Famous Guests: Hampshire Bookshop, part three

On the occasion of the Bookshop’s twentieth anniversary in 1936, the Daily Hampshire Gazette printed a historical summary written by co-founder and manager Marion Dodd. Included was a list of more than fifty poets, playwrights, critics, or academics whose presentations in Northampton were produced by HBS. Among the many literary luminaries such as William Butler Yeats, Archibald MacLeish and Robert Frost who appeared as Hampshire Bookshop guest lecturers are some authors of particular interest to this blog.

Amy Lowell sketch (Pinterest)
Amy Lowell sketch (Pinterest)

One of the staunchest supporters of the store was Boston Pulitzer Prize poet and critic Amy Lowell. Lowell was large, cigar-smoking, and openly lesbian. She lectured at least five times for the Bookshop, including at least once on Walt Whitman.

Ada Dwyer-Russell (Pinterest)
Ada Dwyer-Russell (Pinterest)

Lowell’s partner Ada Dwyer Russell also lectured there.

Further representing American literature via the Hampshire Bookshop were the playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder and openly bisexual poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Thornton Wilder (Pinterest)
Edna St. Vincent Milay (Pinterest)
Edna St. Vincent Millay (Pinterest)

In the 1950s, Truman Capote promoted Breakfast at Tiffany’s here.

Truman Capote (Pinterest)
Truman Capote (Pinterest)

British writer Vita Sackville-West, who was at one time Virginia Woolf’s lover, lectured here, as did the bisexual man she was in an open marriage with, Harold Nicolson.  British novelist Hugh Walpole gave multiple lectures on Modern literature. This friend of Woolf and Henry James was gay, and had defended The Well of Loneliness at its obscenity trial in British court.

Vita Sackville-West (Pinterest)
Vita Sackville-West (Pinterest)
Hugh Walpole (pinterest)
Hugh Walpole (pinterest)

__Dodd, Marion E. “Hampshire Bookshop Has Had Interesting History; Marks 20th Anniversary.” Daily Hampshire Gazette. Northampton MA. April 17, 1936.
__Wikipedia has an incomplete list of better known LGBTQ people with individual entries for each of the lecturers briefly included here.

Coming Next:
Hampshire Bookshop, part four: Changes and Closing

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