Category Archives: Biographical

America’s Most Unpublished Author

As published in the San Bernardino Sun, Volume 67, Number 23, 23 September 1930

Intelligentsia Pole Star Gives Bernard Shaw Merciless Flaying In Volume Lauding H.L Mencken

America’s Most Unpublished Author at Last ‘Clicks’ and Works to Be Printed

By H. ALLEN SMITH (United Press Correspondent) NEW YORK, Sept. 22.

Benjamin Decasseres, pole star of the American intelligentsia and sometimes called the most unpublished author in the United States, has written a new book that will be published. It is called “Mencken and Shaw, the Anatomy of America’s Voltaire and England’s Other John Bull.” Between its covers Decasseres sets out, with a pen that drips blue fire, to prove that George Bernard Shaw is a colossal mountebank and that H. L. Mencken is the true modern Voltaire.

Lives in Apartment Off Gramercy Park

This being an interesting thesis, Decasseres submitted to an interview. He lives in an apartment off Gramercy park surrounded by books, green pencils, unpublished manuscripts and an ice box well stocked with tannic acid. The “Lone Eagle” of American literature wore brown striped pajamas, of a silken texture, during the interview. First off he brought out his 16 unpublished books. These range in topic from a volume of poetry to the love letters of Bio and Benjamin Decasseres. “The publishers,” Decasseres said, “won’t touch my stuff because I won’t go to literary teas.” His new volume on Mencken and Shaw will be published by Silas Newton, a Texas oil man. Newton may publish all of Decasseres works. The 57-year-old author believes that Mencken’s books should be placed in the schools, “to teach Americans how to write English.” He holds that Mencken is the greatest writer as well as the greatest social satirist this country has ever produced. “I have taken Mencken and Shaw,” he said, “as the world’s two outstanding sane rebels. But my idea is that Mencken’s sanity is sincere, while Shaw’s is not. Shaw delights in making people believe he is insane, which he probably is. He is a cheap publicity-seeker, a publicity-shark of the lowest type. He is like a trick bear, always clowning. “The big difference lies in the fact that Mencken has character, Shaw has none. I don’t agree with Mencken on many of his literary and esthetic judgments. But I believe that his grandeur comes from his narrowness, his height comes from his lack of breadth. “Mencken glories in the use of words. He takes the same pleasure in studying the use of words that a Beethoven would take in the study of notes, or a Rembrandt in the study of colors.” The frequent charge of insincerity, brought against Mencken, irritates Decasseres.

Has Been Pursuing One Line of Thought

“For 20 years.” he said, “the man has been following one solid line of thought a battering ram against sham and humbug and popular idols. My objection to him is that he is monotonously sincere. I wish he would change his record occasionally.” Decasseres said that Shaw has never created a character that will live, that he is the “father of all the sophisticated drool that exists on the stage today. He is the greatest disaster to the English stage of the century. He cannot create human beings, only epigrani-spouters, and he creates his characters to fit his epigrams instead of letting the epigrams flow naturally from the characters. I might add that he gats all his epigrams from jazzing up Schopenhauer, Neitzsche, Tolstoy, La Rochefocauld, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Butler. Shaw is related to the world of great artist? as jazz composers are related to Beethoven and Mozart.” Decasseres sent the proofs of his book to Mencken, who in- turn wrote a letter to the author. The last line of this letter reads: “You forgot to put in that I was baptized at the age of two months and had the hives for five weeks thereafter.”

Missing Boy Found in the Delaware River

Article from The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 3 Apr 1900.

Details finding the body of Walter, Benjamin’s brother, who committed suicide. Ben would later publish a collection of Walter’s poetry title The Sublime Boy.

Article gives home address as 1929 N 31st St Philadelphia, PA.


