“A Vicious Circle,” a painting of the Algonquin Round Table by artist Natalie Ascencios, which hangs in the Round Table room of NYC’s famed Algonquin Hotel. Featured in the painting, from left to right, are: (standing) Robert Benchley, Franklin Pierce Adams, Robert Sherwood, Harpo Marx, Alexander Woolcott, Marc Connelly, Edna Ferber, (seated) Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, George S. Kaufman, Heywood Broun.
In 1919, at the end of World War I, a group of New York City writers gathered at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan for a lunchtime "roast" to celebrate the return of theater critic Alexander Woolcott from his service as a war correspondent. Thus began a decade-long daily ritual for some of the era's most prominent artist-intellectuals. Dubbed "the Algonquin Round Table," regulars included Woolcott, writer and critic Dorothy Parker, playwright George S. Kaufman, actor and screenwriter Robert Benchley, novelist Edna Ferber, performer Harpo Marx, and Harold Ross, founder of The New Yorker magazine.