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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CHARLES DICKENS'S VISIT TO CLEVELAND

CHARLES DICKENS'S VISIT TO CLEVELAND

CHARLES DICKENS'S VISIT TO CLEVELAND was part of a tour to the U.S. in 1842. The English novelist, his wife, and a traveling friend, Mr. Putnam, arrived just after midnight on Monday, 25 Apr., on the steamboat Constitution after a rough voyage across Lake Erie from Sandusky. It didn't prove to be a particularly successful stopover. While in Sandusky, Dickens had read a newspaper article appearing in the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, to which he took exception because of its chauvinistic bombast toward England. Evidently failing to realize that the Plain Dealer piece was merely a reprint from another newspaper, Dickens's ire had not abated upon his arrival in Cleveland. Although he described the town in glowing terms ("a beautiful town," he allowed), he felt that his reception left much to be desired. Upon returning to the Constitution and his stateroom after a walk around the town with Putnam, the author and his wife were subjected to the curious stares of the local residents, who peered in the windows trying to get a look at the famous gentleman. Dickens was so upset by this unwanted attention that when the mayor, Dr. JOSHUA MILLS, came on board, the author refused to speak to him. Undaunted, the mayor moved to the end of the pier and passed the time whittling, in the futile hope that Dickens would change his mind. The Constitution remained in port until 9 o'clock that morning, when it sailed with the author and his party to Buffalo.