Frank Norris Remembered
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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List of Illustrations
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For services of vari ous kinds, all of which immeasurably contributed to our re-search, we thank the following: Anthony bliss, curator, rare books and Library collections, and susan snyder, head, Public services, The bancroft Library, Uni-versity of california, berke ley; sara s. Hodson, curator, Literary manuscripts, natalie russell, library assistant for Literary manuscripts, and Lita Garcia, manu-...
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...1889 Sees publication of his first article, “Clothes of Steel”; 1902 Birth of daughter Jeannette “Billy” norris; a version of ...
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When the distressing news of the premature death of Frank Norris reached his uncle in Lincoln, Nebraska, on No vem ber 22, 1902, William Alfred Doggett delivered a brief summary of his impressions of his nephew as a youth to a re-porter: “The boy was inclined to be melancholy. At times he was full of activity and animal spirits, but ordinarily he was slow and thoughtful” (“Lincoln Man” ...
Part 1. Childhood and Youth: Chicago, San Francisco, and Paris, 1870–90
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Frank Norris’s infancy and youth, spent amid sumptuous surroundings in Chi-cago, are documented in census reports, academic catalogs, city directories, school texts, newspaper articles, personal books, church records, and even dance pro-grams. He was clearly born to the manner. But aside from meager comments by his mother’s older brother William Doggett, who lived several hundred miles ...
1. Philip King Brown
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A native Californian, Philip King Brown (1869–1940) was a member of the first class to graduate in 1886 from Belmont School for Boys, which Frank Norris also attended for a short time in 1885. Belmont’s founder, William Thomas Reid (1843–1922), a former teacher at Boys’ High School in San Francisco, retired as president of the University of California and opened the semimilitary institution ...
2. Louis W. Neustadter
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As a boy, Louis William Neustadter (1873–1968), whose family were wealthy members of San Francisco’s Jewish community, lived at 1701 Van Ness Avenue, just around the corner from Norris’s family. When he was only eighteen, Neu-stadter entered employment at his father’s firm, Neustadter Brothers, purveyors of fine men’s furnishings, and later became a prominent civic leader in the Bay Area....
3. Charles G. Norris
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The unexpected death from diphtheria of their brother, Albert Lester Norris (1877–1887), in part accounts for a closeness between Norris and his surviving brother, Charles Gilman Norris (1881–1945), that under more normal circum-stance would most likely not have obtained: with eleven years between them the two surely had little in common. But Norris seems genuinely to have cared ...
4. Ernest C. Peixotto
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Possibly Norris’s oldest friend, Ernest Clifford Peixotto (1869–1945) met him when they were both students at the California School of Design in 1886. A mu-tual love of horses led them to the Presidio, where they spent hours perfecting the rudiments of drawing from life by sketching them there. Nor did their budding friendship end when Norris left San Francisco the next year to continue his artis-...
5. M. C. Sloss
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Like Peixotto and Neustadter, Marcus Cauffman Sloss (1869–1958) was a mem-ber of one of San Francisco’s prominent Jewish families. First acquainted with Norris at Belmont School for Boys, where he was in its first graduating class, Sloss later consorted with Norris at gatherings of both the group of bons vivants known as Les Jeunes and the Bohemian Club, which Sloss joined in 1893, a ...
Part 2. College Years: Berkeley and Cambridge, 1890–95
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As formative of Norris’s character as his childhood, if not more so, were his col-lege years at the University of California. There he embarked on a fairly tradi-tional four- year course of study followed by a year at Harvard College, with nei ther experience resulting in a degree. Nevertheless, if the recollections of fraternity brothers, college classmates, and university professors can be trusted, he bene-...
6. Thomas R. Bacon
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As an associate professor at the University of California and former Congrega-tionalist minister, Thomas Rutherford Bacon (1850–1913) taught Norris in four history courses, in none of which he distinguished himself, receiving a 2 or B as a sec ond- semester sophomore in Nineteenth- Century History, a 3 or C the previous semester in European History, a 4 or D in English History, taken the ...
7. Louis Bartlett
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Louis de Fontenay Bartlett (1872–1960), though he only knew Norris slightly at Berke ley, seems, like many of those who came in contact with him during his college years, nonetheless to have remembered him, and not just in passing. What is interesting about Bartlett’s unsolicited letter to Walker is that having just completed a reading of Walker’s biography of Norris, Bartlett would take ...
