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Dithmar, Edward Augustus (22 May 1854–16 October 1917), journalist, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Dithmar and Anna (maiden name unknown). His father was foreman of the composing room at the New York Evening Post. Dithmar’s public school education ended at seventeen when he joined his father at the ...

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Gibbs, Wolcott (15 March 1902–16 August 1958), drama critic, editor, and author, was born Oliver Wolcott Gibbs in New York City, the son of Lucius Tuckerman Gibbs, an electrical engineer and inventor, and Angelica Singleton Duer. When Gibbs was six years old his father died, and his alcoholic mother lost custody of Gibbs and his sister. ...

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Hapgood, Norman (28 March 1868–29 April 1937), journalist, critic, and reformer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Charles Hutchins Hapgood, a farm implement manufacturer, and Fanny Louise Powers. He grew up in wealth in Alton, Illinois. In 1890 he graduated with an A.B. from Harvard University, where he was strongly influenced by Professor ...

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Isaacs, Edith Juliet Rich (27 March 1878–10 January 1956), editor and theatre critic, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Adolph Walter Rich and Rosa Sidenberg. Her father, a Hungarian immigrant, owned a shoe factory. Isaacs graduated from Milwaukee-Downer College (now a part of Lawrence University) in 1897, with a bachelor of arts in English composition. She was literary editor for the ...

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George Jean Nathan, c. 1939–1941. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-116934).

Article

Nathan, George Jean (14 February 1882–08 April 1958), drama critic and editor, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the son of Charles Narét-Nathan, a landowner and businessman, and Ella Nirdlinger. Nathan was raised in a well-to-do family with international connections and social prominence; his father, a world-traveler, had prominent relatives in Belgium and France, where he owned vineyards; his mother’s family were among the founders of Fort Wayne. Members of the extended family had interests in the theater and journalism. After graduating from high school in Cleveland, Ohio, where the family had moved in 1888, Nathan attended Cornell (1900–1904). There he attained prominence of his own as editor of the campus newspaper and literary magazine and as an award-winning fencer. His midwestern upbringing was leavened with frequent summer excursions to Europe, and following his graduation he spent a year at the University of Bologna....

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Gilbert Seldes Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1932. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 1019 P&P).

Article

Seldes, Gilbert Vivian (03 January 1893–29 September 1970), critic and writer, was born in Alliance, New Jersey, the son of George Sergei Seldes, a pharmacist, and Anna Saphro, who died when Gilbert was three. His only sibling, George Seldes, became a distinguished journalist known for his coverage of European affairs between the world wars. Their father, a freethinker of Russian Jewish descent, sought to convert his farm into an anarchist utopian colony. When that did not succeed, he entered the drugstore business. He enjoyed friendships with ...

Article

Walton, Lester A. (20 April 1882–16 October 1965), diplomat, journalist, civil rights activist, and theater producer, was born Lester Aglar Walton in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Benjamin A. Walton, Sr., and Olive May Camphor Walton. After graduation from Sumner High School, Walton began his career as a journalist at the ...