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Balderston, John Lloyd (22 October 1889–08 March 1954), dramatist and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Lloyd Balderston, a British doctor, and Mary Alsop, an American. He attended local Philadelphia schools. Early transatlantic travels prefigured his internationally varied career. In 1911 Balderston became the New York correspondent for the ...

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L. Frank Baum. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103206).

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Baum, L. Frank (15 May 1856–06 May 1919), children's author, journalist, and playwright, children’s author, journalist, and playwright, was born Lyman Frank Baum in Chittenango, New York, the son of Benjamin Ward Baum, a cooper and sawyer who had made a fortune in Pennsylvania oil, and Cynthia Stanton. He grew up on the family estate, “Roselawn,” outside Syracuse, New York. Suffering from a congenitally weak heart, he was educated at home. A stay at Peekskill Military Academy beginning in 1868—which gave Baum a lifelong antipathy to academics and the military—ended less than two years later in his having a heart attack. Back home, he published a family newspaper and periodicals on stamp collecting and the breeding of fancy chickens. In 1881 he studied theater in New York City and joined a repertory company, then managed an opera house in Richburg, New York, from 1881 to 1882, and, with his father’s financing, toured successfully with ...

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Burk, John Daly (1776?–?11 Apr. 1808), editor, historian, and dramatist, was born in Ireland, arriving in America at the age of twenty. His parents’ names are unknown. He was a student at Trinity College in Dublin, but he was dismissed for “deism and republicanism” and eventually forced to leave Ireland, presumably because of political difficulties. Legend has it that a woman named Miss Daly gave him her female attire to help him escape from the British, hence the use of Daly in his name....

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Clarke, Joseph Ignatius Constantine (31 July 1846–27 February 1925), journalist, poet, and playwright, was born in Kingstown, near Dublin, Ireland, the son of William Clarke, a barrister, and Ellen Quinn. After the 1858 death of his father, Joseph Clarke moved with his family to London, where he began work as an apprentice in the reading room of the Queen’s Printers. In addition to the education he received as a boy in a series of Irish Catholic Schools, Clarke was privately tutored in French and Latin. He secured a civil service sinecure when he was sixteen....

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Collens, Thomas Wharton (23 June 1812–03 November 1879), Creole jurist and writer, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of John Wharton Collens and Marie Louise de Tabiteau. Collens’s father was descended from an English officer who had settled in Louisiana in the eighteenth century. His mother was a member of one of the city’s French-speaking, Creole families. Raised in a bilingual, Catholic household of modest means, Collens overcame a limited education during an apprenticeship in the print shop to which he was sent as a youth. By the age of twenty-one he had advanced to the position of associate editor of the ...

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Marc Connelly Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1937. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103960).

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Connelly, Marc (13 December 1890–21 December 1980), playwright, screenwriter, and journalist, was born Marcus Cook Connelly in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, the son of Patrick Joseph Connelly and Mabel Fowler Cook. The elder Connelly, as a young man, had been an actor and the manager of a theatrical company. His wife, who had dared the wrath of her parents to elope with him, acted in his company. While they were on tour, their first child, a daughter, died of pneumonia. Believing that this melancholy event might not have occurred had they had a regular home life, they left the stage and settled in McKeesport, where the senior Connelly bought a hotel. Connelly’s first experience of theater came at age seven, when his parents took him to nearby Pittsburgh to see ...

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Crouse, Russel McKinley (20 February 1893–03 April 1966), journalist, playwright, and screenwriter, was born in Findlay, Ohio, the son of Hiram Powers Crouse, a newspaper editor and publisher, and Sarah Schumacher. Crouse was educated in public schools in Toledo, Ohio, and Enid, Oklahoma, and as a teenager he began working on his father’s newspaper, the ...

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Daggett, Rollin Mallory (22 February 1831–12 November 1901), journalist, congressman, minister to Hawaii, and author, was born in Richville, New York, the son of Eunice White and Gardner Daggett, farmers. Daggett was the youngest of seven children, the other six being girls. After his mother’s death in 1833, the family moved to Defiance, Ohio, in 1837. In 1849 Daggett became a printer, learning a trade which endowed him with an education and influenced his later choice of a journalistic career....

