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Batchelder, Alice Coleman (1874–17 June 1948), arts administrator and pianist, was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, the daughter of Theodore Coleman, a newspaperman, and Jennie (maiden name unknown). (She was to acquire the name Batchelder through marriage when she was thirty-nine.) During her childhood her family moved from Beatrice to Washington, D.C., then to Santa Clara, California, and finally to Pasadena, California, where her father served as city editor of the ...

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Becker, Marion Rombauer (02 January 1903–28 December 1976), cookbook writer, arts administrator, and conservationist, was born Marion Julia Rombauer in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Edgar Roderick Rombauer, a lawyer, and Irma Louise von Starkloff, a cookbook writer. Her outlook and interests were strongly shaped by a freethinking, reform-minded family. She studied art history and French at Vassar College and spent her junior year at Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a B.A. from Vassar in 1925. Hoping to find a career in modern dance or art education, she began teaching in 1929 in the art department of John Burroughs School, an experimental school in Clayton, Missouri....

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Cornish, Nellie Centennial (09 July 1876–07 April 1956), pianist and arts educator, was born in Greenwood, Nebraska, the daughter of Nathan Cornish, a businessman, and Jeannette Simpson. The U.S. centennial in 1876 was the source of her middle name. She founded the Cornish School of Music, now Cornish College of the Arts, a pioneer institution in the teaching of dance, music, and theater in the Pacific Northwest....

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Diller, Burgoyne (13 January 1906–30 January 1965), painter and arts administrator, was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of Andrew Diller, a violinist and conductor, and Mary Burgoyne. Diller’s father died in 1908. In 1919 his mother married Adrian Adney, an engineer, and the family moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. Diller attended Battle Creek High School and, subsequently, Michigan State College in East Lansing. A marginal student, Diller was successful only in his art classes and on the track team. Leaving Michigan State before graduating, he moved in 1928 to Buffalo, where he lived with his maternal grandfather....

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Europe, James Reese (22 February 1880–09 May 1919), music administrator, conductor, and composer, was born in Mobile, Alabama, the son of Henry J. Europe, an Internal Revenue Service employee and Baptist minister, and Lorraine Saxon. Following the loss of his position with the Port of Mobile at the end of the Reconstruction, Europe’s father moved his family to Washington, D.C., in 1890 to accept a position with the U.S. Postal Service. Both of Europe’s parents were musical, as were some of his siblings. Europe attended the elite M Street High School for blacks and studied violin, piano, and composition with Enrico Hurlei of the U.S. Marine Corps band and with Joseph Douglass, the grandson of ...

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Flanagan, Hallie Mae Ferguson (27 August 1890–23 July 1969), theater educator, administrator, and director, was born in Redfield, South Dakota, the daughter of Frederic Miller Ferguson, a businessman, and Louisa Fischer. Throughout her childhood, Hallie’s father encouraged her to believe in her uniqueness and individual potential, while her mother instilled in her a selflessness of putting others before herself. These conflicting ideas would haunt Hallie throughout her life as she tried to balance a career and a family. She sometimes believed she had failed as a wife and mother because she had devoted too much of herself to her career....

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Hanks, Nancy (31 December 1927–07 January 1983), arts administrator and civil servant, was born in Miami Beach, Florida, the daughter of Bryan Cayce Hanks and Virginia Wooding, both farmers and entrepreneurs. Hanks received her college education at Duke University, graduating in 1947. It was there that she began her long career in public administration by working actively as a member of student government throughout her attendance and as president during her senior year. In 1951 Hanks moved to Washington, D.C., and began working as a secretary in the Office of Defense Mobilization. She worked there until 1953, when she became acquainted with ...

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Johnston, Ella Bond (19 November 1860–24 April 1951), art administrator and educator, was born near Webster, Indiana, the daughter of Simon H. Bond and Susan Harris, farmers. After attending the Friends School in Webster and then Richmond High School for two years, she became a teacher at Culbertson School, a one-room schoolhouse for pupils in grades one through twelve. Among her students was the future inventor, ...

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Jones, Margo (12 December 1911–24 July 1955), originator and inspirer of America's professional regional theater movement, originator and inspirer of America’s professional regional theater movement, was born Margaret Virginia Jones in Livingston, Texas, the daughter of Richard Harper Jones, a lawyer, and Martha Pearl Collins, a teacher. In the Drama Club at Girls’ Industrial College (later Texas Women’s University), she was the only student interested in directing. In 1931, after experiencing what she called “something wonderful” at her first professional production, ...

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Koehler, Robert (28 November 1850–23 April 1917), painter and art educator, was born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of Theodor Alexander Ernst Koehler, a machinist, and Louise Carolina Christiane Bueter, a fine needlework instructor. In 1854 the family moved to the United States. They stayed briefly in New York City before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they joined family and where Robert’s parents continued working at their respective professions. It was in this German-American community that Koehler’s ties to Germany were reinforced....

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Leatherman, LeRoy (10 February 1922–09 April 1984), author and arts administrator, was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, the son of LeRoy Sessums Leatherman, a salesman, and Mary Aline Dugger. Educated at Vanderbilt University (1939–1941), Kenyon College (1941–1942), the University of Illinois (1943–1944), and Southern Methodist University (bachelor of arts, 1948), Leatherman held the John Crowe Ransom Creative Writing Scholarship at Kenyon College and wrote many short stories and critical essays. He served in the air force between 1942 and 1946. He first saw ...

