Crosby, Harry (1898–1929) By Setz, Cathryn
Harry Crosby, wealthy nephew of J. P. Morgan, was a notorious rebel in moneyed Bostonian circles, an expatriate in Paris during the 1920s, and partner to the equally legendary Caresse Crosby, with whom he spent eight years living in an open marriage. History has overlooked the Crosbys for being dilettantish or the product of sensationalizing hearsay rather than serious literary endeavor. Such a critical paucity is misleading, however. The Crosbys set up the Black Sun Press, famous for its deluxe publication of early portions of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake among other titles, with various editions illustrated by Max Ernst. The Black Sun Press was privately funded by the Crosbys, and became, according to Sy Kahn, ‘one of the most adventurous publishers of the decade’ (1970: 45).
Harry Crosby was devoted to modernist poetry and literary innovation. A significant correspondent and reader of Hart Crane’s ongoing works, Crosby was also a silent benefactor to Maria Jolas and Eugene Jolas’s Little Magazine transition. Crosby funded the magazine with a regular $100 for the editors to support the best new poets of the day.