Portrait of Alice James via PBS
I discovered Alice in a book by Calvin Tomkins called Living Well is the Best Revenge, about Gerald and Sara Murphy, who were friends with the American expatriate community in France in the 1920s, including Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. At one point, Tomkins wrote, the Murphys came back from Paris to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and dropped in on Alice James and her circle. I thought, “Oh, if Alice had a circle, people must have thought she was interesting.” I knew Henry had a sister, but that was about all I knew. I found Alice’s diary, which was out of print, in a secondhand bookstore.
Read more of Strouse’s thoughts about her first biographical subject here.