Queer Places:
1934 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
32 S Franklin St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
1869 Wyoming Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

Benjamin Francis Musser V (February 3, 1889 – April, 1951) was a noted Catholic writer and "First Poet Laureate" in New Jersey in 1934. He was the editor of "Contemporary Poetry." Musser was a tertiary of St. Francis. He has been identified as the author of "The Strange Confession of Monsieur Mountcairn" (1928), an early gay novel. He was involved with Charles Henry Ford and Parker Tyler, and he financed Samuel Steward's first book, apparently through money he had married into.

Musser was born in Lancaster, PA, on February 3, 1889, the son of Willis Benjamin Musser, of Ardmore, PA. They lived at 1934 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. His brother, Rev. Frederick Omar Musser, A.B., B.D., was the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Covenant, Philadelphia, and formerly rector of St. Paul's Church, Bloomsburg, and archdeacon of Williamsport and at one time assistant to Rev. Dr. Henry Jones of St. Stephen's Church. Musser's brother in law was Rev. F.W. Sterrett. Musser's foster brother was William C. Roberts, II.

Other ancestors include Hon. Thomas Lloyd, of ancient royal descent, first Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania; Capt. Joseph Lloyd of Philadelphia, Judge Advocate in the War of 1812; Dr. Martin Musser, reputed one of the five natively greatest American physicians; Hon. Thomas Masters, mayor, provincial councillor and richest citizen of Philadelphia: Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, celebrated anatomist and first medical lecturer in Philadelphia; Conrad Bombaugh, senior burgess of Harrisburg, who welcomed General Washington to that town; Dr. Thomas Wynne, first physician in Pennsylvania; the Rev. Hans Herr, leader of the earliest Mennonites In America and first settler in Lancaster County; Rev. John Herr, founder of the New Mennonites; Dr. John Herr Musser of Philadelphia, for many years president of the American Medical Association, was a double first cousin of Musser's father.

Benjamin Musser was the fifth bearer of that name in consecutive collateral descent. He was educated at Yeates School, the Brooklyn Latin School and at the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia; he took a college course at Nashotah Seminary, Wisconsin; he studied at St. Joseph's College in New York State and later took special studies at Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. He was a member of the Catholic Historical Society, the Mercantile Library Company, and was a director, lecturer and the editor of the Catholic Alumni Sodality of Philadelphia. He was co-editor of "St. Anthony's Almanac"; for ten years he was a weekly contributor to the Newark "Monitor" and the NY "Freeman's Journal," and for a time was columnist and city editor of the United States' chief Catholic newspaper, the "Standard and Times," of Philadelphia. His essays, poems, reviews and short stories appeared in most of the better periodicals. He was associated with Dr. George Earle Raiguel, noted traveler and lecturer, as co-editor of "The Trend", a bulletin of history and letters, political economy and international relations, which was published at 1535 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

On October 12, 1921, Musser married Helen Cobb Laning of Philadelphia, the adopted daughter of Elizabeth Laning, 32 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre. Helen Cobb Laning's grandmother was Helen Cobb Brower. Musser's best man was Herold Lennhard, Baron von Holzhausen, of Boston and Point of Pines, Revere, MA, son and heir of Baron Kris-Johann von Holzhausen and grandson of Baron Karl Alexis, Count of the Holy Roman Empire, Knight of Malta and vice-chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Nassau. Herold Lennhard was also the closest friend of Musser.

Helen Cobb Laning was born in Wilkes-Barre and educated at Miss Parsons' School and the Wilkes-Barre Institute. Afterwards she studied singing under Madame Viafora in New York City. She was the granddaughter of John Laning, a director of Miners Bank, of the Wilkes-Barre Bridge Co., and of the Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming Valley Traction Co. Other ancestors include Judge Mathias Hollenback, Major John Coryell of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, Jan Jansen Brown, director of the New Netherlands Council of 1630; Rev. Everardus Bogardus, who performed the second marriage ceremony recorded in New Amsterdam; Lion Gardiner, creator and first governor of Saybrook Fort, CT, organizer of the first English Settlement in New York and first Lord of the Manor of Gardiner's Island, NY; his son, David, first child born of English parents to Connecticut; Deacon Henry Cobb, Puritan Ruling Elder at Plymouth in 1670; Rev. James Noyes, a co-founder of Harvard College, his grandson, Rev. James Noyes, II, a co-founder of Yale College; Hon. William Coddington and his son-in-law, Hon. Peleg Sanford, both Colonial Governors of Rhode Island.

Benjamin Francis Musser is the author of "A Study in American Slang" (1924), "Franciscan Poets" (1934), "A Chaplet of Sanctuaries" (1934), "Poetry, Queen of the Arts" (1937), "What is your name?" (1938), "Morning and Night Family Prayers for Daily Use" (1949).

After his marriage, Musser lived at 32 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre. He then lived in Atlantic City, NJ, and spent the winters in Washington, DC (1869 Wyoming Avenue).


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