2659Chicago Days II
- Aug 31, 2001From CHICAGO RENAISSANCE: The Literary Life in the Midwest 1900-1930
by Dale Kramer
One late April evening of 1915, Sherwood Anderson borrowed a copy
of The 'Spoon River Anthology' from a young musician named Max Wald,
fellow tenant of a rooming house. Anderson was unacquainted with
Masters, but to Wald he mentioned that Tennessee Mitchell, also a
friend of Wald's, knew him well. All of Chicago's unknown literary
hopefuls were excited by the attention being given to one of their
recent number. Anderson climbed to his third-floor room, switched on
the naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and stretched out on
his narrow bed. It had been raised above the level of the high window
sill in order that he might gaze down at the Loop, half a mile south.
He began to read. When finished, the rudiments of a book of his own,
eventually to be titled 'Winesburg, Ohio,' was in his mind.
The rooming house, tall and narrow and shallow, with a mansard
roof, was one of the Near North Side's old fashionable houses. The
address was 735 Cass Street (later Wabash Avenue) at the corner of
Superior Street. 'Poetry's' office was only two blocks south. Nearby
was a catholic school of the Little Children of Mercy. Anderson
called the rooming house the Little Children of the Arts, since the
partitioned-off rooms had mostly aspiring musicians, writers, actors,
painters. He readily included himself among the Little Children--
although now approaching thirty-nine. George Daugherty, a friend
since the old days at Wittenberg Academy, had moved here with him
last year from a South Side rooming house near Jackson Park.
So...now we know how the expression "Little Children of the Arts"
came about. The fact that Anderson considered himself one of them
doesn't make it sound so condescending.
We also know that the residents of the boarding house included Max
Wald and George Daugherty. I will look into them.
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