As we continue to celebrate the month of Women’s History, I introduce you to Dorothy Parker. Her formal education ended at 14, but she turned into a literary pioneer for all women and suppressed individuals by 21.
“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.” Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was an American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for the 20th century urban fables.
Dorothy was born on August 22, 1893 to J. Henry and Elizabeth Rothschild in West End, New Jersey. Her childhood, was an unhappy one. Both her mother and step-mother died while she was young. In 1912, her uncle Martin Rothschild went down on the Titanic, and her father Henry died the following year. Her formal education ended at the age of 14, but despite that, she sold her first poem to Vanity Fair in 1914. At the age of 22, she took an editorial job at Vogue. While working as an editor, Dorothy continued to write poems, and in 1917, she joined Vanity Fair taking over for P.G Wodehouse as the drama critic. That year, she also married a stockbroker, Edwin P. Parker II. The marriage was stormy, and the couple divorced in 1928.
Parker worked for Vanity Fair from 1917 to 1920. Frank Crowinshield, the managing editor later quoted that she had, ” the quickest tongue imaginable, and I need not to say the keenest sense of mockery.” In 1919 Parker formed the Algonquin Round Table with two other writers, Robert Benchley and Robert Sherwood. Parker’s first collection of poetry, Enough Rope, was published in 1926, and a best seller. During the 1920s, Parker traveled to Europe several times. She befriended Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and contributed to the New Yorker and Life. Despite being so successful, Parker suffered from depression, alcoholism, and attempted suicide.
Parker’s strength showed in her writing, as she never failed to have the utmost quality. In the 1930s, she worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood on A Star is Born (1937), and Saboteur (1940). She helped found the Screen Writers’ Guild, which was a organization of the Hollywood screenwriters. In 1959, Parker was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Then in 1963, she was a visiting professor at California State College in Los Angeles. On June 6, 1967 Parker died of a heart attack at the age of 73 in a New York City hotel. A firm believer in Civil Rights, she left her literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Upon his assassination, the estate was turned over to the National Associate for the Advancement of Colored People.
Dorothy Parker, born to parents that she lost, deprived of formal education at age 14, and a compensated writer at the age of 21. Through alcoholism and depression she trudged, attempted suicide, but prevailed. May this be a call out to those who suffer, and think to give up. Dorothy did not give up, so neither should you! March is a month to celebrate women, and be aware, that every individual has their struggles. Take the time to read a poem, maybe two, by the witty, and satirical mastermind, Dorothy Parker.
Please visit https://www.poemhunter.com/
dorothy-parker/poems/ to read the poems and works of Dorothy Parker
Poem Hunter, https://www.
Poets Organization, https://www.
Poetry Foundation, https://www.
poetryfoundation.org/poems- and-poets/poets/detail/ dorothy-parker
Good Reads, https://www.goodreads.
– Anna and Priti