8. Gelett Burgess
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Although an instructor in topographical drawing at the University of California (1891–94) when Norris first met him, Frank Gelett Burgess (1866–1951) in many ways acted the part of student rather than faculty member. His diaries re cord frequent late- night dinners with vari ous students, “hours of nonsense” with oth-ers, visits to the Phi Gamma Delta house on several occasions, and icono clastic ...
9. Eleanor M. Davenport
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Norris had much in common with Eleanor Mack Davenport (1874–1941): they both began their studies at the University of California as “special” students, meaning that they had not yet declared a course of study; both eagerly sought the rewards of an active college social life; and both manifested an interest in things literary. While Davenport was a year behind Norris, the friendship they ...
10. Stanly A. Easton
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Stanly Alexander Easton (1873–1961) graduated from the University of Cali-fornia in 1894. In different college fraternities—Easton, like Hull McClaughry and Frank M. Todd, was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon—Norris and Easton seldom crossed paths socially in college, but they would certainly have known each other and not merely because the student body of the University of Cali-...
11. George C. Edwards
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George Cunningham Edwards (1852–1930) was the last of a trio of professors at the University of California who wrote tributes to their former student, immedi-ately following his death; of these only his and that by Thomas R. Bacon qualify as reminiscences, while in the third William D. Armes treats Norris’s literary output rather than his life (Crisler 1997, 81–83). Although Norris failed algebra ...
12. Wallace W. Everett
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As a freshman Fiji during Norris’s senior year at Berke ley, a writer for Sunset ex-tolling the virtues of motoring in such far- flung locales as north ern California and the Rhine Valley, a publisher of an esoteric newspaper with the unlikely title of Lumber Journal, and a fruiterer in California’s famed Napa Valley, Wallace Washburn Everett (1875–1943) seems a curious source for an article on Norris’s ...
13. George Gibbs
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Unlike the majority of Norris’s classmates at the University of California, George Gibbs (1871–?) hailed not from California but from the Midwest, listing Chi-cago as his hometown at his graduation from the university in 1895. Owner of Gibbs Steel Company in Milwaukee (“Ode on a Grecian Yearn” 1963, 17), he first worked in Chicago, where during Norris’s research for The Pit he attempted ...
14. Ralph L. Hathorn
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Having been impressed with Norris when the two first met in De cem ber 1890, during Norris’s first semester at Berke ley (see Everett, chapter 12 this volume), Ralph LaForest Hathorn (1870–1943) attempted to generate enthusiasm for his election to Phi Gamma Delta. Failing to muster enough support for his candidate, Hathorn continued his campaign with ultimate success, when Norris pledged ...
15. Albert J. Houston
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Possessed of funds ample enough to dress like a fashionable boulevardier, increas-ingly successful as a writer of both serious and more whimsical works, a favorite with not only his fellow Fijis but also students generally, liked by many professors even when he did not fare well in some of their courses, Norris cut a broad swath at the University of California, but the popu larity he enjoyed did not prevent ...
16. H. Hull McClaughry
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Different in many ways, Harry Hull McClaughry (1870–?) and Norris nonethe-less developed a vital friendship in college. A year ahead of Norris, McClaughry, as captain of Cadet Company A, evidently approached Berke ley’s military sci-ence requirement more seriously than did his friend. President of his class dur-ing the sec ond semester of his senior year, he also took greater interest in col-...
17. Ariana Moore
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One of fewer than twenty- five women in Norris’s college class, Ariana Moore (1870–1963) from Carpinteria, California, entered the university in the liter-ary course of study. A scholar of some distinction, she received a Phebe Hearst Scholarship, one of two given in 1894, the year the award was established by Phebe Apperson Hearst (1842–1919), the philanthropic feminist perhaps better ...
18. Jessica B. Peixotto
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Although Jessica Blanche Peixotto (1864–1941) was several years older than Nor-ris, she did not enter college until 1891, a year after him. As a young woman, she had followed her family’s suggestion that she not pursue further education be-yond high school, but her acquaintance with Norris, friend of her brother Ernest, soon radically changed her thinking as well as her later career, when he convinced ...
19. Harry W. Rhodes
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Like many of Norris’s friends in college, Harry Willet Rhodes (1870–1947) be-longed to Norris’s fraternity, which provided a ready field in which an associa-tion between them could take firm root. Rhodes’s recollection of a limerick Nor-ris wrote in one of “Uncle Joe” Le Conte’s classes preserves an early example of his playful wit. As a civil engineering major, Rhodes had little literary inclina-...
