The Black Cat (magazine)

The Black Cat (1895–1922) was an American literary magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts.[1] It specialized in short stories of an "unusual" nature.[2]

1898 BlackCat no33
The Black Cat, 1898

History and profile

The magazine's first editor was Herman Umbstaetter (1851–1913).[3][4] It is best known for publishing the story "A Thousand Deaths" by Jack London in the May 1899 issue.[5] Umbstaetter's magazine also carried material by Rupert Hughes, Susan Glaspell, Ellis Parker Butler, Alice Hegan Rice, Holman Day, Rex Stout, O. Henry, Charles Edward Barns, and Octavus Roy Cohen.[2] Although most of its fiction was nonfantastic, The Black Cat occasionally published science fiction stories by authors such as Frank L. Pollack, Don Mark Lemon and Harry Stephen Keeler.[3] It is notable for publishing, in May 1902, an early and uncharacteristically "weird" story by O. Henry entitled "The Marionettes." It also printed the horror story "The Mysterious Card" (1896) by Cleveland Moffett. Clark Ashton Smith contributed two adventure stories to The Black Cat.[3] One noted writer who appeared in the magazine's later years was Henry Miller.[6] The covers were illustrated by Umbstaetter's wife, Nelly Littlehale Umbstaetter until at least 1920.


  1. ^ WorldCat. The black cat : a monthly magazine of original short stories. Boston, Mass.: Shortstory Pub. Co.
  2. ^ a b Frank Luther Mott. A History of American Magazines: 1885-1905. Harvard University Press, 1957 (pp.429-31)
  3. ^ a b c Mike Ashley The Time Machines:The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the beginning to 1950. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-865-0. (pp. 22-24).
  4. ^ In 1911 Umbstaetter was located on Pearl Street in Boston. International Who's Who. International Who's Who Publishing Company. 1911.
  5. ^ Robert Barltrop, Jack London: the man, the writer, the rebel, Pluto Press, 1976, ISBN 0-904383-18-0. (p. 66)
  6. ^ Erica Jong, The Devil at Large:Erica Jong on Henry Miller. Grove Press, 1994 ISBN 0-8021-3391-6. (p. 69)
Charles Edward Barns

Charles Edward Barns (July 23, 1862 – May 24, 1937) was an American writer, journalist, astronomer, theater impresario, and publisher.

Francis Pollock

Francis Lillie Pollock (February 4, 1876 – 1957) was an early twentieth-century Canadian science fiction writer. He was born in Huron County, Ontario, Canada in 1876. He wrote 'commercial fiction' under the pseudonym Frank L Pollock and literary fiction under his own name. Some of Pollock's early commercial fiction can be found in The Youth's Companion. He also regularly published short stories and poetry in Munsey's Magazine, The Smart Set, The Atlantic, The Bookman (New York) and The Blue Jay (renamed in 1905 as Canadian Woman Magazine).The sale of a serialised novel, The Treasure Trail, enabled him to leave his job at the Toronto Mail and Empire in 1907 to pursue a full-time writing career. Pollock's writing career was pursued in tandem with a life of beekeeping. Many of his fictions are influenced by bees. Pollock kept an apiary in Shedden, Ontario and farmed commercially. He and his second wife, Zella Taylor retired to Georgetown, Ontario.

Pollock is the author of the short story "Finis", published in the June 1906 issue of The Argosy magazine, and his work has been anthologized several times. Briefly, "Finis" is the story of a new star that is discovered which turns out to be a new, hotter sun. It is a short hard hitting story which shows a man and woman, who stay up the night to watch the expected new star arise. Though written in 1906, it is set in the future of the mid 20th century. Pollock also wrote several science fiction stories for The Black Cat magazine as well as sea stories for magazines such as Adventure.In 1930, he was living in Shedden, Ontario, Canada.

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