Thursday, March 6, 2014

Clarence Day, Jr. ~ Life With Father

                                                                                                    -Postcard, c. 1944


Judging from the above caption, this postcard must date from around 1944 
when the play, Life With Father was running on Broadway in the Empire 

How generous of the Empire to stamp and mail this post card for audience
members.  Clever advertising!

Clarence Day (1874-1935), author of a set of short stories, Life With Father,
died shortly after completing them in December of 1935. They were published
posthumously in the New Yorker magazine in 1936.

Had he lived, Clarence Day would have enjoyed the phenomenal success
of these autobiographical tales about his own boyhood growing up in upper
middle-class New York City in the 1890s.

Headed by a domineering (yet lovable) father , this madcap clan of redheads
was inspiration for a play based on the stories, also entitled Life With Father.  
It was brought to life for the Broadway stage in 1939 by Howard Lindsay
and Russel Crouse.  Life With Father enjoyed a record-breaking run from its
1939 opening at the Empire Theatre, to its closing at the Alvin Theatre in 1947.
A Hollywood film followed in 1947, and a television version in 1954.

Day's stories poked fun at Victorian mores regarding child rearing and the
changing role of women in society during the late-19th Century.  Day himself
was a champion of the suffrage movement.

Clarence Day, Jr., a quintessential New Yorker, was born there in 1874.  After
his graduation from Yale, where he edited the campus humor magazine, The Yale
Record, Day returned to the City to work on Wall Street in his father's brokerage
firm.  An attempt to launch a Naval career was scuttled because of chronic bouts
of arthritis, which kept him a semi-invalid for the rest of his life.  Clarence Day
died in New York in 1935 at the age of 61.

The New York Public Library is home to the Clarence Day Papers, an archival
collection of his short stories, essays, and magazine columns.