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Brown, Kay (7 Dec. 1902–18 Jan. 1995) talent scout, agent, story editor, and theater producer, was born Derek Granger Katharine Brown, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, to Katharine Ross and Henry Collins Brown, the original founder of the Museum of the City of New York. She had one sister (Florence) and four brothers (Nelson, Ross, Crawford, and Harry). Her mother died when she was a teenager, and her father remarried. Brown attended Wellesley College, from ...

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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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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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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 ...