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Richard Watson Gilder, 1844–1909, was born in Bordentown, New Jersey. Among Richard Gilder's books of poetry are The New Day (1875), Poems and Inscriptions (1901), and A Book of Music (1906). With Newton Crane, he founded the Newark Register and he edited Scribner's Monthly (later The Century Magazine), a post he held until his death. His brother William Henry Gilder was managing editor of the Register, but is most well–known for his Arctic expeditions. He was second in command on the Eothen in search of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition to discover the North Pole and wrote several books about the Arctic. In 1883 he was a war correspondent in Tonking during the French–Annamese War. Richard's sister Jeannette Leonard Gilder was co–founder and joint editor with another brother Joseph Benson Gilder of The Critic, a literary magazine.
His wife, Helena, 1846–1916, was born in New York City. She was a painter, founder of the Art Students league and co–founder of the Society of American Artists. She studied with Winslow Homer and John La Farge, as well as at the Cooper Union Institute and the National Academy of Design. Together Richard and Helena had seven children. Their son Rodman was an author and married Comfort Tiffany, daughter of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Their daughter Dorothea had a brief stage career, while Rosamond, the youngest, also became a writer. She was the author of Enter the Actress: the First Woman in the Theatre and the editor of Letters of Richard Watson Gilder and an unpublished volume of letters between her mother and Mary Hallock Foote, tentatively titled Dialogue.