Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954

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American poet.

From the description of Correspondence, 1948. (University of Toledo). WorldCat record id: 13435999

Bodenheim was an American novelist and poet of the 1920s and 1930s. Late in his life he lived as a panhandler in Greenwich Village, New York. In 1954 he was murdered together with this third wife Ruth Fagin.

From the description of [Letter] 1930 Feb. 8, Long Island City, N.Y. [to] Sweet Cousin [Julie Bensdorf] / Maxwell. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 171158586

Maxwell Bodenheim (1892-1954) was a poet and novelist who was pervasive throughout the bohemian scenes in Chicago and New York's Greenwich Village in the first half of the 20th century.

From the description of Maxwell Bodenheim papers, 1917-1981 [Bulk Dates: 1917-1938]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 778828326

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Maxwell Bodenheim was born Maxwell Bodenheimer in May of 1892 in Hermanville, Mississippi. At the age of nine he moved with his family to Chicago. In 1908 Bodenheim was expelled from high school and joined the army. Following an attempted desertion he was caught and jailed at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas where he served the rest of his tour of duty. After completing his service he spent time traveling around the Southwestern United States.

In 1912 Bodenheim moved back to Chicago and worked to establish himself in the literary scene there, developing a friendship with novelist and screenwriter Ben Hecht. The two would continue to collaborate and quarrel through the end of Bodenheim's life. It was also in Chicago that he met critic and editor Harriet Monroe, and published poems in her journal Poetry, as well as in The Little Review.

Bodenheim moved to New York in 1916 and settled in Greenwich Village. He established a friendship with poet Alfred Kreymborg with whom he had been in ongoing correspondence, and continued to publish poetry. Between 1916 and 1918 his poems appeared in journals the New Republic, the Seven Arts, the Pagan, and the Egoist, and he edited the magazine the Others. As an Others editor he became friend with poets William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore, who contributed frequently to the writing and editing of the magazine. Minna and Myself, his first book of poems, was published in 1918 and he married Minna Schein, for whom the book is titled, in November of that year. In 1920 she gave birth to their only son Solbert.

Throughout the 1920s Bodenheim continued to write and publish prolifically, finishing six books of poetry and eight novels by 1930. His 1925 novel Replenishing Jessica brought obscenity charges against himself and publisher Horace Liveright, however both were easily acquitted. The trial brought a brief surge in Bodenheim's popularity and book sales, but he was dismayed by the damage to his reputation and wrote to friends that he felt "neglected" and "isolated." Though he remained married to Minna he had become notorious after a 1928 string of highly publicized suicides by former and current girlfriends, all apparently spurred by his rejection, and by the end of the decade Bodenheim had firmly established himself as a resident and colorful, if poorly-behaved and sometimes recalcitrant, Greenwich Village bohemian.

By the 1930s Bodenheim was becoming increasingly destitute but he continued to write and publish through the first half of the decade, and by 1934 he had put out another seven novels and one more book of poetry. A 1932 stint in Hollywood however, left him sick and and his financial condition unimproved and in 1935 he marched with a small group on city hall to protest the dwindling writer's relief funds on which he depended to live. Bodenheim was divorced by Minna in 1938, and married his second wife Grace Finan shortly after in 1939. Finan was quickly bedridden with cancer and Bodenheim--when he was able--nursed her until her death in 1950.

Throughout most of his second marriage Bodenheim was a regular in Village bars and streets, where he would sell poems for money to buy drinks. He lived mostly on the streets when he was not otherwise bouncing from room to room. In 1951 Bodenheim married his third wife, Ruth Fagan who was almost 30 years his younger, and the two of them slept on benches and panhandled for a living. Finally on the night of February 6 1954, Bodenheim and Fagan accepted an invitation to spend the night at the apartment of Harold Weinberg, who they had known for about a year. In an argument over the sexual relationship between Ruth and Weinberg, Weinberg shot Bodenheim in the chest, killing him, and stabbed Ruth to death with a hunting knife.

