The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 18, May 4, 2003, Article 11


  Regarding my query about the book by S. Q. Lapius, Len
  Augsberger writes: "First of all, the name "S. Q. Lapius" has
  that "weird" look to it, like it might be an anagram or pen name.
  I checked and did not
  find any reasonable matches.

  A Google search shows S.Q. Lapius was in New York in 1900,
  in a letter he wrote to a periodical.  Lapius refers to a "patient"
  and may have been a doctor.

  O. Henry makes an allusion to Mr. Lapius in one of his stories at:

  O. Henry was American, which weakly implies that Lapius
  was also American.

  There are few hits at, though they do suggest a
  pocket of Lapius families in New York, one of whom (John H.
  Lapius) was a Civil War veteran.  The surname is very unusual -- lists NO Lapius families anywhere in the US.
  Nothing on

  I do see another S. Q. Lapius in Newry, UK, in 1828:
  This article suggests that the writer may be a doctor.

  My next step would be to check Syracuse, New York
  directories for 1900, then with address in hand check the
  1900 census (which is available imaged but not indexed
  online).  If there is a historical society in Syracuse they might
  have something too.

  I speculate that the name is so unusual that the two individuals
  here are likely father and son, both doctors, with the father
  in the UK and the son in America.  The evidence is not strong
  but that's the first theory I would work with.

  All that said, perhaps the most expeditious way to get the
  Lapius book would be to call up the bookstore in the UK
  where the writer says he found it!"

  [For sheer amusement, I recommend readers check out the
  first of Len's links.  It describes a comical incident with a
  newfangled steam-power automobile, and introduces a new
  vocabulary word: autogorium!

  Len's research is very interesting.   I should have spent more
  time myself looking online.  More information came from
  John Kleeberg, who writes:

  "I did some some searches on OCLC and RLIN.  OCLC
  provides four entries for books by this author, all books of
  poetry published in Columbus, Ohio.  "Coins from a Country
  Railway Station" is, like the others, a  book of poetry.  Only
  three copies listed in OCLC, none on RLIN; the three copies
  on OCLC are all in Ohio libraries around Columbus.  An entry
  for a collected book of Lapius' poetry ("A Ship at Sea and
  other Rhymes") says that the name was a pseudonym for the
  physician Justin Allis Garvin (1886-1946), but something must
  be wrong because those dates are hard to reconcile with the
  date of "Coins from a Country Railway Station" (1893), unless
  Garvin was unusually precocious.

  The New York Public Library only has a handwritten transcript
  of one of Lapius' poems about tobacco farming in, of course,
  the Arents Tobacco Collection.   The British Library has none
  of Lapius' work, so I think his books were only published in the
  United States.  We usually think of "Railroad" as American
  English and "Railway" as British English, so it's natural to think
  that a book with the title "Railway" found in Wales was
  published in Britain, but the truth is that the two terms Railway/
  Railroad are used on both sides of the Atlantic, even if Railroad
  slightly predominates in the United States and Railway slightly
  predominates in Britain."

  [ OCLC = Online Computer Library Center

   RLIN = Research Libraries Information Network

  Another web search turned up a reference to a two-page
  poem by S. Q. Lapius in The New England Magazine on 1895
  titled "Along the Dust White River Road"

  Combining this fact with Len and John's notes lends
  credence to the supposition that "S. Q. Lapius" was the pen
  name of a poet/doctor whose real name may have been Justin
  Allis Garvin.

  So what does all this mean?  For one, you find an amazing
  amount of information on the Internet these days, but it
  is only just a start.  It can also lead you down blind alleys at
  the speed of light.   The real work still has to be done offline.
  And there is no substitute for getting a copy of a book in
  question and reading what's in it.  Despite the fact that the
  book is likely to contain poetry, the numismatic reference
  still has me curious to see a copy.  Here's where the Internet
  comes in handy again.  I located a copy through an online
  bookseller and ordered it - it turned out not to be expensive.
  I'll have more to report when the book arrives.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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