99 Years Ago First Doughboys Died in WW1

Today is the Ninety-ninth anniversary of the first American soldiers to be killed in combat in World War I. The three became national heroes and their names were printed in newspapers coast-to-coast. Today they are remembered together on Governors Island, where three roads carry their names. On Nov. 3, 1917, German troops killed Private Merle David Hay, Corporal James B. Gresham, and Private Thomas F. Enright, all serving with Company F, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Continue Reading →

Goldwin Starrett and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918

All of my book research is starting to cross over, and I am reminded of this today because it is the ninty-eighth anniversary of the death of Goldwin Starrett, the young architect of the Algonquin Hotel, in 1918. It was only this month that I started really reading a lot more about the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, a global disaster that killed 21.5 million worldwide, with 675,000 deaths in the United States. I’m currently writing Continue Reading →

As Curtain Closes on Ziegfeld, Remember Dorothy Parker and the Ink She Spilled

The Ziegfeld name is back in the news in New York. It is for a small item—that is only important to a few people—the few souls who like going to a movie theater in a cavernous space of more than 1,000 seats. Newspapers and bloggers in New York are probably writing about the Ziegfeld name for one of the last times, and that is sad. It is because the movie theater that was built in Continue Reading →

F.P.A. on New Year’s Day 1922

Dorothy Parker gave this signed photo to her friend and mentor F.P.A. and his family. Photo courtesy of Anthony Adams. Heywood Broun and Ruth Hale had one of their famous New Year’s Eve parties to close out 1921. They lived in a brownstone at 330 West 85th Street, a townhouse that Broun had won the mortgage at a poker game. He later lost the apartment the same way. That night was one of their most Continue Reading →

Anniversary Poem for John V.A. Weaver

Today is the birthday of John V.A. Weaver, a member of the Algonquin Round Table you probably never heard of, unless you read my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide. Weaver was born on this date in 1893 in Charlotte, North Carolina (just a month older than Dorothy Parker, another poet in the Vicious Circle). I found his life fascinating and a lot of fun to write about. Practically nobody has Continue Reading →

The Mysterious Soldier, Andrew Joseph Basso

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 6 Name: Andrew Joseph Basso Act: None Born: 16 November 1892, New York City Died: 22 March 1943, New York City There is only one gravestone in the National Vaudeville Association plot that was given by the Veterans Administration, the federal agency that provides official monuments for U.S. servicemen and women. This is for Andrew Joseph Basso, and his tie to vaudeville and show business can’t be confirmed. Basso was born Continue Reading →

Sad Demise of Dorothy Parker’s Uncle on the Titanic

The sinking of the RMS Titanic 103 years ago next month is a milestone never forgotten. The disaster also had a huge impact on the life of Dorothy Parker, who lost her uncle in the tragedy at sea, an event that in some small way contributed to the declining health of her father. Reading the stories about the Titanic and the aftermath in New York City, it’s not hard to picture an 18-year-old Dorothy Rothschild Continue Reading →

Incredible 1920s Documentary Discovered

A new video surfaced recently that’s just sensational to watch for anyone that adores the 1920s and the Algonquin Round Table era. It is called New York in the Twenties, and first aired on American TV in 1961. This has to be one of the best videos of the era. The amount of home movies found in the piece is amazing. Among the 1920s celebrities included in it are Heywood Broun, Enrico Caruso, Charlie Chaplin, Continue Reading →

1927 Heywood Broun Letter

In 1927 Heywood Broun was among the highest-paid columnists in the city. His column, “It Seems to Me” in the World ran opposite Franklin P. Adams’ “The Conning Tower” on the “Opposite Editorial” page. Broun ran afoul of World publisher Ralph Pulitzer for repeatedly writing about the Sacco-Vanzetti case. The breaking point came when Pulitzer cancelled Broun’s column and suspended him. Broun subsequently wrote to Herbert Bayard Swope, who not only was the World’s colorful Continue Reading →

Don’t Forget Jane Grant When Worshiping The New Yorker

Everyone is jumping up and down to celebrate (well, the nerds I follow), about The New Yorker turning 90 today. In every story Jane Grant gets left out. In my book and on my walking tour I say what her husband, Harold Ross, said: without her there’d be no magazine today. My book lays it out. But I truly believe if he’d started the magazine with a man, like a brother or partner, it would Continue Reading →