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Things Found in Books: Dorothy Parker Obituary, 1967


A lucky Boston woman found this copy of Dorothy Parker’s 1967 obituary from the Kansas City Times tucked inside a secondhand book – the book being a copy of Enough Rope, Parker’s first poetry collection. Just another wonderful item to add to the list of things found in books – along with bacon, teeth, money, photographs and so much more.

Full text of the obituary reproduced below.

Dorothy Parker of Witty Pen Dies

NEW YORK (AP) – Dorothy Parker, the versatile writer and humorist, died yesterday at the age of 74. She was a poet, short-story writer, screen writer, drama critic and literary critic. And yet she was probably best known as the author of the witty couplet: “Men seldom make passes, at girls who wear glasses.”

Short Review of Play
Once, reviewing a performance of Katherine Hepburn on Broadway, Miss Pwarker wrote: “She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.”

Miss Parker died at an East 74th Street hotel, where she resided.

Alexander Woollcott once described Miss Parker, with her big brown eyes, and her hair in bangs, as “a blend of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth.”

To which she retorted: “Alec was wrong. I was neither as appealing as the one nor as smart as the other.”

She was a member of the Round Table club of the Algonquin Hotel, where she traded witticisms with such as Wollcott, Robert Benchley, Heywood Broun, Franklin P. Adams and other literary lights of the 1920s and 1930s.

On her 70th birthday anniversary, Miss Parker said: “If I had any decency, I’d be dead. Most of my friends are.”

Miss Parker’s reputation as a caustic wit irked her at times, and she once said: “I want to be taken seriously as a short story writer.” She achieved her aim in 1929 when she won the O. Henry short story award.

Educated in Convent

Born Dorothy Rothschild in West End, N.J., she was reared in New York and educated in convent schools. Her father was Jewish and her mother was of Scottish descent.

She was married to Edwin Pond Parker II in 1917, just a few days before he sailed for France in World War I. They were divorced in 1928, but she retained his name as her pen name.

In 1933, she was married to actor Alan Campbell, who abandoned the stage to become a successful writer and collaborator with her on several motion picture scenarious. They were divorced in 1947, but remarried in 1950. He died in 1963.

Miss Parker never had children.

She began writing poetry in the convent and her first job was writing picture captions for the magazine Vogue. In 1917, she became drama critic for Vanity Fair. From there she went to the New Yorker magazine as drama critic and later literary critic.

via Brainpickings

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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