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Neuendorff, Adolph Heinrich Anton Magnus (13 June 1843–04 December 1897), conductor, composer, and administrator, was born in Hamburg, Germany. He came to the United States with his parents (names unknown) in 1854 in the first wave of German immigrants. The family settled in New York, where his father was employed as a bookkeeper. Neuendorff studied violin with George Matzka, a violist in the New York Philharmonic and its emergency conductor in 1876, and with Joseph Weinlich. His principal piano teacher was Gustav Schilling, who also taught him composition and theory. Schilling was noted for writing a six-volume encyclopedia of music, the ...

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Papp, Joseph (22 June 1921–31 October 1991), theater producer, director, and administrator, was born Joseph Papirofsky in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Samuel Papirofsky, a trunk maker, and Yetta Miritch, a garment worker. Both parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Encouraged by teachers in local public schools, young Joseph Papirofsky developed an enthusiasm for English literature, especially the works of Shakespeare. After graduating from Eastern District High School in 1938, he applied to Brooklyn College but was not admitted because of poor grades in science and mathematics. He then worked at a series of jobs and became active in the Communist party. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the U.S. Navy, spending most of this time in an entertainment unit. After discharge from the navy, Papirofsky enrolled at the Actors’ Laboratory Workshop in Los Angeles, using veteran’s benefits to pay expenses. At the Actors’ Lab, which had been founded by former members of the politically left wing Group Theater of the 1930s, he gained valuable experience in fundamentals of stage direction and nonprofit theater management. He stayed with the Actors’ Lab until it ceased operations in May 1950, and then joined a touring company of ...

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Rush, William (04 July 1756–17 January 1833), sculptor and arts administrator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Rush, a ship carpenter, and Rebecca Lincoln. At that time, Philadelphia was the seat of the colonial government and a principal shipbuilding and mercantile center. Rush showed an early ability at carving and drawing. As a teenager he served a three-year apprenticeship to Edward Cutbush, a carver from London, and soon made better figureheads than his teacher. Probably by 1774 he had his own ship-carving business. On 9 September 1777, soon after the outbreak of the Revolution, Rush joined the American cause and was commissioned an ensign in the Fourth Regiment of Foot of Lieutenant Colonel Wills’s Philadelphia militia. Little else is known of his service. He married Martha Simpson Wallace on 14 December 1780; they had ten children. The eldest, John, became a ship carver and joined his father in business....

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Emily Sartain. Engraving by John Sartain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112191).

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Sartain, Emily (17 March 1841–17 June 1927), art educator and painter/printmaker, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Sartain, a mezzotint engraver, and Susannah Longmate Swaine. Sartain, one of two daughters and five sons, grew up in a family in which her father trained her brothers as professional artists. Socially prominent Unitarians and Associationists, her parents encouraged her to attend Philadelphia Normal School for Girls. When she began to teach public school upon graduation in 1858, she joined a predominantly female profession....

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Shelly, Mary Josephine (1902–05 August 1976), administrator for the arts and for service women's organizations, administrator for the arts and for service women’s organizations, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of Irish-American parents whose names are unknown. She was raised by her older sister, whose husband, a prominent attorney, impressed upon Shelly the value of intellectual discipline. In 1922 she began teaching in the public schools of Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, Michigan, and she attended the Kellogg School of Physical Education; ...

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Spofford, Grace Harriet (21 September 1887–05 June 1974), music educator and administrator, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the daughter of Harry Hall Spofford, a clothing store clerk, and Sarah G. Hastings. Following her graduation with honors from Haverhill High School in 1905, Spofford attended Mount Holyoke College for a year to study with the renowned organist William Hammond Churchill. Because the college offered no credit for music performance studies and required domestic work of its students, she withdrew and transferred to Smith College, where she studied with the acclaimed composer-organist Henry Dike Sleeper and with pianist Edwin Bruce Story. After graduating from Smith in 1909, Spofford studied for a year in Boston with Richard Platt and gave lecture recitals for New England audiences. From 1910 to 1912 she taught music at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. She then enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, where she received teacher’s certificates in both piano and organ. She taught in the Preparatory Division at Peabody from 1913 to 1917 and subsequently became the executive secretary of the conservatory. She also contributed music criticism to the ...

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Thompson, Helen Lena Mulford (01 June 1908–25 June 1974), arts administrator, was born in Greenville, Illinois, the daughter of Jobe Herbert Mulford, a druggist, and Lena Henry. She grew up in a musical family, learned to play the violin, and studied music at DePauw University in Indiana (1926–1927). She then worked in a library for two years to finance her B.A. degree at the University of Illinois (1929–1932), where she majored in psychology and sociology, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. From 1932 to 1940 she worked as a social worker in Shelby City, Illinois, Brown County, Wisconsin, and Niagara Falls, New York. In 1933 she married Carl Denison Thompson, a chemist; they had one child during their 41-year marriage....

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Zimbalist, Mary Louise Curtis Bok (06 August 1876–04 January 1970), founder and president of the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, and philanthropist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Cyrus H. K. Curtis and Louisa Knapp. When she was an infant the family moved to Philadelphia, where her father became an eminently successful publisher of newspapers and periodicals. Her parents were gifted musical amateurs, and music became one of her principal subjects when she received her formal education at the Ogontz School for Young Ladies in Abington, Pennsylvania—a school to which she contributed generously in later years. Her studies in piano and music theory were ably supervised by her mother, with whom she began extensive travels to Europe at the age of thirteen. In 1893 she became engaged to ...