“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.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 27 and 28, 1920, New York City, New York; Hollywood, California; and Montgomery, Alabama

Harold Ross, 27, who has made a name for himself around the publishing world by being the successful editor of the U. S. Army’s newspaper, The Stars & Stripes, in Paris during the Great War, is doing quite well now that he is state-side. Ross has just signed a contract to become editor of the American Legion Weekly, the house organ for veterans adjusting to their new lives back in the States.

The contract is his wedding present to Jane Grant, also 27, who he is secretly eloping with later today.

Ross and Grant met in Paris during the war, when she was there with the American Red Cross, entertaining soldiers.

Grant and Ross

Jane Grant and Harold Ross

They had discussed marriage a few times, and this week she said to him,

How about Saturday?”

So he agreed.

They plan to live on Grant’s salary as the first full-time female reporter for the New York Times, and save Ross’ earnings to start the magazine about New York they are planning.


The next day, the rest of the country is thrilled with a different wedding. “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, 27, is marrying her co-star, “Everybody’s Hero,” Douglas Fairbanks, 36. The worst kept secret in the movie business is that their affair began while they were each married to others. But America is willing to forgive their beloved “Hollywood Royalty.” The Fairbanks are off to Europe for their honeymoon.


Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks


Down south in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda Sayre, 19, is planning for her wedding. The handsome young soldier she met during the war when he was stationed nearby at Camp Sheridan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, now living in New York City, has been wooing her with love letters and presents:  An ostrich fan. His mother’s ring. A diamond and platinum watch. They were nice. But what really did the trick is when he signed a contract with Charles Scribner’s Sons to publish his first novel, This Side of Paradise. And Metro Studios bought the rights to one of his short stories for $2,500.

That’s when Zelda had said yes.

The novel was published this week and she’s getting ready for the wedding in early April.


Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald

“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.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with 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.