Even if it wasn’t completely serious, this advertisement is a reminder that the course of the literary life never did run financially smooth and that writers (and … ahem … scholars) can spend what may seem to them an inordinate amount of time collecting the cash necessary for their intellectual pursuits. That the advertisement appeared on the front page of The New York Daily Tribune isn’t unusual: that’s where many of what we call “classified advertisements” were printed in early 19th-century American newspapers.

It would be good to know if “Literatus” got his grant.

“A Literary Man in Distress” (from The New York Daily Tribune, January 14, 1856; p. 1)

A LITERARY MAN IN DISTRESS.—A Gentleman who was once rich, respectable, and possessed of friends in the Old Country, and who has been for some years a contributor to the New-York daily press, having been completely prostrated by recent failure, and the sickness of a delicate and devoted wife, is now driven, in this inclement season, to solicit AID from the Christian, charitable, and generous people of this city, which will save him and his from present suffering and STARVATION, and enable him to procure those papers and periodicals which are indispensable to the successful prosecution of his profession. Any sums left at The Tribune Office for LITERATUS will be thankfully and gratefully received.

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