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Aronson, Rudolph (08 April 1856–04 February 1919), theatrical impresario and composer, was born in New York City to German immigrant parents (names and occupations unknown). When he was six, his music-loving parents arranged for him to have instruction on the piano. Recognizing in Aronson a definite musical precocity, his teacher, Leopold Meyer, persuaded Aronson’s parents to allow the child to be trained for a musical career and introduced Aronson to the violin and the theory of music. At age fourteen Aronson attended a concert featuring musical stars under the direction of ...

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Bennett, Isadora (21 July 1900–08 February 1980), publicist for dance and theater, was born in Canton, Missouri, the daughter of Clarence Bennett and Catherine Marshall, managers of a touring theatrical company. Bennett claimed that the circumstances of her birth were in the best theater tradition, occurring between the first and second acts of ...

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Brown, Thomas Allston (16 January 1836–02 April 1918), theatrical agent and historian, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Brown, an innkeeper, and Lucretia H. Milton. He was educated in Newburyport until 1852, when he became an advance agent for traveling circuses. From then until 1857, he said, he traveled “from Maine to California” and gathered theatrical information and history at every chance along his routes....

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Darling, Edward V. (23 September 1890–28 July 1951), theater manager and agent, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of William J. Darling, a salesman, and his wife (name unknown). Darling’s father moved his family to New York City near the turn of the century. His son, while still in his teens, studied shorthand and typing in the hope of becoming a secretary and office manager. Away from school, he spent many hours in the vaudeville houses of Manhattan, seeing as many shows daily as his free time and pocket money allowed....

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Erlanger, Abraham Lincoln (04 May 1860–07 March 1930), theatrical booking agent and producer, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Leopold Erlanger and Regina (maiden name unknown). Erlanger spent his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, and left formal education at an early age to become a cloakroom and opera-glass boy at the Academy of Music. At the Euclid Avenue Opera House he rose from being chief usher and helping out backstage to being a ticket-seller and ended as treasurer and business manager of the theater. He typified the theatrical businessman of the late nineteenth century, quickly realizing the importance of systematizing a method of booking theatrical attractions that until then had seemed haphazard....

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Fiske, Harrison Grey (30 July 1861–02 September 1942), theatrical editor and manager-producer, was born in Harrison, New York, the son of Lyman Fiske, a hotel owner, and Jennie Durfee. Fiske’s well-to-do family moved to New York City when he was a child, and there he developed a lifelong passion for the theater. He was educated by tutors and at private schools and traveled in Europe. Thanks to family influence with the owners of the papers, while still an adolescent Fiske began reviewing plays for two newspapers, the ...

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Hayward, Leland (13 September 1902–18 March 1971), theatrical and literary agent and producer, was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the son of William Leland, a district attorney, and Sarah Irland Tappan. Hayward attended private schools in New England and was admitted to Princeton University, but he was asked to leave in his freshman year because of poor grades. In 1921 he married Inez “Lola” Gibbs. They divorced the next year but remarried in 1930; they divorced again in 1934....

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Janney, Russell Dixon (14 April 1885–14 July 1963), writer, press agent, and theatrical producer, was born in Wilmington, Ohio, the son of Reynold Janney, a mechanic and builder of bicycles, and Ella Dixon. Soon after his birth his family moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, where his father served as principal of the high school. In 1894 Janney’s father gave up his career in education and moved his family again, this time to Keene, New Hampshire, where he set up in business as a mechanic. Keene was at this time often a stopover town for theater companies traveling between Boston and Montreal, and Janney developed an interest in working in the theater. He enrolled at Yale University, where he wrote and produced several plays for his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. After he graduated in 1906 he settled briefly in New York, but the following year he departed for London to pursue a career as a press agent and freelance writer. He achieved modest success abroad, counting among his employers several leading figures in the British theater, including Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and George Edwardes, for whom he created publicity....

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Kauser, Alice (1872–09 September 1945), playbroker and playwright's agent, playbroker and playwright’s agent, was born in the American consulate in Budapest, Hungary, where her father Joseph Kauser was consul. Her mother was Berta Gerster, a well-known Hungarian opera singer with many connections to the European world of the arts. Alice Kauser, the goddaughter of Franz Liszt, was educated in Europe to be multilingual and well grounded in music, literature, and the theater....

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Klaw, Marc Alonzo (29 May 1858–14 June 1936), theatrical entrepreneur and producer, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, the son of Leopold Klaw and Caroline K. Blumgart. He moved with his widowed mother to Louisville when he was five. There he attended both elementary and public high school, after which he received his law degree from Louisville Law School in 1879. Although he practiced law for a while, his primary interest was in theater; he was for a time the dramatic editor of the Louisville ...

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Maney, Richard (11 June 1891–30 June 1968), theatrical press agent, was born in Chinook, Montana, the son of John Maney and Elizabeth Bohen, farmers and ranchers. Maney spent his early childhood in a four-room log house three miles outside of Chinook, where he and his sister Loretta had regular household chores but were packed off to school every day by parents who, though not formally educated themselves, determined that their children would be....

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Elisabeth Marbury. Reproduction of a painting by William Rankin, 1933. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113318).

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Marbury, Elisabeth (19 June 1856–22 January 1933), agent and theatrical producer, was born in New York City, the daughter of Francis Ferdinand Marbury, a prominent admiralty attorney, and Elizabeth McCoun. She attended private schools, but her most important education came in her father’s office, where she read Blackstone’s ...

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Redpath, James (24 August 1833–10 February 1891), journalist and entertainment impresario, was born in Berwick-on-Tweed, Scotland, the son of Ninian Davidson Redpath, a teacher, and Maria Main. After being educated in his father’s academy, Redpath emigrated with his family to the United States in 1849 and soon found work as a reporter for ...

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Stein, Jules Caesar (26 April 1896–29 April 1981), entertainment executive and physician, was born in South Bend, Indiana, the son of Louis M. Stein and Rosa Cohen. His extraordinary achievements began in the classroom. A student at West Virginia University while still in his early teens, he graduated from the University of Chicago at the age of nineteen. His medical degree was earned at Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1921. He acquired a specialty in ophthalmology at the Eye Clinic of the University of Vienna and first practiced this as chief resident in ophthalmology at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and subsequently in an affiliation with Dr. Harry Gradle, also of Chicago. His depth of knowledge is revealed in “Telescopic Spectacles and Magnifiers as Aids to Poor Vision” (1924), which quickly became the definitive manual in this specialty....

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Wikoff, Henry (1811?–28 April 1884), author, publisher, and impresario, , kept the secret of his birthdate and parentage throughout his life. His guardian, Samuel Price Wetherwill, may have been his father; some contemporary accounts claimed he was the son of a Philadelphia doctor also named Henry Wikoff. Whatever the circumstances of his birth, money was available to provide Wikoff with a good education. He entered Yale in 1827 but was dismissed before he graduated. He eventually graduated from Union College in 1832. He also studied law and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1834....