Writers Block

In 1962 Life ran a group of photos of American authors. Pictured above is James Baldwin, while below is Philip Roth.

John O’Hara:

Herman Wouk:

Peter De Vries:

Harrison Salisbury:

14 Comments on "Writers Block"

  1. O’Hara was a great Brooks Brothers devotee; wore bespoke shoes from Peal.

  2. Herman Wouk – still around at an impressive 103 years old.

  3. Vern Trotter | December 7, 2018 at 3:03 pm |

    Noun of assemblage for writers: A “Worship” of Writers. (None found for Authors.)

    John O’Hara and Harrison Salisbury appear to be the best dressed here from what we can see. Yes, O’Hara was a lifelong Brooks, Peal, Locke & Co customer. As were many of his protagonists. He was often seen in 346 Madison. Never knew Salisbury wrote so many books. He wrote for the NY Times back when you could believe what you read there.

  4. Omg Harrison Salisbury is pictured in my hometown — St. Petersburg, Russia

  5. What a terrific assemblage….thanks for the great post.

  6. Vern Trotter | December 8, 2018 at 9:43 am |

    Great quotes from Peter De Vries:

    “Deep down he’s shallow.”

    “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”

    Always great stuff in the New Yorker for 50 years or so.

  7. @Richard Brooks Brothers bought the Peal & Co brand in 1965 after the factory closed. Peal’s main sub-contractor, Crockett & Jones has never, to my knowledge as a loyal customer, offered a bespoke service. If O’Hara wore bespoke shoes from Peal, they were made by another company but which one? If I was ordering bespoke shoes, I would go directly to the manufacturer to be fitted by the last maker, not a retailer like BB.

  8. Vern Trotter | December 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm |


    John O’Hara died in 1970. His first and best work, Appointment In Samarra, came out in 1934, so he had 36 years of big money to buy bespoke from Peal. Since their shoes last a lifetime, do the math. I second the opinion of Richard M here.
    John was a well known Peal devotee.

    I have a copy of the letter from Peal to Brooks when that deal was done.

  9. Vern Trotter | December 8, 2018 at 7:13 pm |

    31 years of opportunity to buy bespoke from Peal.

  10. Tried reading “Samarra” and didn’t get very far. The other John more to my taste. But I love the story behind the title.

  11. Trace Bearden | December 9, 2018 at 11:21 am |

    Try O’Hara’s short stories. One of my favorites, “Graven Image,” about two Harvard graduates, brilliantly explores the nuances in class and social distinctions with which O’Hara was obsessed.

  12. Vern Trotter | December 11, 2018 at 6:32 am |


    I have nearly everything O’Hara wrote and belong to the John O’Hara Society. He wrote over 400 stories for the New Yorker alone over 40 years. I did not recall GRAVEN IMAGE but just found it on my shelves. Thanks for the reminder.

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