Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: R.K. Munkittrick

Richard Kendall Munkittrick was born in Manchester, England, on March 5, 1853, according to a profile in Book News, July 1902, and the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 9 (1904). His parents were Richard Munkittrick, an Irishman, and Augusta Thorburn, an American of Scotch parentage.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded 1860 as the year of Munkittrick’s arrival in America. During the voyage his mother suffered a fatal accident which was noted in the New York Evening Post, November 6, 1860.

Munkittrick—At sea. October 16 on board steamship Edinborough, Augusta, wife of Richard Munkittrick, aged 29 years, youngest daughter of George C. Thornburn, of Newark, N.J.
The cause of death was explained in the New York Herald, November 15, 1893. The article was about the mysterious Bellevue Terrace which was said to be haunted. Munkittrick’s father was one of a series of owners.
“Finally he secured a purchaser in the person of Richard Munkittrick. a great manufacturer of Irish linens, a shrewd, intelligent man, generally believed to possess millions. His interests were widespread and his linens went everywhere. His first wife fell down a hatchway aboard ship and was killed. Well, after he came back and got over the sharp grief attendant upon her death he married again and lived on the Bellevue farm until he sold it for about $15,000 to Patrick Roe.

“What became of Munkittrick?”

“Oh, he has long been an inmate of the poorhouse in this State—lost all his business, mills shut down and sold, not a dollar left to support himself with. I saw him last summer a pauper, poor fellow….
The 1870 census listed Munkittrick, his father, step-mother, Mary, and two younger siblings Alfred and Adelaide. They lived in Ravenswood in Newtown, Queens County, New York. Munkittrick’s father was a clerk at the customs house.

Book News said Munkittrick was educated at Union Hall Academy, Jamaica, New York, and at Dr. Stoughton’s Academy, Summit, New Jersey. The Cyclopaedia said “His taste for poetry and literature was early developed, and in 1875, after trying several uncongenial occupations, he determined to adopt the profession of a writer, to which he has since devoted himself with success and acceptance. Since 1877 he has contributed occasional verse to the leading magazines, writing in both serious and comic vein.”

Munkittrick was listed in the 1878 Jersey City, New Jersey city directory as an author at 426 Henderson.

Munkittrick was a New York City Manhattanite in the 1880 census. The journalist boarded at 39 Bond Street.

The Cyclopaedia said Munkittrick married, July 5, 1883, to Jeanne A. Turner.

Book News said Munkittrick, from 1881 to 1889, was on the editorial staff of Puck. Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans Vol. 8 (1904) said “…on Sept. 1, 1901, [Munkittrick] assumed the editorship of Judge.”

Munkittrick’s books are Farming, Moon Prince and Other Nabobs, Some New Jersey Arabian Nights, and The Acrobatic Muse.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Munkittrick wrote The Captain Kidd Kids which was drawn by J.B. Lowitz. The series ran from November 21, 1897 to January 9, 1898 in the New York World.

The World 11/20/1897

Munkittrick has not yet been found in the 1900 census.

The New York World, April 22, 1903, published the series, Men of To-day Who Make the World Laugh, with Munkittrick as the eighth subject

Munkittrick’s father died in 1904.

In the 1910 census, Munkittrick and his wife had two sons, Malcolm and Cameron. They made their home in Manhattan at 211–213 West 81 Street.

Munkittrick passed away October 17, 1911, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. His death was reported the following day in the New York World. The New York Times published an obituary on the 20th and said in part:

Once, when asked for a short biography, Mr. Munkittrick said among other things:

“Descended from a race of clergymen and drunkards, I am a natural born lotus eater. Would rather loaf a week than work an hour. Left school at 15 and went into the dry goods business. Remained five years, and knew less of the mysteries of business than when I started. Then a position was secured for me on an East River steamboat. I once received a load of bran in a thundershower, and I showed my sympathy for the family of Gen. Rawlins by shipping his body to Connecticut for 50 cents—putting him through at the rate charged for a barrel of apples. Then I quit. Have been hammering a living out of writing since ’76.”

Further Viewing
Photographs of R. K. Munkittrick here and here 

—Alex Jay


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