A Glimpse of Dorothy Parker's Life
Dorothy Rothschild, later to become the famous writer Dorothy Parker, was born on August 22, 1893 to J. Henry Rothschild and Eliza A (Marston) Rothschild in West End, New Jersey. Parker’s father, Mr. Rothschild, was a Jewish business man while Mrs. Rothschild, in contrast, was of Scottish descent. Parker was the youngest of four; her only sister Helen was 12 and her two brothers, Harold and Bertram, were aged 9 and 6, respectively. Just before her fifth birthday, Dorothy’s mother became very ill and died on July 20, 1897. Three years later in 1900, Mr. Rothschild remarried to a 48 year-old spinster widow, Eleanor Frances Lewis, who Dorothy referred to as “the housekeeper.” The new Mrs. Rothschild entered Dorothy in the Blessed Sacrament Convent School, where the Catholic ways of thinking were instilled in her. Fortunately or unfortunately, in 1903 Dorothy’s stepmother dropped dead of an acute cerebral hemorrhage and consequently Dorothy did not have to continue at the Blessed Sacrament Convent. A few years later, in the fall of 1907, Dorothy entered Miss Dana’s school, a junior college, where she studied several different disciplines and was exposed to current events and cultural activities. This environment nourished Dorothy’s intellectual appetite, but this too was short-lived; Miss Dana died in March 1908. Dorothy, now aged 14, was only at the school for one year, the fall of 1907 to the spring of 1908 (Miss Dana’s school had to file for bankruptcy). In 1913, Mr. Rothschild died leaving Dorothy, age 19, to find her own way and support herself.
In search of a way to support herself, Dorothy turned to Mr. Crowninshield, an editor at Vanity Fair who published her first work, a poem called “Any Porch”. This led to Dorothy taking a job at Vogue. Around this time, Dorothy also married her first love, Edwin Pond Park, in June of 1917. Her husband, Eddie, served in the armed forces and after being stationed at various bases in the US, he was shipped off to war and also had to remain after the war for the occupation in Europe. Another big step in Dorothy’s career occurred shortly soon after, she replaced P.G. Wodehouse as a drama reviewer for Vanity Fair, the sister magazine of Vogue. Because of their long separation and both developing into different people, when Eddie returned from the war things were not the same. However, they stayed together and Dorothy continued to publish several works as well as pursuing an active role in the literary social scene of New York City. In the end though, after two failed suicide attempts and the continuation of her gaining a greater sense of self and knowledge, Dorothy eventually divorced Eddie in March of 1928.
Before marrying her second husband, Alan Campbell in June of 1934, Parker went through two more failed suicide attempts (in 1930 and 1932) and published Death and Taxes (1931), a collection of poems, and two sets of stories,...