“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, December, 1920, Greenwich Village, New York City, New York

Robert McAlmon, 25, met Dr. William Carlos Williams, 37, at a lower East Side party shortly after re-locating here to New York from Chicago earlier this year. They are both having some of their poetry accepted in small magazines, but have decided that the best way to get published is to start their own.

Dr. William Carlos Williams

They have just finished producing their first issue of Contact. Mimeographed on paper donated by Bill’s father-in-law; filled with typos; no table of contents or advertising. They’ve lined up about 200 subscribers to provide some income. Dr. Williams, of course, is still earning money in his medical practice during the day and working on the publication in the evenings.

McAlmon, on the other hand, has been scraping along doing some nude modelling for art classes at nearby Cooper Union.

Their manifesto in this first issue states,

We are here because of our faith in the existence of native artists who are capable of having, comprehending and recording extraordinary experience…We are interested in the writings of such individuals as are capable of putting a sense of contact, and of definite personal realization into their work.”

Robert McAlmon

Contact includes the first bibliography of all the “little mags” that have been published in the US in the new century.

Williams and McAlmon feel strongly that American writers need a publication such as Contact, as there are plenty of opportunities for writers from abroad, like The Little Review.

“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 Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early next year I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, are available to view for free 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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