Friday, March 21, 2008

The Red Leather Diary

The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal (HarperCollins, April 8, 2008) by Lily Koppel.

Kept by Florence Wolfson Howitt in the 1930's, the diary was found in a steamer trunk in a dumpster outside the author's apartment building. The journal reveals what life was like for Florence in 1930s New York—-horseback riding in Central Park, summer excursions to the Catskills, and an obsession with a famous avant-garde actress. It has nearly two thousand entries, written in faded black ink, covering every day from 1929 to 1934.

The book's author, a New York Times reporter who has found her niche writing about the hidden characters of New York, such as Manhattan's last typewriter repairman, set out to find the owner of the diary with her only clue being the inscription on the frontispiece--"This book belongs to Florence Wolfson" and found her, now 90 years old.

A New York Times article can be found here

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