“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, July 6, 1920, Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California

Almost over. Thank God.

The endless Democratic National Convention is finally coming to a close. 9 days. 14 candidates. 44 ballots.

Tkt GuestPassDemNatlConvSanFran06281920

Guest pass to the 1920 Democratic Convention

H. L. Mencken, 39, reporting for the Baltimore Sun, who had hated the smelly Chicago Coliseum where the Republicans had held their convention last month, rhapsodizes about the Democrats’ choice of venue, the Civic Auditorium:

So spacious, so clean, so luxurious in its comforts and so beautiful in its decorations, that the assembled politicos felt like sailors turned loose in the most gorgeous bordellos of Paris.”

Novelist, playwright and former full-time journalist Edna Ferber, 34 (but she only admits to 31), on special assignment for United Press, is as unimpressed with the Democratic delegates as she had been with those from the other party:

It was, in its way, almost as saddening a sight as the Republican Convention had been…Once the opening prayer had piously died on the air, there broke out from two to a half dozen actual fist fights on the floor of the assemblage—battles that raged up and down the aisles until guards separated the contestants. The meeting droned on. Nothing seemed to be accomplished.”

The New York Tribune’s Heywood Broun, 31, however, gave the edge to the Republicans:

They were able at Chicago to say nothing in just about one-tenth the number of words which the Democrats needed to say the same thing.”

Every time a woman delegate was given the floor to nominate or second a candidate, the band played the ragtime hit, “Oh, You Beautiful Doll.”

OhYouBeautifulDoll-1911

Sheet music

By yesterday, everyone was so frustrated at the group’s inability to decide on a candidate, the Missouri delegation cast a .50 vote for sportswriter Ring Lardner, 35, whose syndicated columns have been delighting the country. He says he will run on the same platform he used to not be elected mayor of Chicago:

More Beer—Less Work.”

Ring Lardner

Ring Lardner

Finally, at 1:43 am today, on the 44th ballot, Ohio Governor James M. Cox, 50, received enough votes to secure the nomination. When he is informed of this by the Associated Press telegraph wire three hours later in his Dayton office, he is stunned.

Now there is the matter of the running mate. Who to nominate for vice president?

Cox favors the new, young star of the show, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and fifth cousin of the late Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 38. As Cox says,

His name is good, he’s right geographically, and he is anti-Tammany [Hall].”

And FDR has been running around the convention making friends, wooing the rest of his New York state delegation by turning his rooms on the battleship New York into a Prohibition-violating reception.

That’s good enough. The convention nominates Roosevelt by acclimation. Exhausted acclimation.

FDR_standing and_James_M_Cox

Franklin D. Roosevelt and James M. Cox

“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.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table [Heywood Broun was a member] is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at University of Pittsburgh and 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 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, June 12, 1920, The Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois

The 940 delegates at the Republican National Convention have been through four long days and ten long ballots. They finally have a compromise candidate, Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding, 54, the result of negotiations in what his supporters refer to as a “smoke filled room.”

His plea for a “return to normalcy” in a recent speech had made him palatable to both the conservative and progressive wings of the party. Although he has been called “the best of the second-raters.”

Tkt to 1920 Rep Natl Conv

Ticket to the 1920 Republican National Convention

Baltimore Sun reporter H. L. Mencken, 39, has said that the smell in the overheated Coliseum is like that of a

third rate circus.”

Sitting with the other reporters, Edna Ferber, 34 [but she only admits to 31], novelist, playwright and former full-time journalist, now here on special assignment for the United Press, is melting in the heat. In one of her reports she has described how all the bald, sweating delegates had,

shed collars, ties, even shoes in some cases…It was the American male politician reduced to the most common denominator.”

Edna-Ferber-1928

Edna Ferber

Ferber has been watching the spectacle and listening to the endless speakers. In his acceptance speech today, Harding says,

We mean to be American first, to all the world…We must stabilize and strive for normalcy.”

The country is just months away from having the 19th Amendment ratified by the last few states, and, for the first time, women will be able to vote in a presidential election. So, probably after the persuasion of his wife, Harding throws a bone to the suffragettes:

By party edict, by my recorded vote, by personal conviction, I am committed to this measure of justice.”

After suffering through Harding’s speech, Ferber describes him thus:

Here is a living cartoon of the American Fourth of July stuffed shirt order.”

“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.

 

In mid-town Manhattan, fall, 1924…

Harold Ross, 31, is working on the prospectus for his new project, a weekly magazine for New Yorkers.

For the past year or so, he and his wife, reporter Jane Grant, 32, have been badgering everyone they know with a dummy of their proposed first issue, trying to scare up some funding. Finally, Harold’s friend from The Stars & Stripes newspaper in France during the war, New York World writer Alexander Woollcott, 37, has finally come through with an introduction to Raoul Fleischmann, 38, heir to the yeast fortune.

Now he’s got to pitch the idea. Really pitch it. Ross knows what he wants to say. But to give the project credibility, he has been advised to make use of the writers he lunches with at the Algonquin Hotel almost every day.

He can’t include Robert Benchley, just turned 34, because he is on contract to Life magazine. He really shouldn’t list his other Stars & Stripes buddies, columnist FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams, about to turn 43] and sports writer Heywood Broun, 35, because their employer the World newspaper, would not be happy.

Who’s left? Are they really his ‘advisors’? Can he claim that? Ross decides to take a risk:

Announcing a New Weekly Magazine:

The New Yorker:

The New Yorker will be a reflection in word and pictures of metropolitan life.

It will be human. Its general tenor will be one of gaiety, wit and satire,

but it will be more than a jester.

It will not be what is commonly called radical or highbrow.

It will be what is commonly called sophisticated,

in that it will assume a reasonable degree of enlightenment

on the part of its readers.

It will hate bunk…

The New Yorker will appear early in February.

The price will be:  $5 a yr.

15 cents a copy

Address:  25 West 45th Street, New York City

Advisory Editors,

Ralph Barton

George S. Kaufman [34]

Heywood Broun

Alice Duer Miller

Marc Connelly [34]

Dorothy Parker [31]

Edna Ferber

Laurence Stallings

Rea Irvin

Alexander Woollcott

HW Ross, Editor”

Original_New_Yorker_cover

The first cover of The New Yorker

Again this year, we’ll be telling stories about these groups of ‘such friends,’ during and after their times together.

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

To walk with me and the ‘Such Friends’ through Bloomsbury, download the Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group audio walking tour from VoiceMap. Look for our upcoming walking tour about the Paris ‘such friends.’