Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hutchins Hapgood: Autobiography Of A Thief, 1905

from recollection books
Hutchins Hapgood, journalist and author, was born on May 21, 1869 in Chicago, Illinois.
    Hutchins Hapgood received his early education in the Alton public schools. Like his father and two brothers, he attended Harvard University, receiving the B.A. degree in 1892 and the M.A. in 1897. In the interim he spent two years in study at the universities of Berlin and Freiburg, Germany, reading sociology and philosophy, and also traveled extensively. For a time he was an instructor in English composition at Harvard and the University of Chicago. After trying his hand at various jobs, Hapgood eventually decided to become a journalist like his older brother Norman.
    Charles Hutchins Hapgood had a tremendous influence upon the character of his sons. Although not a religious man, he imparted to them a strong moral sense, an abhorrence of great wealth, and a basic belief in progressive socialism. This, coupled with a liberal Harvard education and appropriate connections, led Hutchins Hapgood into the thick of muckraking journalism.
    His first newspaper job was with the New York Commercial Advertiser under the tutelage of Lincoln Steffens. Here he met Steffen's assistant, Neith Boyce, whom he married on June 22, 1899.
    In 1904 Hapgood became the drama critic for the Chicago Evening Post.
    Returning to New York, he later became an editorial writer for the Evening Post, the Press, and the Globe. While maintaining his career as a journalist, Hapgood also wrote books. During the first decade of the twentieth century, he produced the bulk of his major works, including Paul Jones (1901), The Spirit of the Ghetto (1902), The Autobiography of a Thief (1903), The Spirit of Labor (1907), An Anarchist Woman (1909), and Types from City Streets (1910). The anonymously published Story of a Lover (1919), describing the "open" marriage which he and Neith maintained, was initially suppressed as pornographic. Hapgood's last great work was his autobiography, A Victorian in the Modern World (1933).
    Hutchins Hapgood was a close friend of Mabel Dodge Luhan and an habitue of her salon at 23 Fifth Avenue. Other close friends included Bernard and Mary Berenson, Jacob Epstein, Max Eastman, Anton Johanson, Walter Lippmann, Robert Morss Lovett, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Alfred Stieglitz, Maurice Sterne, and Mark Sullivan. He and Neith were founding members of the Provincetown Players.
    Hapgood's career declined following the death of his eldest child, Boyce, in 1918 and the end of the muckracking era. The last several years of his life he spent with Neith in Key West, Florida, at their home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and on a farm in Richmond, New Hampshire.
    Hutchins Hapgood died on November 19, 1944, in Provincetown, and was buried in the family plot in East Cemetery, Petersham, Massachusetts
above, an interesting account of life in the fourth ward as well as neighboring ones in the late 1800's.

No comments: