Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
51 Pinckney St, Boston, MA 02114
Standing Rock Cemetery Kent, Portage County, Ohio, USA
Junius Lucien Price (January 6, 1883 – March 30, 1964), who also published under the name Seymour Deming, was the author of more than a dozen books and a writer for publications such as The Boston Evening Transcript and The Atlantic Monthly. At the time of his death at age 81 he was still writing for the Boston Globe.
Junius Lucien Price had a Yankee grandfather, Abel Burt, who left Brimfield, Massachusetts in the United States and settled in Brimfield, Ohio in the Connecticut Western Reserve . "We were New England transplantees," Price wrote of his family, "and we had two choices: either to rot or to grow." Price was born January 6, 1883 in Kent, Ohio, the son of Emmett Willin Price (1844–1910) and Lucia Deming Price Upson (1848–1921). A journalist there later reported that Price "immortalized fond memories of hometown" there. In his writing Price created "Woolwick," a pseudonym for Kent, and described the place as "built on the banks of a steep rivergorge ... half railroad-junction and half agrarian market-town". Price attended Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. He kept in close contact with his prep school for the rest of his life and was regularly invited back for events. Prince had "lengthy and lively correspondence with Headmaster Joel B. Hayden" and, near the end of his life, made arrangements to transfer approximately 3,000 volumes of his personal library to Western Reserve Academy. There was for several years a "Lucien Price Room" suitable as classroom space and used to house some special items of the "Lucien Price Book Collection", but the room was phased out with the start of the new John D. Ong Library in the spring of 2000. After his 1901 graduation from Western Reserve Academy, Price left Ohio and attended Harvard University and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1907. While there, although not 'out' he was fairly open about his homosexuality and several of his early books relate the love affair he had there with a fellow Harvard student. Several chapters of Douglass Shand-Tucci's book "The Crimson Letter: Harvard, Homosexuality, and the Shaping of American Culture" are devoted to Price.
In 1909 in Boston, he met Frederick A. Demmler, a student at the Boston Museum School. They probably had a relationship. Price called Demmler "Fritz" and Demmler nickname was "hand" (he had beautiful, big hands), instead Price was "thumb" (due to his diminutive figure). To their friends they were Hand and Thumb. After ending school, Demmler went back to Pittsburgh, where he was born. Lucien Price describes a scene in his room at 51 Pinckney, Boston, on January 31, 1914. He has just settled in by the hearth for an evening of reading when Fred Demmler turns up along with his former roommate Ralph Heard (Janet Hart's grandfather), another artist. At the time Demmler, having graduated from the Museum School, has returned to Pittsburgh and opened a studio: "In my wing chair, beside a ruddy hearth, a reading lamp on the table just aft my left elbow . . . I was ploughing into a Socialist book, rain whipping window panes and purling over the sills, with now and then a drop to fall from the chimney’s throat hissing onto the fire. Wind roared across the flue; the stream of rain made confused noises outside in the court where the wind drew whistling, too, through the boughs of the ash. A rap sounded on my door panel. “Come!” said I. It was repeated. “Come!” I said again. The door opened and framed in the blackness of its opening stood Fritz Demmler. Ralph was grinning behind him. Gasps and ejaculations. He should have been far off in Pittsburgh. It was a very Fritz, in the flesh and an overcoat dripping with rain. They got into slippers and dressing gowns and camped beside the fire, lighting cigarettes at the lamp. Fritz had stepped off a train at Back Bay station two hours earlier, plunged through the rain to 94 Charles and frozen Ralph with surprise. There was some question of Fritz having deceased and this being his watery apparition, but the ghost was solid. It appeared, at the end of the evening’s chat, (with Fritz’s inseparable modesty), that he was bound for Exeter to paint the portrait of one of the schoolmasters there, a neighbor of the Gouards whose mother he had painted a year ago. Also that he had just completed a portrait of a bank president in Pittsburgh before leaving. The evening sped with discussions of Christianity, conversion, marriage, sex, socialism, and miscellaneous ribaldry for enlivenment."
In May, 1917, Demmler went to Boston from Pittsburgh. Lucien Price was in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He went there. Conscription impended. For three days, tramping about the scrubby countryside, rambling along the banks of the Ohio, rowing up the swift, muddy current of the Kanawah, the dilemma of a man born to create and commandeered to destroy was threshed out. Never before had he spoken so freely. The economic causes of the trouble he understood fairly well, but it was startling with what a seeing eye he pierced the illusions which beset that time. By that faculty of divination peculiar to the artist's mind he reached, at one leap, conclusions which the thinker only arrives at after laborious effort. And he was a young man without an illusion left, steadfastly looking the ugliest facts of our social order in the face. On the last evening of his stay Demmler and Price were standing on the steel spider web of a suspension bridge which spans the Ohio, watching a sunset unfurl its banners of blood and fire. All day there had been thunder and rain, and eastward behind the towers and spires of the city skyline still hung the retreating clouds, sullen and dark. Fritz pointed to where, against that gloomy cloud bank, high above the city and gilded red from the setting sun, rose two symbols: one on the tip of a spire, the other on the staff atop a tower: cross and flag. "Church," said he grimly, "and State." The next day he returned to Pittsburgh to register for the draft. He was not called until the following April, 1918. Twice that winter he went to Boston. Number 94 Charles Street had been dismantled. But the third-floor-back on Pinckney Street, Lucien Price's house, received him with an extra cot for bivouac.
On November 2, 1918, nine days before armistice, Fred Demmler died of shrapnel wounds to the left side in Evacuation Hospital No. 5, Staden, Belgium. Demmler, a former pacifist, was the leader of a machine gun squadron in Company C, 136th Machine Gun Battalion. In 1919 Lucien Price wrote "Immortal Youth, A Study in the Will to Create".
Price joined the staff of the Boston Evening Transcript as an editorial writer and arts reviewer from 1907 to 1914. He went on to create "an illustrious career as a writer and journalist" in Greater Boston and wrote for the Boston Globe for the rest of his life. Among Price's published work is a book based on recorded conversations with English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead. He also published books on education as well as memoirs of his early life in Ohio. Three of his books were published under the pseudonym "Seymour Deming". In 1965, a year after the author's death, Mrs. F.H. Middleton of Hudson, Massachusetts gave Price's personal papers and correspondence to Harvard where they are now housed in the Houghton Library of Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and take up six boxes, each three feet in length. A separate collection of his papers from 1951 to 1958 are kept at Columbia University in New York City. This group of material includes notes, manuscripts, typescripts, and galley proofs for Hellas Regained, October Rhapsody, and The Sacred Legion — three novels in Price's "All Souls" series.
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