Scharmel Iris

Scharmel Iris (1889-1967) had an obsession with becoming recognized as a great American poet and committed forgery, plagiary, and imposture to become that. He would write letters under false names to hype up his reputation. He also did this to obtain resources and support. One of his pseudonyms was Vincent Holme.

He had attempted to get money from the famous chewing-gum manufacturer, William Wrigley. Harriet Monroe foiled Iris’ Wrigley Forgery. Monroe had included him in her first edition of The New Poetry (1917), but left him out in the second edition (1923) because she had discovered he was a forger.

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Concise Biographical Timeline:

1889 – He is born in a town south of Naples, Italy on February 10th as Frederico Scaramella.

c.1892 – His mother and him move to Chicago.

1905 – His poems are first published in Chicago-based Catholic journals.

1911 – By this time, he had received positive responses from already established writers.

1917 – Four poems of his are included in Monroe’s 1917 The New Poetry (B5).

1966 – He is asked to leave Lewis College.

1967 – He dies in Joliet, Illinois at St. Patrick Retirement Hotel.

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Check Forging Fame: The Strange Career of Scharmel Iris (Abbott 2007) for more biographical information.

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References:

[1] – ABBOTT, CRAIG S. “The Case of Scharmel Iris.” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 77, no. 1, 1983, pp. 15–34. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24302871. Accessed 29 May 2020.

[2] – Scharmel Iris Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago. https://mms.newberry.org/xml/xml_files/Iris.xml

[3] – Anthony Bliss, “Forging Fame: The Strange Career of Scharmel Iris. Craig Abbott ,” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 102, no. 4 (DECEMBER 2008): 521-523. https://doi.org/10.1086/pbsa.102.4.24293691

[4] –

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