Deep Lines

T. S. Eliot (left) and Carl Sandburg (right) In the January 19, 1980 edition of the New York Times Book Review, editor T. O’Connor Sloane III told the following story: Many years ago, when Robert Giroux was editor-in-chief of Harcourt, Brace, he told me this little anecdote. He was expecting a visit from T. S. Eliot one […]

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Checks Written in Blood

Charles K. Feldman (left) and Alexander Korda (right) Film producer Charles K. Feldman (1905 – 1968) related this story: I lost at gin rummy with Alexander Korda one evening, and mailed him a check next day. It was written in red ink, and accompanied by this note: “Dear Alex: You will see that this check is written in […]

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“This Is Trivial” (Or Is It?)

There was a popular anecdote about mathematician G. H. Hardy (1877 – 1947) that goes like this: While conducting a lecture on Number Theory, he said that a certain mathematical notion was trivial. But after a little while, he hesitated and asked, “Is it trivial?” He then excused himself and went to his office. After […]

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Truth in Advertising

I am unable to verify the authenticity of the following story. Nevertheless, it’s quite interesting. When Frank Winfield Woolworth (the founder of F. W. Woolworth Company) first opened his store, a businessman in the area felt threatened. So, he advertised in the local paper. The ad read: DO YOUR LOCAL SHOPPING HERE. WE HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS […]

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Instant Alliteration

One day in 1840, American physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894) attended a party in which the host kept talking about the achievements of her friends. Expecting to receive some comments of admiration from the doctor, the host asked him when he was getting ready to leave: “Dr. Holmes, what do you […]

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Lost in Time

John Gottschalk, former CEO of Omaha World-Herald told the Readers’ Digest the following quaint story: Last summer we drove our 1915 Ford Model T to an antique automobile show in a neighboring town. When we arrived, I was told that a business client wanted me to visit him at his nearby farm. Later that day we […]

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Mark Twain’s Complaint Letters

The following is a letter written by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to Hartford City Gas Light Co.: Gentlemen, There are but two places in our whole street where lights could be of any value, by any accident, and you have measured and appointed your intervals so ingenious as to leave each of those places in […]

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Not Honest Enough

In 1958, newspaper columnist N. S. Olds related in the Villager [Greenwich Village, New York] his conversation with poet Robert Frost (1876 – 1963) about a diverting incident in Amherst College, where Frost was a lecturer. Frost was a casual lecturer and he disliked formalities. His way of teaching English literature to his students was […]

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Oscar Wilde on Snow

Here’s an excerpt of a conversation between Oscar Wilde and a woman about snow. This is from Oscar Wilde, His Life and Wit, a biography of Wilde written by Hesketh Pearson, and published in 1949: Woman: What terrible weather we’re having. Oscar Wilde: Yes, but if it wasn’t for the snow, how could we believe […]

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