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Among the Literati

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The Robert Haas who is Harrison Smith’s partner in the firm of that name is a member of the Haas family, well known in banking and phil-anthropic circles. The gray-haired, suave Mr. Haas was at one time president of the Book of the Month Club. . . . If Samuel Untermyer ever gets around to writing his autobiography more than one publisher is going to exert mighty efforts to acquire publication rights. The rumor is that the book will go to Macmillan. . . . The Private Papers of Walter Winchell which have been announced at least twice a year for the past three years are just as near completion as they were when they were first announced. . . . Fifty-one percent of the stock of Knopf is held by Alfred and Blanche Knopf; the death of Samuel, Alfred’s father, had no effect on the control of the company. Alfred has a son fourteen years old and a number of literate nephews ready to carry on the firm’s traditional place in American letters. . . .

If the confidential letter sent by Mr. Kroch, new director of Brentano’s, to the various publishers ever really gets some circulation there is going to be some extensive apologizing due from various sources. . . . Lillian Hellman, who in private life is Mrs. Arthur Kober (he was a theatrical press agent and is now a scenario writer) is literary secretary for Dashiell Hammett, ace detective story writer. Her girlhood bosom friend, Lois Jacoby, is now running a bookstore on upper Broadway. . . . Those Parnassus Book Shops that you once saw in various parts of the city were owned by Sylvan Baruch. He is a nephew of Barney Baruch, a gentleman of some importance these days. . . .

When Horace Liveright was in the publishing business he always addressed his letters to Otto Kahn with this salutation, “Dear Lorenzo”. . . . Anita Brenner, who writes books on almost any subject, is off to Spain for three months. She expects to return with a manuscript about that now turbulent land. . . . Isn’t it strange that while so many English writers have found such large audiences in this country so few of them have been English Jews, but then the English Jew has been least distinguished in the literary field, especially when you compare them to French or German Jews. . . .

The reason Viking Press has been so successful with German translations can be placed squarely on the dignified shoulders of B. W. Huebsch. He gave up his own publishing house in 1925 to join Guinzburg and Oppenheim to form Viking Press. He introduced many German and Russian writers to the American public and has so impressed foreign publishers with his astuteness that when an American publisher goes abroad and enters a publishing office and asks for a promising book he is inevitably told that it is being held for Mr. Huebsch. Feuchtwanger and the Zweigs are among the better known Germans he has brought to Viking. He is abroad at the present moment. . . .

Sidney Skolsky’s one line description of the Chicago World’s Fair is worth reprinting, “Roxy’s idea of Coney Island.” . . . Skolsky, as you probably know, is the small, perpetually unshaven columnist on the Daily News. He is a reformed press agent but was so good that they just had to give him a regular job. . . . Moe Berg who, until this season was a major league professional baseball player, is a distinguished linguist, an accomplishment that did not endear him to the hearts of the umpires who were never quite sure what he was saying to them. . . . Umpires are almost as dignified as authors a day after their first book has been accepted.

Did you know that the man who published the “Strange Death of President Harding” was a Jew—Morris Friefield. He started a publishing house for that purpose alone and then published only one more book. He made money and was satisfied. Eugenic Publishing Co. is just a trade name for a couple of Jewish boys who believe that there is a real interest in sex books. So far they have been right. . . .

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