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Billings, Josh, 1818-1885



  • Existence: 1818 - 1885

Biographical History

Josh Billings (April 21, 1818 – October 14, 1885) was the pen name for 19th century humorist and author, Henry Wheeler Shaw. Josh Billings was born in Lanesboro, Massachusetts on April 21, 1818 and died in Monterey, California October 14, 1885. Billings was a popular comic writer and a contemporary of Mark Twain. Like Mark Twain, Josh Billings was a pseudonym for Henry Wheeler Shaw. Billings’ writings never really became popular until he started using the misspellings and fractured grammar popular at the time. His “Essa on the Muel” launched his career as an author. Billings’ writings were humorous with a touch of wisdom. He wrote a series for the New York Weekly that lasted 10 years and was titled Josh Billings’ Farmer’s Allminax. A famous one-liner that he penned comes from his pome “The Kicker” The pome is: “I hate to be a kicker, I always long for peace, But the wheel that does the squeaking, Is the one that gets the grease.” Billings died in Monterey, California at the age of 67 from internal hemorrhaging.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Mathew Brady carte-de-visite of Josh Billings

 Collection — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197235222772]
Identifier: MSS 8504
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of two items; an albumen carte-de-visite photograph of Josh Billings and a card bearing the autograph of Josh Billings along with the phrase "Go Slow!" The date of the photograph is unknown but was probably taken in the 1870s.

Dates: Date of production not identified