On May 26th 1891 Arthur Wynne, aged 19, set sail from Liverpool on the S.S. Bothnia of the Cunard Line, bound for New York and a new life in the United States. He had been an apprentice draughtsman, living in some style in his widowed father’s spacious home at 11 Elm Vale L7. His father, George Wynne, was a well-known figure in Liverpool, being the editor of the Liverpool Mercury. The family had previously lived at 100 Edge Lane L7.
Arriving in New York on 6th June he first settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he followed in his father’s footsteps and found work on the Pittsburgh Press newspaper. He also played violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He later moved to New York where he worked on the New York World newspaper.
Arthur Wynne married twice and had several children. In the 1940’s he moved to Florida for his health and died in Clearwater on 14th January 1945.
His was not a remarkable life and his place in history rests in a somewhat frivolous innovation which he brought to the pages of the New York World published on 21st December 1913. This was the world’s first crossword puzzle, although to be strictly accurate it appeared as a ‘word-cross’ puzzle. The more familiar name came about shortly after due to a type-setting error. He suggested to the newspaper’s owners that they copyright the format but they dismissed it as a passing trivia.
So, as one whose day can only start properly with a good cup of coffee and The Times crossword, I think we should say a word of thanks to Arthur Wynne, son of this city, for yet another Liverpudlian contribution to the intellectual well-being of the world.
Arthur Wynne's home at the time that he emigrated to the USA in 1891.
Arthur's father, George Wynne, editor of the Liverpool Mercury
© Liverpool Footprints