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October 05, 2014


Line 3: Robert Ashley, not John. Thirteen years ago I had to proofread a university press press release and went to find its author in his office:

Me: "Hey, who's the Attorney General of the United States?"
He: "Richard Ashcroft."
Me: "JOHN Ashcroft. Please fix."

The third round of this will presumably involve Jon Haidt and John Ashbery.

Yes of course you're right; maybe contamination from Wolgamot's Christian name.

I emailed Rosmarie Waldrop and she denied everything, but I still think I'm right.

I do question why no one seems to have seen a copy of the books. However, your evidence seems a little bit flimsy to begin to publicly write off the possibility that JBW existed or wrote those books, dramatically announcing 'hoax!'. I hope you are wrong. It seems unlikely that so many people could keep this a secret for so long. You could ask Mimi Johnson, you could ask Waldrop, you could even visit Mencken's archive. Personally, I'd like to see more evidence and less conjecture.

Here's one piece of evidence that does support his existence. The second entry states 'John Barton Wolgamot, died 1989, NYC'



see entry from nyer13:

'I worked at the Little Carnegie from ‘71 to '77 (usher/doorman). '

'John Wolgamot was the long-term mgr when I was at the theater.'

I did ask Waldrop (Rosmarie), as indicated above, and she denied it (as indicated above), but she would, wouldn't she? I also don't think that very many people would have to keep it a secret at all, maybe, what, seven?

Do we know how many people were in the Wolgamot Society? I reckon something would slip out eventually. People find it hard to keep secrets.

If he existed, there must be people outside that small circle who knew Wolgamot in NY who went to that cinema.

His nephew may still be alive.

I have found two John B Wolgamots in the birth register for Illinois. One, I think is 1903 and the other 1930.

It seems like a huge task to really uncover the facts or the fiction - a student research project, perhaps?

It would be quite a revelation to find out it was a fiction. Waldrop and Ashley strike me as quite capable of doing that.

Ben, I re-read Ashley's notes and analysis of the book, and became more convinced that the books were real, but still unsure after reading your post. So, I also wrote to Keith Waldrop asking for any photographs of the book that might exist and whether one day they might be re-published. Rosmarie wrote back, told me that Keith was ill and that the book was available as the CD booklet, and avoiding the question of the photographs.

So, I did some more research. My first lead came back tonight, and I can now say that I am in possession of real evidence that these two books existed. Relieved and more than a little thrilled.

I am very curious about this evidence!

John Barton Wolgamot is my grandfather. He grew up in Danville, IL. I have read my mother's copy of his book which he self-published.

I want to believe you, I really do.

to ben w.:
Just do some reseach. John Wolgamot was the manager of Little Carnegie Theater in New York.

You can verify it with his nephew Bart Wolgamot -He lives in Albuquerque, NM .

The books were self-published, so he did not have a large number of copies, nor he was a well known author, because he was an eccentric man - just like his son! (I personally met his ~illegitimate~ son, back in 2003, and he had a copy of his dad's book).

...come to think of it, his son, Charlie was much like the father... eccentric, even a bit wierd, but had a cool sense of rhythm,(used to be a drummer) and he used his words most carefully.
Otherwise he was an artist -I saw some of his collages -quite unusual with historical facts and news headlines, and war memorabilia and sexy women.
But Charlie would never wantto talk about his father- he hated him.

Well, apparently the sleuths at LanguageHat have discovered the legitimacy of everything already, which I find disappointing in one respect and fascinating in another. It does still seem as if, purely from the materials put forth by the Waldrops, Ashley, et al., one could hardly conclude any otherwise than I'd done, though.

I am John Wolgamot’s granddaughter and Charlie’s daughter. He exists. We have the book.

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