Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sampson, Henry (1841-1891)

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SAMPSON, HENRY (1841–1891), newspaper proprietor and editor, the son of a journalist, was born at Lincoln in 1841. At the age of twelve he entered a printing office in London, and became successively a compositor and proof-reader. From youth he was devoted to sport, and excelled as a boxer, runner, and sculler until he was twenty-three, when he was disabled by an accident to his left foot. In 1866 he was engaged by Samuel Orchart Beeton to contribute sporting leaders to the ‘Glow-worm’ and the ‘Weekly Dispatch.’ Afterwards he joined the staff of the ‘Illustrated Sporting News and Theatrical Review,’ and early in 1869 was appointed editor of that journal. On its collapse on 19 March 1870 he became the first editor of the ‘Latest News’ (No. 1, 29 Aug. 1869), a penny Sunday paper of sixteen pages, which ceased after No. 57 on 25 Sept. 1870. In 1870 he was engaged as a leader-writer on the ‘Morning Advertiser,’ and commenced contributing to ‘Fun.’ During the illness of Thomas Hood the younger [q. v.] he acted as sub-editor of ‘Fun,’ and after the death of Hood, in 1874, conducted the paper until February 1878. In 1875, 1876, 1877, and 1878 he edited ‘Fun Comic Annual,’ and wrote stories for its pages. Early in 1872 he commenced sending to the ‘Weekly Dispatch,’ under the signature of ‘Pendragon,’ letters of general criticism on sport. Developing the scheme, he, on 19 Aug. 1877, as part proprietor and editor, under the same pseudonym of Pendragon, started a weekly sporting paper, ‘The Referee.’ Its success soon enabled him to give up his other engagements and confine himself exclusively to his own paper for the remainder of his life. He died at 6 Hall Road, St. John's Wood, London, on 16 May 1891.

He was the author of: 1. ‘Dictionary of Modern Slang,’ 2nd ed. 1860. 2. ‘A History of Advertising,’ with illustrations and facsimiles, 1874. 3. ‘Modern Boxing, by Pendragon,’ 1878.

[Sporting Mirror, April 1881, pp. 72–4, with portrait; Illustr. London News, 23 May 1891, p. 667, with portrait; Entr'acte Annual, 1882, p. 22, with portrait; Times, 18 May 1891, p. 10.]

G. C. B.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.241
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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230 ii 32 Sampson, Henry (1841-1891): after the author insert (together with 'Dictionary of Modern Slang,' 2nd ed. 1860)