WWI Centennial Countdown Begins with Private C. LeRoy Baldridge Art

In thirty days is the centennial of American entry in World War I on April 6. To mark the occasion, beginning today I am going to post a daily countdown with a different sketch by Private C. LeRoy Baldridge. He was a sketch artist in the war and his work was widely distributed. I am going to post these images daily until April 6 on my Tumbler, Twitter, and Facebook Page. Here is a little Continue Reading →

An Acting Family’s Tragedy, Alfred Bardelang, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #13 Name: Alfred Bardelang, Jr. Act: None Born: March 1929 Died: 4 February 1934 The little boy would have been the fifth generation of his family to enter the theatrical profession. However, tragedy struck the family of Alfred Bardelang, Jr. He died at just four years and five months old. His twin brother only lived to be two and 1/2. Alfred Jr. was the progeny of two actors. His father, Alfred Sr., Continue Reading →

Governors Island WWI Memorial Project Launches

Last summer I started work on a project that is small in scope but means a lot to me. Today I submitted the final grant application information to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for what I am calling the Governors Island World War I Memorial Project. Last year when my book The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide was published I was not done with the island, which is by far my favorite park in Continue Reading →

Charles Clair, English Dramatic Actor

Kensico Vaudeville Project #12 Name: Charles Clair Act: Actor Born: 2 February 1871, London Died: 12 Oct 1939, Brooklyn Actor Charles Frederick Clair was born 2 February 1871 in London. He emigrated to the United States when he was 21. He arrived in New York on 11 April 1892 aboard the City of Berlin from Liverpool. His name appears as both Clair and Claire in billings; Clair is on his immigration application. Clair married a Continue Reading →

I Unearth 1933 Radio Show with George Gershwin, Kitty Carlisle, Richy Craig, Jr.

About five years ago I bought a tape on eBay of an NBC radio show from 1933 because it had Heywood Broun and Deems Taylor as guests. Both were members of the Algonquin Round Table, and I was obsessively acquiring as much ephemera as I could. A lot of the material went into my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide (Lyons Press, 2015). But a lot of it did not. After Continue Reading →

Dorothy Parker Reviews the Ziegfeld Follies

On Saturday I debuted my W.C. Fields History Walking Tour as part of Fields Fest, a 6-week celebration of the life of the great comedian. Dorothy Parker was a huge fan of Fields. In my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide, I was really happy to be able to include a photo of Parker and Fields together. One of the parts of the tour I wanted to do, but didn’t for Continue Reading →

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, First 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 →