Theodore Dreiser’s niece, was the daughter of Dreiser’s sister Enema Dreiser (1863-1936). Emma was the real life counterpart of, and model for, the lead character in Sister Carrie.




Theodore Dreiser’s first novel, Sister Carrie, was based on real people and incidents: Dreiser’s sister Emma; and, Emma’s lover L. A. Hopkins with whom she eloped after Hopkins, a married man, stole money from his employer in Chicago.

In the novel, Carrie Meeber’s lover, George Hurstwood, commits suicide. Very little has been known hitherto about the identity of L. A. Hopkins, the real life model for Hurstwood, or what became of him after he and Dreiser’s sister Emma, the model for Carrie Meeber, settled in New York City.

This article provides information about Hopkins and his death. It also provides information about the life of Dreiser’s sister Emma after Hopkins’s death and about the children of Hopkins and Emma; they had two children whom Dreiser met in 1894 when he first visited New York City: George Nelson and Gertrude Hopkins. The former, George Nelson, did not relate to Dreiser in later life, though in his youth he had some contact with Dreiser’s brother Paul Dresser. The latter, Gertrude Hopkins, was Dreiser’s favorite niece.


— Roger W. Smith

   October 2016; updated July 2020



Also, see below:

photo of Lorenzo A. Hopkins’s grave

photo of Theodore Dreiser’s niece Gertrude A. Hopkins



See also my posts:

contemporary newspaper accounts about the real life Hurstwood’s theft”

contemporary newspaper accounts about the real life Hurstwood’s theft


Roger W. Smith, “The Real Julia Hurstwood and the Lutz Murder Case”




gravestone of Lorenzo A. Hopkins (1847-1897); Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, NY (photograph by Roger W. Smith)

Gertrude A. Hopkins (Dreiser's niece)

Gertrude Amelia Hopkins (1894-1973)

“How to Make ‘Sister Carrie’ Come Alive” – new opera




Attached (above) is an article in Urban Milwaukee which was posted on line on October 3, 2016.

Sister Carrie, a new opera based on the Dreiser novel, composed by Robert Aldridge with a libretto by Herschel Garfein, had its world premiere in September 2016 in a performance by the Florentine Opera Company in Milwaukee.


'Sister Carrie' - playbill.jpg


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2016