A Thorne Smith biography has never truly been written.
Yes, I did write "Host To Said Ghosts: The Thorne Smith Story" a Thorne Smith biography in 2000 for Scarlet Street magazine. However, it was quickly pulled together to meet an unexpected deadline. It was also limited in length due to the size of the magazine at that time. Thus, the 10,000 word article was a good first effort but there was much more information I had accumulated that I was unable to squeeze into the mini-bio.
There was also a slight problem in that I had not completed my research, so it was definitely a case of put out the best bio we could given the time and space deadlines we were under.
There is also a matter of the dissertation "Thorne Smith: A Study in Popular Fiction" written in 1951 by noted biographer Dr. Joseph Blotner. It remains the best source of first-hand biographical information available as Dr. Blotner went to school and was friends with Thorne's daughters.
The main weakness in the Blotner dissertation (in terms of biography) is that it was written more as a critical study of Thorne Smith's writing and did not focus as much on the biographical history as a mainstream Thorne Smith biography would.
Make no mistake, it is a terrific piece of work but is really not a biography in the true sense either. I'm not criticizing Dr. Blotner at all. In fact all biographers of Thorne Smith will forever be indebted to him for what he documented.
Last but not least, I must mention Anthony Slide's book that was released in 2010 titled "A Man Named Smith: The Novels and Screen Legacy of Thorne Smith".
As a biography, it leaves much to be desired. In fact, it primarily recited info from my Thorne Smith biography and Dr. Blotner's terrific dissertation. I’m not knocking the book, as it did offer some much needed new info on the movies made from Thorne’s books. However, it still lacked any of the info I’ve uncovered in the decade since I wrote the mini-bio.
The book is still an enjoyable read and I'm glad that the publisher of the book, Ben Ohmart, made it happen. Ben was kind enough to offer me a contract to write the book back in 2002. At the time, I was in discussions with Random House about doing a true biography of Thorne Smith but, unfortunately, the timing didn't work to where I could complete the research I needed and meet Ben’s publishing schedule.
So, with that in mind, this will be where I
post links to other articles about Thorne Smith as well as do some
biographical writing of my own.
So, to get us started with some great articles I think you'll enjoy, let's take a look at something Scott Veale wrote back in 2000 for the New York Times called "Drinking Gin With the Dead"
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