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

May 2016

Fighting Chance

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Front Runner

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Habits of Highly Cynical People

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Unhackable

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

American Imperium

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Elisabeth Zerofsky on Marine Le Pen, Paul Wachter on the quest for an unhackable email, Rebecca Solnit on cynical people, Andrew J. Bacevich on truth and fiction in the age of war, Samuel James photographs E.P.L. soccer, a story by Vince Passaro, and more

I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Front Runner·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The F.N. asked to be sent to an institution whose legitimacy it did not accept, and French voters rewarded the party with first place in the election."
Illustration (detail) by Matthew Richardson
Memoir
I Am Your Conscious, I Am Love·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A paean 2 Prince
"And one thinks, Looking into Prince's eyes must be like looking at the world."
Photo ©© PeterTea
Article
Stop Hillary!·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"As wacky as it sometimes appears on the surface, American politics has an amazing stability and continuity about it."
Article
Plexiglass·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Photograph (detail) by Karine Laval

Average number of pounds of pennies in an American home:

6

There were new reports of cannibalism in North Korea.

The Finnish postal service announced it will begin mowing lawns on Tuesdays.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today