Louis Auchincloss, R.I.P.

by Richard Brookhiser

Louis Auchincloss was an occasional guest at WFB’s, always at the larger parties. The most time I spent with him was an evening arranged by the Library of America, to promote one of their volumes, Writing New York. An actress whose name I forget read selections by Dawn Powell; Auchincloss read from the mid-19th-century diary of George Templeton Strong; I read from the slightly earlier diary of Philip Hone, wealthy merchant and one-term mayor (for the Whig party — this was before the days of Tammany Hall’s greatness). In the green room beforehand, Auchincloss told us that he was related to Hone, and that some elderly relative of his (grandmother? aunt?) had been disconcerted to learn that Hone’s origins — and thus, ultimately, hers — were Jewish. Auchnicloss was not disconcerted at all; his metier was to be concerted.

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