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Laurence Langner Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1934. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 663 P&P).


Langner, Lawrence (30 May 1890–26 December 1962), patent agent, playwright, and theatrical producer, was born in Swansea, South Wales, the son of Baruch Bernard Freedman, a businessman, and Cecilia Sarah Langner. (He took his mother’s maiden name.) He attended private schools in Swansea and in Margate, England. After a brief stint as a clerk for a theatrical manager in 1903, he was apprenticed to Wallace Cranston Fairweather, a chartered patent agent in London. Langner passed examinations of the British Chartered Institute of Patent Agents in 1910....


Smith, Richard Penn (13 March 1799–12 August 1854), lawyer and playwright, was born in Philadelphia, the son of William Moore Smith and Ann Rudulph. Smith’s father, an attorney, enjoyed writing poetry, and he did his best to raise his son to appreciate the literary arts. As a teenager Smith studied at John Johnson’s school at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. In 1818 he returned to Philadelphia to study law in the law office of William Rawle. He was admitted to the bar three years later....