Josh Billings

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Humorist and lecturer Josh Billings

Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist born Henry Wheeler Shaw (12 April, 1818 - 14 October, 1885). He was perhaps the second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the 2nd half of the 19th century after Mark Twain, although his reputation has not fared so well with later generations.

Shaw was born in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, and worked as a farmer, coal miner, explorer, and auctioneer before he began making a living as a journalist and writer in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1858. Under his pseudonym "Josh Billings" he wrote in an informal voice full of the slang of the day, with often eccentric phonetic spelling, dispensing wit and folksy common-sense wisdom.

He toured giving lectures of his writings which were very popular with the audiences of the day.

Billings died in Monterey, California.

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