Peek Into Literary New York In The 1920s

In a TV segment from the ’60s, Walter Cronkite & co. interview a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a longtime editor of the New York Herald Tribune, and Alfred A. Knopf himself.

1. Marc Connelly, a playwright and member of the Algonquin Round Table, says of the ’20s, “It was the New York of writers and other creative people.”

Connelly says outsiders thought the Algonquin Round Table was “a mutual admiration society.”

“It was anything but that,” he says. “Because I promise you, the worst pannings any of us received for our books or our plays came from the critical friends who were members of that group.”

2. Dorothy Parker, he says, was “then making a name for herself by the brilliance, skill, and the beauty of her poetry.”

3. Connelly decribes Alexander Woolcott as “searing, acid, rude. I used to feel sometimes his only exercise was rancor.”

4. On Harold Ross, founding editor of The New Yorker: “There was a speculation about Ross’ hair. It was very high,” Connelly says.

PECULIAR.

5. Watch the whole thing (and see footage of Alfred A. Knopf, Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene O’Neill playing with his baby, and more):

NOTE: No mention of the Harlem Renaissance. Kinda showing your hand there, Walter Cronkite.

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