“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, mid-January, corner of Sixth Avenue and West 57th Street, New York City, New York

Free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 29, is worrying about how to handle the regular book club that she is hosting this evening here at her apartment.

Sixth Avenue and West 57th Street

They all will have heard; she lunches at the Algonquin Hotel most days with one of the regulars, New York Times reporter Jane Grant, 30, and her husband American Legion Weekly editor Harold Ross, also 30. Parker knows the writers who congregate there have been spreading rumors and trying to figure out why she did it.

Dottie is thinking it will be best to take the direct approach. She’ll greet each guest saying,

I slashed my wrists.”

That should get over some of the awkwardness.

That Sunday she had arrived back here at her apartment feeling really hungry. She called down and ordered delivery from that vile—but convenient—restaurant downstairs, the Swiss Alps.

When she went into the bathroom Parker saw the razor left behind by her estranged husband Edwin Pond Parker III, 29, when he took off to his family back in Connecticut last summer. She hadn’t noticed it before.

Parker took the blade and cut along the vein in her left wrist. Blood spurted all over the room. Her hand was so slippery she had a hard time slitting the other wrist.

And then the delivery boy arrived with dinner.

Call a doctor!”

Dottie shouted. The ambulance took her to Presbyterian Hospital.

Some of her friends’ comments around the lunch table have gotten back to her.

Playwright Marc Connelly, 32, thinks it was “just a bit of theatre.” A few feel Parker was looking for attention, or to have Eddie come back. Jane Grant is suspicious of the fortuitous arrival of the delivery boy.

Dorothy and Eddie Parker

Her family and some of her lunch friends came to visit Parker in the hospital. Dean of the New York columnists Franklin Pierce Adams (FPA), 41, stayed away. Connelly came; as did theatre critic Alexander Woollcott, about to turn 36. Most important of all was the visit from her best friend, Life magazine editor Robert Benchley, 33.

Eddie didn’t even keep his razors sharp,”

she told him.

In the hospital Parker had tied pale blue ribbons into little bows around the scars on her wrists. For the bridge club tonight, Dottie decides to use black velvet ribbons.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Next month I will be talking about the literary 1920s in Paris and New York City in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

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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