The uncloseted Winsor French was one of the most faithfully read columnists in the history of Cleveland journalism. For more than forty years he covered the jazz beat and cafe society of the 1920s and 1930s and the local "Jolly Set" of the postwar years in a newsroom climate that was anything but friendly to effeminate young men.
Step back in time to French’s era of prohibition, jazz and swinging good times with Jim Wood, author of Out and About with Winsor French, at 7: 00 p.m. on May 16 in the Main Library Auditorium.
The fact that French flourished in the harsh boys-club environment that was 1920s/1930s journalism speaks volumes to his talents. He began reporting on urban nightlife in Parade, the magazine he founded and edited. His columns were about the social activities of those who were normally cast into the shadows: bootleggers, black entertainers, Jewish socialites, disabled school children and fellows like himself who found the company of other men more exciting than women.
French’s influence and wanderlust took him beyond the borders of Cleveland to the jazz filled haunts of Havana, Hollywood, Manhattan, Paris and London. There he would gather juicy stories of Café society that filled his Cleveland columns. His sources were crooners, deckhands, fan dancers, hoboes, gangsters, millionaires, redcaps, torch singers, and several of the twentieth century's most celebrated stage, film, and literary artists, including Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Somerset Maugham, and Cole Porter.
Wood will discuss the fabulous personal and public persona of this groundbreaking newspaperman. Books will be available for sale and signing at the event.
This program is presented by the Lakewood Historical Society. No registration is needed. Call (216) 226-8275 ext. 127 for more information.