Damon Runyon

Damon Runyon (HM1J8W)

Location: Manhattan, KS 66502 Riley County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 10.945', W 96° 33.713'

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The First Neighborhoods

Damon Runyon (October 3, 1880—December 10, 1946) was a newspaperman and writer best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City. He spun humorous tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters; few of whom go by ordinary names, preferring instead to be known as "Nathan Detroit," "Big Jule," "Harry the Horse," "Good Time Charley," "Dave the Dude," and so on. These stories were written in a very distinctive vernacular style: a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, and always devoid of contractions. The well known musical Guys and Dolls is based on two of Runyon's short stories. Runyon is regarded as the father of "Broadway" in New York City.
He was born Alfred Damon Runyan here, in the family home at 400 Osage. His father was editor of the Manhattan Enterprise, now The Manhattan Mercury. Runyon's family moved from Manhattan in 1882 and he grew up in various communities, including Pueblo, Colorado, where he began his profession working for his father. He wrote for various newspapers in the Rocky Mountain area; at one of those, the spelling of his last name was changed from "Runyan" to "Runyon," a change he let stand. Later in his career, Runyon dropped his first name of "Alfred," and he became simply "Damon Runyon."
Runyon moved to New York City in 1910. For the next ten years he covered the New York Giants and professional boxing. He was the Hearst newspapers' baseball columnist for many years, beginning in 1911, and his knack for spotting the eccentric and the unusual, on the field or in the stands, is credited with revolutionizing the way baseball was covered. Perhaps as confirmation, Runyon was inducted into the writers' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.
Gambling was a common theme of Runyon's work, and he was a notorious gambler himself. A well-known saying of his paraphrases Ecclesiastes: "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."
He died in New York City from throat cancer in 1946. The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation was established in his honor.
The Damon Runyon House, on the northwest corner of 4th and Osage — 400 Osage Street — is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
HM NumberHM1J8W
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 at 9:01am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 710590 N 4339851
Decimal Degrees39.18241667, -96.56188333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 10.945', W 96° 33.713'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 10' 56.7" N, 96° 33' 42.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)785
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 401-415 Osage St, Manhattan KS 66502, US
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