“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, before March 26, 1920, midtown Manhattan

The excitement is palpable.

Employees at publishing house Charles Scribner’s Sons are finally getting pumped up about the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, the hot new discovery of Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, 35.

Max’s enthusiasm for This Side of Paradise had not initially been shared by his co-workers. After all, this Fitzgerald was the youngest novelist Scribner’s had ever published.

When one of the men in the sales department had any doubts about a new book, he would take it home for his well-educated sister to read. She had proved to be a good predictor of success. So his fellow employees were all eager to know what she had thought of Paradise. He reported,

She picked it up with tongs because she wouldn’t touch it with her hands after reading it, and put it into the fire.”

This_Side_of_Paradise_dust_jacket

Original cover of This Side of Paradise

Perkins was so worried about negative reactions within the house, that he tried to keep the manuscript mostly in his own hands. As a former Scribner’s advertising director, he had approved the upcoming New York Times ad:

Paradise NY Times ad

New York Times ad, to run April 4, 1920

Perkins didn’t even want the staff proofreaders to have a crack at the novel. As a result, the printed version will be riddled with typos. Even more embarrassing to Perkins is that Fitzgerald—a terrible speller himself—is pointing out mistakes to him.

As publication day approaches, Perkins wonders if he has done the right thing by fighting to have tradition-encrusted Scribner’s take on this new writing.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

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, March 22, 1920, First Congregational Church, Tacoma, Washington

Well in to his third American speaking tour, Irish poet William Butler Yeats, 54, is giving his second lecture in the state of Washington.

The Tacoma Daily Ledger, in addition to reporting the arrest of a top Seattle police officer for importing illegal booze from Canada, promotes Yeats’ talk by indicating he will discuss his experiences hypnotizing dogs and cows.

Yeats age 58

W B Yeats

Instead, Willie talks about his fellow founder of the Abbey Theatre, the late Irish playwright John Millington Synge, discusses the continuing achievements of the Abbey, and once again makes a plea for intimate theatre,

of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

The 400 or so attendees are delighted by the poet’s easy-going charm, particularly when Yeats follows his lecture by reading, as the paper reports the next day,

three whimsical little poems that delighted…The poet’s own personality was the dominant element in the lecture last night…He is an artist in feature, in dress and in gesture.”

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

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

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

 

 

 

 

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 10, 1920, Bloomsbury, London

Painter Vanessa Bell, 40, is furious. And “amused.”

She has just received a letter from her friend, writer Madge Vaughan, 51, wife of her cousin, William, 55, the headmaster of quite posh Wellington College.

Vanessa and her sister, novelist Virginia Woolf, 38, have always been fond of Madge. But she definitely lives a much more traditional life than Virginia and Vanessa do.

Madge is interested in possibly renting out Vanessa’s country home, Charleston in Sussex, for a family holiday, so she is staying there herself to try it out. Madge is well aware of Vanessa’s bohemian living arrangements—with her husband, art critic Clive Bell, 38, her gay lover, painter Duncan Grant, 35, and their daughter, Angelica, 14 months old. But apparently actually being in the home with the well-blended Bell and Grant families makes Madge uncomfortable.

charleston photo

Charleston Farmhouse

In her letter to Vanessa she says,

I love you and I am faithful to old friends…I have set my back against slander and chatter and fought your battles always through the years. But I love, with increasing passion, Goodness, purity and homeliness and the hearts of little children are the holiest things I know on earth. And a question gnaws at my poor heart here in this house. It came stabbing my heart that day when I saw Angelica. I would like to meet you as a woman friend face to face at some quiet place and to talk it out. I don’t feel I could come and live here with Will and the children unless I had done this.”

Madge Vaughan

Madge Vaughan

Vanessa writes back,

Why on earth should my moral character have anything to do with the question of your taking Charleston or not? I suppose you don’t always enquire into your landlords’ character. However, take it or not as you like…As for the gossip about me,…I cannot conceive why you think it any business of yours. I am absolutely indifferent to anything the world may say about me, my husband or my children…[Neither Clive nor I] think much of the world’s will or opinion, or that a ‘conventional home’ is necessarily a happy or good one, that my married life has not been full of restraints but, on the contrary, full of ease, freedom and complete confidence…”

NPG 4331,Vanessa Bell (nÈe Stephen),by Duncan Grant

Vanessa Bell by Duncan Grant, 1918

Thanks to Peter Monteith, Assistant Archivist at King’s College, Cambridge, for help with dating these letters.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

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

In 2020 I will be talking about the writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

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

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 3, 1920, Casino Club, Chicago, Illinois

About six weeks in to his third American lecture tour, Irish poet William Butler Yeats, 54, is in Chicago, at a banquet given in his honor by Poetry:  A Magazine of Verse, and its founder-editor, Harriet Monroe, 59.

Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune interviewed him over the phone when the reporter woke him in his hotel room after midnight. Yeats was quoted as saying,

I like Chicago, but Prohibition’s hell, isn’t it?”

Meet-Mr-Yeats-William-Butler-Yeats-and-wife Chicago 1920

The Yeatses in the Chicago Tribune

Monroe had come right over to his room with

a flagon of…surcease for your sorrow…I read in the Tribune this morning of your unpreparedness.”

Harriet-Monroe

Harriet Monroe

Yeats’ talk at the banquet on “Poetic Drama” goes well. Arguing for smaller theatre companies and more intimate venues, he tells the crowd,

I am trying to create a form of poetical drama played by one company, all of whom could ride in one taxicab and carry their stage properties on the roof.”

Afterwards, back at the Auditorium Hotel, a group of reporters wake Yeats up and bring him down to their party in one of the private dining rooms. Willie perks up as soon as they offer him a glass of whiskey. And a second. And a third. His wife, Georgie, 27, soon shows up to drag him back to bed. On his way out, Yeats proclaims to the group,

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree…”

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, February 21, 1920, 5, Holland Place Chambers, Kensington West, London

American poet Ezra Pound, 35, is writing to his friend in New York City, Irish-American lawyer and supporter of art and artists, John Quinn, 49:

Dear Quinn:

…Am writing this at [Edmund] Dulac’s where I have brought my typewriter in hope of finishing an article before tomorrow a.m.,…Fool Dulac is playing the pianola upstairs in the inane belief that it can’t be heard down here. As a matter of fact it wd. prevent me thinking out article if I weren’t making more noise with Corona on unpadded dining table. ANYHOW combination of harmonies makes consecutive thought impossible…

If I get to Venice I shall, naturally, try to get up to Trieste to see [James] Joyce. Unless the serbo-slovocroats are firing broadsides…

I have arranged two amusing meetings in course of past week, one between [author Major Clifford Hughes] Douglas and [Wickham] Steed, edtr. of the Times (and intelligent), second between D[ouglas]. and [John Maynard] Keynes, who is an ass. Latter reason probably why his book is so much advertised, can’t possibly do any damage to high finance. Keynes’ style appalling, picture of Woodrow [Wilson] merely what I cd. have told him five or six yrs. ago…

john-maynard-keynes

John Maynard Keynes

Joyce has sent on another chapter [Nausickaa from Ulysses], excellent start but think he gets a bit too too too at the end of it. Have suggested slight alterations…Perhaps everything ought to be said ONCE in the English language. At least J[oyce]. seems bent on saying it…Who am I to tamper with a work of genius. For bigod genius it is in parts…

pound_joyce_ford_quinn

James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, John Quinn

My regards to the Yeats family [touring America]. (Mrs. Y. approves of you, but of very little else save the architecture.)

yours ever

E. P.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, February 16, 1920, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

One month after the Volstead Act took effect, prohibiting the sale and distribution of alcohol throughout the country, the wets’ predictions of increased crime are coming true.

Pittsburgh is described in a government report, as

wringing wet…Pennsylvania is very wet and only the price is needed by those who want whiskey and plenty of it.”

Pittsburgh1920

Pittsburgh in 1920

Almost three hundred doctors in the area have legal prescription pads to write their patients medicinal whiskey orders.

A popular mixture of creosote, denatured wood alcohol, and caramel coloring is known as Pittsburgh Scotch.

The posh William Penn Hotel in downtown opens a speakeasy under the lobby with a secret escape route to Oliver Avenue in case of a raid, while the Dry Federation of Pennsylvania holds meetings upstairs. The nearby Nixon Theatre also has a speakeasy called Flying Squadron, where jazz singer Helen Morgan, 20, performs on top of the piano.

NixonTheatre4

The Nixon Theatre

The US attorney John D. Meyer tells the Pittsburgh Press,

If necessary, I will put a spy on every doorstep in Pittsburgh.”

In the South Side flats section of the city, state representative Thomas J. Gallagher, 36, and his wife Flossie Cleis Gallagher, 35, welcome their seventh child, Virginia Mary Gallagher, my mother.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, February, 1920, London, England

Painter Duncan Grant, 35, is feeling pretty good about himself.

His first solo show opened earlier this month at the Paterson-Carfax Gallery in Old Bond Street and sales are going well. His Bloomsbury friends have been very supportive. Art critic Roger Fry, 53, organized the opening party. Fry picked Duncan’s Reclining Nude to give to their friend, novelist Virginia Woolf, 37, as a present, and Duncan gave her one of his watercolors. He’s produced many this year.

