Dorothy Parker (1893 –1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wisecracks. If she were alive today — and in her prime — she'd probably be a professional talk show guest.

She may be best known for coining the expression, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses," which first appeared in the newspaper, the New York World, in 1925.

Parker first attracted attention for her contribution to The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. She also became friends with writer-actor Robert Benchley and playwright Robert E. Sherwood ("The Petrified Forest," "Abe Lincoln in Illinois") and it was their lunches at the Algonquin Hotel that led to the Algonquin Round Table, an informal group of clever cultural snobs who became known for their cutting remarks, selecting as their targets celebrities, politicians and popular culture.

(In 1933, when she was informed of the death of former President Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge, Dorothy Parker remarked, “How could they tell?”)

Years later she would dismiss this period of her life.

“The Round Table was just a lot of people telling jokes and telling each other how good they were. Just a bunch of loudmouths showing off, saving their gags for days, waiting for a chance to spring them ... There was no truth in anything they said."

She was married three times, to stockbroker Edwin Pond Parker and twice to screenwriter Alan Campbell. She also had many affairs and a drinking problem.

Later she went to Hollywood, did some screen writing, championed liberal and far-left causes and wound up on the Hollywood blacklist. To the end she staunchly supported the civil rights movement and left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with it passing to the NAACP after his death.

One senses in reading about her even as early as 1933 that while in full bloom as a celebrity, Dorothy Parker and her often mean-spirited wit were losing their charm.

However, she still made news of a sort, as these three stories demonstrate. In the last one, a press conference set up either to promote her latest book or to endorse Fiorello LaGuardia in the New York City's mayoralty election (the purpose isn't clear), she is clearly off her game.

Syracuse American, October 22
NEW YORK — Dorothy Parker, the poetess, made a lot of her sex mad when she penned those famous lines, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

Today the girls who wear cheaters may retaliate and sneer right back at Mrs. Parker, “Tattooed ladies look like hades.”

For Mrs. Parker is responsible for the latest craze which is sweeping jaded society folk,, the intelligentsia and our not-so-bright young people after a new thrill. Once upon a time, when the boys and girls had one too many,, they chirped,, “Oh, let’s get married!” — and eloped to Greenwich.

Now, after a jolly tour of the speakeasies, they warble, “Oh, let’s get tattooed!” — and trip off to the Bowery for embroidery on the epidermis.

And Mrs.. Parker, the poetess, started it. She has a cute little star on her left bicep to prove it. Here’s the story:

The scene is “21,” probably America’s most famous speakeasy, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the Furious Fifties. The time is 3 o’clock in the morning. The room is heavy with smoke, chatter and celebrities. Prominent among them is Mrs. Parker, discoursing on her favorite subject, the futility of everything.

“I’m sick of life!” she declares, waving her glass. “I’m sick of all the people I know. I’m sick of all the places I go to. I’ve done everything and I’m bored.”

“Everything?” queries Alan Campbell, Broadway actor.

“Well, not quite everything,” Dorothy admits. “I’ve never been tattooed.”

Then up speaks John O’Mara, Ireland’s gift to journalism.

“This very night it shall be done.”

A squeal of assent from Ethel Borden, the actress who helped Noel Coward “design his living,” and they are off to the Bowery.

Bob Wicks, the tattooist, is in bed, but at this stage Dotty declares she’ll be dotted or die, so a policeman yanks Bob Wicks out of bed. With his electric needle Bob engraves a beautiful blue and orange star on the plump part of Dorothy’s arm. The others have sweet little pink elephants engraved on their legs “where it won’t show,” and so to bed.

A few days later I call on Dorothy at her apartment on East 63rd Street, and find her regarding the star on her arm with a sober expression of disgust.

“All my life I’ve had a craving to be tattooed, and now that I’ve had it done I’d give anything to have it obliterated,” she wails. “If only I’d have Bob Benchley with me the other night instead of the others. He would have stopped me making a fool of myself like he did six years ago when he dragged me out of Charlie Wagner’s place on Chatham Square after I had decided to have his picture and name engraved over my heart.”

“But aren’t you proud to have restarted the craze for tattooing among women?” I ask.

Her reply was a little too strong for these pages. I left hurriedly for the Bowery and Bob Wicks.

When I arrived I had to fight my way through a queue of women who were waiting for the master tattooist to puncture their skin with his electric needle.

“Oh, yes,” he murmured happily, “Miss Parker certainly started something when she had me dragged out of bed the other night. I’ve had women coming in here at all times of the day and night to be tattooed. Before Miss Parker’s visit I tattooed sailors mostly. But in the old days society women would come down here in their swanky cars and their chauffeurs would while while I tattooed a butterfly or heart on their arms or legs.”


Niagara Falls Gazette, July 21
In New York / by Julia Blanshard
NEW YORK — Increasing numbers of celebrities, returning from Germany, or pictured at social events, are leading a pair of dachshunds these days.

Contrary to public opinion, it is not the return of the beer garden that has brought this popular breed of dog into the limelight. It was the discovery that he is the perfect New York apartment dog that started the vogue a few years back.

