Harold-Monroto-1

Harold Monro puts up a sign

An excellent photo of the poet Harold Monro (1879 - 1932). Found in a copy of  his Collected Poems (Cobden Sanderson, London 1933). A handsome man reminiscent of TV's Inspector Lynley, the sign is almost certainly by McKnight Kauffer and was seen in commerce at last year's Santa Monica Bookfair.

There is a good piece on him at the Oxford DNB site. It informs us that he inherited a small income from a family-owned lunatic asylum. He was inspired by H. G. Wells's A Modern Utopia (1905) to start an order of ‘Samurai’, Wells's voluntary ruling class.This 'nascent order' (started with Maurice Browne who also started the Samurai Press) collapsed along with his first marriage in 1908. He opened the Poetry Bookshop in December 1912. It was revived after the war and in 1926 moved to Great Russell Street near the British Museum which is likely to be where he put this sign up.The DNB says this of the shop and HM:

Bookshop parties became famous; despite his chronic melancholy, the reverse side of his idealism, he was a generous host and kindly listener, delighting in serious conversation. Some people thought him handsome, others said he looked like an intelligent horse; he was tall, lean, and upright, with sleek dark hair, thick moustache, long face, and sad eyes. His tactless survey, Some Contemporary Poets (1920), shows little critical insight; his greatest service to his fellow poets was as an enabler.

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