In his eight decades, Sadakichi Hartmann fried eggs with Walt Whitman, discussed verse with Stéphane Mallarmé, and drank with John Barrymore, who once described him as “a living freak presumably sired by Mephistopheles out of Madame Butterfly.”
Critic, poet, novelist, playwright, dancer, actor, and swaggering egotist, Hartmann might lift your watch
He wrote near the end that his life was divided into four rivers: writing, theater, body, and action. He memorialized all of it through photographs. Some were conventional. When Yukio Mishima came to New York with his wife for a belated honeymoon in 1960, they were photographed on the Staten Island ferry and before the Manhattan skyline, like any tourist couple.
On May 15, 1877, fifty thousand people marched to Central Park’s Mall to dedicate J. Wilson MacDonald’s statue of a great poet. The National Guard escorted the dignitaries: the Cabinet, the Army’s general-in-chief, the governor, the mayor. Brass bands thumped away until 3:00 PM. Then the venerable William Cullen Bryant
In 1928 Herbert Asbury published The Gangs of New York, his masterwork on 19th century New York’s virile young ruffians. That same year Herbert R. Mayes published Alger: A Biography Without a Hero, the first biography of Horatio Alger Jr., whose works–countless moralizing books for boys–presented his view of the
In 1910, Albert Jay Nock, then forty, joined the American Magazine. His writings, unusually good, were his best credential. Otherwise, no one knew much about him. Writing about Thomas Jefferson years later, he would characterize him as “the most approachable and the most impenetrable of men, easy and delightful of