Fun Facts Friday: Alexander Woollcott

January 19, 2024

Alexander Woollcott (19 January, 1887 – 23 January, 1943) was a drama critic, playwright, radio personality, and commentator for The New Yorker.

Fun Facts Friday: Alexander Woollcott
Books by Alexander Woollcott*

Fun Facts about Alexander Woollcott:

  1. Alexander Humphreys Woollcott was born in Colts Neck, New Jersey. He was the youngest son of William and Frances Bucklin Woollcott. After the North American Phalanx, an experimental commune, fell apart the Bucklin family took it over and young Alexander grew up in an 85-room home.
  2. Walter Woolcott moved his family to Kansas City, MI where the family lived in an upscale neighborhood.
  3. At age four Aleck Woollcott played Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in front of more than 100 people at the Woollcott’s home. The years in Kansas City set him on a path to the literary and theatrical worlds.
  4. At age eight he went to his first show, Sinbad the Sailor, with his neighbor Roswell Field, a Kansas City Start columnist and brother of author of Eugene Field. When Aleck found out that journalists can get free tickets to events, he made up his mind right there and then to work in the industry.
  5. In 1895 the family moved back easy, however your Aleck did not enjoy the move and always remembered Kansas City more favorably. He eventually graduated from Hamilton College, NY where he found the drama group, edited the student literary magazine, and was part of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity.
  6. In 1909 Alexander Woollcott found himself a cub report of The New York Times. He soon became the drama critic until 1922, with a break when he volunteered for the medical corps during World War I.
  7. During his service, Woollcott, now a sergeant of the American Expeditionary Forces, was assigned with a few other men to create the Stars and Stripes.
  8. Being a prolific drama critic, certain Broadway theaters banned him due to his prose. At a certain point he sued the Shubert theater organization for violating his civil rights. The court, however, dismissed the case because grounds for discrimination cannot be applied to critics.
  9. Alexander Woollcott’s rave review of I’ll Say She is, the Marx Brother’s Broadway debut started a lifelong friendship with Harpo Marx. Both of Harpo’s adopted sons were named after him.
  10. As early as 1029, William Woollcott became a radio personality for several decades and was one of the most quoted men of his generation.

Books by Alexander Woollcott*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books


Alexander Woollcott | Wikipedia

Alexander Woollcott: American author, critic, and actor | Britannica

Woollcott, Alexander |

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Fun Facts Friday: Alexander Woollcott
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Fun Facts Friday: Alexander Woollcott
Alexander Woollcott (19 January, 1887 – 23 January, 1943) was a drama critic, playwright, radio personality, and commentator for The New Yorker.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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