Reclining Nude watercolor Duncan 1920

Reclining Nude by Duncan Grant

Their other buddy, writer Lytton Strachey, 39, who just had a big hit with his untraditional biography, Eminent Victorians, bought Grant’s painting Juggler and Tightrope Walker for £60.

Juggler from athenaeium again

Juggler and Tightrope Walker by Duncan Grant

Without revealing that he and Duncan are good friends, art critic Clive Bell, 38, Virginia’s brother-in-law, had declared in the Athenaeum:

Duncan Grant is, in my opinion, the best English painter alive.”

Duncan has heard that the Daily Telegraph’s critic is planning a less-than complementary review. But—at least his mom is happy. Ethel Grant, 57, wrote to him the day after the opening,

I was a proud woman yesterday…Your show is going to be a big success I am convinced. You will know that five pictures were sold when we got there…I think the pictures are so well hung and when I went in the morning, with a bright sun and an empty room, the whole place seemed full of colour and joy. I felt exhilarated. Dear darling boy I am so pleased and hope you are going to make your mark at once.”

Fingers crossed.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

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

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’sOsher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, February, 1920, Montgomery, Alabama

Well. That was a scare.

Zelda Sayre, 19, had been late.

Not late to the dance. Late.

Her current boyfriend, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, was back in New York City, finishing off his first novel to be published by Charles Scribner’s & Sons next month, and sending his short stories to magazines. Scott and Zelda were engaged. And then un-engaged.

He is still showering her with lots of presents.

zelda_aged_18 dancing

Zelda Sayre, dancing

When Zelda had written to tell him that she was late, Scott had sent her some pills to get rid of the unwanted baby.

Zelda threw them away. Only prostitutes have abortions. Not socially prominent daughters of Southern judges.

She wrote back to Scott—or “Goofo” as she calls him—to say that

God—or something”

would fix everything.

Must have been God.

She isn’t late anymore.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, January 16, 1920, America

All across the country, in bars and saloons—and churches—people are waiting for the stroke of midnight. When America will go dry.

Prohibition protesters

Prohibition protesters

One year ago to the day, Nebraska became the 36th state of the union to ratify the 18th  Amendment—only 13 months after it was passed by Congress—which prohibits the

manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.”

But not consumption.

So Americans can still drink—but they now have to get their booze through illegal means. And they sure do.

At the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, a prayer service is being held, attended by those who fought for the last few years to have the amendment passed, led by inspirational speaker and three-time failed presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan. 59.

Wm. Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan

In the bars and saloons, as midnight draws closer, bartenders are saying,

Drink up.”

Cheers.

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both theUniversity of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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, January 1, 1920…

 

America was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history and there was going to be plenty to tell about it. –F. Scott Fitzgerald

fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

That was 100 years ago. So here we are again. At the beginning of the Twenties. Will this be a similar decade?!

There’s one way to tell:  To look back at certain points and document what was happening a century before, with the artists and writers who were “Such Friends”:

William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Renaissance,

Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group,

Gertrude Stein and the Americans in Paris, and

Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table,

in Ireland, England, France and America.

As the new decade begins…

Irish poet W B Yeats, 54, is getting ready to go back to the United States on his third American lecture tour, this time with his wife, Georgie Hyde-Lees, 28. They are leaving the baby Anne, just 11 months old, back in Ireland with his sisters.

Yeats and Geo 1923

Georgie and William Butler Yeats

Hogarth Press owners, novelist Virginia Woolf, about to turn 38, and her husband Leonard, 39, have been celebrating the holidays at Monk’s House in Sussex, which they bought last year at auction. This coming year, they want to spend more time outside of too-busy London.

Va and Leon

Virginia and Leonard Woolf

In Paris, American writer Gertrude Stein, 45, and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, 42, are still getting back to normal after the Armistice. Their apartment, on the Left Bank near the Luxembourg Gardens, had hosted salons for all the local painters before the Great War. Who will come now?

Gert and Alice with the paintings

Alice B. Toklas and her partner Gertrude Stein with Picassos

Vanity Fair writers Dorothy Parker, 26, Robert Benchley, 30, and their “such friends” are lunching regularly at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan. And trying to drink up in the last few weeks before the Volstead Act—Prohibition—goes into effect. It won’t slow them down.

parkerbenchley cartoon

Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley

Join me on a journey through the “Literary 1920s,” tracking these characters in their place and time, 100 years ago. Happy New Year!

“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@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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.