20. Leon J. Richardson
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While Leon Josiah Richardson (1868–1964) never officially taught Norris at Berke ley, as a teaching assistant he of ten acted as a substitute instructor in courses taught by his cousin, George Morey Richardson (1859–1896), from whom Norr is took three courses in Latin, two as a freshman and the last as a sopho more, in all of which he received a 3 or C (see Norris’s transcript, University Archives n.d.). ...
21. Maurice V. Samuels
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A member of Norris’s class at Berke ley, Maurice Victor Samuels (1873–1945) was one of his few friends not in Phi Gamma Delta. As recalled by Charles Norris, Samuels, Norris, and Myron Wolf were together so much as freshmen on cam-pus that their classmates dubbed them the Three Guardsmen, an allusion to Du-mas’s The Three Musketeers. Samuels, a member of the university’s newest frater-...
22. Edward A. Selfridge Jr.
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Both Edward Augustus Selfridge Jr. (1872–1936) and Norris pledged Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity at the end of their freshman year in college. Selfridge, who be gan his association with the military as a student at the university, eventually being promoted to cadet lieutenant colonel, was also a member of the Banjo Club and Skull and Keys, acting in the latter society’s production of Minstrels, for which ...
23. Frank M. Todd
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Probably Norris’s most articulate classmate was Frank Morton Todd (1871–1940). Although not members of the same fraternity—like Hull McClaughry and Stanly Easton, Todd was in Delta Kappa Epsilon—they shared interests at Berke ley, for Todd was editor- in- chief of the 1894 Blue and Gold for which Norris served as an artist, both were founding members of Skull and Keys, both ...
24. Seymour Waterhouse
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Norris’s first roommate in the Fiji house at Berke ley was Seymour Water house (1871–1949). Waterhouse, a serious student, graciously performed the role of straight man to Norris’s more exuberant japes, in the process acquiring a variety of nicknames, two of which Norris himself originated, “Doodle” (see Selfridge, chapter 22, this volume), which Waterhouse in turn bestowed on his daughter, ...
25. Benjamin Weed
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With a common interest in literature generally and drama in particular, Benjamin Weed (1869–1941) and Norris could easily have been natural college comrades. Yet such was not the case. Although Weed was not one of Norris’s intimates, both served as class officers during their junior year, Weed as president and Norris as historian, both worked with The Berke leyan—Weed was its first editor and ...
26. Harry M. Wright
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One of Norris’s earliest friends, their friendship dating from their student days at San Francisco Boys’ High School, was Harry Manville Wright (1872–1947). Wright, a member of Phi Gamma Delta, Skull and Keys, and the editorial board of The Berke leyan, was a proverbial big man on campus: he attained the highest rank among student cadets, leading them as colonel; garnered his class’s medal; ...
Part 3. Apprenticeship: San Francisco and South Africa, 1895–98
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Seven contributors afford insights into Norris’s relatively brief literary appren-ticeship during which he doggedly pursued his craft as a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, writer and assistant editor for The Wave in San Fran-cisco, and novelist whose Moran of the Lady Letty first appeared serially in the same weekly magazine. Most important among these contributions is, naturally, ...
27. John O. Cosgrave
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Norris first met John O’Hara Cosgrave (1866–1947) at the end of 1891 when he began submitting some of his earliest work to The Wave, then owned and ed-ited by Cosgrave, who had previously been on the staff of the Alta Californian under the flamboyant and outspoken John Powell Irish (1843–1923) and later a reporter for the San Francisco Call. Their early association soon blossomed ...
28. Porter Garnett
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Under normal circumstances Norris and Kennedy Porter Garnett (1871–1951) might have been poised to become great friends rather than merely acquaintances who moved in similar circles and thus had other friends in common. For as an artist, writer, fine printer, librarian, illustrator, and bookbinder, Garnett clearly embraced many pursuits that had also appealed to a young Norris. But by the ...
29. Will Irwin
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While William Henry Irwin (1873–1948) and Norris met only once and thus could hardly be termed friends or perhaps even acquaintances, Irwin, by his own admission in a brief note to Jeannette when Norris died, felt great admira-tion for Norris as both writer and man. Irwin had good reason to admire Norris, for his first employment after he left Stanford in 1898 was on The Wave where ...
30. Bailey Millard
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In his extensive memoir Frank Bailey Millard (1859–1941) neglects to mention the first interaction he and Norris had, when in January 1897 Norris responded to Millard, then “Literary Editor” of the San Francisco Examiner, who had writ-ten a three- part series discussing possible candidates for the honor of the “great Ameri can novel.” In his response Norris suggests two possibilities, Ben Hur (1880) ...
