Josephine Baker was an American-born French entertainer and French Resistance agent. Her career was centered in Europe in her adopted France. During her early career she was renowned as a dancer, was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris, her performance in the revue Un vent de folie in 1927 caused a sensation in Paris. Her costume, consisting of only a girdle of artificial bananas, became her most iconic image and a symbol of the Jazz Age and the 1920s. Baker was celebrated by artists and intellectuals of the era, who variously dubbed her the “Black Venus”, the "Black Pearl", the "Bronze Venus", the "Creole Goddess". Born in St. Louis, she renounced her U. S. citizenship and became a French national after her marriage to French industrialist Jean Lion in 1937. She raised her children in France. "I have two loves, my country and Paris." The artist once said, sang: «J'ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris». Baker was the first African-American to star in a major motion picture, the 1927 silent film Siren of the Tropics, directed by Mario Nalpas and Henri Étiévant.
Baker refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1968 she was offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King, following Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. After thinking it over, Baker declined the offer out of concern for the welfare of her children, she was known for aiding the French Resistance during World War II. After the war, she was awarded the Croix de guerre by the French military, was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. Baker was born as Freda Josephine McDonald in Missouri, her mother, was adopted in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1886 by Richard and Elvira McDonald, both of whom were former slaves of African and Native American descent. Josephine Baker's estate identifies vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson as her natural father despite evidence to the contrary. Baker's foster son Jean-Claude Baker wrote a biography, published in 1993, titled Josephine: The Hungry Heart.
Jean-Claude Baker did an exhaustive amount of research into the life of Josephine Baker, including the identity of her biological father. In the book, he discusses at length the circumstances surrounding Josephine Baker's birth: The records of the city of St. Louis tell an unbelievable story, they show that Carrie McDonald... was admitted to the Female Hospital on May 3, 1906, diagnosed as pregnant. She was discharged on her baby, Freda J. McDonald having been born two weeks earlier. Why six weeks in the hospital? For a black woman who would customarily have had her baby at home with the help of a midwife? There had been complications with the pregnancy, but Carrie's chart reveals no details; the father was identified as "Edw"... I think Josephine's father was white – so did Josephine, so did her family... people in St. Louis say that had worked for a German family. He's the one who must have paid to keep her there all those weeks, her baby's birth was registered by the head of the hospital at a time when most black births were not.
I have unraveled many mysteries associated with Josephine Baker, but the most painful mystery of her life, the mystery of her father's identity, I could not solve. The secret died with Carrie, she let people think Eddie Carson was the father, Carson played along, Josephine knew better. Carrie McDonald and Eddie Carson had a song-and-dance act; when Josephine was about a year old they began to carry her onstage during their finale. She was further exposed to show business at an early age because her childhood neighborhood was home to many vaudeville theaters that doubled as movie houses; these venues included the Jazzland, Booker T. Washington, Comet Theatres. Josephine lived her early life at 212 Targee Street in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood of St. Louis, a racially mixed low-income neighborhood near Union Station, consisting of rooming houses and apartments with no indoor plumbing. Josephine was always poorly dressed and hungry as a child, developed street smarts playing in the railroad yards of Union Station.
She had little formal education, attended Lincoln Elementary School only through the fifth grade. Josephine's mother married a kind but perpetually unemployed man, Arthur Martin, with whom she had a son and two more daughters and Willie, she took in laundry to wash to make ends meet, at eight years old, Josephine began working as a live-in domestic for white families in St. Louis. One woman abused her, burning Josephine's hands when the young girl put too much soap in the laundry. By age 12, she had dropped out of school. At 13, she worked as a waitress at the Old Chauffeur's Club at 3133 Pine Street, she lived as a street child in the slums of St. Louis, sleeping in cardboard shelters, scavenging for food in garbage cans, making a living with street-corner dancing, it was at the Old Chauffeur's Club where Josephine married him the same year. However, the marriage lasted less than a year. Following her divorce from Wells, she found work with a street performance group called the Jones Family Band.
In Baker's teen years she struggled to have a healthy relationship with her mother, Car
Cole Albert Porter was an American composer and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained, he was drawn to musical theatre. After a slow start, he began to achieve success in the 1920s, by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway musical stage. Unlike many successful Broadway composers, Porter wrote the lyrics as well as the music for his songs. After a serious horseback riding accident in 1937, Porter was left disabled and in constant pain, but he continued to work, his shows of the early 1940s did not contain the lasting hits of his best work of the 1920s and'30s, but in 1948 he made a triumphant comeback with his most successful musical, Kiss Me, Kate. It won the first Tony Award for Best Musical. Porter's other musicals include Fifty Million Frenchmen, DuBarry Was a Lady, Anything Goes, Can-Can and Silk Stockings, his numerous hit songs include "Night and Day", "Begin the Beguine", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "Well, Did You Evah!", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "You're the Top".
