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With the exception of founder Frank Shay, the writer, editor, and journalist Christopher Morley (1890-1957) is the most important figure in the drama of the bookshop at 4 Christopher Street. Originally from Haverford, Pennsylvania, he moved briefly to New York City, and then to Garden City, New York, in 1913 to work as an entry-level editor at Doubleday, Page publishers. By the time his friend Shay opened his bookshop in 1920, Morley was writing a popular weekly column, "The Bowling Green," for the New York Evening Post, and had published two popular novels, including Parnassus on Wheels (1917), about a traveling bookshop. Shay created a real-life version of this, taking his bookstore stock to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to sell to summering bohemians each summer. Morley had an unusual skill for friendship, gathering around himself a large group of friends, and a smaller circle of intimates, many of whom shared his love for companionable drinking in the age of Prohibition. In 1924, he became an editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, which was an important venue for literary criticism for decades. After the bookshop years, Morley continued to write prolifically, producing numerous novels, essay collections, and anthologies. He was for many years on the editorial board of the Book-of-the-Month Club. His most enduring social invention is the Baker Street Irregulars, the Sherlock Holmes society that he formed in 1934 in New York City.
Christopher Morley's 1921 journal
This journal contains a vast amount of information about Morley's daily life in 1921, including references to Morley's visits to the bookshop and social engagements with Frank Shay and numerous people who signed the bookshop door.