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Petroleum V. Nasby

Nasby, Petroleum V., pseud. of David Ross Locke, 1833–88, American journalist and satirist, b. Vestal, N.Y. Locke was editor of the Findlay, Ohio, Jeffersonian when he first became prominent by publishing (1861) in it the Nasby letters. The writer, Petroleum Vesuvius Nasby, was ostensibly an ignorant, violently prejudiced, proslavery sympathizer, and the letters, which caught the fancy of readers from Lincoln down, were of aid to the Union cause in the Civil War. The letters soon appeared in the Toledo Blade, of which Locke became editor and part owner in 1865. He subsequently wrote Nasby letters as satiric propaganda for other causes. The Nasby letters were collected in various volumes including Swingen Round the Circle (1866) and The Nasby Letters (1893).

See biographies by C. Clemens (1936) and J. M. Harrison (1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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