“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, October, 1920, Hogarth House, Richmond, London

The scheme seems to be working.

Leonard Woolf, 39, co-founder and owner with his wife Virginia, 38, of the five-year-old Hogarth Press, is poring over the company accounts. It appears the subscription scheme the Woolfs implemented almost a year and a half ago is working.

Hogarth Press logo, designed by Virginia’s sister, Vanessa Bell

The two-tiered system was set up so “A” list subscribers pay £1 for a commitment to buy all the titles printed by Hogarth in a given year. Last year there were five, including T. S. Eliot’s Poems.

“B” list subscribers pay nothing up front, but are notified early of new releases and can choose which they want to buy.

So far, Hogarth has 34 people on the “A” list and 15 on the “B” list.

Truth be told, almost all of the subscribers are the Woolfs’ friends and family. Some are well-known writers among their Bloomsbury Group friends—essayist Lytton Strachey, 40, economist John Maynard Keynes, 37. Some are established authors in their own right—H. G. Wells, 54, whose War of the Worlds had been a big hit a while back, and Rebecca West, 27, already known for her novel about the Great War, The Return of the Soldier, and a biography of American writer Henry James.

Hiring an assistant to help out two or three days a week, Ralph Partridge, 26—chosen on Lytton’s recommendation—also seems to have been a good move. The Woolfs have promised to pay him £100 for the year, as well as half of their net profits. Last year Hogarth Press netted a respectable 13 pounds, 14 shillings and 2 pence. Young Ralph is working on the press in their home, setting type, etc., as well as serving as Leonard’s secretary. So Leonard and Virginia feel that the expense will pay off.

Lytton Strachey and Ralph Partridge

Ralph has been living out in the country with Lytton and their mutual love, painter Dora Carrington, 27. Now that he’s got a job, Ralph has convinced Carrington to move into a Bloomsbury Gordon Square townhouse with him. He hopes by the end of the year to finally convince her to marry him. Lytton is encouraging this.

“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.

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

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

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.

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.