John Goodwin

John "Johnny" Goodwin was a wealthy novelist, poet, painter and world traveler. Born John Blair Linn Goodwin February 25, 1912 in New York to a prominent family of the arts - his uncle Phillip L. Goodwin was one of the architects of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and his older brother, Henry Sage Goodwin, was a well know architect and painter. He was mentioned several times in the diaries of Christopher Isherwood - not always in a positive light, but their friendship lasted several years. Upon his death in 1994, Goodwin left his estate to Anthony P. Russo. Several paintings in the estate were sold in 2008 by Doyle of New York, an auction house. The house listed among Goodwins friends - Paul Bowles (also mentioned in the Isherwood Diaries), Christopher Isherwood, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and Robert Matta.


Christopher Isherwood Diaries:

July 3, 1943

Cycled down to the beach with Denny and his friend Johnny Goodwin. Johnny's handsome body has turned skinny, and his face is lined and ravaged, as if by intense hunger. His blond hair is all faded. His nose turns up as though sniffing a chronically nasty smell. He and Denny are like brothers. In many ways, Johnny is simply Denny with money. But he's quite talented and intelligent, if he weren't such a dilettante. Maybe Denny would be nicer with money and Johnny without it.

June 14, 1944

When I got down to Entrada Drive, there was nobody at home. Denny was out on the beach. This happens quite often. Whenever I haven't seen Denny for some time and find his apartment empty, I walk around it like a detective - alert for clues to his visitors and any new developments. Today, the place was very tidy: that must mean they had a big party and made such a mess that Denny couldn't bear it and had to clean house. In the kitchen, a dirty plate with broken crackers and a bit of stinking camembert: that must be the fat boy who works at the garage. No new snapshots over the desk or postcards stuck in the mirror. The frame of the Picasso is a bit more chipped. A fight? An unfamiliar pair of trunks on the shower curtain rail above the bath tub: Johnny Goodwin must be here. On the whole, I'm satisfied. The indications are not alarming.

June 23, 1944

Denny and Johnny Goodwin visited me. They are planning to go to San Francisco - chiefly because of a very dreary intrigue involving one of Johnny's friends. Denny, of course, was thoroughly enjoying himself, and I found myself laughing too. But why? All lies, all cheating, all disagreements are against our deepest human interests. They hurt us all. What is there to gloat over? Of course, my own motives are simple: if Denny goes away, I can move down into his apartment for a few days, and be alone with X. For what? What do I hope will happen? But the Ego doesn't answer questions like that.

September 24, 1944

A party last night at Denny's, for Stefan Brecht, who is leaving for the army. Denny asked me to preside, because I don't drink too much on these occasions, as he does, and pass out. "You can't possibly have a good party," says Denny, "without at least one monk." Sure enough, there were tears before bedtime. Some of Johnny Goodwin's records were smashed, and he left in a huff. Stef Brecht told a rather dreary movie director, "I think you are a most pleasant person." Finally, there was a terrible scene with a Jewish refugee who had been in the siege of Warsaw and was in love with Stef's girlfriend and jealous of Stef. He broke a lot of glass and seemed about to slack the Picasso.

October 1, 1949?

Caskey and I left by car for Santa Barbara. Thru to San Francisco, Fresno, Yosemite, Sequoia, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Phoenix, El Centro, John Goodwin's ranch, Palm Springs, Laguna Beach, returning to Santa Monica 19th.

August 3, 1955

Yesterday I stayed home from the studio, partly because I wanted to see Johnny Goodwin, partly because my office was being painted. John and I went on the beach. He's very little changed-the thin pinch-faced, handsome yet shrivelled boy, whose life, as he says, is "A Greek tragedy produced by Mack Sennett." Quite objectively and with a straight face and no apologies, he related the extraordinary details of his European trip with a protege - an Italian-American boy who had been a boxer and reform school inmate and knew all the correct scientific words, because he'd gone through analysis. "The trouble with me is, I'm looking for security" - that might be the slogan of the 1950s.

