Portrait of Art Samuels, Charlie MacArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott (source: Wikipedia)

New York’s Round Table

“Three things shall I have till I die,
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.”

So wrote Dorothy Parker, one of a group of writers who in 1919 began to meet for lunch in a New York City Hotel. The clever and acerbically witty Dorothy Parker was best known at the time as the literary critic for Vogue and Vanity Fair.

The group of writers and critics became known as the ALGONQUIN Round Table, named after the hotel in which they met regularly for ten years. They called themselves the Vicious Circle.

Algonquin was the name for the Native Americans from the area around Ontario and Quebec. When Frank Case joined the hotel as manager in 1907 he changed the name from The Puritan to the Algonquin. He wished it to be a centre for literary and theatrical life.

Frank became the Algonquin’s owner in 1927. Visitors to his hotel included Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore, Simone de Beauvoir and Gertrude Stein.