Christopher Morley

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Christopher Morley was an acclaimed journalist, author, and prolific writer. He also produced a number of stage productions in addition to his journalism career. His extensive body of work includes over 100 books, articles, and essays, with ‘The Haunted Bookshop,’ ‘Parnassus on Wheels,’ and ‘Kitty Foyle’ among his most well-known works. The witty author began a fruitful career that yielded a steady stream of successful books that cemented his reputation as one of history’s most prominent journalist-novelists. A number of stories and essays were published in the ‘Haverfordian,’ for which he also served as an editor at one point, just as he started out as a writer. He was a poet as well as a novelist and essayist, and is best known for the collection of poetry named ‘The Eighth Sin.’ He wrote to various journals during his life and was one of the co-founders and editors of the ‘Saturday Review of Literature.’ He lectured in colleges in addition to authoring a number of short tales and plays.

Childhood and Adolescence

Christopher Morley was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to parents Lilian Janet Bird and Frank Morley. His father was a math professor, and his mother was a violinist, both of whom encouraged him to write poems and read books.
He attended Haverford College after his family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated as valedictorian in 1910. On a Rhodes scholarship, he moved on to New College, Oxford, to study modern history.

He was the editor of ‘The Haverfordian’ while still in college and wrote a number of articles to the newspaper. In college, he was also heavily involved in the drama program.
‘The Eighth Sin,’ his debut collection of poems, was released in 1912. He finished his degree the following year and went to work as a publicist and publisher’s reader.

Career of Christopher Morley

He was appointed editor of ‘Ladies’ Home Journal’ in 1917, and stayed with the publication for a year. The ‘Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger’ hired him as a newspaper reporter and columnist.
He also published his first novel, ‘Parnassus on Wheels,’ in 1917. The protagonist of the tale reappeared two years later in Morley’s second novel, ‘The Haunted Bookshop.’

After returning to New York City in 1920, he began writing a column for the New York Evening Post called “The Bowling Green.” He became a lifelong contributing editor of the ‘Saturday Review of Literature’ at this period.
In 1925, he published ‘Thunder on the Left,’ which became one of his most well-known works. Three years later, he published ‘Off the Deep End,’ a collection of writings.

He was extensively involved in co-producing theater shows in Hoboken, New Jersey, from 1928 to 1930. ‘Born in a Beer Garden, or She Troupes to Conquer’ and ‘Seacoast of Bohemia’ were co-written around this time.
In 1931, he published the autobiographical book ‘John Mistletoe,’ followed by ‘Ex Libris Carissmis,’ a collection of his lectures given at the University of Pennsylvania the following year.

He provided the foreword to the standard omnibus version of ‘The Complete Sherlock Holmes’ in 1936. In the same year, he authored the preface to ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare,’ and was chosen to update and expand ‘Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.’

In 1939, he wrote one of his most famous works, ‘Kitty Foyle,’ which was eventually adapted into an Academy Award-winning picture.

He did an examination of Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’ in 1944. Three years later, he published ‘The Old Mandarin,’ a collection of poetry. He also wrote the poem ‘On Vimy Ridge’ at the same period.

Before his death, he published a novel called “The Man Who Made Friends with Himself.”

Major Projects of Christopher Morley

His literary masterwork, ‘Kitty Foyle,’ was published in 1939 and became a best-seller the same year, selling over one million copies. The audacious publication was such a sensation that it produced a film of the same name in 1940, which was likewise a box office smash. ‘Kitty Foyle’ was adapted for radio and television in addition to being a popular film that earned an Academy Award.

Personal History and Legacy

He married Helen Booth Fairchild on June 14, 1914, and they had four children. The couple moved to Hempstead shortly after their wedding, then to Queens Village, Philadelphia, and ultimately to a house, they named ‘Green Escape,’ where they would spend the rest of their lives.

He constructed himself a separate hut behind the ‘Green Escape’ property in 1936, which he utilized for writing.
During his lifetime, he had a number of strokes, which had an impact on his literary production and productivity.
He died and was buried at New York’s Roslyn Cemetery. His widow donated a collection of his personal papers and books to the Harry Ransom Center and the University of Texas in Austin after his death.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Helen Booth Fairchild is unknown.


For the dictionary ‘Twentieth Century Authors,’ this great American journalist, essayist, and novelist of the ‘Kitty Foyle’ fame penned his own epitaph.