Rudolph Edgar Block (December 6, 1870 – April 29, 1940) was a Jewish American journalist, columnist, and author. Much of his writing was done under the pen name of Bruno Lessing.[4]


Rudolph Block began his career as a journalist in 1888. He worked first as a news reporter on The New York Sun and later joined the The New York World. In 1896 he became the editor of the comic supplements to the Hearst newspapers,[4] a position he held for the next twenty-eight years.[1] During his tenure he supplied text for The Yellow Kid[5] and helped to create such popular series as Happy Hooligan and The Katzenjammer Kids.[1] As Bruno Lessing his short stories chronicled life in the Jewish ghetto of New York City.[6] Between 1905 and 1909 many of these tales were published by Cosmopolitan, which at that time was a literary magazine.[7] During the years 1915 – 1916 he also wrote a number of screenplays depicting the Jewish American experience.[8]

Ambrose Bierce, another frequent contributor to Cosmopolitan,[9] mentioned Block in his satirical work The Devil's Dictionary, recounting the author's alleged encounter with a prominent critic.[10] A short poem by Bierce, titled "Rudolph Block", had likewise no apparent connection to the man himself.[11]

An avid traveler, Block wrote about his experiences in the daily newspaper column "Vagabondia", which was published from 1928 through 1939.[12][13] Along the way he amassed a collection of 1,400 walking sticks, although he himself walked unaided.[14] After his death, the collection of canes, each made from a unique type of wood, was donated to Yale University.[15]

Selected works

  • 1903 Children Of Men [16]
  • 1909 Jake Or Sam
  • 1914 With The Best Intention