“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late July, 1922, West Egg, Long Island; Manhattan, New York City, New York; and 626 Goodrich Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota

Midwestern bond salesman Nick Carraway, 30, is spending the summer working in Manhattan and living in a rented bungalow out on Long Island. Slowly, he is getting to know his neighbors:

At 9 o’clock one morning late in July, [Jay] Gatsby’s gorgeous car lurched up the rocky drive to my door and gave out a burst of melody from its three-noted horn. It was the first time he had called on me, though I had gone to two of his parties, mounted in his hydroplane, and, at his urgent invitation, made frequent use of his beach.

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost

‘Good morning, old sport. You’re having lunch with me today and I thought we’d ride up together.’

…He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand.

He saw me looking with admiration at his car.

‘It’s pretty, isn’t it, old sport?’ He jumped off to give me a better view. ‘Haven’t you ever seen it before?’

I’d seen it. Everybody had seen it.”

*****

Gatsby and Carraway have an interesting lunch in the city with one of Gatsby’s friends, which ends when the friend gets up to leave:

’I have enjoyed my lunch,’ he said, ‘and I’m going to run off from you two young men before I outstay my welcome.’

‘Don’t hurry, Meyer,’ said Gatsby without enthusiasm. Mr. Wolfsheim raised his hand in a sort of benediction.

‘You’re very polite, but I belong to another generation,’ he announced solemnly. ‘You sit here and discuss your sports and your young ladies and your—’ He supplied an imaginary noun with another wave of his hand. ‘As for me, I am 50 years old, and I won’t impose myself on you any longer.’

As he shook hands and turned away his tragic nose was trembling. I wondered if I had said anything to offend him.

‘He becomes very sentimental sometimes,’ explained Gatsby. ‘This is one of his sentimental days. He’s quite a character around New York—a denizen of Broadway.’

‘Who is he, anyhow, an actor?’

‘No.’

‘A dentist?’

‘Meyer Wolfsheim? No, he’s a gambler.’ Gatsby hesitated, then added coolly:  ‘He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.’

‘Fixed the World Series?’ I repeated.

The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of 50 million people—with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing up a safe.

‘How did he happen to do that?’ I asked after a minute.

‘He just saw the opportunity.’

‘Why isn’t he in jail?’

‘They can’t get him, old sport. He’s a smart man.’”

*****

Back home in St. Paul, where he has started work on his third novel, best-selling writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, has received an interesting offer.

A leading Hollywood producer wants to buy the rights to Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, published two years ago. And he has suggested that the lead characters could be played on screen by Scott and his wife, Zelda, just turned 22.

This Side of Paradise

Scott is considering it. Even though he tells his editor at Scribner’s, Maxwell Perkins, 37, that this would be their “first and last appearance positively,” Max knows the Fitzgeralds better than that. He manages to talk Scott out of it.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with 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.

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, August 3, 1921, Chicago, Illinois; and New York City, New York

Yesterday, everybody partied.

The eight Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series and the 12-member jury all went out to an Italian restaurant to celebrate the players’ acquittal.

The eight defendants in the “Black Sox” trial

Today, Judge Keneshaw Mountain Landis, 54, national commissioner of baseball, at the Commission’s Manhattan offices, issued a statement banning all eight players from having any association with organized baseball. For life.

Judge Landis

No playing in the minor leagues. No nominations to the Hall of Fame, no matter how deserved. No touring around the country with barnstorming teams, the way some of the eight have been doing since Landis suspended them last year.

Fans young and old have been sweating in the observers’ seats in the hot courtroom for the past month. Even the trial judge seemed relieved when, after only three hours, the jury returned the not guilty verdict.

The Sox’s star outfielder, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who turned 33 two days before the trial began, and batted .375 in the series with one HR and six RBIs, said,

When I walked out of Judge Dever’s courtroom in Chicago…I had been acquitted by a 12-man jury in a civil courtroom of all charges, and I was an innocent man in the records.”

Well, not exactly, Joe. The judge’s name was Hugo Friend, and you and the others were found not guilty [not the same as innocent] in a criminal courtroom.

