On this day in 1958: In New York, Harry Golden’s publisher receives an anonymous letter asking, “Do you know that your author . . . is a swindler, a cheat, and an ex-con and jail bird who has victimized widows and orphans?”
In fact, almost no one knows that Golden, whose “Only in America” ranks No. 1 on the nonfiction best-seller list, is the Harry Goldhurst who served 4-1/2 years in a New York prison for mail fraud and stock manipulation. Golden was released in 1933 and in 1940 moved to Charlotte, where he became nationally known as publisher of the Carolina Israelite, an iconoclastic monthly, and as author of warm and witty memoirs.
The revelation about his prison record will not only prove harmless to Golden’s writing career but also expand his fame to television, where Jack Paar makes him a frequent guest on the “Tonight Show.”