When Harry Met Polly

He was a student, traumatised war veteran and nihilist poet. She, seven years his senior, was the unhappily married scion of a Boston Brahmin family who patented the first bra. On this day in 1920, Harry Crosby met Polly Peabody, and escorted her to a Fourth of July fun fair. By the time they emerged from the Tunnel of Love he was hers entirely. He pursued her relentlessly and two years later she became Caresse Crosby and they ran off to Paris and were beautiful and lived mad, impetuous lives and wrote poetry and courted death and worshipped art and published books and threw parties and nothing was ever the same again.

The cold, cruel darkness of Harry’s final act – departing in a murder-suicide with his mistress – casts an anticipatory shadow over the rest of his life. It was an existence of truly cinematic scope that has somehow eluded the screen. So it’s very exciting to see that a film, based on Geoffrey Wolff’s essential biography Black Sun, is currently in development.

Further reading:
Lapses into piety
Always yes
For eternity
Pearls: Harry Crosby
Harry Crosby | photographs


  1. claudine100

    Thank you James! And Happy Independence Day indeed, I was just going over one of the scenes on Nantasket beach…

  2. oh yay. poetry and parties and death and bras….what could be more interesting than that on or off-screen?

  3. I never cease to be amazed by your ability to dig up people who could probably add on to your prior web of who-knows-loved-lived with-is related to-whom. I used to seek them out on library shelves. Biography came after their works, made sense. Like the work? Read the lives! Like the era? Just browse further along the aisle, please.

  4. john

    Seems like yesterday! Que dire de plus!

  5. Thombeau

    I just can’t get enough of those crazy Crosbys! Especially handsome Harry!

  6. alen111

    “who patented the first bra”. I suppose that you are referring to the family rather than the lady. Americans have stopped distinguishing between animate and inanimate objects, but not you too! I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the well-written blog on our regretted continent. I have lived in Berlin for exactly 20 years.

  7. Pingback: “I shall never never forget” | Strange Flowers

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