Identified individuals are represented by a biographical sketch, a list of connections to other signatures, and, in most cases, an artifact from the Ransom Centers collections. Help us identify more signatures by submitting your suggested identification.
LUTHER E. WIDEN
Born Luther Emanual Widen (dates unknown) and raised in Austin, Texas, Lew Ney was a printer, type designer, publisher, and character who came to be known as "The Mayor of Greenwich Village" in the late 1920s. A graduate of Austin High School, he was a student at The University of Texas at Austin in the 1900s. He began his career in books early, leaving school around 1907 to work at the Southwest Book and Publishing Company, which went out of business in 1908. He finished his undergraduate degree in Nebraska and received a Masters in Psychology at Iowa State University. He appears to have worked in the field of psychology before becoming involved in the Greenwich Village community in the 1910s or 1920s. He and his wife, poet Ruth Willis Thompson, made the newspapers when they had the "bohemian" idea to pay for their wedding license with pennies given to them by 100 friends: two pennies each. The New York Times reported on the event. From the late 1920s into the 1930s, Ney published books and the little magazine Parnassus at his Parnassus Press at 12 East 15th Street, where he printed early work by writers such as Parker Tyler and Maxwell Bodenheim. Among his notable works, he was the printer for the 1935 Alcestis Press edition of Wallace Stevens's Ideas of Order. When the publisher became impatient, Stevens wrote to him explaining his reasons for wanting Ney to print the book: "Mr. Ney's chief possession (not counting his disposition) is a font of exquisite type."
Selected pages of Blues: A Magazine of New Rhythms 8 (Spring 1930)
This periodical was founded by Parker Tyler and Charles Henri Ford, who dropped out of high school to edit it; this issue was published when he was just seventeen. It features several writers whose archives reside at the Ransom Center: Tyler, Ford, Paul Bowles, and Louis Zukofsky. The Center also houses important collections of contributors Kay Boyle, John Herrmann, Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams.