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Paternity Puzzle

May 2024
1min read


Peter Andrews’s interesting and informative article “The King of Pianists” (December 1982) touches on several of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s amorous escapades, but I am disappointed that he does not mention Gottschalk’s love affair with the beautiful actress and journalist Ada Clare. The musician may well have been the father of Clare’s son Aubrey.

If Gottschalk was the “American Chopin,” Clare was the “American George Sand.” Though Gottschalk never mentioned her in his writing, their relationship is mentioned not only in her newspaper columns but also in columns and letters written by friends who knew them both and in Vernon Loggins’s biography of Gottschalk.

In my research for a biography of Ada Clare I am finding new evidence as I work and hope to be able to discover whether Gottschalk was Aubrey’s father. Gottschalk never claimed the child, but Aubrey, even as a boy, resembled Gottschalk, especially in the area of the eyes, forehead, and hairline. Aubrey was raised in New Jersey, and he may have been adopted by J. F. Noyes. He married Mabel Moulton about 1880, and they had a son, Frank, born in the 188Os. It would be helpful to find what happened to other descendants. Perhaps some family member has photographs or letters that would shed new light on this matter. I would appreciate any information I could get about these people.

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