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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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Franken, Rose Dorothy (28 December 1898–22 June 1988), author and stage director, was born in Gainesville, Texas, the daughter of Michael Lewin (occupation unknown) and Hannah Younker. When Rose was young, her parents separated, and her mother took her four children to New York to live with her family in Harlem. According to Rose Franken’s autobiography, she was originally named Rosebud Dougherty (the middle name after her father’s best friend), but possibly because of tensions resulting from her parents’ separation, the name caused her “deep bitterness” and she soon “nipped the ‘bud’ ” and changed her middle name to Dorothy. After attending the School for Ethical Culture, Rose was scheduled to enter Barnard College in September 1915, but she decided instead to marry Dr. Sigmund Walter Anthony Franken, an oral surgeon. Shortly after the wedding, Dr. Franken was diagnosed as having tuberculosis, and the couple spent the first ten months of their marriage at the Trudeau Sanatorium on Saranac Lake in New York. Three boys were born to the couple over the next thirteen years....

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George, Grace (27 December 1874–19 May 1961), actress, director, and translator/adapter, was born Grace Doughtery in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of George Doughtery and Ellen Kinney (occupations unknown). She changed her name to Grace George in 1892 for professional reasons. George attended a convent school in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In 1893 she enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She made her professional debut in 1894 as a schoolgirl in ...

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Hull, Josephine (03 January 1877?–12 March 1957), actor and director, was born Mary Josephine Sherwood in Newtonville, Massachusetts, the only child of William H. Sherwood, a perfume importer, and Mary Elizabeth Tewksbury. When her husband died in 1886, Mary Sherwood returned to her parents’ home in Newtonville, taking up residence with her four unmarried sisters. Although these conservative aunts were distressed by Josephine’s choice of an acting career, they were unfailing in their financial and emotional support, and she remained a devoted niece throughout her life....

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Huntington, Catharine Sargent (29 December 1887–03 March 1987), actress and director, was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Putnam Huntington, a clergyman, and Lilly St. Agnan Barrett. Huntington graduated from Miss Haskell’s School in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1906 and then attended Radcliffe College, where she graduated cum laude with her A.B. in 1911. After graduation Huntington began teaching at the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut, and remained there until 1917. Huntington’s parents instilled in her a strong sense of civic responsibility, which influenced her entire life. When World War I broke out, Huntington left her teaching job to entertain the troops in France, serving as the Radcliffe representative with the Wellesley unit of the Young Men’s Christian Association, and in 1919 she served as an aide for Réconstruction Aisne Devastée and the Union des Femmes de France. She returned to the United States in 1920 but continued in the local war recovery efforts....

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Kaminska, Ida (04 September 1899–21 May 1980), actress, director, and producer, was born in Odessa, Russia, the daughter of Avram Izhak (Abraham Isaac) Kaminski and Ester Rachel Halpern. Her father was an actor, director, and producer at the family’s Yiddish theater in Warsaw, and her mother was a famous Yiddish actress known as “the Jewish ...

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Le Gallienne, Eva (11 January 1899–03 June 1991), actor, director, and translator, was born in London, England, the daughter of Julie Norregaard, a Danish journalist, and Richard Le Gallienne, an English poet. Her parents separated when she was four, and Eva was raised by her mother and schooled in Paris and London. Her feminist mother, who had been influenced by literary critic Georg Brandes and playwright Henrik Ibsen, gave her daughter an aesthetic education and taught her independence. By the time she was seven, Eva knew Paris, London, and Copenhagen and read and spoke French, English, and Danish. After seeing Sarah Bernhardt perform and then meeting her, Eva decided to dedicate her life to the theater....

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Eva Le Gallienne, c. 1916–1920. Photograph by Arnold Genthe. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-1293-C).

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Mackay, Constance D’Arcy (1887–21 August 1966), playwright, director, and educator, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the only child of Robert S. Mackay, a realtor, and Anne D'Arcy. Mackay lived with her parents in Minnesota until she was fifteen; she traveled extensively in Europe during her childhood and was educated in both public and private schools. In 1903 Mackay enrolled as a special student (a student that is not working toward a degree or plans to graduate) at Boston University. Mackay's years at the college were productive. Between 1903 and 1905, she penned the first commencement play ever produced at the college, ...

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Perry, Antoinette (27 June 1888–28 June 1946), actress and director for whom the Tony Awards were named, was born in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of William Russell Perry, a city clerk, and Minnie Betsy Hall, an artist and Christian Science healer. Perry’s father, who was Catholic, and his wife separated over religious differences two weeks after their marriage and divorced shortly following their child’s birth. Her mother married twice again. Perry, nicknamed Tony, wrote in a 1930s article that even in grade school she had felt an urge to be an actress, in part because of the encouragement of her uncle, actor George Wessells. “My uncle trained me as a child—in Shakespearean men’s parts—and stimulated my desire,” she recalled. “When I was six, I didn’t say I’d become an actress. I felt I was one. No one could have convinced me I wasn’t.”...

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Vance, Nina Eloise Whittington (22 October 1915–18 February 1980), co-founder and director of the Alley Theatre, was born in Yoakum, Texas, the daughter of Calvin Perry Whittington, a cotton buyer, and Minerva DeWitt. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 1935 and subsequently took graduate courses in drama and theater at the University of Southern California (1936) and Columbia University (1937). During the California period she worked as an extra in several films, including ...

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Webster, Margaret (15 March 1905–13 November 1972), director and actress, was born in New York City, the daughter of Benjamin Webster and Dame May Whitty, noted British actors. Webster’s early years were divided between New York and London, often living with relatives while her parents toured. After attending private boarding schools, her formal theater education began in 1924, when she enrolled in the Etlinger Dramatic School in London. Her career as an actress had begun much earlier, however, when at the age of eight she recited the prologue to the ...