Richard Pike Bissell (Dubuque, Iowa, June 27, 1913 – May 4, 1977) was an American author of short stories and novels. One of which, 7½ Cents, was turned into the Broadway musical The Pajama Game. This won him (along with co-author George Abbott) the 1955 Tony Award 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, in 1958.

Bissell was born and died in Dubuque, Iowa. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and graduated from Harvard University.

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.

Bissell wrote works about his experiences on the river that had some critics comparing him to Mark Twain, and 7½ Cents was based on his experiences in the garment industry. Bissell wrote 71⁄2 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.


Richard Pike Bissell Poems

Richard Pike Bissell Quotes

According to Father's lexicon people who started on a job and didn't stay at it for 50 years were "quitters." If you stayed 20 years and then shifted to more congenial work you were a "drifter."
Richard Bissell (1913-1977), U.S. writer, humorist. My Life on the Mississippi, or Why I Am Not Mark Twain, Chapter 13, Little, Brown (1973).

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