From the guide to the Maxwell Bodenheim papers, 1917-1981, [Bulk Dates: 1917-1938]., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Correspondence file, 1926-1929, from Boni & Liveright and Horace Liveright, Inc. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Adler, Ija. Papers, 1932-1967. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925. Letter : Brookline, Mass., to William Stanley Braithwaite, 1917 Jan. 3. UNH Durham, Dimond Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Papers of Maxwell Bodenheim, [manuscript], n.d. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. Ellen Van Volkenburg-Maurice Browne general correspondence, 1911- University of Michigan
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Correspondence file, 1928, from Boni & Liveright concerning the obscenity trial against "Replenishing Jessica." University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell. Selected scripts, 1917-1934. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Thayer, Scofield, b. 1889. Dial/Scofield Thayer papers, 1879-1982 (bulk 1920-1925). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Hecht, Ben, 1894-1964. Ben Hecht papers, 1879-1983. Newberry Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. A child meditates [manuscript], ca. 1946. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Raven Poetry Circle of Greenwich Village Collection, Ca. 1933- ca. 1954 New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Maxwell Bodenheim papers, 1917-1981, [Bulk Dates: 1917-1938]. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Kaplan, Philip, 1903-1990. Philip Kaplan collection addition, 1922-1976. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
creatorOf Dawson, Mitchell, 1890-1956. Mitchell Dawson papers, 1810-1988. Newberry Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, [between 1920 and 1922]. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. The gentle furniture shop. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Head, Cloyd. Cloyd Head papers, 1895-1968. Newberry Library
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg papers, 1944-1991. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Letter to Benjamin de Casseres. New York, NY. [1920] Apr. 18. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Poems sent to Carl Zigrosser, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Dial/Scofield Thayer papers, 1879-1982, 1920-1925 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951,. Letters to Alfred Kreymborg [manuscript], 1921-1956. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Maxwell Bodenheim collection, 1923-1955. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Modern poetry collection of miscellaneous manuscripts, 1920-1964. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Paul Goodman papers, 1925-1983. Houghton Library
creatorOf Sandberg, William Carl, 1894-1978. Papers, 1928-1978. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. [Letter] 1930 Feb. 8, Long Island City, N.Y. [to] Sweet Cousin [Julie Bensdorf] / Maxwell. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Knotholes. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Correspondence, 1948. University of Toledo, William S. Carlson Library
referencedIn Delafield, Eugene. Eugene Delafield collection on American poetry, 1904-1968. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gould, Joe, 1889-1957. Joe Gould letters to Edmund R. Brown [manuscript], 1934-1935. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Moore, Jack B. [Papers] 1922-1993. University of South Florida, USF Library
creatorOf Greif, Marjorie, 1936-. Death / [music by] Marjorie Greif ; [words by] Maxwell Bodenheim. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Maxwell Bodenheim papers, 1917-1981 [Bulk Dates: 1917-1938]. Columbia University in the City of New York, Bakhmeteff Archive
creatorOf Bodenheim, Maxwell, 1893-1954. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1954, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Thomas Clay O'Donnell Papers, 1900-1962 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Modern Poetry Collection of Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1920-1964 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Adler, Ija. person
associatedWith Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973 person
associatedWith Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. person
associatedWith Coward, Noel, 1899-1973 person
associatedWith Dawson, Mitchell, 1890-1956. person
associatedWith De Casseres, Benjamin, 1873-1945, person
associatedWith Delafield, Eugene. person
associatedWith Doubleday and Company, inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. person
associatedWith Goodman, Paul, 1911-1972 person
associatedWith Gould, Joe, 1889-1957. person
associatedWith Greif, Marjorie, 1936- person
associatedWith Hansen, Harry, 1884- person
associatedWith Head, Cloyd. person
associatedWith Hecht, Ben, 1894-1964. person
associatedWith Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967, person
associatedWith Isenberg, Julie Bensdorf, person
correspondedWith Kaplan, Philip, 1903-1990. person
associatedWith Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925. person
correspondedWith Moore, Jack B. person
associatedWith O'Donnell, Thomas C. (Thomas Clay), 1881-1962 person
associatedWith Putnam, Samuel, 1892-1950. person
associatedWith Sandberg, William Carl, 1894-1978. person
associatedWith Saphier, William, person
associatedWith Thayer, Scofield, b. 1889. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)
United States
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)
New York (State)--New York
United States
Subject
Authors, American
American drama
Editors
Modernism (Literature)
Modernism (Literature)
Pornography
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1893-05-26

Death 1954-02-06

English

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