Jonathan Taylor writes:
As previously posted, the new New Yorker includes a piece by Ron Chernow delving into the financial schemers of the past. Charles Ponzi was also the subject of a May 8, 1937, article called "The Rise of Mr. Ponzi," that recapped the fraud, with special emphasis on how quickly it grew. (Aided, perhaps, by the Boston press, which "avoided mention of Ponzi's scheme as carefully as if it had been an elevator accident in a department store.") The reporter—the piece is signed "L.B.C." but credited on the website to Russell Maloney—caught up with Signor Carlo Ponzi in Italy, where he had been deported, "unsuccessfully trying to finance publication" of a memoir by "selling shares in it"—with shareholders' returns to be partially reinvested in the Italian national lottery.
Ponzi was "going to pieces" because his wife, still back in Boston, was divorcing him: "I'm going to hell, and I'm going to take a lot of people with me. To emphasize my attitude, you can say that I frequently get drunk."
The article was filed under the "Where Are They Now?" Department, which seems to have run from 1936 to 1960, and includes follow-ups by James Thurber on Virginia O'Hanlon of "Is there a Santa Claus?" fame and on "the men who composed 'Yes! We Have No Bananas,' Irving Conn, and Frank Silver"; as well as articles checking on on former Vice-President (the hyphen is New Yorker style, you know) Henry A. Wallace, "Kaiser Wilhelm's yacht, Meteor III, & its successive owners, 12 in number" (by Lillian Ross) and "Joe Knowles, the Nature Man, who in 1913 entered the wilderness of Maine, naked, to start a 2-month's bare-knuckle fight against nature."
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