Official Business — September 5, 2011, 11:55 am

Harper’s Contributors at the Ransom Center

door400h
The Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which possesses one of the most impressive literary archives in the United States, has an exhibition opening this week focused on an interesting set of signatures from Manhattan’s literary scene during the early 1920s:

“The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door: A Portal to Bohemia, 1920–1925 uses an unusual artifact, Frank Shay’s bookshop door signed by over 240 writers, artists, actors, and publishers, to recreate the intersecting communities that made the Village an epicenter of American modernism.”

The Ransom Center pointed out to us the names of four Harper’s Magazine contributors who signed the door. Harry Hansen and Scudder Middleton only wrote a handful of Harper’s pieces between them, but the other two, Ben Ray Redman and Mary Heaton Vorse were frequent contributors. Subscribers can read their pieces by following the links above. For everyone, a taste of Scudder’s verse:

OVERHEAD

WHEN you and I are laid away
    In little boxes under grass,
What will the townsmen say of us
    When overhead they smile and pass?
 
“She was a lovely, quiet thing
    Who kept her house so neat and gay.
She was as much in love with life
    As she is satisfied to-day.”
 
“He was the brightest man we had;
    He kept us laughing till he died.
It seemed he only had to speak,
    And we would chuckle at his side.”
 
Then you and I will rap the boards
    And call in language of the dead—
But there’ll be nothing we can do
    To stop that chatter overhead.
 

harpersnames

 

All of the Harper’s writers represented on the door, you’ll note, have superbly literary names — surpassed only, perhaps, by those of their fellow signatories Bosworth Crocker, Rutger Bleecker Jewett, and Egmont Arens. As for the most outlandish name on the door, “John Dos Passos,” we seriously doubt such a person existed.

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Official Business March 17, 2015, 4:01 am

Radio Hustle

Listen to the broadcast version of “American Hustle,” Alexandra Starr’s story, for the April 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, about how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes.

Official Business January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm

The Art of Outrage

We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.

Memento Mori September 2, 2014, 5:33 pm

Charles Bowden (1945–2014)

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

June 2015

Loitering With Intent

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Polite Coup

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Findings

What Went Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Shooting Down Man the Hunter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

[Browsings]
“Here, a long finger of snow replaced by gray patches of dirt and rock; there, a grayish blob of ice the texture of corduroy, where once a vibrant white patch of snow lay.”
Photograph by the author
Article
Legends of the Lost·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“A bond with reality has gone, and sometimes you wonder whether that fosters our feeling that movies are a fleeting art.”
Photograph by Alexander Perrelli
Article
What Went Wrong·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In the seventh year of his presidency, Barack Obama was presenting himself as a politician who followed the path of least resistance. This is a disturbing confession.”
Photograph by Pete Souza
Article
Surviving a Failed Pregnancy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If this woman — who spent her days studying gray screens for early signs of gestation — could not see my pregnancy, what were the chances that anyone else would?”
Illustration by Leigh Wells
Article
Interesting Facts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My husband is forty-six. I am forty-five. He does not think that, in my forties, after cancer, chemotherapy, and chemically induced menopause, I can get pregnant again, but sisters, I know my womb. It’s proven.”
Photograph by McNair Evans

Number of British women killed last fall by lightning conducted through their underwire bras:

2

British women wear heels for fifty-one years on average, from the ages of twelve to sixty-three.

Thousands of employees of McDonald’s protested outside the company’s headquarters near Chicago, demanding their wages be increased to $15 per hour. “I can’t afford any shoes,” said one employee in attendance, “and I want Versace heels.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today