Olive Logan

I’ve always been interested in people who are famous for being famous, never more than now what with the rise of reality television.  People like the Kardashians and the Jersey Shore crowd who show no outward signs of having the least bit of talent, but whose names and faces we know better than the members of the Supreme Court.  But, apparently, being famous for being famous is nothing new.

In the newly published Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1, the author, no stranger to fame himself, writes about one Olive Logan. This would have been in the early 1860’s or so, I take it.

According to Mr Twain, Olive Logan wrote a few “little things” for some obscure publications, but was pretty much talent-free.

Her husband, who was something of a hack newspaper guy, doubled as her publicist. Rarely a day went by that newspaper readers wouldn’t see this sort of thing:

“It is said that Olive Logan has taken a cottage at Nahant, and will spend the summer there.”

“Olive Logan has set her face decidedly against the adoption of the short shirt for afternoon wear.”

“The report that Olive Logan will spend the coming winter in Paris is premature.  She has not yet made up her mind.”

“Olive Logan has so far recovered from her alarming illness that if she continues to improve her physicians will cease from issuing bulletins tomorrow.”

Despite the hype, or maybe because of it, people rarely asked what it was that Olive Logan actually did.  They just assumed she did something.

People flocked to her lectures. Like Paris Hilton now, she dressed in expensive clothes for her appearances. Her speaking fees were among the highest of the day.

But in a season or two people began to realize she didn’t have much of anything to say. Before long, Twin writes, she was forgotten.

Today, the same could be said about someone like Richard Hatch.  To me, it’s all really fascinating.

6 Responses

  1. I just read the passage in Vol 1 and immeadiately thought it blog worthy for the same reason, I was going with Paris Hilton, funny. Before dashing off a post I googled Olive and found you.
    I am so enjoying the book, I read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry in the 6 th grade,during class,with it on my lap. I got in trouble for it.
    Best to you,

  2. Vincent DiGirolamo

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Olive Logan had a long and successful career as an actress, author, journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, and suffragist. She had more talent and social awareness than all your Kardashians, Hiltons, and Snookies combined. Don’t take Twain’s cheap shot as gospel. Do a little leg work yourself and read the woman before casting her into the dustbin of history. She was an outspoken opponent of the blythe sexism you perpetuate in this post.

  3. Steve Hoffmann

    You know that Vincent is somehow related to Olive. Gotta be. Carrying on the fine family tradition.

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