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

October 2016

Psychedelic Trap

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Hamilton Cult

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Held Back

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Division Street

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Innocents

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quiet Car

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Hamilton Cult·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
Illustration by Jimmy Turrell
Article
Division Street·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Perfectly sane people lose access to housing every day, though the resultant ordeal may undermine some of that sanity, as it might yours and mine."
Photograph © Robert Gumpert
Article
Held Back·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"'We don’t know where the money went!' a woman cried out. 'They looted it! They stole our money!'"
Artwork by Mischelle Moy
Article
The Quiet Car·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

Photograph by Joshua Lutz
Article
Innocents·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
Photograph © Nadia Shira Cohen

Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):

37

Beer does not cause beer bellies.

Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”

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