1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lemon, Mark

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LEMON, MARK (1809-1870), editor of Punch, was born in London on the 30th of November 1809. He had a natural talent for journalism and the stage, and, at twenty-six, retired from less congenial business to devote himself to the writing of plays. More than sixty of his melodramas, operettas and comedies were produced in London. At the same time he contributed to a variety of magazines and newspapers, and founded and edited the Field. In 1814 Lemon and Henry Mayhew conceived the idea of a humorous weekly paper to be called Punch, and when the first number was issued, in July 1841, were joint-editors and, with the printer and engraver, equal owners. The paper was for some time unsuccessful, Lemon keeping it alive out of the profits of his plays. On the sale of Punch Lemon became sole editor for the new proprietors, and it remained under his control until his death, achieving remarkable popularity and influence. Lemon was an actor of ability, a pleasing lecturer and a successful impersonator of Shakespearian characters. He also wrote a host of novelettes and lyrics, over a hundred songs, a few three-volume novels, several Christmas fairy tales and a volume of jests. He died at Crawley, Sussex, on the 23rd of May 1870.