Published on November 7, 2013
John M. Price (1899-1978) was born in Chicago in a neighborhood known as Morgan Park where his dad was lawyer and where the family also had an acre of land they used to do some light farming, way ahead of the contemporary urban farming craze. An undergraduate at Denison University in Granville, Ohio from 1917 to 1921, John Price was a member of a fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta. Not an outsider to Denison or college life in general, Price’s father, his mother and several of his uncles attended Denison. Price’s father, in fact, had been a member of “Phi Gam” as well. The Price ancestral homestead was about 10 miles away from Granville, outside the city of Newark. Price, like his father, his grandfather and some of his uncles, was an avid diarist a bit after diary writing became more associated with women’s interests in the early twentieth century. In 1950 Price typed up his diaries and commented on them. He presented this typed diary to his son. Upon graduating from Denison in 1921, and after some vocational angst, he landed a job as an editor at the New York Herald Tribune where he worked for his entire career and where he was well respected for his work, but was also looked upon suspiciously as a self-declared Communist during the McCarthy era. His retirement from the paper coincided with the paper’s folding. Some of his radical views as an older adult are foreshadowed by his rebellious spirit when a college student at Denison University. You will meet John Price in 1921, his senior year of college, as he struggles to graduate. Due to a policy of the dean that a student be docked credits for missing class (or “bucking”), Price was few credits short from graduating. His absences might have had something to do with his several extra-curricular activities including his editorship of a humor magazine, the Flamingo. He also struggles to pay his bills when pasting together funds he makes on his own from various jobs, leftovers from a summer job, and money from his father. Throughout his college life, Price worked to make needs meet—but not, as you will see, to the sacrifice of a good time.