They went to Barcelona together, where the boy - for the sake of "security" - decided to marry a whore. Unfortunately, she was already married to an older man, who didn't want to give her up because he made money by pimping with her. So the boy had the brilliant notion of giving a valuable ring (a present from Johnny) to her sister, on condition that the sisters should exchange identity papers. When Johnny pointed out that this would prevent the sister from every marrying - since she'd then be officially married to the pimp - the boy replied: "Aw, them foreigners will do anything for money! She won't care." However, he later abandoned the scheme and decided instead to go to a priest. But the pimp (or maybe it was some other pimp) persuaded him to go to "a saint" instead. "A saint's better than a priest, ain't he, John?" John agreed that this was indeed true, if you could find a saint. But, unfortunately, by this time it was Easter and the saint's stigmata had started to bleed. So there was nothing to be done - he couldn't be visited. So the boy left Barcelona with John for northern Europe - where they later parted.

John has taken mescaline several times, with various friends. He says it's extraordinary how much basic agreement there is about the nature of the perceptions and intuitions you get from it. He didn't have any "mystical" experiences (but this may be a purely semantic distinction) but he agreed with Gerald in saying how horribly people walked. He found the falseness, avarice, self-will, etc. in people's faces so embarrassing that he didn't want to see it. He said, however, that he had no sense of moral judgment in experiencing this. In general, he felt that man has lost touch with nature. That almost everything man made was evil and horrible.

August 6, 1955

Glorious weather. We're just back from the beach with John Goodwin.

August 10, 1955

Johnny Goodwin came to supper with us last night. He has taken a violent dislike to Speed, whom he met the day before yesterday. He even thinks that Speed has encouraged the divorce - and he was shocked by Harry's condition.

August 11, 1955

John Goodwin, after inviting us to a party tonight, has suddenly decided to leave town. A typical caprice of his. He hasn't changed.

October 20, 1955

The evening before, John Goodwin gave us a party in his art nouveau house. He has procured me seven tablets of mescaline - six at the price of twelve dollars each, the seventh gift. Tennessee and Frank came, and Paul Cadmus and Bill Miller looking fat but not older, and Bill Harris looking older, but not fatter. Also a lot of young men, including some cute twins called Barth. Someone offered me a cigar. I bit the end off, and broke my capped tooth again.

February 17, 1958

I'm very skeptical of John Goodwin's theory that mescaline endows you with an absolute criterion of aesthetic judgment.

October 24, 1958

We [Christopher and Don Bachardy] like Paul Bowles, though. He came last evening to dinner. He was so funny about John Goodwin taking mescaline. The whole solemn cult of it.

February 16, 1959

People who came out well on our visit: [Christopher and Don had just returned to Santa Monica from a trip in New York] Tom Hatcher, Arthur Laurents, Truman, Cecil, Mrs. Ira Gershwin, Lesser and Helene Samuels, Howard Austen (E for effort), Paul Bowles, John Goodwin, John Gielgud, Hugh Wheeler, and that angel Pavitrananda. I think I liked my call on him best of anything.

Ship Manifests:

S. S. Imperator from Cherbourg to New York - May 3-10, 1914

Goodwin, Walter - 36, female, born Brooklyn March 27, 1878, address Hartford
Goodwin, Walter Jr. - 12, male, born NY March 12, 1902
Goodwin, Henry Sage - 9, male, born NY Oct 19, 1905
Goodwin, Granville - 6, male, born NY July 20, 1908
Goodwin, John - 2, male, born NY February 20, 1912

S. S. California from Southampton to New York - August 20-29, 1929

Goodwin, John - 17, single
Born: 25 Feb 1912 in New York, NY
U. S. P. 37448
Address: Huntington, N. Y.

S. S. Belgenland from Southampton to New York - October 3-11, 1931

Goodwin, John - 19, single
Born: New York City - 25 Feb. 1912
Address: Colorado Springs, Colorado

S. S. Vulcania from Cannes to New York - August 24-September 3, 1932

Goodwin, John Blair Linn - 20, single, born New York on Feb. 25th, 1912
Address: 340 E. 72 Str., New York

S. S. Queen of Bermuda from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York City - July 20-22, 1938

Goodwin, John - 26, single
Born: 1912, New York City
Address: 23 E 63rd St., New York City

S. S. Vulcania from Genoa to New York - May 12-25, 1953

Goodwin, B. L. John - 41, single, 1st Class
Address: 227 W. 13th Str, New York, NY

Chavis, A. Eugene - 29, single, 1st Class
Address: 227 W. 13th Str, New York, NY

S. S. Andrea Doria from Gibraltar to New York - May 7-13, 1954

Goodwin, John Blair Linn
Address: 400 East 59th str, NYC

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