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).

A humorist is a person who writes or performs humorous material. The material written and/or performed by humorists tends to be more subtle and cerebral than the material created by stand-up comedians and comedy writers. The intention is often to provoke wry smiles and amusement rather than outright belly laughs.

Notable humorists include:

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