1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Smith, Albert Richard

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SMITH, ALBERT RICHARD (1816-1860), English author and public entertainer, was born at Chertsey, Surrey, on the 24th of May 1816. He studied medicine in Paris, and his first literary effort was an account of his life there, which appeared in the Mirror. He gradually relinquished his medical work for light literature. Though a journalist rather than a literary figure, he was one of the most popular men of his time, and a favourite humorist in the vein of humour then in vogue. He was one of the early contributors to Punch and was also a regular contributor to Bentley's Miscellany, in whose pages his first and best book, The Adventures of Mr Ledbury, appeared in 1842. His other books were, Christopher Tadpole (1848), issued in monthly parts, Pottleton's Legacy (1849), and a series of so-called natural histories, The Gent, The Ballet Girl, The Idler upon Town and The Flirt. Albert Smith also wrote extravaganzas and adapted some of Charles Dickens's stories for the stage. He founded and edited a monthly magazine called The Man in the Moon, from 1847 to 1849. In 1851 he ascended Mont Blanc, and the year after produced at the Egyptian Hall the descriptive entertainment, which he called “Mont Blanc,” describing the ascent of the mountain and the Englishman abroad. This success was followed by other entertainments of the kind, among them “China.” Smith married in 1859 a daughter of Robert Keeley, the comedian. He died in Fulham, London, on the 23rd of May 1860. Smith received great help from his brother, Arthur W. W. Smith (1825-1861), who had also been educated for medicine. He managed the entertainments at the Egyptian Hall from 1852 to 1860. He also planned Charles Dickens's readings in 1858, and made arrangements for a second series, but died before they were completed.