Franklin P. Adams

Franklin P. Adams
As the oldest and most established member of the Algonquin Round Table, Franklin P. Adams, or F.P.A. as he was known, often served as a talent scout and mentor. His column, "The Conning Tower," appearing in the New York World and then in the Herald Tribune, spotlighted his own erudite wit along with light verse, puns, parodies, and jokes submitted by others. Contributors found that F.P.A.'s recognition could launch their careers. Adams published Robert Benchley, James Thurber, and George S. Kaufman before anyone else; Dorothy Parker he claimed to have "raised from a couplet." His influential column included contributions from Ring Lardner, Eugene O'Neill, Edna Ferber, E. B. White, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Everyone read it.

Periodically, F.P.A. wrote columns called "The Diary of Our Own Samuel Pepys," chronicling the activities of his immediate circle. In this image, entitled "Professional Jealousy," Will Cotton drew F.P.A. holding his diary and thumbing his nose at Columbus on top of his column, the newly erected monument at Columbus Circle.

Franklin P. Adams 1881-1960
Will Cotton (1880-1958)
Pastel on board, circa 1930-1935
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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