The Life of Fred Astaire in New York City: 1905-1933

It’s been a little over 10 years since I retired after nearly 40 years at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.  In the first few years after leaving academe, I focused on long deferred house renovation projects.  Once I had a comfortable home office/studio, I began a research project on the life of Fred Astaire in New York City from 1905 to 1933 and started making regular visits to the Library of Congress and annual trips to other specialty research libraries, such as Manhattan’s Shubert Archives and Paley Center.  I have occasionally posted on Facebook about some of my discoveries. I have now finished my first draft of 11 chapters of the book, about half of the projected total, so I thought it might be a propitious time to start letting folks see the results by serializing my first chapter on Substack at where I have posted 21 different sections of my first chapter.  They are short 3 to 5 minute reads, and though they can be perused in just about any sequence, starting with 1.0 would be best (go to the end and work your way up).  I have also written a few “Back Story” posts describing why and how I have been doing this project.  It’s my intent to post two or three times per week, with additional sections from later chapters and more back story posts, detailing the libraries and the sources I have been using and the joy I have had in discovering things not published in previous Astaire biographies.  I invite you to comment on each post with questions and suggestions. If you “subscribe” to “Young Man of Manhattan,” you will receive an email notification each time I publish a new section.  Later I plan on adding audio podcasts, narrating some of the stories and sharing some of the music Fred and his sister, Adele, used in their early vaudeville routines and Broadway shows.  Welcome aboard, and feel free to share this with friends who might enjoy learning about the history of Manhattan, show business, and the pre-Hollywood life of Fred Astaire.

See my YouTube introduction to Young Man of Manhattan

For help in navigating my various posts on Substack, you can click on the following ordered list links:

CHAPTERS – SECTIONS (Ordered list of links to each section of current chapters)

BACK STORY POSTS (Ordered list of links to posts about the process of writing)

Steps in Shubert Time: Fred Astaire in the Archives
(published in The Shubert Archive newsletter The Passing Show in 2017 – page 34)