Helene Hanff would have been 100 today

After a two-day Facebook conversation about a bookish friend’s first reading of 84, Charing Cross Road and an associated follow-up conversation on the glories of the film adaptation, I noticed on the Friends of Helene Hanff page on Facebook that today would have been her 100th birthday.


For fans here is a visual reminder of how much we love her and 84, Charing Cross Road. For those who haven’t read this short, but lovely bit of bookish non-fiction, now might be a good time to give it a go.

Anne Bancroft in the film version.
Anne Bancroft in the film version.
Some of my favorite scenes are those dealing with the food deliveries.


10 thoughts on “Helene Hanff would have been 100 today

  1. Kathie Orr April 15, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    84 Charing Cross Road a slim little book that brought so much joy when I read it and a rare case when a film adaption bought the same feeling. Time to reread!


  2. Karen K. April 15, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    I loved this movie and I loved the book too. So nice to see such a delightful book adapted into a literary film. I also love that Judi Dench plays Doel’s wife Nora. And I think I read somewhere that Anne Bancroft loved the book, so her husband Mel Brooks purchased the film rights for her as a gift — just lovely. Must watch this film again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. heavenali April 16, 2016 / 6:04 am

    Love Helen Hanff. I must re-read 84 soon.


  4. Nadia April 16, 2016 / 10:18 am

    I loved 84, Charing Cross Road, but have never seen the film. Sounds like I need to ASAP!


    • Peter McIver December 31, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      It’s a wonderful film. I’m just watching it again on TV, on NYE as I’m laid up recovering from a killer cold. 84 is just the (unexpected) tonic I needed


  5. Liz Dexter April 18, 2016 / 2:56 am

    Adore all of her books and met a dear friend through 84 when there was a BBC Radio programme about it about 12 years ago!


  6. Chris Wolak April 21, 2016 / 8:49 am

    I’ve never seen the film. Maybe I can use that as a movie break on Saturday for #readathon if I can get my hands on it in time.


  7. Pia April 24, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Really love all her books! Read them several times.


  8. dhanff May 25, 2016 / 6:41 am

    In the pre-digital era, I wrote Helene Hanff a snail-mail, fan letter because I heard her say in an interview that she answered every letter personally. My last name is the same as hers, so I was also reaching out as a potential relative (a possible claim to fame!). Anyway, in the same interview she also said that answering all of this fan mail was costing her a small fortune in stamps. In an effort to be considerate, I sent her a self-addressed envelope with a stamp on it so that her reply would cost her nothing more than an investment in time and thought. Hanff replied kindly and thoroughly, although rejected any possibility of family relation between us, saying Hanff is a fairly common name. Oh well. She also said that Hanf (with one f) is typically German and with two ff’s (Hanff) typically Jewish. I am Jewish but am still not convinced her theory is correct. The most embarrassing part of the story is that I stupidly put a Canadian stamp on my self-addressed envelope (I live in Canada) but because Helene lived in NYC she still had to invest in a stamp to answer my letter. I blush to this day at my ‘air-headedness.’


  9. Chris Wolak February 22, 2021 / 5:35 pm

    I just recommended the book to someone and was searching the internet for movie stills (I figured there’d be good book/bookstore/desk shots) and came upon this post. Now I’ll definitely have to track down a copy of the movie.


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