OSCAR OF THE WALDORF by Karl Schriftgiesser


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A picture of a profession and a place rather than of the man himself, this story of a famous hotel, whose knowledge of some fifty years of changing New York constitutes a tiny segment of the city's social history. He came from Switzerland -- got a job at the old Holland House, then at Delmonico's, and applied for a job at the Woldorf before it was built. The opening in 1893 heralded immediate success; it became the social center, weathered the panic, mirrored the passing scene, was background for a parade of distinguished visitors, national and foreign. Bracketed with the Astoria, it offered many innovations in hotel service, provided many situations and demands that Oscar had to meet, and in a hurry too, and with its demolition, was rebuild as the new Waldorf, run on modern lines, catering to descendants of the patrons of the old hotel. What goes on behind the scenes and the problems to be coped with form part of Oscar's story, as well as the complicated running and financial operation of such an institution. Somewhat unselective commentary on social and international figures.

Publisher: Dutton