‘Such Friends’ 100 Years Ago, July 1910

In Ireland…

…Lennox Robinson, 23, has been manager of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre since late last year, although it is still directed by two of the founders who appointed him, William Butler Yeats, just turned 45, and Lady Augusta Gregory, 58.

It’s been a memorable season. Robinson has staged The Traveling Man by Lady Gregory, The Green Helmet by Yeats, and Deirdre of the Sorrows by the third Abbey director John Millington Synge who had died of cancer the year before, just short of his 38th birthday.

In May Robinson presented Thomas Muskerry at the Abbey, the sixth play by Irish writer Padraic Colum, 28. However, during the run, King Edward VII died and theatres throughout the commonwealth closed in respect—but not the Abbey.

Because of a missed message and a misunderstanding, the Abbey performed Muskerry anyway. This upset their key investor, Englishwoman Anne Horniman, who had bought the theatre building for them. She pulled all her investment. The lawsuits the Abbey has brought to try to buy the building through public subscription are still moving through the courts.

Robinson’s own play, The Harvest, has just been performed at the Abbey and also received good reviews at the London Court Theatre.

To make up for the loss of Horniman’s subsidy, the Abbey’s directors are now considering taking the troupe to America in the following year.

In England…

Virginia Stephen, 28, is resting in a nursing home in Twickenham, southwest of London.

Virginia understands that her personal physician feels that this is the best treatment for her bouts of mental illness, and her very pregnant sister, painter Vanessa Bell, 31, agrees.

But Virginia resents the interruption to her life.  She has been actively volunteering with the Women’s Cooperative Movement in support of women’s suffrage.

This is the first—but won’t be the last—time she stays at this nursing home, operated by Jean Thomas, a committed Christian. She and Virginia become friends and go on a walking tour of Cornwall together.

While Virginia is resting and walking, the rest of the country is fascinated with the search for the accused murderer Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, 47. He is known to have fled the country earlier in the year, with his mistress, after police questioned him about his missing wife, actress “Belle Elmore” Crippen.

Now the police have found Belle’s body buried in the Crippens’ home, and at the end of the month, they catch up with Dr. Crippen in Canada by using new technology—the wireless. Crippen is tried and executed four months later.

In France…

…Sarah Samuels Stein, about to turn 40, has returned to San Francisco, CA, because her father is dying.

Accompanying Sarah is Harriet Levy, 43, one of the California women who have been in Paris at the Steins’ invitation for the past few years.

Once in California, Harriet decides not to return to Paris, and writes to her roommate there, fellow San Franciscan Alice B. Toklas, 33, to close up their flat.

For Alice, this is the opportunity she has been waiting for. She is now free to move in with her lover, Sarah Stein’s sister-in-law, Gertrude, 36. Alice has been cooking and cleaning for Gertrude and her brother, Leo, 38, at 27 rue de Fleurus, almost since the day they met three years before.

Alice is not close to her father and brothers back in San Francisco; she has few friends and no life left there.

And now she’s in Paris! Alice spends her days typing up Gertrude’s writing from the night before. In the evenings she socializes with painters such as Henri Matisse, 40, and Pablo Picasso, 29, and has taken French lessons from Picasso’s mistress, Fernande Olivier, also 29.

Leo Stein welcomes Alice at first, graciously giving her his study as her own room. He has recently begun an affair with an artist’s model.

But the more Gertrude moves to the center of the artists’ salons the Steins host on Saturday evenings, the more Leo feels it is time for him to go. 27 rue de Fleurus will soon belong to Gertrude and Alice alone.

In America…

“Baseball’s Sad Lexicon

These are the saddest of possible words:

‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’

Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,

Tinker and Evers and Chance.

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double–

Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:

‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’”

FPA, New York Evening Mail

The only work columnist Franklin P Adams [FPA, 28] is possibly remembered for appeared 100 years ago this month. It describes a ground ball hit to Chicago Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker, 30, then thrown to Johnny Evers, 27, at second base, and on to Frank Chance, 33, at first base. Two outs!

