The manuscript and letters containing the story of Marie and Claude came to us with Lewis Bailhof's name on them. The letters indicate that he was born in western New York state in the mid-1800s, and had two brothers and a sister. Around the time of our Civil War, he moved to Europe, where he worked building bridges in the region of Alsace. That work was disrupted by the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). We don't know how Bailhof earned his living during the war, but there is no indication that he was a participant on either side.

While waiting for bridge-building work to resume, he took a walking holiday in Switzerland, and came into possession of a German version of the manuscript of Marie and Claude. He translated it into English, and sent it to his sister, with instructions to hold it for him. The last letter from him is dated 1874.

Though the letters indicate that he intended to return to America, he apparently never did.