Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
141-145 Church Street in Charleston was once home to author, explorer and adventurer Harry Hervey (1900-1951) who shared the premises in the late 1920s with his lover Carleton Hildreth. Once called the “Pirate Houses,” the location was adorned with an anchor and a small metal sign created by Charleston gay artist Ned Jennings.
Harry Hervey was once one of the most highly sought after screenwriters of the first half of the 20th century, praised by critics of literature, stage, and screen. Having traveled all around the world, several of Hervey's books and screenplays were inspired by his ventures. Hervey authored several books like Caravans By Night, A Romance of India (1922), The Black Parrot, A Tale of the Golden Chersonese (1923), Where Strange Gods Call, Pages Out Of The East (1924), and many more. Also known for his prolific screenplays, Hervey wrote Saigon (1948), Shanghai Express (1932), Road to Singapore (1940), and several others.
Hervey's life in Charleston was one of intrigue and hardship. Hervey was one of the few “out” gay people in Charleston during the 1920s. He faced enormous personal criticism and his worked suffered because of this. During his career, one of the plays he wrote based in an all-male prison in North Africa was considered too homoerotic to be produced on Broadway. Hervey rewrote it as a novel, The Iron Widow, which was published in 1931, after he and Hildreth had left Charleston.
Cover photo via Pixabay.