This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Van Doren introduces Waugh, Evelyn's brother, who talks about his novel "Island in the Sun" and the West Indies. For more on Alec Waugh, visit http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/neh-preservation-project/2013/jan/11/alec-waugh/.
Van Doren introduces Labaree, who talks about "Mr. Franklin," a collection of Benjamin Franklin's letters. Requests that anyone with original Franklin letters send them a copy for their collection.
Van Doren introduces Sorensen, who reads a speech by John F. Kennedy, in which he talks about achievements of Irishmen and his book (which was compiled with the help of Sorensen), "Profiles in Courage."
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71260
Municipal archives id: LT7106
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
If. They. Have a realistic. View but maybe you know if. You haven't. Named from the old. And. Younger brother. Of. The practice. If. In fact the new edition coming right. Back into evidence but given that you've. Never. Been cracking your record with a machine gun company and. When you were taken prisoner. And during the second six years as an intelligence officer in the middle. Of. Syria. The. Whole. Publishing. As opposed. To. Convention that you can resign and take the chance of making a living with. And then you went on a world tour after the Second World War He continued to travel and has divided his life between writing and traveling ever since living in the. West Indies and New York with occasional. Trips to the south and Tangier. When in New York he lives with the Algonquin on arrival from a trunk which he keeps in his basement very convenient arrangement he takes a few pictures of which fun hanging out of his sitting room put some books about it and he let home. His work habits as regular Scrabble connects he rises and has finished by noon about two thousand words written in long hand that's a good stand we has a passion for cricket and for vintage port he has written a number of novels marvels of London and of the international set and even more books of travel such as what country and why the clock strikes twice his paper in fact he is in trying to light his travel books better than his novels he said unless the great success of Ireland in the sun has changed his mind now it is a literary deal Charlie is well upon the bestseller list and will be made into a Cinema Scope film by twentieth Century Fox about a year from now Mr Wall has been visiting the Caribbean regularly since nineteen twenty seven and so is well acquainted with the setting of his new novel which he has placed in an imaginary British Crown Colony called Santa Marta Marta the Windward Islands near Jamaica I think it might pick up no mystery story could have a more tightly woven more logical plot and together with its confidence than I did the bathing atmosphere of excitement island in the sun had something which Mr usually lacked believable characters who raised problems of power sex friendship and of loyalty. Because the Indians have been for profit centuries laboratories that message a nation as low as Canada and Korea is always in the area adding a subtle and to an American reader unexpected complications to every situation and the situations are plentiful in this time range the island right on the plantation a mysterious murder in the capital find in the club one club for white one for colored and one for ball and young people stealing our young people of all shades of color stealing off together to the beaches and happy to be able to introduce to you today as our first speaker the author of that rare thing a novel of flying dreams entertainment which leaves you think about it all. Ladies and gentleman is a very great pleasure for me to be here this afternoon but it is the same time a rather intimidating experience I have never spoken to such a large audience before and I am not a troll accustomed to this machine out here and if you can't hear me at the back I hope you'll make some time because I'm used to talk to you smaller rooms where I look at somebody at the back of the room and catch my boys with her but I clearly cannot do that here. When Mrs Van Doren and myself just cast a few weeks ago what I should talk about today she should gestured Russia chooses my subjects why I chose the West Indies to write about that sounded at the moment a very. Promising subject. But when I began to think it over afterwards I came to the conclusion that it wasn't so much I'd chosen the West Indies as that the West Indies had children me because when I first began to travel the last thing I had in mind was that I should concentrate upon the West Indies I began to travel in the spring of one hundred twenty six and most of my friends told me that I was crazy to give up a flat in London and a present job working half time in a publishing office which my father rent I was then twenty seven years old I was then a car from being a bestselling novelist but my publishers weren't losing on my novels and for a young man in London in the trenches London was a very pleasant place indeed I happened also to be unattached because one of those first and early marriages that sold had just loosed its tentacles on bail and to a certain extent it might receive that I had I don't say I had both my feet but I had to fall within range of cricket but at the same time I was feeling extremely restless I was enjoying the life I lead I played cricket and I played football I like going to dances and I like my friends but at the same time it's occurring to me that if I went on reading this life of cricket and football and taking deputy trance to dances and going down for a week and into the country I should very soon run short of my material and risk high time I found you subject to myself I also had a personal problem. I was finding this in an attached mail they had what was called the Martin girl in London of the one nine hundred twenty five it was a very difficult problem I think the situation was different here I won't go into the question of why I think it was different I'll just say what the problem was in London. Women had just got the vote they were claiming complete equality with men which men were very ready to give them that they only were taking the you had shaken off the shackles of parental and Barito discipline they only had that piece and chapbooks and lunched with whom they liked they were at the same time trying to get the same both ways they would say there is to this you and they are free people you can't question this but then it was suddenly turned around to say we have seen protectors make up our minds for us I thought that was what it was puzzling me a good deal and I read a certain number of books about the South Sea Islands and I thought wouldn't it be very much more sensible to go look at the South Sea Islands and find perhaps some pleasant correlation. I could support perhaps such as thousand words a year. So I started out on a trip around the world with two objects in mind one was to find new material for myself and the other was to solve a personal problem well I started off putting. To find new subjects and I took around the world ticket. India seemed to me to be out. That was so much. That it was really terrible for. Another writer to deal with in India so posing along the way I made there and there I did think I had found exactly the material I was looking for I went up into the Siamese jungles and took a long trip through a cheap forest and it seemed to me this year was. It's interesting. And it's hundred men who were English and working there from the spot who were leading dramatic very lives with an exotic background and I thought I might exploit their. Period I came down from Siam full of ideas of writing about that after world for many years but then my last September twenty sixth my last year in Singapore I picked up a book called The casual reader three and then I realised that a very major writer Mr Moore was using. As his own and that I wasn't very much point in a man a writer going there for several years so I put. In and then I went on to try each day to see if I could solve my personal problem there. I just solve it for the reason that instead of me taking attractive who. I became attached to the American lady of great charms who lived there. There was nothing perhaps very unfortunate in that except that she was married to an extremely attractive has been. Whom she had no intention of leaving. Her cell it seemed to me that for my peace of mind the best thing to do was to rule out so I went on from trying to take where the French culture in which I was travelling went through the West Indies and stopped at Martinique at the time I knew very little about the West Indies and less about not unique but when I saw it first time out of Sunday July morning I thought it might be isolated day an equivalent for to eat here was a French Island as far north of the line star ichi was out there are mountains and power and white beaches and I decided that very shortly as soon as I reorganized myself in England I would go back to the West Indies I did that and. Soon as I arrived in March and April in a few weeks of arriving I soon realised that the West Indies. A completely different place from the South Sea Islands historically they were different they had no one called indigenous population they never populated by Africans imported from Africa it wasn't the same feeling of a free ball on a populous. Chariot the fact that an African. Proletariat had been imported a jury in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from beginning coast had created a whole new and exciting series of problems and I began to travel to the islands I spent about five months on that ship so the various islands realized how exciting there were dramatic story here and. Found caught up several articles and one or two short stories and came back to England feeling rejuvenated and full of ideas at the same time I had no intention of making the West Indies my special club and I thought there was a time like. The rest of the Caribbean and see the parts of South and Central America that had once been a part of that area in the Spanish play. But. At that point fake intervene. Which is what I meant by saying that perhaps the West Indies chose me they laid a particular kind of Western spell upon me it is well known in the West Indies no one has ever really did night this that the West Indian can place a spell on anyone who wants to if a West Indian falls in love with a European she will very likely take his handkerchief which after a spell of will be faced upon him so he does not reality. What one thinks is strong is really a fate working out into a sparrow and what happened in the way of trance this occasion was just younger brother my young brother even at about the same time when I came back from the West Indies found himself in the position of having had a first marriage told as he began to travel to. Well there was nothing very disturbing about it at first but we soon realised that the problem of having two brothers travelling this creates very considerable of problems I realised at first in this country when I received an invitation from the editor of Vogue Mrs Tom Mills no to call upon her and discuss an offical though she wanted me to write just a very troubled article and we agreed on the scope of the article and when she had finished the talk he said well that's who or what I want you to write this article last Because I Said So Tamara your book labeled I blushed modest yet and said I was glad she liked it I thought it's easier to draft modesty it because labels had not been written by me but my brother and. I had a sort of feeling of fraternal guilt about this but it was then and I just said yeah attending the coronation of Haile Selassie. I thought it very possible that I needed one hundred fifty dollars more than he did. So I wrote the article and Mr Snow didn't think it unworthy of the author of labels and I took my hundred fifty dollars. I saw that fight found it. But when I told my brother returned to England he didn't find her son here told. Me He said We have got to come just some kind of terms about this he must have our own characters so if editors want an article they know which was of title so we drew up an agreement by which. He is a Catholic and I'm a cricketer I mean just made a certain distinction between possible to fake cricket and those with head of a Catholic background and that's why the division was over I tell my brother with most of Africa or Africa with the Central and South America and any place where there's a Spanish colony places like. Fernando places like that I was left. In the south and. I thought. The gravel. Up. There was the most spreading of China Sea I've typed it difficult for myself and. There was nothing left except a western and it. Did I choose the best interest I can. I'm very happy about the choice. That it was and in voluntary act. Superior force. I am. Like a very positive way of having one's life decided. It was in one thousand nine hundred fifty one that President Truman his national publications commission the pixels of outstanding Americans published as an important part of recorded history the first volume of the Jefferson papers edited by Julian Boyd at Princeton had just been published by the University. Columbia. University. And with the American Society of Philadelphia which Franklin founded will publish the papers of Benjamin Franklin one of the great projects in the history of American scholarship it was the president's commission to together in a logical collaboration. Society. Collection of documents in existence and. Own the largest collection of printed material. Of. Two hundred fiftieth anniversary of the very of the great American most of you by this time. It's been celebrated in school libraries on radio and television and by the publication of. But the first volume of the Franklin papers will not be ready before one thousand nine hundred fifty so it is the task of. The Philosophical Society. Want to take part in the celebration of the anniversary so. A promise of what is to come. The papers and. Associated. Twenty seven letters from. Which they are now working to. The letter selected Joe Franklin as a father brother husband as business scientist printer friend patron of the arts. Representative of his country is in prison and in his own. They furnished they illustrate the richness of his personality. But his relationship to the variety of his interest as the editors explained they present Franklin the human being in his own words as he addressed them informally to relatives friends and associates and the charm of the letters is enhanced by the editors brief explanatory notes giving the background and occasion of. The volume in which. The volume in which these letters are gathered is in itself exquisitely appropriate and beautiful it by the title simply Mr Frankton and the painting on the title page and on the jacket is made from a recently discovered plate of the calling card Franklin used at the French court to emphasize the fact that he represented the Democratic nation just Mr Franklin the lettering of the. Spine of the book that's lettering here it's a brass stem cells made for Franklin in seventy nine eighty one in Paris and the cover paper which is lovely is adapted from the copy of Franklin's pocket oh my knight but seventeen forty three. London Library is admirably suited to be in charge of this great project except for two years in the air service during the First World War when his