‘Such Friends’ 100 Years Ago, January 1911

In Ireland

The Abbey Theatre stages two one-acts, reviving The Hour Glass by founders and directors William Butler Yeats, 45, and Lady Augusta Gregory, 58, and premiering The Deliverer by Augusta. Both use a set of screens by stage designer Edward Gordon Craig, about to turn 39, to create atmosphere.

The symbolic designs work against Lady Gregory’s characters speaking her version of Irish, Kiltartan. In addition, one of the Abbey’s strongest supporters, Edward Plunkett, known as Lord Dunsany, 32, feels Augusta’s play is a rip off of his on the same ancient Egyptian theme, King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior, premiered the week before with the same sets.

Another Abbey founder, and now former director, poet and playwright AE [George Russell], 44, has his article about the Post-Impressionists, “Art and Barbarism,” published in the Irish Times.

In England

AE’s Irish Times piece is probably a reaction to the closing of the notorious First Post- Impressionist Exhibit, staged at the London Grafton Gallery by art critic Roger Fry, 44. For the past two months, the British art world has been aghast at the Cezannes and Monets which Fry has dared to present. But the show has helped his friends, Vanessa Bell, 32, and Duncan Grant, about to turn 26, also included in the exhibit, to move a bit more into the mainstream.

In the Pall Mall Gazette, Yeats acknowledges that the Abbey is only going to reach a limited audience with his own symbolic and poetic drama, and that the theatre must continue its trend of presenting plays of daily life—Irish life—like those by the late director John Millington Synge, and Lady Gregory. Preferably without the ancient Egyptian themes.

In France

In Roquebrune, one of the Post-Impressionist exhibit’s biggest supporters, essayist Lytton Strachey, 30, friend to Roger and Vanessa, and both cousin and lover of Duncan, is still recuperating. He amuses himself by reading Dostoevsky at the home of his sister Dorothy, 44, and her husband, painter Simon Bussy, 40.

Back in Paris there is an attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister, Aristide Briand, 48, right in the Chamber of Deputies, and chemist Marie Curie, 43, misses out on her chance to become the first woman member of the Academie des Sciences by only two votes. She never stands for membership again.

In America

In Cornish, New Hampshire, Maxwell Perkins, 26, and his new bride, Louise Saunders Perkins, 17, start the month on their honeymoon. One of the groom’s cousins has lent them a small cottage.

Even more generous, the bride’s father has lived up to his promise and given the new couple a house in North Plainfield, New Jersey. One of the Perkins’ first acts is to return all the junk they received as wedding presents and buy themselves a statue of Venus de Milo. Before the end of the month, Max starts back at his new job in the advertising department of Charles Scribner’s and Sons publishing company, hoping to be switched to the editorial department soon.

Forty-four miles away in Trenton, New Jersey, former president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, just turned 55, is inaugurated as governor. And a few ferry rides away, in Brooklyn, New York, the president of the Dodgers baseball team, Charles Ebbets, 51, announces that the team has bought land to build a brand new 30,000 seat stadium.