Esther McCoy, “The Death of Dreiser”


Esther McCoy, ‘The Death of Dreiser’ – Grand Street (2)

Esther McCoy on Dreiser – Daily Worker 1-14-1946 pg 11


Posted here (PDF above):

Esther McCoy

“The Death of Dreiser”

Grand Street 7 (Winter 1988): 73–85

A few explanatory notes:

Esther McCoy (1904-1989) became acquainted with Dreiser in the 1920s. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York to pursue a career as a writer and was a researcher and editorial assistant to Dreiser, who was then living in Greenwich Village. She had a fling with Dreiser.

McCoy became prominent as an architectural historian and writer on architecture.

The “Berk” mentioned in McCoy’s article was Berkeley G. Tobey (1881-1962), to whom McCoy was married at the time of Dreiser’s death. Tobey had multiple spouses; he was married briefly to Dorothy Day.

McCoy mentions Dreiser’s “nephew.” This was Harald Dies. He was not Dreiser’s nephew. He had just completed service in the US Army. Harold was a cousin of Helen, who herself was a second cousin of Dreiser. Harold James Dies (1914-2012) became Trustee of the Dreiser Trust.

I have also posted  here (PDF above) an article of McCoy’s on Dreiser published in the Daily Worker of January 14, 1946.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2022


Berkeley Tobey and Esther McCoy

Dreiser gravestones




Saint Boniface Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

John Paul Dreiser

Sarah Dreiser

Paul Dresser


*John Paul Dresser Jr. was born on April 22, 1858 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was baptized on May 24, 1858 in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Terre Haute.


posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2022

Carl Van Doren review of “Chains: Lesser Novels and Stories”


Carl Van Doren review of ‘Chains; Lesser Novels and Stories’ – NY Herald Tribune 5-22-1927

Carl Van Doren review of ‘Chains; Lesser Novels and Stories’ – NY Herald Tribune 5-22-1927


Posted here is a very interesting and provocative review of Dreiser’s Chains: Lesser Novels and Stories (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1927) by Carl Van Doren

New York Herald Tribune

May 22, 1927


— posted by Roger W Smith

  October 2022

re Marie Pergain


It may be of interest to some Dreiserians that I have discovered the birth and death dates of Dreiser’s lover Margie Pergain, who was a for a long time a mystery woman to most Dreiser scholars. Most assumed that it was a pseudonym used to hide her identity. She was a very real person and my blog

“Theodore Dreiser, Ervin Nyiregyházi, Helen Richardson, and Marie Pergain”

Roger W. Smith, “Theodore Dreiser, Ervin Nyiregyházi, Helen Richardson, and Marie Pergain”

contains a wealth of detail about Marie; the “toothpick” incident; and the complicated relationship of Dreiser, Pergain, and others, including Dreiser’s mistress Helen and the pianist Ervin Nyiregyházi.

I have verified information about Maire’s birth and, most importantly, have found on the details of her death. She was married a fourth time before she died, which I did not know; it is interesting to know what became of her. For those who care to read it, my post is very thoroughly researched and documented and is full of anecdotal detail. I benefited greatly from the work and notes in his files, which he generously shared with me, of the author Kevin Bazzana.
— Roger W. Smith

an excerpt from the diary of Esther McCoy



The following is an excerpt from the diary of Esther McCoy’, which is held by the Smithsonian Institution:

April 7, 1926

Today I took a job as waitress at a restaurant on eighth street. Serve a week meals, and tips – two meals a day. She, the manager, didn’t ask much about my experience, because she said I looked as if I could learn it easily. Christ. I went all the way home thinking about it. How delicious. Yes, I may learn it. And today, also I heard from Isabel that Dreiser had a new mistress, a Mrs. Miller. That means nothing, but it brings back to me both a pity for him and for myself. For him because he is grasping frantically for someone to cohabitate with, that his remaining strength won’t be lost. How sad it is, and will he never be able to live on be satisfied until he can meet [[strikethrough]] on [[?]] [[/strikethrough]] on sexual bases everyone woman in whom he is interested. I am bilqued [[sic]] perhaps that he dropped me yet I know the uselessness of trying to turn sex into an attraction which uses anything but that. What nice times we had together. [[strikethrough]] until [[/strikethrough]] Why can’t he accept a relationship without sex.


