1-20 of 227 results  for:

Clear all

Article

Aiken, George L. (19 December 1830–27 April 1876), actor and playwright, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Lemuel G. Aiken, an actor, and Susan A. Wyatt. His “first remembrance [was] of a theater,” and it was not long before his services were enlisted in children’s roles at Boston’s Tremont Theatre. Douglas Jerrold’s ...

Article

Anderson, Garland (1886–31 May 1939), playwright and minister, was born in Wichita, Kansas. Little is known about his parents, although his mother is said to have been an active reformer and a poet. Garland completed four years of school (the only formal education he ever received) before his father moved his family to California to take a job as a janitor in the post office. The following year Garland’s mother died, and at age twelve he left home to become a newsboy, selling the ...

Image

Maxwell Anderson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112706).

Article

Anderson, Maxwell (15 December 1888–28 February 1959), playwright, was born James Maxwell Anderson on a farm near Atlantic, Pennsylvania, the son of William Lincoln Anderson, a lumberman and later a railroad fireman and Baptist preacher, and Charlotte Perrimela Stephenson. His restless parents moved the family to Andover, Ohio, in 1890; to Richmond Center and then Townville, Pennsylvania; and in 1895 to Edinboro, Pennsylvania, where Anderson first went to school. They lived in McKeesport, New Brighton, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; moved to Jefferson, Ohio, in 1901; then to Algona, Iowa; and in 1904 to New Hampton, Iowa, where Anderson first attended high school. In 1907 they moved again, to Jamestown, North Dakota. A year later Anderson graduated from high school and entered the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, graduating in 1911. That same year he married Margaret Ethel Haskett; the couple had three children....

Article

Ardrey, Robert (16 October 1908–14 January 1980), anthropologist, playwright, and novelist, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Robert Lesley Ardrey, an editor and publisher, and Marie Haswell. Ardrey earned a Ph.D. in the natural and social sciences from the University of Chicago in 1930. After taking a writing course taught by ...

Article

Armstrong, Paul (25 April 1869–30 August 1915), playwright, was born in Kidder, Missouri, the son of Richard Armstrong, a steamship businessman, and Harriet Scott. Armstrong’s family settled in Bay City, Michigan, where he finished high school. By the age of twenty-one he had become a licensed master of steam vessels on the Great Lakes. He eventually became the purser of a steamship....

Image

Sholem Asch. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112710).

Article

Asch, Sholem (01 November 1880–10 July 1957), Yiddish novelist, dramatist, and short story writer, was born in Kutno, Poland, a small town near Warsaw, the son of Moishe Asch, a cattle dealer and innkeeper, and Malka Wydawski. Asch was raised in a small town and was essentially self-educated. His father taught him the alphabet from the Bible, which was, as Asch later noted, “the first book that I ever held in my hand” (Siegel, p. 3). The Bible served as his grammar, geography, and history textbooks, as well as a storybook of sorts; later the Scriptures became a source of continual literary inspiration. As an adult Asch became a serious collector of rare biblical editions. He attended local schools to train for the rabbinate, studying the Talmud but also reading German classics and Shakespeare. Finally, against his family’s wishes, Asch made up his mind to become a writer....

Article

Bacon, Frank (16 January 1864–19 November 1922), actor and author, was born in Marysville, California, the son of Lyddell Bacon, a rancher, and Lehella Jane McGrew. A few years after Frank’s birth, the family moved to San Jose, California. Bacon received little formal education and by the age of fourteen had left school to work in a photography studio. Until his early twenties, Bacon was intermittently employed as a photographer, a newspaper advertising solicitor, and a journalist. He started newspapers in Mountain View and Mayfield, California, and was for a time co-owner of the Napa ...

Article

Baker, Benjamin Archibald (04 April 1818–06 September 1890), playwright and theater manager, was born in New York City. Little about Baker’s early life is known; rumor has it that he ran away from home, arriving in New Orleans as a harness maker, later repairing cavalry gear for ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Barry, Philip (18 June 1896–03 December 1949), playwright, was born Philip James Quinn Barry in Rochester, New York, the son of James Corbett Barry, the owner of a marble and tile business, and Mary Agnes Quinn. He attended Nazareth Hall Academy, a Roman Catholic private school, Rochester’s East High School, and Yale University. His father’s death the year after Philip’s birth motivated Barry’s second Broadway production, ...

Article

Barrymore, Maurice (21 September 1849–25 March 1905), actor-playwright, was born Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Hunter Blyth in Amritsar, India, the son of William Edward Blyth, a deputy commissioner, and Charlotte Matilda de Tankerville. At age ten, following the tradition of prominent Anglo-Indians, Herbert sailed for England to prepare for a direct appointment to the East India Company’s service. Bright, spirited, athletic, and strikingly handsome, he opted instead for the less restrictive pleasures of London, becoming, to the horror of his proper Victorian family, the middleweight boxing champion of England in 1872. That same year, going from bad to untenable in the estimate of his relatives, he made his acting debut on 1 April at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, as Cool in ...

Image

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

Article

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 ...

Article

Behrman, S. N. (09 June 1893–09 September 1973), playwright and essayist, was born Samuel Nathaniel Behrman in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Behrman, a teacher of Hebrew, and Zelda Feingold, soon after their immigration from Lithuania. Because no birth record survived, Behrman selected his own birthdate. Living in a tenement in a Yiddish-speaking neighborhood, Joseph Behrman studied the Talmud relentlessly and instructed children in Hebrew. In 1903, at about ten years of age, his son Samuel Nathaniel chanced to hear a presidential campaign address by Socialist Laborite candidate ...

Article

Belasco, David (25 July 1853–14 May 1931), playwright and director, was born in San Francisco. His Portuguese Jewish parents, Humphrey Abraham Belasco and Reina Martin, were émigrés from England, where his father had been a harlequin in pantomimes. In North America his parents become shopkeepers. Raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Belasco claimed to have been educated at a monastery but actually attended the Colonial School and the Anglican Collegiate School. As a child he acted professionally, including portraying the Duke of York during Charles Kean’s farewell tour of ...

Article

Bernard, John (1756–29 November 1828), actor and playwright, was born in Portsmouth, England, the son of John Bernard, a naval lieutenant, and Ann (maiden name unknown). From childhood, Bernard was fascinated with the stage. After seeing a play in London when he was seventeen, he ran away from home to join what he calls in his autobiography “a band of dramatic desperadoes.” By the time he was in his mid-twenties, he had worked his way through the theatrical ranks in touring and small resident companies to become a popular low-comedy actor in London’s Covent Garden Theater company. His repertoire, much of which would stand him in good stead for the rest of his life, included parts in ...

Article

Biggers, Earl Derr (26 August 1884–05 April 1933), novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, was born in Warren, Ohio, the son of Robert J. Biggers and Emma E. Derr, occupations unknown. He was a colorful student at Harvard, where he loudly voiced his preference for ...

Article

Bird, Robert Montgomery (05 February 1806–23 January 1854), writer, was born in New Castle, Delaware, the son of John Bird, a merchant, and Elizabeth Van Leuvenigh, whose ancestors were among the early settlers of Delaware. Following the death of his father in 1810, Bird lived first with an uncle ( ...