“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, October, 1920, Graduate School for Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Thomas Wolfe, just turned 20, recently graduated with a BA in English from the University of North Carolina, can’t believe he is finally here at Harvard.

Thomas Wolfe at University of North Carolina

Wolfe’s parents agreed to an advance on his inheritance so that he could enrol here to study playwriting. His mother’s boarding house back home in Asheville, North Carolina, has done well over the years, but it is still a bit of a financial stretch for them to send him here.

Tom was set on Harvard so that he could study playwriting with the legendary Professor George Pierce Baker, 54. His English 47 class is world renowned as a training ground for successful playwrights, and Baker founded the university’s Drama Club over a decade ago. Wolfe is hopeful that his play The Mountains, about his hometown, may be performed by Baker’s “47 Workshop” next year; quite an honor.

Tom has already gotten good feedback from both Baker and his all-male classmates, as he writes home to his mother:

Prof. Baker read the prolog of my play…to the class a week ago. To my great joy he pronounced it the best prolog ever written here. The class, harshly critical as they usually are, were unanimous in praising it. This circumstance bewilders as well as pleases me. I am acutely no judge of my own work…The work over which I expend the most labor and care will fail to impress while other work, which I have written swiftly, almost without revision will score.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Paris and New York after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University. Early in 2021 I will be talking about Perkins’ worth with Fitzgerald and Hemingway at CMU.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theater and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table are available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

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