Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Gilder, William Henry

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GILDER, William Henry, clergyman, b. in Philadelphia, Pa., 17 Sept., 1812; d. at Brandy Station, Va., 13 April, 1864. His father, John Gilder, laid the corner-stone of Girard college. The son was educated at Wesleyan university, became a preacher in the Methodist church, and was afterward ordained. In 1836 he made an equestrian tour of the southern states, going as far as New Orleans. In 1840 he began the publication of the “Philadelphia Repository,” a literary monthly, but discontinued it at the end of a year. Subsequently he published for a few years in Philadelphia the “Literary Register,” a quarterly review. Mr. Gilder in 1842 established Bellevue female seminary in Bordentown, N. J., which in 1848 he removed to Flushing, L. I., and in 1857 it was chartered as a college. He became chaplain of the 40th regiment of New York volunteers at the beginning of the civil war, and remained in active service until his death. — His son, William Henry, explorer, b. in Philadelphia, 16 Aug., 1838, enlisted as a private in the 5th New York volunteers at the beginning of the civil war, and was afterward transferred to the 40th. But during a large part of the war he served on the staff of Gen. Thomas W. Egan, and on being mustered out at its close was brevetted major. In June, 1878, he accompanied Lieut. Schwatka, as second in command, on his expedition to King William's Land in search of the relics of Sir John Franklin. This expedition was marked by the longest sledge-journey on record — 3,251 statute miles. In June, 1881, he accompanied the “Rodgers” expedition in search of the “Jeannette,” and when the “Rodgers” was burned, 30 Nov., he made a midwinter journey from Bering strait across Siberia, to telegraph news of the disaster to the secretary of the navy. He then joined in the search on the Lena delta for the survivors of the “Jeannette.” Maj. Gilder spent the summer and autumn of 1883 in Tonquin, where the French and Anamese war was in progress, and in 1884 was one of the first to visit the scene of the earthquakes in Spain. On these occasions, as well as in his arctic expeditions, he acted as correspondent of the “New York Herald.” He has published “Schwatka's Search” (New York, 1881) and “Ice-Pack and Tundra” (1883). — Another son, Richard Watson, editor, b. in Bordentown, N. J., 8 Feb., 1844, was educated mainly in his father's school. He joined the staff of the Newark, N. J., “Advertiser” in 1865, and in 1868, with Newton Crane, established the Newark “Morning Register.” In 1869 he became editor of “Hours at Home,” and when that magazine was merged into “Scribner's Monthly” (now the “Century”) he was made associate editor of the new periodical. On the death of Dr. J. G. Holland in October, 1881, Mr. Gilder succeeded him as editor-in-chief. He received the degree of LL. D. from Dickinson college in 1883. He has published four volumes of poems, “The New Day” (New York, 1875); “The Poet and his Master” (1878); “Lyrics,” which is largely made up of the two previous volumes (1885); “The Celestial Passion” (1887); “Two Worlds” (1891); “The Great Remembrance” (1893); five books of song (1894); and “For the Country” (1897). — A sister, Jeannette Leonard, b. in Flushing, N. Y., 3 Oct., 1849. After being associated with the editorial department of “Scribner's Monthly,” she became in 1875 literary editor of the “New York Herald,” acting later as its musical and dramatic critic. In 1881, she and her brother Joseph established “The Critic,” which they still edit. She was correspondent of “The Academy,” London, and is the author of “Taken by Siege,” a novel (Philadelphia, 1886); has edited “Pen Portraits of Literary Women,” with Helen Gray Cone (1887); “Essays from the Critic,” with Joseph B. Gilder (1882); “Authors at Home,” with the same (1889); and “Representative Poems of Living Poets” (1886).