Two pages, 4to. On Dreiser's letterhead. Small stain on verso, otherwise in fine condition. Item #404251
Dreiser writes in to Geoffrey Parsons, the editor of the New York Herald Tribune from 1924-1952, describing a writing submission that he has attached with the letter:
“Your general and varied courtesies to me, but more particularly the general fairness with which you have regarded my views... make me mindful of things which may be entertaining to your readers. The enclosed letter and [...] which [...] well be entitled Fifty Million Frenchmen [...] in my estimation one such bit. If you agree you are welcome to it for your Sunday paper. All I ask is that you hold it for three weeks by which time L’Ordre will have had time to publish or discard it if they see fit.
I am --
In 1931 Dreiser became actively involved in the American Writers’ League as well as the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners. During this year he also published Dawn: An Autobiography of Early Youth and Tragic America. Dreiser described having a complex relationship with news publications during the 1930s. He stated in 1936 that “many newspapers” had “glossed over” his political views. Nonetheless, Dreiser did contribute several interviews, as well as poems and book reviews, to the New York Herald Tribune during Geoffrey Parsons’ term as editor. In an interview given to the Tribune the month before this letter, Dreiser discussed dissatisfaction with the Hollywood film adaptation of Tragic America, retitled An American Tragedy (Frederic E. Rusch and Donald Pizer, eds., Theodore Dreiser: Interviews, pp. 329, 2004).
Dreiser’s use of the title “Fifty Million Frenchmen” is likely a reference to the 1929 Broadway musical of the same name, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The piece referred to here as “Fifty Million Frenchmen” was not published as such in either the New York Herald Tribune or in any other newspaper. He published another letter to the editor in the Tribune in February of 1932, replying to a review of Tragic America. (Theodore Dreiser Collection, Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image).