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Oscar Wilde In America

oscar wilde's 1882 lecture tour of america

Sioux City, IA

The Decorative Arts | Academy of Music | Monday, March 20, 1882



Newspaper Report

The Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), March 25, 1882, p.9


verification reported


Lloyd Lewis and Henry Justin Smith, Oscar Wilde Discovers America: 1882, 1936, pp. 226-7

"a reporter from the Sioux City Journal called at his room at the Hubbard House"

"Wilde spoke on March 20th at the Academy of Music"

L&S's account is interspersed with verbatim quotes taken from the Sioux City Journal [1,2], and the references to Wilde's lecture venue and accommodation clearly read as taken from the same source. Thus the verification can be deemed as the reporting of a primary source.

[1] The Journal of March 20 reported Wilde in interview as follows:

"His demeanor is ladylike. He occasionally moistened his wrists in a preoccupied way with perfume from a tiny flat vial. His large, liquid eyes rolled upwards at times as he became interested, something as a schoolgirl's when she speaks to an intimate friend of her latest love affair."

[2] The Journal of March 21 reported Wilde's lecture as follows:

"spiritless namby-pamby nondescript"

"a caricature on robust manhood"

It can be concluded that for one midwest newspaper at least, Wilde's effete manner, whether natural or affected, was approximately a century ahead of its time.

historical note

Academy of Music
Pierce and Douglas Streets on the south side of Fourth Street, Sioux City, IA


Built: 1870 (H.O. Ball)
Constructed by: Sharp and Beck
Seating: 800
Demolished: 1910


Hubbard House
Northeast corner of 4th and Pierce Streets, Sioux City, IA


Built: 1870
Renamed: Hotel Booge, 1887
Renamed: Hotel Mondamin, 1895
Destroyed (fire): 1912
Replaced by: Martin Hotel on the same site (extant as an apartment building)

The Topeka Daily Capital, April 21, 1882, 8

canyonsCanyons and Coyotes

Oscar Wilde wrote this from Sioux City, IA.




Source: The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde edited by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis, London: Fourth Estate; New York: Henry Holt, 2000.

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