ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT is dead; and a hostile obituary in the New York Herald Tribune, which dwelt on his disagreeable traits, has prompted me to try to pay some tribute to his more attractive ones.
I knew Woollcott only slightly, but my relations with him were based on an aspect of him which may not have been very well known. He was born at the North American Phalanx near Red Bank, New Jersey, and I was born at Red Bank. The North American Phalanx was one of the longest-lived of the socialist communities that flourished in the middle of the last century, and Woollcott's grandfather was for many years the head of it. My family knew all his family, and my grandfather, who was a doctor at Eatontown, brought Woollcott into the world.
When I first came to New York and met Woollcott, I did not connect him with the Woollcotts of Red Bank or the curious old Fourierist building, half barracks and half hotel, to which I had been taken, as a child, to call. At that time, when I had just started working in the office of Vanity Fair, to which he was a distinguished contributor, I saw his more erinaceous side. I provoked him to ferocity one day by asking him who the Father Duffy was to whom he was in the habit of referring as