Introducing and Der Geist Journal…


tbmsbibIntroducing the Union of Egoists, a biographical, historical, bibliographic and inspirational resource for autodidacts and vagabonds alike. A project initiated by Trevor Blake (Confessions of a Failed Egoist & Max Stirner Bibliography) and Kevin I. Slaughter (A Bible Not Borrowed from the Neighbors: Essays and Aphorisms on Egoism).
The first Egoist Max Stirner, Egoist Feminist Dora Marsden, defacto Satanist Benjamin DeCasseres, Social Darwinist Ragnar Redbeard and soap-box Superman Malfew Seklew are a few of the members of this Union of Egoists.
EgoCover-1963-LibertarianBookClub-682x1024Blake has described Egoism as being the claim that the individual is the measure of all things. In ethics, in epistemology, in aesthetics, in society, the Individual is the best and only arbitrator. Egoism claims social convention, laws, other people, religion, language, time and all other forces outside of the Individual are an impediment to the liberty and existence of the Individual. is also home to Der Geist, a blog(including facebook page)and forthcoming print journal. The print journal will focus exclusively on the 100 years between the publication of Stirner’s “Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum” and DeCasseres death in 1945.
You can support the project by contributing corrections or materials. Use the Contact page or view the Wanted list.

“De Casseres” vs. “DeCasseres” and a review…

Untitled-1At the outset, I thank everyone who takes time to write a considered review of any of our books on amazon or any other service, even if critical (Otherwise wonderful reviews can get so stilted by the strangest things. The very first line of the review below a) criticizes my “spelling” of DeCasseres name and b) misspells my name.

I take it the reviewer believes there should be a space between the “de” and “casseres”. It doesn’t take much when collecting to see the problem, and early on I decided to use the form “DeCasseres”, rather than “De Casseres”, in all my own work. Most of the books he seemed to have had the closest editorial control over generally has the form “DeCasseres”, and most examples of his signature in my collection connect the two with a line, though I have an example where it isn’t.

So, both forms have been used in print and in his own signature. I chose what I thought was “right”.

The cover of the original edition of “Anathema” shows a space in his signature in silver foil stamping, but his actual signature inside the book (nos. 42, 488, and 761 – yes, I have three copies) all show the connected “DeCasseres”. Moreso, the title page and every mention of his name is set “DeCasseres”. The biography of Spinoza owned by DeC shows a space in the signature on the flyleaf, but The DeCasseres Books has no space on the covers in the typesetting. On the spine of “Forty Immortals” it’s “De Casseres”, on the spine of  “The Muse of Lies” it’s “DeCasseres”. Etc. etc. etc.

After this initial odd stumble, it’s a wonderful review. And I thank the author of it, regardless of the contention at the outset, or the typo of my own name.

My utmost praise to Underworld Amusements for this superb edition of a forgotten great’s works
By ncosmann on September 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

The apparently idiosyncratic and (I hope) unintentional spelling of the author’s name aside, Underworld Amusements and Kevin J. Slaughter should be commended for the work they’ve put into collecting together what I’ve found from this collection of poetry to be a criminally-neglected American author – although his anarchic, Dionysian pessimist, Nietzschean messages and his wonderfully ornate style seem to me somewhat of an outlier from many American poets and authors (of his time especially) and perhaps a bit niche. I have a feeling Mr. De Casseres would have preferred it like that anyhow.

The influence of Nietzsche and his style has a well-earned but often tiresome legacy; everyone seems to love Nietzsche, but out of all the writers I know of who were strongly influenced by his work, there are two who I think took up his ideas most explicitly with true skill. One of these is Mr. De Casseres, whose sheer wit and exquisite genius could not help but win me over; his knowledge of often obscure vocabulary, mythology, and history are put to good use in his work, which just oozes opulence and grandeur. His other work that has also been published by Underworld Amusements – Anathema! Litanies of Negation – exemplifies his style best in my opinion with its increasingly hyperbolic, soaring feats of Dionysian splendor and arrogance. In my humble opinion, it is among the finest representations of the timeless human spirit – in that instance, its unmatched arrogance, which De Casseres and Nietzsche both knew to be far from a bad thing.

As far as Imp goes: De Casseres’ style is still here, albeit oftentimes more narrowed. If Anathema! is a fable of mankind’s arrogance, Imp is the collected moments of an individual’s repeated attempts at ascension to godhood. Here we see more of the poet rather than his philosophy, with none of his grand style removed. Of course, being the very ruminative writer he is, Imp certainly is not without its share of contemplative and more general pieces (the Minutes collection in particular is an excellent example of melding the universal scope of philosophy with the highly concrete and ephemeral scope of poetry – an ancient art that De Casseres does all too well).

