The Breakthrough (1921–1922)
At the beginning of 1921, Jimmie reported in her diary that Hendrik Willem—whom she called Han—was “feeling quite rotten,” or even was “feeling like hell” and suffered from “ragged nerves” and pain in his chest. By the end of January, she was able to pen that her husband was much better now and “dressed all day,” but her diary entries in March attest to an attack of the blues. About the only bright spot was a burgeoning friendship with Sinclair Lewis, whose novel Main Street had just been published to great acclaim. That winter Sinclair Lewis and his wife, Grace Hegger Lewis, who were celebrities now, visited the van Loons a number of times. According to one of Lewis’s biographers van Loon supposedly put up a sign in his house that read, “It is forbidden to gossip over three minutes about Grace.” Lewis also introduced van Loon to his editor, Alfred Harcourt, who in 1919 had started his own publishing house. Harcourt became a lifelong friend of Hendrik Willem’s and in later years published four of his books.1
KeywordsBurning Europe Income Retina Trench
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