Clarence Shepard Day, Jr., “a thoroughbred New Yorker,” was born on Murray Hill, on November 18, 1874, the son of the owner of the Gwynne and Day stock brokerage firm and the grandson of Benjamin H. Day, the founder of the New York Sun and a weekly humor magazine. Clarence attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, and then Yale University, where he was elected secretary of his class in 1896 and editor of the class yearbook. After graduation, he entered his father’s firm and a year later was made a partner. Later, he purchased a seat on the stock exchange. Day enlisted in the Navy in April of 1898 when the Spanish-American War broke out and served as a pay yeoman on the Nahant, the old Civil War monitor still in use at the time.
A crippling arthritic disease struck Day in 1899; after several futile trips to Arizona and Colorado for his health, he settled down in New York City, a bed-ridden invalid for life. Day was able to hold a pencil between his thumb and third finger and manipulate it by flexing a muscle in his shoulder. Despite these difficulties he wrote several books, drew cartoons, and carried on a large correspondence with Yale classmates and friends.
For a while, he edited the book department of Metropolitan magazine and was a regular contributor to The New Republic. He maintained a mild interest in Wall Street during these years but concentrated most of his efforts on writing....
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