Image of Donald Ogden Stewart


Lifetime: 1894 - 1980 Passed: ≈ 43 years ago




United States

Donald Ogden Stewart

Donald Ogden Stewart was a prominent American writer, screenwriter, and satirist of the early 20th century. Known for his sharp wit, clever dialogue, and biting social commentary, Stewart left an indelible mark on the literary and cinematic worlds. In this comprehensive essay, we will explore the life, principles, notable works, philosophy, and enduring legacy of Donald Ogden Stewart.

Who Was Donald Ogden Stewart?

Donald Ogden Stewart was born on November 30, 1894, in Columbus, Ohio. He attended Yale University, where he excelled academically and developed a passion for writing. Stewart's early career was marked by his work as a journalist and humorist, contributing to prestigious publications such as Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. His satirical pieces showcased his astute observations of society and established him as a master of wit.

Principles and Notable Works:

Stewart's writing was guided by his firm principles and his commitment to social satire. He believed in the power of humor to expose the absurdities and hypocrisies of the upper classes. His works often focused on the lives of the wealthy and privileged, exposing their foibles and lampooning their pretensions.

Stewart achieved great success as a playwright, and his play "Re-United" (1918) brought him critical acclaim. However, he gained widespread recognition for his work as a screenwriter in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. Stewart's notable works in film include the screenplay adaptation of "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), for which he won an Academy Award, and "Holiday" (1938), based on the play by Philip Barry.

Philosophy and Legacy:

Stewart's philosophy revolved around using humor and satire to challenge societal norms and expose the flaws of the privileged class. His writing was characterized by sharp wit, clever banter, and incisive social commentary. He believed that humor could serve as a tool for social change and as a means of highlighting the absurdities of human behavior.

Donald Ogden Stewart passed away on August 2, 1980, leaving behind a rich legacy. He is remembered as a writer with an unparalleled gift for dialogue and a keen understanding of human nature. His works continue to be celebrated for their wit, sophistication, and biting social satire. Stewart's ability to bring levity to serious topics and his talent for crafting memorable characters have made him an enduring figure in American literature and film.

Interesting Facts:

In addition to his successful writing career, Donald Ogden Stewart had an intriguing personal life. He was a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table, a group of writers, critics, and actors known for their intellectual discussions and sharp wit. Stewart's association with this influential group further solidified his reputation as a master of words and a respected literary figure.


Donald Ogden Stewart's life and work are a testament to his immense talent as a writer and his commitment to using humor and satire to expose the foibles of society. His sharp wit, clever dialogue, and incisive social commentary continue to captivate audiences today. As a celebrated playwright and screenwriter, Stewart left an indelible mark on American literature and film. His enduring legacy serves as an inspiration for writers and satirists, reminding us of the power of words to provoke thought, challenge conventions, and bring about social change.

Books by Donald Ogden Stewart

A Parody Outline of History Cover image

A Parody Outline of History

Fiction Humour
History Revolution Ancient Civilization Narrative Humorous Fiction Historical World History Anecdotes

This is a delightful and entertaining book that takes readers on a comical tour through the annals of time. With his signature wit and satirical prowess, Stewart presents a unique and uproarious perspective on the significant events, figures, and civ...

Perfect Behavior Cover image

Perfect Behavior

A humorous guide to manners and etiquette for ladies and gentlemen in a social "crises," published in 1922. (Introduction by Samanem)