Whatever.

*****

In New York, Judge Landis is not relieved. He believes that all eight men broke the rules of baseball. And he was named the first national commissioner—of both the National and American Leagues—last year to uphold the integrity of the game. Today he issues a statement which says in part:

Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball again.

No one is partying now.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

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 e-book versions.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, November 2, 1920, United States of America

Westinghouse-owned KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the first public commercial radio station in the U.S., is on air for the first time, broadcasting the results of the presidential election. The small percentage of the population in a large part of the eastern United States who own radio sets can hear the announcers read results right off the ticker tapes as they come in.

KDKA studio, November 2, 1920

And it’s also the first national election when women can vote. More voters than ever before—looks as though it will be a more than 40% increase over 1916—are creating a Republican landslide that is spilling into local elections as well.

Republican candidate Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding is about to be the first sitting senator elected president—on his 55th birthday.

More voters also mean more votes for the Socialist candidate, Eugene V. Debs, just about to turn 65, although he is currently serving time in federal prison on charges of sedition. If he gets the predicted almost 1 million votes, it will still be a smaller percentage than the record 6% he got when he ran in 1912.

The first lady-to-be, Florence Harding, 60, tells a friend,

I don’t feel any too confident, I can tell you. I haven’t any doubt about him, but I’m not so sure of myself.”

In Cook County, Illinois, the State Attorney General, Hartley Replogle, 40, is about to be swept out in the Republican tide, and his whole team, working on prosecuting the Black Sox World Series scandal, will soon be replaced.

Harding victory in traditional print Taunton [Massachusetts] Daily Gazette

Click here to join the centenary celebrations of KDKA’s historic first broadcast, including a re-enactment of the Harding election results broadcast from a replica of the original studio.

“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.

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.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Paris and New York after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh.

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. I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University early in 2021.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, October 29, 1920, Chicago, Illinois

The Cook County grand jury announce their indictments of eight former White Sox players, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, 34, and five professional athletes turned gamblers, on several counts of

conspiracy to obtain money by false pretenses and/or a confidence game”

for throwing the 1919 World Series.

Illinois State Assistant Attorney General Hartley Replogle, 40, is confident that his office’s handling of the “Black Sox” scandal will help in the upcoming November election.

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Assistant State Attorney Hartley Replogle

“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.

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

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Paris and New York after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at University of Pittsburgh.

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. I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Carnegie-Mellon University Osher program early next year.

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

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, September 28, 1920, Chicago, Illinois

Joe Jackson, 33, now former outfielder for the Chicago White Sox, is back in his hotel room after testifying to a Cook County grand jury about whether he was involved in fixing last year’s World Series, played against the Cincinnati Reds. Which the White Sox lost, to everyone’s surprise. Except the bookies.

Joe Jackson baseball card

Jackson had been eager to tell the jury that he had taken the $5,000 offered to him by another teammate to throw three games, but he hadn’t earned it. Joe testified that throughout all the Series games he had

batted to win, fielded to win, and run the bases to win.”

He had played better than almost any ball player ever.

In addition, he’d been promised $20,000!

After his testimony, a remorseful Jackson repeatedly told the crush of reporters waiting outside the courthouse,

All I got was the $5,000…handed me in a dirty envelope. I never got the other $15,000. I told that to [the judge]. He said he didn’t care what I got…I don’t think the judge likes me. I never got the $15,000 that was coming to me.”

The next day, Joe is astounded to read in the Chicago Daily News this account of what happened when he came out of the Cook County Courthouse:

When Jackson left the criminal court building…he found several hundred youngsters, aged from 6 to 16, waiting for a glimpse of their idol. One child stepped up to the outfielder, and, grabbing his coat sleeve, said:  ‘It ain’t true, is it, Joe?’ ‘Yes, kid, I’m afraid it is,’ Jackson replied. The boys opened a path for the ball player and stood in silence until he passed out of sight. ‘Well, I’d never have thought it,’ sighed the lad.” 

What youngsters?! When the hell had that happened?! Joe wonders.

“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.

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

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.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

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