Charles Godfrey Leland was born in Philadelphia on August 15, 1824, the eldest child of commission merchant Charles Leland and his wife Charlotte. Leland loved reading and language. When he moved to Europe to study law, he became intrigued with German culture, gypsy lore, the language of Romany, and Shelta, an ancient dialect spoken by Irish and Welsh gypsies. After his law studies were completed, Leland became a journalist, working for such periodicals as P.T. Barnum's Illustrated News, Vanity Fair, and Graham's Magazine. The mid-to-late 1850s were very eventful for Leland; he published his first book, Meister Karl's Sketch-Book in 1855 and married Eliza Bella Fisher in 1856. What probably clinched his fame was "Hans Breitmann's Party" a German dialect poem that he wrote under the pen name Hans Breitmann and that captured the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and humor. While he was best known for his essays, poetry, and humor, Leland also firmly believed that the industrial arts were the keys to a good education, and he wrote many textbooks on the subject. Leland spent most of the latter part of his life in Europe, writing a wealth of books. He died in Florence, Italy, on March 20, 1903.