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Alexander, John White (07 October 1856–31 May 1915), artist, was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, the son of John Alexander and Fanny Smith. Alexander’s father died soon after his birth, and his mother died when he was five years old. Sent to live with his maternal grandparents, Alexander left school at the age of twelve to work as a messenger for the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh. Colonel Edward Jay Allen, an official of the firm, was impressed by a sketch done by Alexander. Allen eventually adopted Alexander....

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Aronson, Boris ( October 1900–16 November 1980), scene and costume designer, was born in Kiev, Russia, the son of Solomon Aronson, the chief rabbi of Kiev, and Deborah Turfsky. By the age of eight he was exhibiting astonishing artistic talent and went on to study art in Kiev, Moscow, and Paris....

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Nikolais, Alwin (25 November 1910–08 May 1993), choreographer, designer, and composer, was born in Southington, Connecticut, the son of John Nikolais and Martha Heinrich. From an early age he studied music. During his high school years he was an organ accompanist for silent films at the Westport Movie House. In 1929 he graduated from Lewis High School in Southington....

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Orry-Kelly (31 December 1897–26 February 1964), costume designer, was born Orry George Kelly in Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, the son of William George Kelly, a tailor, and Florence Evalean Purdue. After studying art in Australia and working briefly as a banker, Orry-Kelly immigrated to New York City in 1923, hoping to become an actor. In the mid-1920s he waited tables and worked as a clerk, acting only on occasion. He did, however, find work painting for scenic studios, decorating apartments, and designing silent film titles. It was in New York that he received his entrée into the career—as a costume designer—that would dominate his professional life. In the late 1920s he began designing costumes, and occasionally scenery, for Broadway productions, including ...