by George J. Dance

Charles dekay

Charles DeKay (1848-1935). Courtesy Find a Grave.

Charles DeKay
Born July 25, 1848
Washington, D.C.
Died May 23, 1935 (aged 86)
New York City [1]
Alma mater Yale[1]
Children Drake, Rodman, Ormonde, Helena, Janet

Charles Augustus DeKay (July 25, 1848 - May 23, 1935) was an American poet and art critic.[1]


DeKay was born July 25, 1848, in Washington, D.C.[2] He was the youngest of 7 children of Janet Halleck (Drake) (a daughter of poet Joseph Rodman Drake) and Commodore George Colman DeKay.[1]

He attended military school, where he learned fencing. He graduated from Yale University in 1868.[1]

After graduation, DeKay spent time in Europe, including Paris and Venice. He stayed for a time with his sister, Mrs. Arthur Bronson, where he met Robert Browning, Henry James, John Jacob Whistler, and other expatriates.[1]

He wrote for various newspapers and magazines, and authored books of poetry, novels, translations and biographies. He was an art and literary editor and editorial writer for the New York Times for 18 years, from 1876 to 1894. He then served as Consul General in Berlin. Afterward he contributed to the New York Times Book Review until 1923. [1]

He married Lucy Edwalyn Coffey on June 4, 1888.[2] The couple had 4 sons and 4 daughters.[1] His daughter married poet John Hall Wheelock.[3]

DeKay founded the Author’s club in 1882, the National Sculpture Society in 1892, and the National Arts Club, where he served as managing director for several years, in 1899. He was also a member of the Century Club, the New York Historical Society, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.[1]

He died in New York City, aged 86, on May 23, 1935. He is buried in St. George's Church Cemetery in Hempstead, Nassau co., New York.[2]


His best-known story is "Manmatha."[4]


He was inducted into the United States Fencing Hall of Fame in 2008.[5]




  • The Bohemian: A tragedy of modern life. New York: Scribner, 1878.


  • Barye: Life and works of Antoine Louis Barye sculptor. New York: Monument Associatio of New York, 1889; New York: AMS Press, 1974.
  • Bird Gods (illustrated by George Wharton Edwards). London: Henry R. Allanson, 1898; New York: A.S. Barnes, 1898.
  • A Brief Word on Medals. New York: De Vinne Press, 1910.
  • The Art Work of Louis C. Tiffany. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page, 1914; Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo, 1987
    • also published as Tiffany. New York: Parkstone Press, 2011.
  • The Altoviti Aphrodite. Baltimore, MD: privately published, 1921.


  • Ludwig von Emden, The Family Life of Heinrich Heine. New York: Cassell, 1892.
  • Léon Daudet, Alphonse Daudet / Ernest Daudet, The Daudet Family ("Mon frère et moi"). London: 1899; Boston: Little, Brown, 1901.
  • Romain Rolland, Pierre and Luce. New York: Holt, 1922.
  • Alphonse Daudet, A Passion for the South.


  • Louis Barnaval, Love Poems. New York: D. Appleton, 1885.

Except where noted, bibliographical information coutesy WorldCat.[6]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Joseph deKay, "DeKay, Charles," U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame. Web, Feb. 14, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Charles Augustus DeKay, Find a Grave. Web, Feb. 14, 2019.
  3. |title=Biography of John Hall Wheelock (1886-1978), Wheelock Genealogy, March 22, 1978. Web, Feb. 14, 2019.
  4. De Kay, James Ellsworth, Appletons Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1900, 125. Wikisource, Web, Feb. 14, 2019.
  5. 2008 Hall of Fame, , U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame. Web, Feb. 14, 2019.
  6. Search results = au:Charles DeKay, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Feb. 14, 2019.

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