1898 – 1929
Who was Harry Crosby?
Harry Crosby was an American heir, a bon vivant, poet, publisher, and for some, epitomized the Lost Generation in American literature. He was the son of one of the richest banking families in New England, a Boston Brahmin, and the nephew of Jane Norton Grew, the wife of financier J. P. Morgan, Jr.. As such, he was heir to a portion of a substantial family fortune. He was a volunteer in the American Field Service during World War I, and later served in the U.S. Ambulance Corps. He narrowly escaped with his life.
Profoundly affected by his experience in World War I, Crosby vowed to live life on his own terms and abandoned all pretense of living the expected life of a privileged Bostonian. He had his father's eye for women, and in 1920 met Mrs. Richard Peabody, six years his senior. They had sex within two weeks, and their open affair was the source of scandal and gossip among blue-blood Boston.
Mary divorced her alcoholic husband and to her family's dismay married Crosby. Two days later they left for Europe, where they devoted themselves to art and poetry. Both enjoyed a decadent lifestyle, drinking, smoking opium regularly, traveling frequently, and having an open marriage. Crosby maintained a coterie of young ladies that he frequently bedded, and wrote and published poetry that dwelled on the symbolism of the sun and explored themes of death and suicide.
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