Charles Henry Danielle

Dublin Core


Charles Henry Danielle


Charles Henry Danielle was born on November 1st, 1830, in Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Newfoundland in the 1860s, self-advertising as a “dancing instructor and fancy dressmaker.” While he owned a variety of businesses over the years until his death in 1902, the most memorable artistic and profession pursuit of his was the Octagon Castle hotel at Octagon pond, Topsail, in 1896. He operated this establishment until his death in 1902. But rather than have a somber funeral, he chose to make his own casket and host a party instead (or, really, have his attendees party). Allegedly, 10,000 people gathered to witness his procession, and there were fights to view his casket. Though he never married, Danielle did have an heir, Frederick A. Brazil. He assisted and worked for Danielle in the last few years of Danielle’s life, and is recorded as having been legally adopted a year before Danielle’s passing. Danielle’s avoidance of matrimony is likely because of his queerness — an old friend of his, C.H. Waugh, once wrote to Brazil that Danielle “was a great lover of men. He used to hug and kiss them and want to sleep with them. I did not like this, But there was much about him that I did like.”
There are sporadic records of Danielle’s life, and in all likelihood, not all have been found yet. And while there are only a few accounts of his death, the surviving depictions of his funeral point to a loved, cherished, (and probably even envied), man.

Collection Items

Letter from Charles H. Danielle to Frederick A. Brazill and Mrs. A. Ryan
Letter written on an Octagon Castle letterhead by Charles H. Danielle stating that after his death, his employee Mrs. A. Ryan should continue in her position of cook and general household servant at the Octagon Castle under the mastership of…

Book of Instructions and Information by Charles H. Danielle for the Guidance of Frederick A. Brazill
Notebook containing instructions and information from Charles H. Danielle to Frederick A. Brazill on what to do immediately after Danielle’s death. Danielle notes that he left several letters between the pages of the notebook for Brazill to mail…

Charles H. Danielle detailed post-mortem instructions
Very detailed five pages of post-mortem instructions by Charles H. Danielle within a folder indicating the instructions were kept behind a frame.

Formal Portrait of Charles Henry Danielle and Frederick Brazill
Photograph of Charles Henry Danille and Frederick Brazill, Brazil posed standing with hand rested on the shoulder of Charles Henry Danielle.

Formal portrait of Charles Henry Danielle & Staff on front step of Octagon Castle
Group photograph by James Vey of Charles Henry Danielle and 9 staff members at Octagon Castle.

Charles Henry Danielle with man and woman on front steps of Octagon Castle by James Vey
Photograph of Charles Henry Danielle sitting casually with man and woman on front step of Octagon Castle.

Charles Henry Danielle In Fancy Dress Costume
Photograph by James Vey of Charles Henry Danielle in Neptune costume.

Memorial Card - Charles H. Danielle with poem
Black wooden card with gold detailing states Charles Henry Danielle's date of death as the 1st of May, 1902, age 71 years 6 months. Contains a poem about grief and heaven. Above the poem is a picture of Danielle at the centre.

Published illustration of Charles H. Danielle
A photograph of Charles H. Danielle.

Published illustration of rooms in the Octagon Castle
A photograph taken inside the Octagon Castle looking through the opened entryways of three different rooms, plus an upper level in the outermost room.

Published illustration of a room in the Octagon Castle
A photograph of a large room in the Octagon Castle, with a high ceiling, a loft, and seven chairs.

Published illustration of the dining room of the Octagon Castle
A photograph of the dining room of Octagon Castle with staff and a bearded man, potentially Danielle, on the right looking over the room.

Postcard addressed to Frederick A. Brazill
An exterior shot of the Octagon Castle, with a man with a bicycle in the foreground and three more men with bicycles in the background. Written around the picture are the words “St. John’s”, “June 25 [illegible]”, “Octagon Castle”, “Yours truly, P.H.…

Envelope with Octagon Castle advertisement
Small envelope with a picture of the Octagon Castle and text describing its amenities. Written on the address side is “For Sale 350”, and in shaky handwriting beneath it, “For You [illegible].” The illegible word may be “Charles”.

