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.