Iris, Scharmel, 1889-1967

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Chicago poet.

Born in Italy in 1889 as Frederico Scaramella, Iris and his mother arrived in Chicago when he was three. The name Scharmel Iris was the choice of a young, hopeful poet whose first efforts were published in 1905 and who continued publishing until the 1960s. With only a small talent, but obsessed with a need to be regarded as a major American poet, Iris resorted to imposture, plagiary and forgery to concoct a fantasy role for himself as an impoverished, neglected poetic genius, deserving to be an important figure on the literary scene. One of Iris's most successful scams was to write pseudonymous letters of puffery about himself, or to solicit support and funds, under the name Vincent Holme. All his life, he was persistent in his quest for publication and attention, and he was shameless in inventing links to famous writers and artists of his day, ranging from T.S.Eliot to W.B Yeats, and Salvatore Dali to Picasso. Using several pseudonyms, Iris got poems into issues of Harriet Monroe's Poetry among other places. He proudly managed the publication of several small collections of poems, saw reviews of his work in the Chicago newspapers, forged endorsements from the well-known, and did everything he could to keep his name before the public. Having established a connection with Lewis College, a Catholic institution near Joliet, Iris used it first as his address and then as his home. He never taught there and had no faculty status, and when asked to leave in 1966, he moved to St. Patrick Retirement Hotel in Joliet, where he died in 1967. During his lifetime, how he managed to subsist on meager sales is somewhat of a mystery, although he was skilled in arousing pity and raising donations from people.

From the description of Scharmel Iris papers, 1911-1964. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 585904399

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Three treble choruses with orchestra / by Jeanne Boyd ; orchestrated by Jeanne Boyd and James Wade. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Canzonetta / [poem by] Scharmel Iris ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Iris, Scharmel, b. 1889. Bread and hyacinths : with a preface by Woodrow Wilson, 1923. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Canzonetta / [poem by] Scharmel Iris ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Original manuscripts of published songs / Jeanne M. Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Symphonic poem : (Song against ease) / Jeanne Boyd. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Symphonic poem, Song against ease : for full orchestra / by Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Symphonic poem ("Song against ease") / Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Iris, Scharmel, 1889-1967. Scharmel Iris papers, 1911-1964. Newberry Library
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. The lost road ; The light ; The fairy pool / Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. At morning : song for soprano with orchestral accompaniment / [words by] Scharmel Iris ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Wade, James. Homage to Jeanne Boyd : song for high voice with piano / poem by Scharmel Iris ; music by James Wade. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. To a child : for voice and piano / poem by Scharmel Iris ; music by Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. To a child : for medium voice and piano / the poem by Scharmel Iris ; the music by Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Canzonetta : (a little song) : S.S.A. / [poem by] Scharmel Iris ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. La tarantella : song for soprano with orchestral accompaniment / the poem by Scharmel Iris ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. At morning : S.S.A. / [words by] Scharmel Iris ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Canzonetta : (a little song) / poem by Scharmel Iris, reprinted from Lyrics of a lad ; [music by] Jeanne Boyd. University of Michigan
creatorOf Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. Songs / by Jeanne Boyd ; poem[s] by Scharmel Iris. University of Michigan
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Boyd, Jeanne, 1890-1968. person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Egan, Maurice Francis, 1852-1924. person
associatedWith John, Augustus, 1878-1961. person
associatedWith Midwest Manuscript Collection (Newberry Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Newberry Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Santayana, George, 1863-1952. person
associatedWith Sheean, Vincent, 1899-1975. person
associatedWith Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965. person
associatedWith Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Wade, James. person
associatedWith Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924. person
associatedWith Wyatt, Edith, 1873-1958. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Illinois--Chicago
Subject
Manuscripts, American
Poets, American--20th century--Correspondence
Literary forgeries and mystifications
Forgers
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1889-02-10

Death 1967-07-06

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 545848