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Hornblow, Arthur, Sr. (1865–06 May 1942), editor, author, and dramatist, was born in Manchester, England, the son of William Hornblow and Sarah Jane Rodgers. Little is known of Hornblow’s childhood; however, he studied literature and painting in Paris before coming to the United States in 1889. While in Paris, Hornblow acted as a correspondent for both English and American newspapers....

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Hoyt, Charles Hale (26 July 1859–20 November 1900), playwright, journalist, and theater director, was born in Concord, New Hampshire, the son of George W. Hoyt, a hotel manager and mail clerk, and Mary Ann Hale. He attended private school and the Boston Latin School before becoming a law student in Boston. Hoyt had a successful career writing “All Sorts,” a local-color column for the ...

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Kober, Arthur (25 August 1900–12 June 1975), author and journalist, was born in Brody, Austria-Hungary, a center of Yiddish culture, the son of Adolph Mayer, a bushelman, and Tillie Ballison. The family came to the United States in 1904, settling first in Harlem, a part of New York City then populated by many Jewish immigrants, and moving soon thereafter to the Bronx. Kober left the High School of Commerce after only one semester, which caused him to comment later, “That’s why I write in the first person and don’t worry about grammar.” He went to work at fourteen as a stock clerk for Gimbel’s department store. Between 1915 and 1922 one odd job followed another. He became a stenographer for the Maxwell Automobile Company, then for the author Grenville Kleiser. He also sailed as a bellboy on a ship bound from New York to San Francisco via the Panama Canal....

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Lawson, James (09 November 1799–24 March 1880), editor, author, and insurance broker, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of James Lawson, a merchant. His mother’s identity is not known. Lawson entered the University of Glasgow at the age of thirteen but presumably did not graduate because he left Scotland in 1815. Settling in New York, he worked as an accountant in the firm of Alexander Thomson & Co., which was owned by and named for his maternal uncle. Lawson became a member of the firm in 1822 and remained there until 1826, when the company failed. This turned out to be a rather opportune event; Lawson had been sending submissions of his writing to his long-time friend James G. Brooks, one of the founders of the weekly ...

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MacArthur, Charles Gordon (05 November 1895–21 April 1956), playwright, screenwriter, and journalist, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of William Telfer MacArthur, an evangelical preacher, and Georgeanna Welstead. When MacArthur was in his teens the family settled in Nyack, New York. There his father enrolled him in Wilson Memorial Academy, a school that prepared its students for the ministry. The young man’s talents lay elsewhere, however. Persuaded by one of his teachers to enter a literary contest at the school, he discovered that he had a flair for writing. That was to be his life’s work....

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Cornelius Mathews. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-4157).

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Mathews, Cornelius (28 October 1817?–25 March 1889), author and editor, was born in Port Chester, New York, the son of Abijah Mathews, a cabinetmaker, and Catherine Van Cott. Little is known about Mathews’s childhood. No diaries, letters, or articles exist before the mid-1830s. However, according to Trows New York Directory, his family moved from Westchester County to Manhattan, and Mathews resided for the rest of his life in various locations in lower Manhattan. He attended Columbia University from 1830 to 1832. In 1833 he transferred to the College of the City of New York, now known as New York University. The Reverend James Mathews, a relative of the family, was the chancellor of the newly established college. Cornelius Mathews received his A.B. degree in the first graduating class of 1834, and, at the commencement ceremony held at the Middle Dutch Church of New York, he gave a speech titled “Females of the American Revolution.” Mathews was admitted to the bar in 1837 and practiced law for a short time. He became the first president of the university’s alumni association in 1846. For a Eucleian Society meeting he presented his speech “Americanism—What Is It?” (1845), later published in the ...

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Channing Pollock Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1934. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 932 P&P).

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Pollock, Channing (04 March 1880–17 August 1946), playwright, journalist, and lecturer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Alexander Lyon Pollock, an employee of the U.S. Weather Bureau, and Verona Larkin. Pollock’s early schooling took place in Omaha and Salt Lake City, where his father worked as a newspaper editor and publisher. He also went to the Untergymnasium in Prague, while visiting his father’s relatives, the elder Pollock having emigrated in the 1870s from Austria. He had tutors in San Salvador, where his father served as U.S. consul, dying of yellow fever. Enrolled in Bethel Military Academy, Warrenton, Virginia, he grew impatient to work as a writer. Already at school at eight, he had written and acted in ...

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