Richard Pike Bissell
Richard Pike Bissell was an author of short stories
Short Stories
Short Stories may refer to:*A plural for Short story*Short Stories , an American pulp magazine published from 1890-1959*Short Stories, a 1954 collection by O. E...

 and novels, one of which, 7½ Cents, was turned into the Broadway musical The Pajama Game
The Pajama Game
The Pajama Game is a musical based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. It features a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory, where worker demands for a seven-and-a-half cents raise are going unheeded...

. This won him (along with co-author George Abbott
George Abbott
George Francis Abbott was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned more than nine decades.-Early years:...

) the 1955 Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 for Best Musical. He wrote a book about the experience called Say, Darling, which chronicled the ins and outs of a broadway musical production and featured characters based on those (such as Harold Prince) he worked with; this book was also turned into a musical, also called Say, Darling
Say, Darling
Say, Darling is a three-act comic play by Abe Burrows and Marian and Richard Bissell about the creation of a Broadway musical. Although the play featured nine original songs with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Jule Styne, all of the songs were presented as either rehearsal or...

, in 1958.


Bissell was born and died in Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque is a city in and the county seat of Dubuque County, Iowa, United States, located along the Mississippi River. In 2010 its population was 57,637, making it the ninth-largest city in the state and the county's population was 93,653....

. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy
Phillips Exeter Academy is a private secondary school located in Exeter, New Hampshire, in the United States.Exeter is noted for its application of Harkness education, a system based on a conference format of teacher and student interaction, similar to the Socratic method of learning through asking...

 in New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, and graduated from Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...


He wrote a memoir of his experiences at Harvard, You Can Always Tell a Harvard Man (McGraw Hill, 1965). He worked on a freighter on the American Export Business Lines and riverboats, served as vice president at a Dubuque clothing manufacturer which had been bought by his great-grandfather (who worked his way from the bottom to the top of the company in a true Horatio Alger kind of story). He also lived for several years and raised his children in Rowayton, Connecticut
Rowayton, Connecticut
Rowayton is a section of Norwalk, Connecticut. Located on the Long Island Sound just 45 miles from New York City, Rowayton is a coastal New England village...


Bissell wrote works about his experiences on the river that had some critics comparing him to Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, and 7½ Cents was based on his experiences in the garment industry. Bissell wrote 7 Cents while he was the vice-president of his family's pajama factory located in Dubuque, Iowa.
Upon his death, some of Bissell's personal library ended up for sale in the used bookstore of the Tri-State Independent Blind Society.

External links

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