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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heywood Campbell Broun (pronounced /ˈbruːn/; December 7, 1888 – December 18, 1939) was an American journalist. He worked as a sportswriter, newspaper columnist, and editor in New York City. He founded the American Newspaper Guild, now known as The Newspaper Guild. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he is best remembered for his writing on social issues and his championing of the underdog. He believed that journalists could help right wrongs, especially social ills.



His professional career began writing baseball stories in the sports section of the New York Morning Telegraph. He worked at the New York Tribune from 1912–1921 rising to drama critic before transferring to the New York World (1921–28). It was at the World where his syndicated column, It Seems to Me, began. In 1928 he moved to the Scripps-Howard newspapers, including the New York World-Telegram, where it appeared until he moved it to the New York Post just before his death.

Broun was known as a fairly decent drama critic. However, he once classified Geoffrey Steyne as the worst actor on the American stage. Steyne sued Broun, but a judge threw the case out. The next time Broun reviewed a production with Steyne in the cast, he left the actor out of the review. However, in the final sentence, he wrote, "Mr. Steyne's performance was not up to its usual standard."

In 1930, Broun unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Socialist. A slogan of Broun's was "I'd rather be right than Roosevelt."

In 1933, Broun along with New York Evening Post Editor Joseph Cookman, John Eddy from the New York Times and Allen Raymond from the New York Hearld Tribune helped to found The Newspaper Guild

The Newspaper Guild sponsors an annual Heywood Broun Award for outstanding work by a journalist, especially work that helps correct an injustice.

Personal life

On June 7, 1917, Broun married writer-editor Ruth Hale, a feminist who a few years later co-founded of the Lucy Stone League, an organization that fought for women to keep their maiden names after marriage. At the wedding, the columnist Franklin P. Adams characterized the usually easygoing Broun and the more strident Hale as "the clinging oak and the sturdy vine."[1] They had one son, Heywood Hale Broun.

Along with his friends the critic Alexander Woollcott, writer Dorothy Parker and humorist Robert Benchley, Broun was a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table from 1919-1929. He was also close friends with the Marx Brothers, and attended their show The Cocoanuts more than 20 times. Broun joked that his tombstone would read, "killed by getting in the way of some scene shifters at a Marx Brothers show."

Broun converted to Catholicism after discussions with Fulton Sheen.

He died of pneumonia at age 51 in New York City. More than 3,000 mourners attended his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York. Among them were New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, columnist Franklin Pierce Adams, actor-director George M. Cohan, playwright-director George S. Kaufman, New York World editor Herbert Bayard Swope, columnist Walter Winchell and actress Tallulah Bankhead.

Broun is buried in the Cemetery of the Gate of Heaven in Hawthorne, New York (about 25 miles north of New York City).

Film portrayal

Broun was portrayed by the actor Gary Basaraba in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.[2]


  1. ^ Broun, Heywood Hale. Whose Little Boy Are You?: A Memoir of the Broun Family. St. Martin's Press, 1983. p. 6
  2. ^ Internet Movie Database entry for Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle


  • The A.E.F. (1918)
  • The 51st Dragon (1919)
  • Seeing Things at Night (1921)
  • The Boy Grew Older (1922)
  • Gandle Follows His Nose (1926)
  • Anthony Comstock: Roundsman of the Lord (with Margaret Leech) (1927)
  • It Seems to Me (1935) Collection of columns
  • Collected Edition (1941) Another collection of columns

Famous quotes

  • "Repartee is what you wish you'd said."
  • "Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
  • "The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins."
  • "The urge to gamble is so universal and its practice so pleasurable that I assume it must be evil."


  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 62.  
  • Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits (Secaucus, NJ: Citadell Press, 1968, 1985)
  • The New York Times, "3,000 Mourn Broun at St. Patrick's Mass", Dec. 21, 1939, pg. 23.
  • The New York Times, "Newspaper Guild Begins to Function", Nov. 16, 1933
  • John L. Lewis et al., Heywood Broun: As He Seemed to Us (New York: Random House for the Newspaper Guild of New York, 1940)
  • Popular Educator Library, Volume Two, National Educational Alliance, Inc, copyright 1938, 800.

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Heywood Broun (1888 – 1939) was an American journalist, sportswriter and newspaper columnist in New York City. He founded the American Newspaper Guild, now known as The Newspaper Guild.


  • Being a well-dressed man is a career, and he who goes in for it has no time for anything else.
  • In the march up to the heights of fame, there comes a spot close to the summit in which a man reads nothing but detective stories.
  • Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God.
  • Brotherhood is not just a Bible word. Out of comradeship can come and will come the happy life for all.
  • Everybody favors free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground.
  • I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream.
  • Sports do not build character. They reveal it.
  • The ability to make love frivolously is the chief characteristic which distinguishes human beings from beasts.
  • The great threat to the young and pure in heart is not what they read but what they don't read.
  • The most casual examination will reveal the fact that all the jokes about the horrible results of masculine cooking and sewing are written by men. It is all part of a great scheme of sex propaganda.
  • The tragedy of life is not that man loses but that he almost wins.
  • The urge to gamble is so universal and its practice so pleasurable that I assume it must be evil.

External links

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