Frederic Ogden Nash, 1902 - 1971

portrait of Ogden Nash


Born: 19 August 1902, Rye, New York
Died: 19 May 1971, Baltimore, Maryland

Nash's father was in the import/export business and moved frequently, Nash graduated from St George's School at Middletown, Rhode Island. After family finances prevented him from finishing even a year at Harvard, he struggled as a school teacher (a class of 14-year-olds caused too much stress), bond broker (he sold one bond in 18 months, to his godmother), advertising copywriter, children's book author (The Cricket of Carador sold only 900 copies), but finally thrived as an editor at Doubleday. He dashed off some very silly poetry to relieve office boredom, his boss suggested he send a few to the New Yorker where he was first published in 1930. His first public collection, Hard Lines, was issued in 1931; with that success he married Frances Rider Leanard and left his job at Doubleday. He joined the staff of the New Yorker briefly the next year but devoted his time to his poetry after that. He regularly appeared on radio and television, wrote three screenplays for MGM and had a 1934 Broadway Hit, One Touch of Venus, with S. J. Perelmen. Nash published two collections for children, The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus (1957) and Girls are Silly (1962). He never was able to sell his more serious poetry.

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