William Clark Russell — Author

by | Literature | 12 comments

Hi Laurie,

I found your name on the internet with your brief review of William Clark Russell’s John Holdsworth: Chief Mate and The Wreck of the Grosvenor. I’ve been collecting this author’s books for a few years now and I’m trying to write a book (the first, I believe) on his life and work. I’ve also created a detailed bibliography of his novels, other books and over 200 short stories. Coincidentally, John Holdsworth was the first book I found by William Clark Russell. Before then, I’d only heard of him through Conan Doyle’s short story The Five Orange Pips where Watson is reading one of Clark Russell’s sea stories. It’s a great book and an enthralling read that had me gripped to the last page. The Wreck of the Grosvenor is another favourite (and, I think, his most famous work). However, I have about 70 other Clark Russell titles and I’d love to hear from you about your interest as Clark Russell admirers seem pretty thin on the ground. Have you read any other books by him? The Frozen Pirate is even better than the two books you mention. Do you know of any other Clark Russell readers?

Here are more W. Clark Russell titles I particularly like:
– Auld Lang Syne (1878)
– An Ocean Tragedy (1881)
– Jack’s Courtship (1884)
– A Strange Voyage (1885)
– The Golden Hope (1887)
– Heart of Oak (1895) (titled A Three-Stranded Yarn: The Wreck of the Lady Emma in US)
– The Ship’s Adventure (1901) (titled The Mate of the Good Ship York in US)
– Overdue (1903) (entitled The Captain’s Wife in US)
– Abandoned (1904)
– all the short story/article collections are very good: My Watch Below (1882), Round the Galley Fire (1883), On the Fo’c’sle Head (1884), In the Middle Watch (1885), A Book for the Hammock (1887), The Phantom Death and Other Stories (1895).

Regards, John Addy, England


  1. Sean Sweeney

    Mr. Addy:

    I have just recently developed a keen interest in the works of W.C. Russell. I have begun collecting his works with an eye to first editions. I am also very interested in Russell’s life and have been looking for biographical information.

    I was very interested to read of your interest in W.C. Russell. You are more advanced in your reading and knowledge than I am. Perhaps we can help each other learn more.

    Please contact me if you wish.


    Sean Sweeney
    Maryland, USA

  2. Andrew

    Hi, I have been trying to establish if the author of a three decker novel “The Hunchback’s Charge” is
    this same William Clark Russell. It was published in 1867 by Sampson , Low. the author’s name on the title page is W.Clark Russell and the dedication is to Dr Edward H. Fennell. There are copies held by British Lib, Oxford and Scottish National Lib but the Copac records are not conclusive. Any feedback/ info would be appreciated.

  3. Patricia oliver

    William Clark Russell is a member of my extended ancestral family (cousin to my g.grandmother) and I would like to be in touch with anyone who has a particular interest. I have extensively reseached the family genealogy and have written a book tracing the family back thousands of years with many interesting stories about influential family members as well as more unsavoury characters.
    I would particularly love to hear from any direct descendants of his.
    Thank you. Patricia (UK)

  4. Sue Russell

    My husband’s great grandfather was William Clark Russell’s brother(Henry LLoyd Russell). They were both sons of Henry Russell, the composer. We are in the process of researching the family and would be very interested in any help you can provide.
    Sue Russell

  5. John Addy

    Dear Andrew, Patricia and Sue – I have an extensive amount of information on the sea-author W. Clark Russell including his geneology. It would be great to share information. Could you please email me direct at john.addy22@btinternet.com? Thanks – John

  6. judith dore

    I am the Secretary of the Deal Maritime & Local History Museum and am very ineterested in gathering any information particularly about W Clark Russell and his connections with the Deal boatmen and his time living in Deal.

  7. John Addy

    Judith – I’ve been researching this underrated author for several years, creating a full bibliography of his novels and many short stories. I’ve also been collating the vast amount of fugitive information on Clark Russell from contemporary fiction, newspaper archives and personal letters.

    I understand from copies of his letters that he lived at 6 Sandown Terrace, Deal from 1888 (somewhere between May and September) to 1890 (somewhere between January and March). Can you help with exact dates, please? This means that he is likely to have written novels: The Romance of Jenny Harlow (1889), My Shipmate Louise (1890) and An Ocean Tragedy (1890) at Deal. He wrote to Herman Melville from his Deal address to ask permission to dedicate this last book to him. He also wrote at Deal a biography of William Dampier (1889) and Betwixt the Forelands (1889) which was a tribute to Deal.

    I have an article from the US Pall Mall Gazette in December 1889 mentions Deal (“Deal! Briny, quaint, old-fashioned, historical Deal! Deal, with its grumbling, cantankerous, loafing, quid chewing, yarn-spinning but altogether delightful fishermen and ‘longshoremen; its shingle, its galleys and luggers, and rows of capstans and serpentine coils of chains … It was in such thoroughly sympathetic surroundings … that I found our great English nautical novelist meditating, as he gazed from his wide-viewing windows upon the ever changing and yet ever-eternal sea.”)

    His sort stories include: Deal Puntmen (1885), Jeremy York: a Story of Old Deal (1889). He also wrote a poem: The Deal Boatmen (1911).

    I wanted to make contact to share information. Perhaps I could write something for your newsletter? Please get in contact at john.addy22@btinternet.com and I will be delighted to discuss things further. John

  8. John Addy

    Dear Sue Russell – I have been trying to contact you regarding your request for information on Henry Lloyd Russell. I have an extensive amount of information on the sea-author W. Clark Russell including his geneology. It would be great to share information. Could you please email me direct at john.addy22@btinternet.com? Thanks – John (England)

  9. alvaro lopez-linares

    I´m about to finis ” The Ship of death” in my own idiom ( spanish): Is really a wonderfull book. Is been a remarcable surprise for me. I didn´t expect nothing that good ( sorry for my english). Nobody describes a storm on sea as he does. Adios.

  10. John Addy

    Dear Alvaro – I’m so glad you enjoyed The Death Ship by W. Clark Russell. It’a a wonderful supernatural novel and, as the Graphic book reviewer said in November 1888, “[Clark Russell] has taken the legend of the Flying Dutchman for his theme, and has succeeded in putting fresh power and pathos into that wild and terrible old story … We are glad that the chief of living sea-novelists has made the finest of all sea-legends his own.” I agree that his descriptions of storms at sea are unsurpassed.

    I do hope you will seach out and read other Clark Russell novels and short stories. Several of his best books are listed above in this blog as part of my reply a while ago to Laurie.

  11. jeremy hamilton-miller

    I too am a relative of Clark Russell; his brother Henry Lloyd is my ggrandfather. I am very interested in any biographical information. I have a couple of his books and enjoyed them very much (but they are expensive to buy!)

  12. Wes Holman

    Hello,I just pulled a book off my shelves entitled The Flying Dutchman by this author W.Clark Russell this book was published by Lovell,Coryell and Company, new york,sixth avenue, there are 257 pages,brittle but all there,hardback,no publish date but is no doubt pre-1900.outside of book good condition,maroon in color, can someone advise me of this book,its worth,interested parties? thanks for any help.



  1. Trivium Pursuit » Blog Archive » William Clark Russell - [...] Update on William Clark Russell (1844-1911) from John Addy (December 2010) — (See Part I here) [...]

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