Some may dismiss De Casseres for being too Nietzschean, even unoriginally so, and in a sense I can see that criticism; as I’ve said, the tendency to imitate Nietzsche and the spirit of his philosophy is something far too many people do and that most do poorly. I consider De Casseres to be an example of Nietzsche’s philosophy instantiated in a man who lives by his ideas – him along with E.M. Cioran, the other author who I think takes a lot out of Nietzsche while still providing his own unique, lived interpretation of him. Some may also dismiss De Casseres for his preoccupation with unnecessarily fancy diction and syntax; to that, I say that if you don’t like a writer who can dish out classical-styled poetry with the level of skill that De Casseres does while still doing something unique with it rather than simply writing generic nostalgia poetry, you simply don’t like poetry.

On the author’s merits alone, I could give this edition of his works the highest praise simply for being released when De Casseres is relatively unknown; however, the edition itself is also an extremely high quality paperback. The material used for the pages and the cover all feel great and fittingly luxurious for the work contained, and the original cover art is just awesome. Really, Underworld Amusements went out of their way with this.

Since I’ve already probably gushed enough about De Casseres’ work, the final word I’ll give on it is to definitely check it out if you happen to enjoy philosophy in the vein of Nietzsche, if you are an anarchist who enjoys work by anarchists, or if you are a fan of classically-styled poetry. If you are into philosophy or poetry, in fact, I think it is reasonable to bet that you’ll enjoy reading this obscure author; if you are into philosophy and poetry, you may just find a new favorite.

Blackstone Publishers

It was an initial thought that “Blackstone Publishers” might have been a name DeC used to release his own “DeCasseres Books“, though I have stumbled across a few other titles attributed to them from the same period NOT by or about DeCasseres:

The Washington Nursery  by Katharine Emerson Hovey Seabury, 1936

Yerusholayim Shel Matah by Uri Tzvi Greenberg / Cowen, Charles A. (trans.), 1939

Orthod Oxen of Science by George F. Gillette, 1936

It’s possible DeC published these titles under his own imprint. Two of the titles are poetry, one is crazy cosmic pontification.

Details from various web sources on each title:

The Washington nursery
Author: Katharine Emerson Hovey Seabury
Publisher: New York : Blackstone Publishers, ©1936.
Genre/Form: Satires / Anecdotes
Document Type: Book
Fly title: a short history for babies–just babies.
Issued in illustrated & printed buff wrappers.
Description: 16 pages ; 17 cm
Other Titles: Short history for babies
Responsibility: by K.E.S.

Jerusalem: Yerusholayim Shel Matah
Rinberg, Uri Tzvi
Trasnslation from the hebrew by:
Cowen, Charles A.
Blackstone Publishers
New York 1939
8°. 43 p.

This is a different listing of the above,

GREENBERG, URI ZVI & CHARLES A. COWEN (transl. and introd.). – Jerusalem. Yerushalayim Shel Matah.
New York, Blackstone Publishers, 1939. Orig. gold-printed stiff black wraps. with stapled blue cloth spine; rusty staples, top of spine worn and with small library label. 46 pp.; some annotations in pencil in margin. EUR 20.–
~First American edition. Eight poems by Greenberg, introduced by Cowen.

Orthod Oxen of Science: Synoptic conspectus of author’s Unitary Theory.
Published by George F. Gillette,
Author of Unity of Universe, Cycle of Power, Rational Non-Mystical Cosmos
at the Blackstone Publishers
New York City, 1936.
(more on this one here: )

Orthod Oxen of Science was referenced in Donna Kossy’s book KOOKS, by Feral House… here is an excerpt:


Here is a current image of 117 West 27th St., New York, the address listed for Blackstone Publishers in the DeCasseres Books:



While I’m here, I stumbled across this item:

