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CHAPTER NINE: GOING OFF TO THE OSS

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“This applicant has about everthing disqualifying”: VCNO is an abbreviation for Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Documents quoted are from Bureau of Naval Personnel, New York Office of Naval Officer Procurement, “Report of Investigation, Form N Nav 544, Restricted: Saul Steinberg, applicant for appointment in USNR, January 26 & 28, 1943.” Documents are in the National Archives, Washington, D.C., with copies in SSF.

 

he spoke Romanian and Italian fluently: Despite the several years he studied German, he never admitted that he spoke it, and in his “Officer’s Qualification Report, May 25, 1945,” he did not list it. YCAL, Box 20.

 

Efforts were under way: Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel from Captain A. P. Lawton, USN, February 20, 1943. Subject: Exemption from Indoctrinal Training Course: “exempted … because he possesses specialized skill or knowledge and his services are desired for assignment in a specialized billet where the time for such training would hamper and restrict the war effort.” National Archives and SSF.

 

He found all this activity slightly puzzling: Notices of Alien’s Acceptability from Local Board No. 17, 412 6th Avenue, NY. The 4F classification was dated August 24, 1942; the 1A was dated January 21, 1943.

 

“going off to the OSS”: HS, interview, March 29, 2007.

 

“completion of naturalization be waived”: W. R. Purnell, “Memorandum for CNO,” FF1/P14/00, January 20, 1943, National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, copy at SSF.

 

no mention of any mental disorder: Report of Physical Examination (First Examination), January 21, 1943; Report of Physical Examination and Induction (2nd Examination), February 16, 1943. Both refer to the reports of his Selective Service Examination, August 21, 1942, and his classification as 1A on August 24, 1942, NRPC, copy at SSF.

 

“the special circumstances”: From Director of Naval Officer Procurement New York to CNO, Washington, re: ST, applicant for appointment in USNR, January 26, 1943; NPRC, copy in YCAL, Box 20, and SSF.

 

The rush was on: His commission in the Naval Reserve was officially dated February 20, 1943, and a certificate stated that he was sworn in on February 25. However, these documents were prepared after the fact and the true date was February 19; YCAL, Box 20, Folder “Navy” (1 of 2).

 

received orders to report for duty: Memorandum for the Passport Division, Department of State, BuPers 2324-ELI, signed by Randall Jacobs for CNO RAdm. Ernest J. King, March 9, 1943; NPRC, copy at SSF.

 

“God knows how your knowledge”: James Geraghty to ST, August 18, 1943, YCAL, Box 1.

 

He was in a frenzy: A copy of his life insurance policy from the Travelers Insurance Company, Hartford, Connecticut, June 29, 1942, and a letter to Harry Steinberg, April 4, 1943, are both YCAL, Box 1.

 

the navy was not sending him to China immediately: BuNavPers to ST, “order to report to CNO, DC, for temporary active duty, under instruction,” February 23, 1943; YCAL, Box 20, Folder “US Navy.”

 

The first time he felt ready: HS, interview, April 18, 2007.

 

Margaret C. Scoggin: Her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, sent payment checks to Civita on behalf of “Lt. Paul Steinberg,” a mistake the navy also occasionally made. A canceled check for $300 is in YCAL, Box 1, along with ST’s tax return for 1943. His income was $1,909.62 and he paid $355.27 in taxes. The following year, while he was on active duty, the navy paid him $576.35 and he earned $5,446.50 from his art, for a total of $7,019.66. He paid $660.74 in taxes.

 

an easily recognizable Hermann Göring: TNY, March 6, 1943; reproduced in Smith, Steinberg at The New Yorker, p. 18, fig. 8.

 

Hedda took to them at once: HS, interview, April 18, 2007. HS became the godmother of Claire Nivola, the Nivolas’ second child.

 

the reviews for “Drawings in Color”: Among them, New York Herald Tribune, April 18, 1943, and Time, April 26, 1943.

 

“Each week”: HS, interview, May 8, 2007.

 

Through her they formed: I have repeated here the list of artists compiled by Sarah Eckhardt in Uninterupted Flux, pp. 119–20, with the exception of Jackson Pollock, whom they met through Peggy Guggenheim. I have also added the names of others whom Eckhardt did not name.

 

“Bill and Elaine lived at night”: HS, interview, April 18, 2007.

 

“never at the Cedar Tavern”: HS, interview, March 29, 2007.

 

She had known Peggy Guggenheim: Eckhardt, Uninterupted Flux, p. 118, writes that Arp encouraged Victor Brauner to send them to Peggy Guggenheim at Guggenheim Jeune in London, and that “one of these may have been included in Exhibition of Collages, Papiers-Collés and Photo-Montages at the show, Nov. 4–26, 1938.” HS, interview, March 29, 2007, insisted that Peggy Guggenheim had shown her work at Guggenheim Jeune.



 

When Hedda arrived, she reintroduced herself: HS, interview, March 29, 2007.

 

“all these male artists”: HS, interview May 8, 2007.

 

“four hundred to fivc hundred people”: HS, interview March 29, 2007. She was quoting ST’s remarks on the night he told her he would not go to any more of PG’s parties.

 

“Back home for me”: ST to HS, July 27, 1943, AAA.

 

“there was always someone”: HS, interview, May 8, 2007.

 

It was something she found: HS interview, September 9, 2007.

 

he told Civita to proceed: ST to HS, November 17, 1943, AAA.

 

“was leaving”: ST, recollecting the quarrel in letter to HS, January 9, 1944, AAA.

 

He was assigned instead: ST’s Officer Personnel File (OPF), February 20, 1943, YCAL, Box 20, and ST file in the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), copy in SSF. In a document dated 5/29/45: Officer Qualifications, YCAL, Box 20, ST mistakenly gave his time in D.C. as “3/43 to 6/43,” when he was there only during the months of April and May.

 

Mostly he learned: A page about these details is in YCAL, Box 1.

 

Much of the time he spent sitting in the corridor: Norman D. Atkins, “Steinberg’s Wartime Cartoons: Anti-Nazi Propaganda Found at the Archives,” Washington Post, June 30, 1984.

 

On weekends he took the train to New York: A young girl who shared his seat, Susan Ingraham, described her encounter in an e‑mail written August 12, 1999, after his death, now in YCAL, Box 73. She still had the copy of the magazine.

 

“scotch & wine & apple pie”: ST to HS, November 27, 1943, AAA.

 

The pamphlet covered everything: The pamphlet contains no identifying information about when it was compiled or by whom. A copy is in YCAL, Box 1. Another pamphlet, entitled “China Theater: An Informal Notebook of Useful Information for Military Men in China,” is in YCAL, Box 73.

 

He was given eight days: Change of Duty Orders is in YCAL, Box 20.

 


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Читайте в этой же книге: NATURE’S CHARITABLE AMNESIA | THE ANNUS MIRABILIS OF 1999 | THE UNCERTAINTY OF HIS PLACE | ACKNOWLEDGMENTS | CHAPTER TWO: A DECIDEDLY PECULIAR PLACE | CHAPTER THREE: A WUNDERKIND WITHOUT KNOWING IT | CHAPTER FOUR: A SECURE TRADE | CHAPTER FIVE: THE PLACE TO GO | CHAPTER SIX: THE BETRAYAL | CHAPTER SEVEN: TO ANSWER IN ENGLISH—A HEROIC DECISION |
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