31. Jeannette Norris
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As members of San Francisco society’s upper crust, Norris and his future wife, Jeannette Williamson Black (1878–1952), should have had ample opportunity to meet each other long before they did in the fall of 1896, though an eight- year difference in their ages easily accounts for this. What Jeannette characterizes as “a mild flirtation,” the lighthearted courtship Norris chronicles in the autobio-...
32. Bruce Porter
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To term Bruce (Edmund Cushman) Porter (1865–1953) a Renaissance man hardly stretches the truth, for as a painter, stained glass artist, landscape archi-tect and designer, art critic, writer, sculptor, muralist, decorator, and aesthete, he involved himself in much of the artistic life of San Francisco for several de-cades. Along with Norris, Gelett Burgess, and many of their friends and acquain-...
33. Bertha Rickoff
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A self- styled journalist—on the 1920 census she listed her occupation as “writer” for a “magazine”—Bertha Monroe Rickoff (1862–?) proved more a nemesis for Norris and at least one of his fraternity brothers, Harry M. Wright, than a friend (see Crisler 1986, 75–76). Her claim of confidante to Gertrude may indeed have been true, however, for in her interview with Walker she manifests a knowledge ...
Part 4. Professional Years: New York, Cuba, Chicago, and San Francisco, 1898–1902
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When Norris left San Francisco in the late winter of 1898, ostensibly to report on Mardi Gras in New Orleans but, of more personal consequence, to visit Jean-nette, then studying at Monticello Female Seminary in Godfrey, Illinois, he had little idea that his departure from his sec ond home state would be permanent. Such proved the case, however, as an offer for full- time employment with S. S. ...
34. James F. J. Archibald
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Journalist James Francis Jewel Archibald (1871–1934) did not attend the Uni-versity of California with Norris but had made his acquaintance by, at the lat-est, 1893 when he was with members of the Norris family in Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition. While his relationship with Norris continued after 1898, its most important phase occurred when they traveled together in ...
35. Raine Bennett
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During his long life Raine E. Bennett (1891–1981) was a reporter, editor, play-wright, poet, and radio journalist. Born in San Francisco to John E. Bennett (1863–?), an attorney, and his wife, Emma J. (1862–?), he founded the West ern Arts Association there, worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, and edited Bohemian Magazine, before eventually moving to New York, where he continued his ...
36. Dulce Bolado Davis
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Having acquired by 1867 nearly 100,000 acres of Quien Sabe and Santa Ana, adjoining land- grant ranchos in San Benito County, California, Joaquin Bolado (1822–1894) lost little time in creating Santa Anita Ranch out of them, which his only daughter, Julia Dulce Bolado Ashe Davis (1873–1952), inherited. Beau-tiful, elegant, intelligent, gracious, Dulce, then married to Gaston M. Ashe, ...
37. Frank N. Doubleday
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Frank Nelson Doubleday (1862–1934) ended his relationship with the book and magazine publishing firm of Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1897 to cofound with S. S. McClure the Doubleday & McClure Co. By late 1899, however, they had dissolved their partnership, and Doubleday formed a new company with former Atlantic Monthly and Houghton, Mifflin editor, Walter Hines Page. Norris too ...
38. Hamlin Garland
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Hamlin Hannibal Garland (1860–1940) was a novelist, short story writer, and literary critic. In the late nineteenth century he was a high- profile representative of the Realistic school of Ameri can authors and an advocate of Local Color writ-ing dedicated to the truthful (rather than sentimental) depiction of regional life. In both his novel Rose of Dutcher’s Coolly (1895) and collection of stories titled ...
39. Arthur Goodrich
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Arthur Frederick Goodrich (1878–1941), an honor graduate of Columbia Univer-sity in 1899, would later become a successful novelist and playwright. He made Norris’s acquaintance at the turn of the century as a colleague at Doubleday, Page & Co. Goodrich was an editor in its book department as well as a staff member Source: Arthur Goodrich, “Frank Norris: The Estimate and Tribute of an Asso-...
40. Julie A. Herne
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Julie Adrienne Herne (1881–1955) was the daughter of Realist playwright James A. Herne, whom Norris had interviewed when writing for The Wave in 1897. Julie, who in this 1952 letter revealed that Norris was the author of the unsigned piece, “Herne, the Unconventional,” was herself a playwright and popu lar ac-tress. The Norrises’ friendship with Julie and her mother, Katherine, began in ...