Letter from Charles H. Danielle to Frederick A. Brazill
Letter with an Octagon Castle letterhead from Charles H. Danielle to Frederick A. Brazill about the protocols to follow upon Danielle's death and plans for his funeral.

C. H. Danielle Masquerade Ball Invitation
An invitation to an “Oriental Costume and Masquerade Ball” happening January 12, 1888 in Athens, New York. The director is listed as C.H. Danielle. Costumes were available for $1.00 each on the day of the event courtesy of Danielle’s Albany Costume…

Letter from John E. Godman to Frederick A. Brazill, June 23, 1902
A letter written by John E. Godman in reply to previous correspondence with Frederick A. Brazill. Godman writes about the Potts family and a particular unnamed member, who Brazill had previously inquired about due to receiving a letter from them.…

Frederick Brazill pictured with Charles Danielle's Coffin
Picture of Frederick Brazill looking into Charles Danielle's coffin, inside the Octagon Castle.

Dancing Assemblies and Lessons in Masonic Hall
Announcement by Charles H. Danielle in the Harbour Grace Standard advertising dance classes to individuals of all ages, for practice and pleasure. The dance classes and assembly were free.

"Magistrate's Levee"
This article details an assault that took place against Professor Charles Henry Danielle. James Brian assaulted Danielle, and claimed that his action was self-defense. The court found him guilty, however, and sentenced him to pay a fine of $20 or…

Dancing Assemblies
Listing for dance classes offered by Charles Henry Danielle in the Harbour Grace Standard.

Letter from Clarence H. Waugh to Frederick A. Brazill, February 15, 1903
Clarence Waugh, a former acquaintance of Charles H. Danielle in the United States, discusses Danielle in this letter to Frederick A. Brazill written after Danielle's death, referring to him as Charles Clark. Clarence highlights Charles'…

"Grand Fancy Costume Ball"
A short notice in the Evening Telegram inviting St. John’s patrons to a fancy-dress costume ball in Harbour Grace put on by Professor Charles Danielle’s students. It notes that if enough people would be travelling to the event, fares would be half…

Letter from Clarence H. Waugh to Frederick A. Brazill, January 8, 1903
A letter written by Clarence H. Waugh, a former acquaintance of Charles H. Danielle in the United States, in reply to Frederick A, Brazill, dated January 8, 1903. The letter thanks to Brazill for sending a photo, an obituary card for Charles, a…

Letter from Clarence H. Waugh to Frederick A. Brazill, June 10, 1902
A letter from Clarence Waugh, a former acquaintance of Charles H. Danielle in the United States, that expresses curiosity regarding Danielle's legal name and origins, as well as the continuity of Octagon Castle as a hotel, and the whereabouts of some…

"Who Will Be The Heir of this Newfoundland Hermit?"
Article about Charles H. Danielle and the question of the inheritance of his estate. It describes how Danielle had moved to Newfoundland after a life of acting, teaching dance, and costuming in Brooklyn, New York. Danielle’s first house burnt down…

"A STRANGE FUNERAL: Spectacular Features Of That Of 'Professor' Danielle."
Article about the death and funeral of Charles H. Danielle. Danielle died on May 1st, 1902; after his death, his adopted son Brazill inherited Danielle’s wealth and possessions. Danielle’s last wishes were to have his funeral executed in a specific…

"The Professor's Will"
Newspaper article describing the reading of Prof. Danielle’s will. He left the Octagon Castle to Mr. Frederick Brazill and a small amount of money and land to his servants.

"Events and Echos"
A newspaper notice that Charles Danielle was ill at Octagon Castle. It mentions a visit by Dr. Tait.

"Some Pretty Draperies"
Newspaper article that praises Prof. Danielle’s decorating projects. It describes the professor’s parlour, with a focus on his multicoloured, satin, and silk piano canopy. It also mentions his work with drapes, including one gifted to the…

"Royal Lake Pavillion"
An article in the Evening Telegram inviting St. John’s patrons to the Royal Lake Pavillion for Regatta day. This was Professor Charles Danielle's restaurant and "dancing apartment" that he owned on Quidi Vidi lake.

Photograph of the Royal Lake Pavilion
A photograph of Charles Danielle's royal lake pavilion which was located near the bandstand by Quidi Vidi Lake
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