John O’Hara: He Wrote Honestly and Well—He Told the Truth About His Time

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of American novelist and short-story writer John O’Hara, born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, to a prosperous family. His father was an esteemed surgeon and the family lived in a mansion on Mahantongo Street, one of the fanciest addresses in Pottsville. They had five automobiles, horses, and a show farm, but when O’Hara’s father died and left the family penniless, the death destroyed the son’s dream of attending Yale University. For the rest of his life he collected matchbooks from clubs that wouldn’t have him as a member. After he got famous he lobbied so hard for an honorary degree from Yale that when Kingman Brewster, the president of Yale, was asked why O’Hara never received one, he answered, “Because he asked for it.”