Conversations with Lev Shestov
by Benjamin Fondane

February 17, 1937

– You remember Casseres (the American writer). I told you once that he had published a book on four or five big names: Buddha, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Jules de Gaultier. I can’t remember who was the fifth there. J. de Gaultier probably sent him my “The Good in the teaching of Tolstoy and Nietzsche”, judging from the foreword he wrote. I suppose this is how Casseres discovered my books. He just published an article about me, “Samson in the Temple of Fatality” [*]. Seeing the title, I thought he understood what it was all about. But from what I could decipher (it’s in English), he begins with a discussion of my style; I immediately saw that it was not going to be good. I remember a philosopher who once wrote to me that my style is so impressive that it makes one forget all the rest.

[Benjamin De Casseres, “Chestov: Samson in the Temple of Fatality”, chapter 3 of the book “Raiders of the Absolute”, New York, The Blackstone Publishers, 1937, 56 p]

Short biography of DeC’s love “Bio”…

From “Biography of the Mack Families as Compiled by Marguerite Olds Year of 1968”, the accuracy of it has not been verified, though there are some obvious errors at least typographically):

“Adella Mary Terrill was born on May 4, 1875 at Mankato, Blue Earth Reservation, Minnesota. She received her elementary education in Mankato, and went with her sister Sadie to Pueblo, Colorado to help her stepsister Matilda Provost in running her rooming house and dining room. Here she met Harry C. Homes her first husband with whom she lived for many hears in Tonepah, Nevada. Harry Jones was both a writer and a promoter and it was on one of his business trips to New York to obtain financing for a silver mine promotion that Adella met Benjamin DeCasseres which
caused the start of many letters passing between them, and finally caused the divorce of Harry Jones and Adella. It was fourteen years that they sent love letters to each other but did now see one another. Adella was a selfish but loveable woman.

In one of her letters to her sister, she said that she had no more love now for her mother than she had when a child. Just a kindly feeling toward her. She said that
her mother had no conception of truth or of beauty of the lofty things that dwell deep with you. This letter was written in 1906. She was left alone much of the time during her marriage with Harry Jones, and she vented some of her feelings in her letters to Benjamin DeCasseres. Mr. Jones finally gave her up in 1919, when Adella received her divorce from him. She made life miserable for Harry, as she was so in love Benjamin. In one of her letters from Harry before the divorce, he spoke of being very sad, but if she really wanted a divorce he would give her permission to get it, which
she did immediately.

She married Benjamin DeCasseres, who was born on April 3, 1873 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated in the public schools there. He left school at the age of thirteen to work on the Philadelphia newspapers. He became a poet, and author, a columnist, and an editorial writer for the Mirror in the years between 1892 and 1899, when he went to New York to work for the New York Sun, and four years
later with the Herald. He contributed to the Cosmopolitan, Metropolitan, Life, Judge, American, Mercury, and many others. He became a noted dramatic critic and his writings appeared in Arts and Decorations and the Motion Picture Herald and
Screenland. He also was on the editorial staff from 1919 to 1923 of Famous Player, Loskey, and Universal Pictures. He died on September 7, 1945, and Adelle (Bio, the nickname that Benjamin gave her) died in 1964 in Tucson, Arizona, where had moved to at the death of her husband. Adelle willed all of her personal and household affects to the Rockton Township Historical Society to be used to the best of their advantage. As far as we know, Adelle had no children by either of her husbands.”

Ben DeC – Actor?

It seems that Benjamin DeCasseres was on the silver screen! It also seems that it’s one of the lost films of the silent era as well… the magazine “The Fourth Estate” of November 4th, 1922, reports on DeC getting the offer to play the role of a newspaper editor in the movie “Anna Ascends”.

From Wikipedia:
Anna Ascends is a 1922 American silent romantic drama film directed by Victor Fleming, and based on the play of the same title by Henry Chapman Ford. Alice Brady reprises her starring role from the 1920 Broadway play of the same name. The film is largely lost, with only a six-minute fragment still in existence.”

The website SilentEra has a small still from the film:
AnnaAscends1922-01Could that be DeC all the way in the back by the candlesticks? It looks like his hair…

Either way, here is the article:
Fourth Estate