“Esther McCoy ( I 904-89) was an author of novels, stories, screenplays, and political journalism. … Born in Kansas, she spent her childhood in Arkansas and was attending the University of Michigan when she and Dreiser first met. She initiated a correspondence with Dreiser on 7 May I 924, writing from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to describe her enthusiastic reactions to his books.” — Theodore Dreiser, Letters to Women; New Letters, Volume II, edited by Thomas P. Riggio, pg. 180


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2022

overlooked reviews of Sister Carrie


The following are reviews of Dreiser’s Sister Carrie that were overlooked in Theodore Dreiser: The Critical Reception, edited by Jack Salzman (David Lewis, 1972) – with one exception in which the review was reprinted in excepted form.


New York Tribune, November 3, 1900

1 comment re Sister Carrie – NY Tribune 11-3-1900 (2)


San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 1900; (excerpt published in Salzman)

2 review of Sister Carrie – San Francisco Chronicle 12-30-1900 NOT PUBLISHED IN FULL (2)


The Scotsman, August 12, 1901

3 review of Sister Carrie – The Scotsman 8-12-1901 (3)


The Detroit Free Press, July 6, 1907

4 review of Sister Carrie – Detroit Free Press 7-6-1907 (3)


The Hartford Courant, March 9, 1912

5 review of Sister Carrie – Hartford Courant 3-9-1912


The Outlook, November 23, 1912

6 brief comments on Sister Carrie & Jennie Gerhardt – Outlook 11-23-1912 pg 650_Page_08 (2)


The New Statesman, July 2, 1927

7 Naomi Roade-Smith review of Sister Carrie – New Statesman 6-2-1927 (2)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2022

“From Boni & Liveright comes the interesting announcement that Theodore Dreiser has written a new novel”


re new novel (An American Tragedy) – NY Times 5-18-1924



Books and Authors

New York Times Book Review

May 18, 1924

pg. 20

Сергей Динамов, “Теодор Драйзер и революция” (Sergei Dinamov, Theodore Dreiser and Revolution)


FINAL, RUSSIAN Dinamov – Preface to A Gallery of Women

FINAL, ENGLISH Dinamov – Peface to A Gallery of Women


Posted here as Word documents are the original Russian article:

Теодор Драйзер и революция

Предисловие к Теодору Драйзеру: Собрание сочинений, том 8

Москва; Ленинград, 1933 г.

and an English translation by Roger W. Smith:

Theodore Dreiser and Revolution

Preface to Theodore Dreiser: Collected Works, Volume 8

By Sergei Dinamov

Moscow; Leningrad, 1933

Sergei Dinamov was a Russian critic.

See also a copy of the original article below.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

September 2022


Dinamov, ‘Theodore Dreiser and Revolution’ ORIGINAL

“Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisan”


‘Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisian’ – St. Louis Post-Disptach’ 1-26-1902 (2)


Posted here (PDF file above) is an early interview with Dreiser:

“Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisan”

St. Louis Post–Dispatch

January 26, 1902, pg. 4

This interview has already been published in Theodore Dreiser: Interviews, edited by Frederic E. Rusch and Donald Pizer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2022

a Dreiser parody


Ted Robinson, Jack and Jill parody – Ithaca Journal-News 4-25-1921 pg 4


This parody of Dreiser by Ted Robinson appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (date unknown) and was reprinted in the Ithaca Journal-News of April 25, 1921.  It was one of several parodies of Jack and Jill as told by various writers.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  September 2022