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The humorist and critic Alexander Lawton Mackall (1888-1968) is best remembered for his writings on food, wine, and restaurants, though he wrote on many subjects in his long career and even wrote part of at least one screenplay, for the 1932 Gary Cooper picture, If I Had a Million. A graduate of Lawrenceville School and then Yale, he worked for Century and Vanity Fair magazines and Schirmer music publishers early in his career before becoming the managing editor of the humorous magazine Judge in the mid-1910s. By the late 1910s, he was known for his comic pieces in various magazines and in 1920 he published his first book, a satire on women's suffrage called Scrambled Eggs: A Barnyard Fantasy, written from the perspective of a drake about his duck wife and her eggs. He was a close friend of Christopher Morley, who, in his book Plum Pudding (1921), documented some of the awful puns Mackall contributed to the meetings of the Three Hours for Lunch Club. In the 1930s, Mackall wrote regular articles on wine and other drinks for Esquire magazine. His 1948 guidebook, Knife and Fork in New York, is a famous volume in the history of restaurant reviewing.
A photograph of men lawn-bowling at a party, undated
Mackall and his publishing friends, several of them visitors to Shay's bookshop, are seen in this photograph. A typed note on the back describes the scene: "Lawn bowls at the Peony Party given for authors and friends in the gardens of the Country Life Press, by Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City, N. Y. (last week). / Reading from left to right: Arthur Elder, Robert Cortes Holliday, Christopher Morley, Homer Croy, F. H. Doubleday, Lawton Mackall. In the center Horace (Doubleday) the St. Bernard dog can be seen interrupting the game."