Maury Paul & Lucius Beebe

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Jul 26 02:39:16 UTC 2001

"...what Maury Paul is pleased to call 'Longuyland'..."
--THIS NEW YORK by Lucius Beebe in the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 3 September 1938, (Pg. 12?), col. 1.

   I'll take a closer look at these two New York City columnists.  One of them POSSIBLY coined "gay." I'm going through Beebe's columns in the NYHT first.
   Both of them were almost universally known in NYC, but are now completely forgotten.


   From the NEW YORK TIMES, 18 July 1942, pg. 13, col. 5:

_"Cholly Knickerbocker" of The_
   _Journal and American for_
   _25 Years Is Dead at 52_
_Coined Phrases "Cafe Society"_
   _and "Old Guard"--Intimate_
   _of New York Notables_

   Maury Henry Biddle Paul, society editor of The New York Journal-American and colorful chronicler of New York society events and personalities under the pen-name of "Colly Knickerbocker," died early yesterday of a heart ailment at his home, 136 East Sixty-fourth Street, at the age of 52.
   A familiar figure around town, he was never flamboyant in his dress and was conventionally retiring in manner.  He called many of the town's social leaders by their first names.  Mr. Paul invented the phrase "Cafe Society," to describe the night club and restaurant crowd, also coined the expression, "Old Guard," which included members of the old New York families, and even these he divided into two classes, A and B.
   He was unmarried and lived at the East Sixty-fourth Street address with his mother.


   From the NEW YORK TIMES, 5 February 1966, pg. 26, col. 1:

_Lucius Beebe, Newspaper Columnist, Author and Bon Vivant, Dies at 63_
   Lucius Morris Beebe, an ornate gentleman, drank deeply of the pleasures of the world, and he loved its velvet comforts.  His high style in dress, manners and letters made him a New York boulevardier in a mold of his own creation.
   For years his Saturday morning column in The Herald Tribune, "This New York," conveyed an astonishing amount of inconsequential but richly detailed reporting about what might be called Mr. Beebe's "500"--that select set of gay and stylish people who popularized such "plush puddles" as the Colony, 21, the French Casino, the Cafe St. Denis and others, and who met Mr. Beebe's highly selective approval.
   His jottings made him the social historian of cafe society here.  Mr. Beebe's knowing trivia was styled in prose that wavered continually between a deft sophistication and bloated wordiness that would not stoop to a familiar word if an obscure one could be found.
   His columns were of such words and phrases as "calamitous potations," "comestibles," "vaguely anonymous spaniels," "the purlieus of magnificence," "the vestiaire" and "a phalanx of trowels."
   Mr. Beebe wrote his own obituary for The Herald Tribune and kept it up to date.  It appears in this morning's editions under the title "His Own Life in His Own Words."
   Mr. Beebe's absorption with the trifling pleasure of society on the recreational front north of Times Square vexed some readers.  His column was dropped in 1944, but he continued writing for the editorial and drama pages.  His own view was that "nothing matters but the gallant gesture" and that "the trivia of life may be the solution for all the ills of a fretful and feverish world."
   Wedded only to elegance, Mr. Beebe rolled around the country for some years in a private railway car...
(...) (Col. 2--ed.)
   He stood out so prominently in the crowd of the city that others criticized him, only occasionally calling him anything as kind as "a gentle Boston dude."
   A book review headline writer called him "The Purple Pepys of El Morocco."  He was seens as (Col. 3--ed.) the "saloon editor" of The Herald Tribune.  Westbrook Pegler wrote of "Lucius Beebe, a recognized authority on gin mills" and Walter Winchell called him "Lucious Lucius."
   In his younger years he was widely regarded as "a dandy," but his costly dress became superb in style and fit.
   ...he went on to Yale.  He flailed a gold-headed cane with superb aplomb, kept a fully stocked Prohibition bar in his dormitory room, and wore (Col. 4--ed.) plus fours, cutaways and "grey orchidaccous trousers," as The Yale Daily News called them.
(...) (Col. 6--ed.)
   Mr. Beebe had a long article on men's clothes called "Last of the Big Dandies" in the February, 1966, issue of Esquire magazine.
   He was a bachelor and left no immediate survivors.

(WorldCat shows that he authored a book, THIS IS MANHATTAN, NOT THE COMPLETE WHOLE OF IT (1933) about Greenwich Village.  Is it true that only Brown University has it?--ed.)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list