Tuesday, October 23, 2012

She wrote Our Hearts Were Young and Gay

Emily Kimbrough
It is the birthday of writer Emily Kimbrough (1899), who for many years was managing editor at Ladies' Home Journal but is best remembered for her witty book Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1942) written with her college classmate, actress and screenwriter Cornelia Otis Skinner. It was on The New York Times bestseller list for five weeks, and has sold more than two million copies.

The book is the hilarious account of a dream trip to London and Paris the two women took in the 1920s when they were fresh out of Bryn Mawr College. Their misadventures included their ship running aground, an error-riddled shipboard tennis game, a case of the measles hidden to avoid quarantine, being stranded at the top of Notre Dame Cathedral at midnight, and unwittingly seeking accommodations in a brothel.

When Hollywood wanted to adapt the book into a film, the two friends went to California to act as consultants. That trip provided fodder for Kimbrough's We Followed Our Hearts to Hollywood (1943). Reviews of the era suggest that the film remained pretty true to the book, though some episodes had to be left out for length.

Before Kimbrough became managing editor at Ladies' Home Journal, she served as fashion editor of the magazine and as editor of the periodical Fashions of the Hour. She wrote articles for The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, House & Garden, Country Life, Readers' Digest, Travel, and Saturday Review of Literature, among others.

Kimbrough also wrote How Dear to My Heart (1944), It Gives Me Great Pleasure (1948), The Innocents from Indiana (1950), Through Charley's Door (1952), Forty Plus and Fancy Free (1954), So Near and Yet So Far (1955), Water, Water Everywhere (1956), And A Right Good Crew (1958), Pleasure by the Busload (1961), Forever Old, Forever New (1964) and Floating Island (1968).

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