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 →

Celina De Dio and Her Dog and Pony Show

Kensico Vaudeville Project #14 Name: Celina De Dio Act: Animal Trainer Born: About 1872, Germany Died: 12 November 1935, Wards Island, Manhattan A dog and pony show is such a common colloquial term today. But this was the act of German-born performer Celina De Dio. After a short career in London variety halls as a dancer, De Dio became an animal trainer. She was always on the bottom tier of vaudeville. For ten years she 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 →

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 →

Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates

The Kensico Vaudeville Project was launched in 2015. After a break it will return with updates in 2017-2018. This project is to document the vaudeville performers who are interred in the National Vaudeville Association burial grounds in Kensico Cemetery in Westchester County. These are individuals who have biographies written so far. More will be added to this list. Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates: Nettie Kelley Adams – Singer Charles Ahearn – Cyclist Anna Bylund Anderson – 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 →

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 →

Publication Day: The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide

I’m happy to say that today my sixth book comes out, The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide. I started writing it in 2010, but put it aside because there were so many changes taking place on the Island. If it had come out a few years ago, it would already have been out of date. But thanks to my editor at Globe Pequot, Amy Lyons, we got the book completed in near-record time. I’m glad the Continue Reading →

Veterans Day Walking Tour at Cypress Hills National Cemetery

Veterans Day is on Wednesday, Nov. 11, but I am holding a walking tour on Sunday, Nov. 8, Noon, to honor the holiday. Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills National Cemetery is the only National Cemetery in New York City. I started going there in 2010 when I was researching my Governors Island book. In 1886, the U.S. Army closed the post cemetery that served Fort Columbus (today Fort Jay), and moved all of the graves to Cypress Continue Reading →

When Harold Ross Chastised Frank Sullivan

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letter from Harold RossLetter from Harold Ross of The New Yorker to Frank Sullivan, both were Vicious Circle members. What I find ironic is now The New Yorker will use this language regularly. He also mentions John O’Hara.

This is some of the research from my new book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide (Lyons Press).