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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

Q:

So then you returned to New York:

Cerf:

Yes, and soon we had the Modern Library really rolling. We had back our entire investment in about two and a half years.

I still remained Liveright's very good friend because, as I say, I was sort of his Boswell--I followed him around. He was so funny, and he knew so many wonderful people. Between Beatrice Kaufman taking me up to the Swope house and Horace Liveright introducing me to his Greenwich Village characters and the literary and theatrical people, I began meeting the celebrities of the day. I'd always had those stars in my eyes, and I was having a wonderful time.

One funny thing happened just after I left. I told you about meeting Theodore Dreiser the first day I entered Liveright's.

Q:

Did you have further contact with him? Would you like to elaborate on that?

Cerf:

Well, Dreiser was one of the most churlish, disagreeable men I ever met in my life, always thinking that everybody was trying to cheat him. He would come in about every three months to check the books to see that his royalty statements were not crooked. We rapidly discovered he didn't know what he was doing. He would make a great pretense of checking, you see, but he was just trying to scare us into being honest. He'd make little marks against all the items he'd examined



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