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H M Stanley.png

Taken from the 1880 edition of Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law Medicine Etc., this Woodburytype portrait of Henry Morton Stanley (28 January 1841 - 10 May 1904) was accompanied by an 1880 biographical sketch which appears below. By necessity incomplete, the biography follows Stanley's life only up until about 1879 thus leaving out any information after that date and his death in 1904. Additionally, the Men of Mark biography also leaves out some interesting details of Stanley's early life.

Mounted Woodburytype
Lock & Whitfield - Photographer
Originally published in the Men of Mark series by
Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington

H M Stanley Bio.png

Above: The biographical sketch of Henry Morton Stanley as it appeared in the 1880 edition of Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law Medicine Etc. The text is in error at to Stanley's birth date, here given as 1840 as opposed to the actual date of 28 January 1841. Also, no mention is given of Stanley's illegitimate birth (he was born John Rowlands) and early childhood in Denbigh, Denbighshire, Wales.

Abandoned by his 18-year-old mother Elizabeth Parry, Stanley was in later life quite sensitive about the circumstances of his birth and it was probably glossed over by the editors of Men of Mark out of deference to the great explorer who was at the height of his public popularity in 1880. Also missing is his running away to sea at 18 and his arrival at New Orleans just prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War. The editors also chose to ignore how he apparently adopted his new name of Henry Stanley from a like-named American merchant who had befriended the newly arrived runaway.

Stanley's rather feckless participation in the American Civil War was also probably left out of the Men of Mark account since it did not quite come up to the "mark" to which he had been elevated in popular opinion. Stanley had enlisted in the 6th Arkansas Infantry of the Confederate Army and took part in the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 - 7, 1862) in Tennessee where he was taken prisoner by Federal forces. In all likelihood to avoid spending any more time than necessary in an abysmal prisoner of war camp, Stanley volunteered to turncoat and serve in the Union Army becoming what was known at the time as a "Galvanized Yankee".  Stanly later claimed that he was discharged not long afterward for medical reasons but the muster rolls for his new Federal regiment officially listed him as a deserter on August 31, 1862.  He was apparently "recovered" enough to enlist in the U.S. Navy in 1864 being assigned to the steam frigate USS Minnesota as a ship's clerk. He was present on board while the Minnesota took part in the bombardment of Fort Fisher in North Carolina and during his spare time took to writing what might be considered exaggerated accounts of life and actions aboard the Minnesota which he managed to sell to Northern newspapers. When the Minnesota put into Portsmouth, New Hampshire in February 1865 for repairs Stanley and another sailor jumped ship. The other sailor, a 15-year-old named Noe, had second thoughts and joined the army under an assumed name but Stanley headed out West for a time before turning his attention back to writing.

Taking a $15.00 a week corespondents job with the St. Louis Democrat in 1867 and reported on less than successful campaigns against the Plains Indians. During this time he was able to meet such Wild West luminaries and "Wild Bill" Hickok and George Armstrong Custer. Not long after he found employment with James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald which is where the Men of Mark account of Stanley's life picks up.

As a result of being published in 1880, the Men of Mark account tells us nothing of Stanley's doing after that date. Missing is the account of his leading the so-called and grueling Emin Pasha Relief expedition of 1886-1889. The expedition (which was Stanley's last) was ostensibly organized to rescue the Egyptian governor of Equatorial Sudan Emin Pasha who had been cut off in his remote province by Mahdist forces since the death of General Gordon and the fall of Khartoum in 1885. As much as anything the expedition was a thinly disguised attempt by its sponsor - King Leopold of Belgium - to survey potentially new colonial territories in central Africa along the Congo River. In the end, Emin Pasha was located but only after untold suffering by both members of the expedition but also by local African populations through whose lands it passed through.

On his return to Europe, Stanley married Welsh artist Dorothy Tennant. The couple apparently had no children.

Stanley stood for  Parliament as a Liberal Unionist member for Lambeth North, serving from 1895 to 1900. He was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1899 in recognition of his service to the British Empire in Africa.[34]

He died in London on 10 May 1904 and was buried in the churchyard of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright, Surrey.

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