41. William Dean Howells
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Novelist and critic William Dean Howells (1837–1920), known in Norris’s time as the most aggressive Ameri can advocate of Realism in literary art, befriended and counseled writers of his own generation, such as Mark Twain, and the next, such as Stephen Crane. Norris met with him of ten following his arrival in Man-hattan in 1898—one of his visits to the Howells home proving a memorable oc-...
42. Henry W. Lanier
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Henry Wysham Lanier (1873–1948), son of poet Sidney Lanier, was one of the chief editors at Doubleday, Page & Co. whom Norris advised as a manuscript reader. Upon Norris’s death, Lanier, on No vem ber 12, 1902, wrote to his widow that he hoped she would take comfort not only in her late husband’s success as an artist but also in his having refused to follow the lead of others who pandered ...
43. Edwin Lefevre
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George Edwin Lefevre (1871–1943) was a journalist and stockbroker whose Wall Street Stories, published in 1901 by McClure, Phillips & Co., was a collection of stories treating market speculations of the kind that Norris dealt with in The Pit. As did fraternity brother George Gibbs and journalist G. D. Moulson, Le fevre tutored Norris on the intricacies of speculation in commodities. Arthur Bart-...
44. Isaac F. Marcosson
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Isaac Frederick Marcosson (1876–1961) was a journalist and editor whose most memorable accomplishment was the promotion of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1878–1968), the 1906 best seller published by Doubleday, Page & Co. In 1898 he was employed by the Louisville Times, for which he enthusiastically reviewed Norris’s Moran of the Lady Letty. The result was both a lively correspondence be-...
45. George D. Moulson
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Cited by name on the acknowledgments page in The Pit, George DeWitt Moul-son (1872–1968) was a business journalist in Manhattan who assisted Norris in ensuring the technical accuracy of the novel’s depiction of the speculative activi-ties at the Chicago Board of Trade. The depth of his continued personal relation-ship with Norris is measured by the fact that he was one of the two baptismal ...
46. John S. Phillips
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John Sanborn Phillips (1861–1949) cofounded McClure’s Magazine with S. S. McClure in 1893. In early Feb ru ary 1898, Phillips offered Norris a position in New York City with the magazine and their syndicate that sold short stories to newspapers. Thus began their working relationship, which also included Nor-ris’s involvement in the operations of the book publishing firm of Doubleday & ...
47. W. S. Rainsford
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William Stephen Rainsford (1850–1933) was the rector of New York City’s St. George’s Episcopal Church, where Norris was a parishioner and where he mar-ried in 1900. Typing the “social gospel” orientation in turn- of- the- century Chris-tianity, Rainsford enlisted Norris’s services as an instructor in the educational program for immigrant youth that he conducted. Norris was impressed by his ...
48. Grant Richards
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Franklin Thomas Grant Richards (1872–1948) established his eponymous pub-lishing house in London in 1897, seeing into print the next year works of such major authors as George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) and A. E. (Alfred Edward) Housman (1859–1936). He became Norris’s English publisher in 1899, market-ing Moran of the Lady Letty as Shanghaied and, at Norris’s insistence, refraining ...
49. Elizabeth Knight Tompkins
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Sister of Juliet Wilbor Tompkins, Elizabeth Knight Tompkins (1865–1955) was also a novelist and playwright who departed San Francisco for New York City to advance her literary career. She too lived on Wash ing ton Square and remained a member of Norris’s circle through 1902 when he and Jeannette left Manhattan Source: Elizabeth Knight Tompkins to Jeannette Williamson Norris, letter, No-...
50. Juliet Wilbor Tompkins
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Like Norris, Juliet Wilbor Tompkins Pottle (1871–1956), novelist, playwright, and sister of Elizabeth Knight Tompkins, wrote for The Wave, and then relocated to Manhattan where she served as editor of the Puritan, a monthly magazine. They both lived on Wash ing ton Square, and Norris’s Blix first appeared in the Puritan as a serial. The Norrises’ relationship with both sisters remained vital as ...
List of Reminiscences
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Ashe, Gaston M. Letter to Franklin D. Walker, August 27, 1930, Franklin Dicker-son Walker Papers, BANC MSS C- H 79, The Bancroft Library, University of Cali-Atherton, Gertrude. Letter to David A. Munro, De cem ber 17, , HM 32452, Lit-Burgess, Gelett. “One More Tribute to Frank Norris.” Sunset 10 (January 1903): 246.Cosgrave, John O. Letter to Jeannette Williamson Norris, Oc to ber 24, 1902, Frank ...
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Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: American Writers Remembered
Series Editor Byline: Jackson Bryer