Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

William Allen Butler

New York


William Allen Butler, Nothing to Wear and Other Poems
(New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1899)

William Allen Butler was born in Albany, New York. His father, Benjamin Franklin Butler was Attorney-General during President Jackson's administration, and according to a short biographical profile of Irving Browne which appeared in the Green Bag in 1897 and would, reportedly, "on one day would pen an opinion for a department, and on the next a poem for the 'Democratic Review' . . . ." ["Irving Browne as a Poet," 9 Green Bag 354 (1897)]. Butler graduated from the University of the City of New York in 1843, read law in his father's office, and was admitted to practice law in July 1846. He spent a year and a half traveling abroad and then established a successful law practice and became an expert in admiralty law. Butler served his alma mater in various capacities and went on to become President of the university. Butler wrote several volumes of satirical verse, novels, law books, and biographies of Martin Van Buren, Charles H. Marshall, Evert Augustus Duyckinck and Samuel J. Tilden.

William Allen Butler
The Vault at Pfaff's
An Archive of Art and Literature by New York City's
Nineteenth-Century Bohemians
(Lehigh University Digital Library)


[Incognita of Raphael ] [Nothing to Wear] [Nothing to Wear: An Episode in City Life] [Quotations]


William Allen Butler, Miss M'Flimsey, or, Nothing to Wear an Episode of City Life (Providence: M.B. Young, 1857)

_______________, Nothing to Wear, and Other Poems (New York: Rudd & Carleton, 1857) [online text] [online text] (New York: Harper & Bros., new ed. 1899)

_______________, Two Millions (New York: Appleton, 1858) [online text] [online text] [online text]

_______________, Poems (Boston: James R. Osgoode, 1871)

_______________, Oberammergau (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) [online text] [online text]

_______________, Home Poems, Rhymes for the Nursery, Sea Scribblings and the Animal Book (DeVine Press, 1897)


Wm. Allen Butler, "General Average," in J. Greenbag Croke (ed.), Poems of the Law 3-19 (San Francisco: Sumner Whitney & Co., 1885)(Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein & Co., reprint ed., 1986)

William Allen Butler, "General Average," in Ina Russelle Warren (ed.), The Lawyer's Alcove: Poems by the Lawyer, for the Lawyer and about the Lawyer 58-67 (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1900)(Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1990)


William Allen Butler, A Retrospect of Forty Years, 1825-1865 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911)(Harriet Allen Butler ed.)


William Allen Butler, Domesticus: A Tale of the Imperial City (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1886)(a satirical novel)

_______________, Barnum's Parnassus Being Confidential Disclosures of the Prize Committee on the Jenny Lind Song (New York: D. Appleton, G.S. Appleton, 1850)(further subtitled: "with specimens of the leading American poets in the happiest effulgence of their genius; respectfully dedicated to the American eagle")

_______________, Martin Van Buren: Lawyer, Statesman and Man (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1862)

_______________, Memorial of Charles H. Marshall (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1867)

_______________, Lawyer and Client: Their Relation, Rights, and Duties (New York: D. Appleton, 1871)

_______________, Mrs. Limber's Raffle or, A Church Fair and Its Victims: A Short Story ( New York: D. Appleton and Co., [1875]) 1876)(New York: D. Appleton and Co., new ed., 1894) [online text] [online text]

_______________, Memorial Sketch of the Life and Literary Labors of Evert Augustus Duyckinck (New York: Evening Post Steam Presses, 1879)(read before the New York Historical Society on January, 7, 1879)

_______________, Marine Insurance (New York: Evening Post Steam Presses, 1880)(subtitled: "argument of W.A. Butler before the committee on insurance of the Assembly of the State of New York")

_______________, The Revision and the Revisers (New York: Banks & Bros., Law Publ. 1889)

_______________, The Revision of the Statutes of New York (New York: Banks & Bros., Law Publ., 1889)

_______________, History of the Lawyers Club (New York: Lawyers Club, 1921)(Butler served as president from 1887 to 1921)

_______________, Tom Twist (New York: Holiday House, 1938)


"William Howard Allen Butler 1825-1902," in Jacob Blanck (compiler), 1 Bibliography of American Literature 449-459 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955)(an authoritative listing of Butler's publications)

Harriet Allen Butler (ed.), A Retrospect of Forty Years 1825-1865 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911)

George C. Holt, Memorial of William Allen Butler (New York, 1903)

Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography
vol. 1, p. 477

Research Resources

A Guide to the William Allen Butler Collection
Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature
Alderman Library
University of Virginia