All three immortalized players became Hall of Famers in the 1940s.

In addition to his own doggerel, FPA was generous about using work sent in by aspiring writers to his popular column. Just last year he published a poem by George Kaufman, 20, a Pittsburgher living in New Jersey, and invited him over to Manhattan for lunch.

A few years later, FPA starts Kaufman’s writing career by getting him a job on the Washington, DC, Times.

And tonight, as a tribute to both FPA’s verse and my fellow Pittsburgher, Kaufman, I am going to watch the Pirates beat the crap out of the Phillies in PNC Park!

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‘Such Friends’ 100 Years Ago, June 1910…

In Ireland…

…The Gaelic League, founded by Douglas Hyde, 50, 17 years ago, is getting mixed reviews.

A few months ago, Irish newspapers are pointing out that membership has declined so much that some branches can’t afford to pay their Irish teachers anymore.

But now, in June, the same papers are announcing the League’s growth. The Roscommon Herald notes that the organization is

‘Getting along wonderfully after all.’

And the Westmeath Independent reports that

‘The advance of the Gaelic League in county Westmeath in the past two years has been phenomenal.’

As proof, the Midland feis, a traditional celebration of Irish culture, is about to be held in Mullingar.

The League’s resurgence can perhaps be attributed to a recent campaign by Hyde and the Irish Nationalist Party to make Gaelic required for entrance to the new national university.

Hyde has recently been made Professor of Modern Irish at University College Dublin, and has distanced his League from the nationalism of the Abbey Theatre. He was one of the theatre’s founders with his friends W B Yeats, just turned 45, and Lady Augusta Gregory, 58, who are still theater directors.

In England…

…In London, Virginia Stephen, 28, is not well. She has recently returned from a holiday in Canterbury with her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, just turned 31, Vanessa’s husband, art critic Clive, 28, and their son Julian, 16 months. Vanessa consults a London doctor about her sister’s health and Virginia is packed off to a nursing home in Twickenham.

Vanessa keeps herself busy with ‘The Friday Club,’ which she and Clive have started to showcase her work and that of her artist friends. This month, she has two still lifes in their exhibit at the Alpine Gallery, along with three by their fellow Bloomsbury, Duncan Grant, 25. Vanessa buys Duncan’s painting, The Lemon Gatherers.

…In Dover, Charles Stewart Rolls, 32, one of the two founders of the Rolls-Royce manufacturing company, becomes the first person to fly round trip—Dover to Sangatte to Dover—across the English Channel. One month later he becomes the first Englishman to be killed in a flying accident.

In France…

…American ex-patriates Gertrude Stein, 36, and Alice B. Toklas, 33, are getting ready to leave Paris with Gertrude’s brother, Leo, 38, to spend the summer in Perugia, Italy.

…The ballet The Firebird premieres, written by composer Igor Stravinsky, 28, commissioned by Serge Diaghilev, 38, for his Ballets Russes. Choreographed by Michel Fokine, 30, Firebird is the first score written totally for the Ballets Russes.

Stravinsky has left his home in Russia to travel to Paris for the first time. At the premiere, no riots break out, but Stravinsky’s score is such a big hit, he becomes Diaghilev’s star composer. Within the next three years they collaborate on Petrushka and The Rites of Spring.

In America…

…In New York City, aviator Charles Hamilton, 24, makes the first round trip flight from New York to Philadelphia to New York.

Heywood Broun, 21, is hired by the Morning Telegraph for $20 per week. He has been living with his parents since he left Harvard, unable to graduate because he flunked French.

But, like many others, Broun has developed his writing skills at Harvard in the classes of Professor Charles Townsend Copeland, 50. Broun has decided on a career in journalism because it is considered a low paid back up occupation for young men of the upper middle class who haven’t managed to finish college.

…And, for a perfect ending, short story writer O. Henry, 47, dies.