George T. Bye

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
George T. Bye
Born October 21, 1887
Kansas City, Missouri
Died November 24, 1957(1957-11-24) (aged 70)
New Canaan, Connecticut
Nationality US
Other names George Thurman Bindbeutel
Occupation Literary agent
Known for representing Frank Buck and Eleanor Roosevelt
Spouse(s) Arlene Victoria Coyle (1912–1957, his death)

George Thurman Bye (né George Thurman Bindbeutel, October 21, 1887 - November 24, 1957) was the Literary agent of Frank Buck and Eleanor Roosevelt.[1] A prominent figure in the literary world before World War II, Bye rose to fame as the agent of people in the news and amateur authors with something timely or sensational to say, so called “stunt books”.

Early life and career[edit]

Bye was educated in public schools. He went to work as a reporter on The Kansas City Star, later becoming the paper's drama critic. In 1912, he joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune. While in Chicago he edited the magazine Motor Age and promoted automobile races. In 1916, after a brief period in government service in Washington, D.C., Bye went to London as correspondent for The Kansas City Star and other papers. He was a reporter for the Stars and Stripes during World War I. Returning to the United States in 1921, Bye joined the New York World. In 1922 he accompanied Walter Hinton, aviator, on a "friendship flight" to Rio de Janeiro. Their plane was wrecked in Cuba, but they found another plane at Pensacola, Florida, and reached the Brazilian capital on February 8, 1923, six months after their departure. On his return to New York, Bye set up his literary agency at 535 Fifth Avenue.

Agent[edit]

Eleanor Roosevelt, George T. Bye (upper right), Deems Taylor (upper left), Westbrook Pegler (lower left), Quaker Lake, Pawling, New York (home of Lowell Thomas), 1938

Bye’s writers included Frank Buck, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles A. Lindbergh, Alexander Woollcott, Rebecca West, Westbrook Pegler, John Erskine, Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Richard and Frances Lockridge (the Mr. and Mrs. North of mystery fiction), Alfred E. Smith, Franklin P. Adams, Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Wilbur Daniel Steele, Heywood Broun, Deems Taylor, Donald C. Peattie and General of the Armies John J. Pershing.

Bye liked to describe himself as "guide, philosopher and wet nurse." On one occasion, he commented: "We arrange marriages and divorces for them and rush obstetricians to their doorsteps when they're having babies. The only time I ever failed was when a client came to me with a valuable dog who refused to have pups. I couldn't do a thing.” [2]

Bye had a particular fondness for newspaper reporters, having been one himself. "The newspaper lads are all old cronies," he once remarked. He was also close to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and encouraged Eleanor Roosevelt to write a syndicated column, My Day.[3]

Bye ranked the Abbe children among his most amusing clients. Patience Abbe, 12 years old; Richard, 10, and Johnny, 8, were the children of Jim Abbe, an itinerant photographer, and his wife, the former Polly Platt, once a Ziegfeld girl. Prodded by their mother, the children dictated their memoirs, which Bye sold as Around the World in Eleven Years. According to the Abbe family, Patience Abbe was the primary author.[4] The book was a surprise hit.[5]

In 1954, Bye arranged the sale to Hollywood of Lindbergh's best-selling autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis, for more than $1,000,000.[6] But Bye was initially unenthusiastic about Laura Ingalls Wilder, commenting that the manuscript of her unpublished memoir, Pioneer Girl, lacked drama. Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, herself a client of Bye's, ultimately convinced him to take on her mother's series of children's novels, drawn from the earlier memoir, which ultimately became some of the agency's most profitable titles.[7]

Another agency, James Brown Associates, took over George T. Bye & Co in 1949.

Personal Life and Later Years[edit]

Bye married Arlene Victoria Coyle of Kansas City in 1912. They had no children. They became residents of New Canaan, Connecticut in 1925. Their home on Trinity Pass, known to Bye’s authors as Ten Per Cent Hollow or Bye and Bye, was situated on a stunning tract of land belonging to the Stamford Water Company, of which Bye was a director. He died of cancer at his home after a long illness.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lehrer, Steven (2006). Bring 'Em Back Alive: The Best of Frank Buck. Texas Tech University press. pp. x–xi. ISBN 0-89672-582-0. 
  2. ^ GEORGE T. BYE, 70, LITERARY AGENT; 'Guide' and 'Wet Nurse' for Many Authors Dies--Rose to Fame on 'Stunt' Books. New York Times. November 25, 1957, Monday. Page 31
  3. ^ The Press: First Lady's Home Journal. TIME. Monday, Mar. 08, 1937
  4. ^ Patience Abbe, Chronicler of Her Childhood Travels, Dies at 87" New York Times, 31 Mar 2012[1]
  5. ^ Richard and John Abbe Patience. Around the World in Eleven Years. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co, 1936
  6. ^ Lindbergh Book Rights Sold for Record Sum. Ludington Daily News. Jan 27, 1954
  7. ^ John E. Miller. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane: authorship, place, time, and culture. University of Missouri Press 2008 p 24
  8. ^ George T. Bye on findagrave.com

External links[edit]