Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Williston J. Fish


Chicago lawyer

Williston Fish was born at Berlin Heights, Ohio on January 15, 1858. He graduated from West Point in 1881 and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1893. He contributed poetry and prose to Life, Harper's, and Puck. [Source: Albert Nelson Marquis (ed.), The Book of Chicagoans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men and Women of the City of Chicago 206 (Chicago: A.N. Marquis, 1917)]

We learned about Williston Fish in a most curious way. There is a reference to his handiwork in a 1925 Law Library Journal article, entitled "Famous and Curious Wills," written by Gladys Judd Day who worked at the Hartford Bar Library, Hartford, Connecticut. One of Fish's wills, which Day describes as a "beautiful prose poem," and first published in Harper's Weekly, is reproduced in the article. [Galdys Judd Day, Famous and Curious Wills, 18 Law Libr. J. 44, 53154 (1925)]

Williston Fish's "A Last Will"
UT Law Winter, 2006, p. 64
[University of Texas-Austin]


Williston Fish, Won at West Point: A Romance on the Hudson (Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1883) [online text]

__________, Short Rations (New York: Harper, 1899) [online text]

__________, Memories of West Point, 1877-1881 (Batavia, New York: J.F. Peabody, 1957)(Gertrude Fish Rumsey & Josephine Fish Peabody eds.)(3 vols.)

__________, Pictures in the Fire (Seattle, Washington: Blue Lantern Books, 1994)(Seattle, Washington: Blue Lantern Books, 1998)(compiled by Harold Darling)(Illustrated with 39 illustrations originally published in magazines, books, and as ephemera between ca. 1864 and 1931)

"A Last Will"

Williston Fish, A Last Will (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1900)(Boston: Alfred Bartlett, 1908) [online text]

____________, The Will of Charles Lounsbury (Boston: A. Bartlett, 1907)

____________, A Legacy to Mankind (Cambridge: The University Press, 1907)

____________, His Will ([Mt. Vernon, New York]: William Edwin Rudge, 1916)

____________, I, Charles Lounsbury (Montreal: Privately printed, 1923)

____________, The Will of Charles Lounsbury (Wellesley: Merrythought Press, 1925)

____________, The Last Will and Testament of Charles Lounsbury (New York: Harbor Press, 1926)

____________, The Last Will and Testament of Charles Lounsbury (San Francisco: Printed for William Andrews Clark, Jr. by John Henry Nash, 1929)

____________, The Last Will and Testament (San Francisco: Nash, 1935)

I, Charles Lounsbury (Providence, Rhode Island: Priv. print. [The Akerman-Standard Co.], 1935)

____________, The Will of Charles Lounsbury (New York: Loring & Mussey, 1936)

____________, I, Charles Lounsbury (New York: Priv. print. [Herbert B. Covert], 1940)

____________, A Last Will ([Utica, New York]: Howard Coggeshall on Private Types by Frederic W. Goudy, 1942)

____________, "My Will—I, Charles Lounsbury": The Expression of a Man's Generous Understanding and His Unquenchable Spirit (New York: Frederick W. Schmidt, 1959)

____________, The Most Beautiful Will Ever Written (Larchmont, New York; Bronxville, New York, 1959)

____________, The Lounsbury Will ([S.l.]: Marble Hill Press, 1962)

____________, I, Charles Lounsbury: My Will (Cincinnati: Privately printed [Fleuron Press], 1960)(Cincinnati: Privately printed [Fleuron Press], 1981)

____________, A Last Will ([Locust Valley, New York]: Four Winds Press, 1975)

A Last Will :: as it appears in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) with the following note: "   This work, also known as The Hobo's Will or The Last Will of Charles Lounsbury, first appeared in Harper's Weekly in 1898. It was reprinted so many times, often in a garbled or "improved" form, that a correct edition was published in 1908."[The "will" was first printed in Harper's Weekly, September 3, 1898, under the title, "A Last Will."]


Research Resources

Williston Fish Papers
Special Collections
U.S. Military Academy Library

Fish Family Papers
Ohio Historical Society
Columbus, Ohio