Hasheesh Eater: Ludlow Biography

Fitz Hugh Ludlow was a writer born in New York City in 1836. His father was a minister and an outspoken abolitionist who helped with the Underground Railroad. Fitz Hugh briefly attended the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton) before moving to Union College. He graduated from Union in 1856 and published his first article, “Apocalypse of Hasheesh”, the same year. He served as the editor of Vanity Fair from 1858-1860. He studied law and passed the bar in 1859, but chose to write rather than practice law.

Over the next years Ludlow published many poems and magazine articles for a variety of publications including the Evening Post, Harper’s Monthly, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Home Journal. He was introduced to the New York bohemian culture, which attracted writers such as of Walt Whitman and Bayard Taylor. He took part in this scene for several years, writing a number of articles about both Hashish and Opium, among other topics. His opium writings addressed the issues of addiction which he himself experienced.

In 1863 Ludlow travelled west on a cross-country trek with artist Albert Bierstadt. While in California, he befriended Mark Twain and enjoyed the literary community he found there. He documented his trip in great detail and upon his return to New York in 1864, his writings were published in a number of magazines and in his book The Heart of the Continent. Ludlow died of tuberculosis in 1870 at the age of 34.

Thanks to Erowid for this.