This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for July 29, 2017: My Own Heart

July 29, 2017: birthday: Don Marquis

It’s the birthday of newspaper columnist Don Marquis (books by this author), born in Walnut, Illinois (1878), who created the characters Archy the cockroach and Mehitabel the alley cat. Archy was a former free verse poet who “sees life from the underside now.” He wasn’t able to reach the shift key so everything he wrote was in lower case. And Mehitabel was an alley cat with questionable morals who insisted that she was Cleopatra in one of her former lives.

Marquis was a champion of the underdog and not a fan of pretension. His columns were humorous, but had political undertones. His character Archy said once, “a louse i used to know told me that millionaires and bums tasted about alike to him.” And, “what is all this mystery about the sphinx that has troubled so many illustrious men no doubt the very same thoughts she thinks are thought every day by some obscure hen.”

After using Archy and Mehitabel in columns for 10 years, Marquis made books out of their writing, beginning with archy and mehitabel (1927).