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You are cordially invited to a brawl


The poet Langston Hughes was apparently both a socialite and ephemera buff, if this collection of rent party invitations from the Beinecke Library at Yale is any indication. Rent parties are a bygone pastime in which renters would throw a party at their apartment, pass the hat and with any luck take in enough money to pay the rent for the month. Though many of the invitations shown are for "whist parties" (whist is a card game, similar to bridge), I suspect that genteel title was cover for much more nefarious and entertaining goings-on. Which makes me really admire the party host from the invitation shown above, whose blunt honesty I find quite refreshing.

June 24, 2009 in Ephemera | Permalink


Pete, You probably already knew this, but I just found out today that our own Vachel Lindsay and Langston Hughes had a major encounter in NYC.


Well, I was impressed.

Posted by: Marie at Jul 3, 2009 1:11:50 AM

That project looks fascinating, Marie. Looks like it's right up my (historical and arcane) alley.

Posted by: Pete at Jul 3, 2009 12:30:13 PM