Caresse Crosby…a part of Anais Nin’s diary…

Party at Kay de San Faustino’s and Yves Tanguy’s.  Caresse Crosby enters with the bouyancy of a powder puff, a caressing voice (was this how she gained the nickname of Caresse from Harry Crosby?), her fur hat, her eyelashes, her smile all glittery with animation.  The word on her lips is always yes, and all her being says yes yes yes to all that is happening and all that is offered her.  She trails behind her, like a plume of a peacock, a fabulous legend.  She ran the Black Sun Press in Paris, lived in a converted windmill, knew D.H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Andre Breton, painters, writers.  At the Quartre Arts Ball she once rode a horse as Lady Godiva.

The life of certain women dresses them in anecdotes which become more visible than fur coats or silk dresses.  Stories surround Caresse like a perfume, a necklace, a feather.  She always seems fresher and younger than all the women there, because of her mobility, ease, flowingness.  D. H. Lawrence would have called it her “livingness.”  A pollen carrier, I thought, as she mixed, stirred, brewed, concocted her friendships by a constant flux and reflux of activity, by curiosity, avidity, amorousness.”

This was just a nice descriptive piece that I read last night in Anais Nin’s Diary, book three, 1939-1944.  Anais had just arrived in New York City from war-torn Paris, and was deeply homesick for her favorite city and all her friends. The the recent publication of her book, Winter of Artifice had made her well-known, and invitations began flowing to her, like this one she mentions at Kay de San Faustino’s.  This was in the winter of 1939.

A note on the subject matter. Caresse Crosby was married to Harry Crosby, a famous poet and writer, and the two were quite promiscuous, which is an understatement to say the least, in their married life, known for their partying, affairs (seven in bed at one time), drug use…basically they would make any current Hollywood celeb’s grandiose activities seem like child’s play. Harry Crosby died tragically in a double suicide pact (or so it is thought)  with one of his lovers years before this was written, and may be one of the “stories” that “surround Caresse like a perfume, a necklace, a feather” as quoted above by Anais. Caresse’s real name was Mary Phelps Jacobs and she was known for inventing the bra.  Just love discovering little pieces of history like this.


2 Responses to “Caresse Crosby…a part of Anais Nin’s diary…”

  1. Lisa Chapman Says:

    Party like it’s 1939 eh? Sounds like an interesting girl. The bra looks a little less than comfortable-haha.



  2. I adore Anais Nin. Didn’t know that part about who invented the bra. That’s interesting.


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