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If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
- Dottie just being Dottie

Dorothy Parker: Spirit Of The Age

Dottie Parker

Dorothy Parker was one of the most successful and influential women writers of her era. Dorothy Rothschild was born on August 22, 1893 in West End, N.J. Her mother was Scottish and her father Jewish. She was "a late unexpected arrival in a loveless family". At the age of four her mother died. Her father remarried and Dorothy's home life was strained and distant at best. She was educated in private schools in N.J. and N.Y.C. Dorothy suffered two tragedies as a young woman. Her brother Henry died aboard the Titanic and a year later her father passed away. Dorothy moved to New York City in 1911 where she lived in a boarding house and worked as a piano player at a dance school. At the age of 21 she began submitting her writing to various magazines and papers. Her poem "Any Porch" was accepted and published by Vanity Fair. A few months later she was hired by Vogue, a sister publication of Vanity Fair. While working at Vogue her submissions to Vanity Fair continued to be published. After two years of working at Vogue she was transferred to Vanity Fair. In 1917 she married Edwin Pond Parker II, a Wall St. stock broker from a distinguished family and a recent enlistee into the US Army. Eventually her husband was called to duty overseas  The marriage only lasted a brief time, but now she was Mrs. Dorothy Parker. At Vanity Fair she became New York's only female drama critic at the time. In the spring of 1919 she was invited to the Algonquin Hotel because of her connections at Vanity Fair and her reputation as a drama critic. This was the beginning of the famous Algonquin Round Table, an renowned intellectual literary circle.Dorothy was the only female founding member. It brought together such writers as Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood, James Thurber, George Kaufman and many others. Dorothy was still writing for Vanity Fair but her reviews were becoming increasingly sarcastic and unfavorable. She was fired from the magazine in 1921. To earn money she began writing subtitles for a movie by D.W. Griffith

a nice drawing of Dottie

Dorothy soon found another job at the magazine Ainslee's where she could be as sarcastic, bitchy, and witty as she pleased. In 1922 she wrote her first short story - "Such a Pretty Little Picture" - this was the beginning of her literary career. In January of 1924 Dorothy divorced and moved into the Algonquin Hotel. She began writing plays; "Close Harmony" was her first. The first issue of The New Yorker was published in early 1925 and Dorothy contributed drama reviews and poetry for the first few issues. In February of 1926 she set off for Paris, but continued contributing articles to the New Yorker and Life. While in France she befriended Ernest Hemingway; surprisingly, considering his male chauvinist attitudes. Dorothy returned to New York in November. Her first book of poetry, "Enough Rope", was published and received favorable reviews as well ad being a commercial success. In 1927 she became very involved in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial. She traveled to Boston to join the protests against the execution of two innocent men. During the protest she was arrested but refused to travel in the paddy wagon, insisting on walking to jail. She was a committed socialist from this day until her death.

In October Dorothy became the book reviewer for the The New Yorker Magazine, under the title "The Constant Reader". In February of 1929 Dorothy's short story "The Big Blonde" was published and she won the prestigious O. Henry award for the best short story of the year. That same year Dorothy began doing screen writing in Hollywood. She moved to Hollywoodbecause she needed the money and was offered a contract by MGM. Dorothy wrote many screenplays over the next decade. In 1933 she once again traveled to Europe where she met her second husband Alan Campbell. He was also of Scottish-Jewish descent, and a rumored bisexual. They became screen writing partners and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in 1935. In 1936 she helped found the Anti Nazi League. In 1937 Dorothy won an academy award for her joint screenplay of "A Star is Born".

Throughout the 1940's Dorothy continued writing prose and short stories along with screenplays. She was widely published in many magazines and Viking released an anthology of her short stories and prose. In 1949 she divorced Alan Campbell, but later they remarried.

In the 1950's she was called before the House on un-American Activities and pleaded the first instead of the fifth, still refusing to name any names. In 1952-1953 testimony was given against her before the HUAC. From 1957-1963 she worked as a book reviewer for Esquire magazine. In 1959 she was inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was a distinguished Visiting Professor of English at California State College in L.A. In 1964 she published her final magazine piece in November's issue of Esquire.

On June 7, 1967, she was found dead of a heart attack in her room at Hotel Volney in New York City. She bequeathed her entire literary estate to the NAACP, and after much legal wrangling and indecision her cremated remains were buried at the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore.

Dorothy Parker

Dorothy With Hat.jpg

what you are hearing is
Dottie herself, at the age of 70,
reading her poem, Men

press cuttings of the times
showing Dottie and the rest
of  The Round Table

the Wikipedia entry
and a very extensive
one it is too. complete
with a recording of Dottie
herself, reading her poem

inwhich our Dottie plans
to make a purchase, but
other priorities get in the way
brought to you by the
Cabanon Press

here are thirty-one poems
by Dorothy Parker, again read by
Dottie herself. these recordings
were made when Dottie was
approaching seventy-one

You'll need this to hear Dottie
you'll need this to hear Dottie

the official website of the
Dorothy Parker Society of New York
Dorothy Parker's New York, aka
Dot City, was launched in 1998 to
create something unique online: a
site devoted to Dorothy Parker's
life in New York. The award-winning
writer and peerless wit was a
quintessential New Yorker.

some of those oh so familiar
bon motsfrom that oh
so familiar voice

Daily Intelligencer, August 22, 1936
photograph of Dorothy Parker and
Alan Campbell. Courtesy of the
Spruance Collection of the
Bucks County Historical Society

Dottie @ 50

Dorothy Parker was 50 years old when George Platt Lynes took this portrait in 1943. The Round Table had been disbanded for more than a dozen years, her husband was away in the Army, and Dottie was living in Hollywood.

Dottie @ 50

another photograph taken by
George Platt Lynes

related internet links

author Marion Meade captures
this exuberant group portrait of
four extraordinary writers -
Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald,
Edna St. Vincent Millay, and
Edna Ferber whose loves, lives,
and literary endeavors captured
the spirit of the 1920s.

The Algonquin Hotel is best known,
perhaps, for the members of the
Round Table, a group of luminaries
who had in common both the ability to
fire blazing witticisms and to withstand
being on the receiving end of them.
The tone they set during their
daily meetings set the literary style of
the 1920's

how's bayeux?

a grand tradition at a grand hotel

an oasis of calm amid
the hustle and bustle
the legend continues

now, in case you're wondering
about this.....well obviously you
don't know as much about
Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley
as you thought you did.

"I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things."
- Dorothy Parker on the subject of quotations