Underslung, in modern manner, the dachshund fits under the lowest of modern chairs. He is small and neat. His shining coat looks well with the polished surfaces of good furniture. He is the easiest dog in the world to exercise (always a problem in this city) because his legs are so short that he takes many, many steps to the mile.

Last, but far from least, the dachshund’s beauty makeup is at a minimum. Resistant to city dirt, because of his color, he is neat and trim without having to be plucked.

Like shoes, dachshunds seem to come in pairs ... Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne have a pair; Katharine Cornell and Guthrie McClintic have two; so do the T. Markoe Robertsons, the P. A. B. Wideners, Rosemond Pinchot, Mrs. Millicent Rogers Ramos (formerly the Countess Salm) and Frank Morgan ... Judith Anderson is fond of her black and tans.

When Katharine Cornell brought her little German pair across the Atlantic they were terribly seasick and Miss Cornell nearly went out of her mind trying to explain to them in English which they did not understand then, “It’s all right, darlings. This rolling won’t last forever!” When they arrived, they joined “Flush,” Miss Cornell’s famous little cocker spaniel that played the part of Elizabeth Barrett’s dog “Flush,” in “The Barretts of Wimpole Street.”

Dorothy Parker’s dachshund, “Robinson,” came back with her after a prolonged visit to Switzerland and is a regular at Tony’s . “Many’s the time,” Mrs. Parker wrote to friends from Switzerland, “I get so homesick for America that I feel like zipping a nightgown and my tooth brush inside of Robinson and starting home.”


New York Evening Post, October 27
“That shot was no good, Miss Parker,” said the photographer. “You were squinting.”

“You didn’t look so good yourself,” said Miss Parker.

Then, when the last photographer had used up his last plate, Dorothy Parker turned to the press agent and eight reporters in her apartment at the Lowell, 28 East 63rd Street, and said with a sigh, “Now, aren’t you boys supposed to ask me something? Say, why am I for LaGuardia?”

Press agent: “Yes, Miss Parker, and now isn’t it your opinion that Tammany ought to go? Haven’t we had enough of political machines, or something?”

Miss P.: “Yes, don’t you think.”

Press agent: “What do you think of Mr. McKee?”

Miss P.: “He’s a very fine gentleman.”

Press agent: “Ah, maybe it’s because of his clean-shaven face.”

Miss P.: “Oh, no. I don’t like his face. It looks like it’s going to get fat any minute. Anyway, Mr. McKee can get plenty of other jobs. What does he do when he works?”

First reporter: “Banks.”

Miss P. (to the press agent): “Maybe we’d better have another round of drinks. I’ll tell Ivy. This is not going so well. I feel miserable. Least LaGuardia could do for me after this would be make me comptroller — or something.”

Press agent (still hopeful): “You should show more venom toward your opponents.”

Miss P.: “I hate all opponents! How’s that?”

Press agent (with desperation): “Maybe if you could say what your ideal of a mayor would be ... would be courageous, tolerant, honest ...”

Second reporter: “That’s the Boy Scout code. You’re confused.”

Press agent: “Miss Parker, you must not forget to get about the Fusion** beer and pretzel party at the Astor, Monday night, at 8:30.”

Miss P.: “Oh, yes, there will be a beer and pretzels ...”

Third reporter: “We know about that.”

Miss P.: “ Oh,, I see. Well, you must all come.”

Press agent: “What about subways, the five-cent fare? Or how about taxes?”

Miss P.: “Yes, I’m for taxes. I think rich people should be taxed for being alive.”

Press agent (to reporters): “Have you fellows any more questions you’d like to ask?”

Reporters: “No, except one — Isn’t Miss Parker’s new book coming out tomorrow?”

Miss P.: “Yes, it is. I forgot. But I’m so sorry you boys have to go. I feel perfectly awful about the interview.”

Last reporter: “Just one thing ... you are for LaGuardia, aren’t you?”

Miss P.: “Oh, yes.”

Last reporter: “Thank you. Good bye.”

** Fusion wasn't a brand of beer, but rather the name of the political party headed that year by New York City mayoralty candidate Fiorello LaGuardia, who won the election.


Scandal had ended the political career Mayor Jimmy Walker and weakened the Irish-run Tammany Hall, which led to the emergency of Fiorello La Guardia and he Fusion party. LaGuardia was supported by Republicans, independents and by reform-minded Democrats.

His opponents were Maor John P. O'Brien and Joseph V. McKee, who entered the race as the nominee of the new Recovery Party. LaGuardia won the election, with McKee finishing ahead of O'Brien. It didn't take long for LaGuardia to establish himself as one of New York City's most colorful and successful mayors, and he remained in office unil 1946, and died the following year.

Despite his many accomplishments in reforming government and hastening recovery in New York City, he may best be remembered for a radio show aimed at childrsen, in which he read the day's comic strips.

In 1959 he was the subject of a hit Broadway musical, "Fiorello!"