He composed scores for films from the 1930s to the 1950s, including Born to Dance, which featured the song "You'd Be So Easy to Love". Porter was born in Peru, the only surviving child of a wealthy family, his father, Samuel Fenwick Porter, was a druggist by trade. His mother, was the indulged daughter of James Omar "J. O." Cole, "the richest man in Indiana", a coal and timber speculator who dominated the family. J. O. Cole built the couple a house on his Peru-area property. After high school, Porter returned to his childhood home only for occasional visits. Porter's strong-willed mother began his musical training at an early age, he learned the violin at age six, the piano at eight, wrote his first operetta at ten. She falsified his recorded birth year, changing it from 1891 to 1893 to make him appear more precocious, his father, a shy and unassertive man, played a lesser role in Porter's upbringing, although as an amateur poet, he may have influenced his son's gifts for rhyme and meter. Porter's father was a talented singer and pianist, but the father-son relationship was not close.
J. O. Cole wanted his grandson to become a lawyer, with that in mind, sent him to Worcester Academy in Massachusetts in 1905. Porter brought an upright piano with him to school and found that music, his ability to entertain, made it easy for him to make friends. Porter did well in school and came home to visit, he became class valedictorian and was rewarded by his grandfather with a tour of France and Germany. Entering Yale University in 1909, Porter majored in English, minored in music, studied French, he was a member of Scroll and Key and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, contributed to campus humor magazine The Yale Record. He was an early member of the Whiffenpoofs a cappella singing group and participated in several other music clubs. Porter wrote 300 songs while at Yale, including student songs such as the football fight songs "Bulldog" and "Bingo Eli Yale" that are still played at Yale today. During college, Porter became acquainted with New York City's vibrant nightlife, taking the train there for dinner and nights on the town with his classmates, before returning to New Haven, early in the morning.
He wrote musical comedy scores for his fraternity, the Yale Dramatic Association, as a student at Harvard – Cora, And the Villain Still Pursued Her, The Pot of Gold, The Kaleidoscope and Paranoia – which helped prepare him for a career as a Broadway and Hollywood composer and lyricist. After graduating from Yale, Porter enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1913, he soon felt that he was not destined to be a lawyer, and, at the suggestion of the dean of the law school, switched to Harvard's music department, where he studied harmony and counterpoint with Pietro Yon. Kate Porter did not object to this move. In 1915, Porter's first song on Broadway, "Esmeralda", appeared in the revue Hands Up; the quick success was followed by failure: his first Broadway production, in 1916, See America First, a "patriotic comic opera" modeled on Gilbert and Sullivan, with a book by T. Lawrason Riggs, was a flop, closing after two weeks. Porter spent the next year in New York City before going overseas during World War I.
In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Porter moved to Paris to work with the Duryea Relief organization. Some writers have been skeptical about Porter's claim to have served in the French Foreign Legion, but the Legion lists Porter as one of its soldiers and displays his portrait at its museum in Aubagne. By some accounts, he served in North Africa and was transferred to the French Officers School at Fontainebleau, teaching gunnery to American soldiers. An obituary notice in The New York Times said that, while in the Legion, "he had a specially constructed portable piano made for him so that he could carry it on his back and entertain the troops in their bivouacs." Another account, given by Porter, is that he joined the recruiting department of the American Aviation Headquarters, according to his biographer Stephen Citron, there is no record of his joining this or any other branch of the forces. Porter maintained a luxury apartment in Paris, his parties were extrava
Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx, New York)
Woodlawn Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in New York City and a designated National Historic Landmark. Located in Woodlawn, New York City, it has the character of a rural cemetery. Woodlawn Cemetery opened during the Civil War in 1863, in what was southern Westchester County, in an area, annexed to New York City in 1874, it is notable in part as the final resting place of some great figures in the American arts, such as authors Countee Cullen, Nellie Bly, Herman Melville, musicians Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, W. C. Handy, Max Roach and husband and wife magicians Alexander Herrmann and Adelaide Herrmann. Holly Woodlawn, after changing her name to such, falsely told people she was the heiress to Woodlawn Cemetery; the Cemetery is the resting place for more than 300,000 people. Built on rolling hills, its tree-lined roads lead to some unique memorials, some designed by famous American architects: McKim, Mead & White, John Russell Pope, James Gamble Rogers, Cass Gilbert, Carrère and Hastings, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Beatrix Jones Farrand, John La Farge.
The cemetery contains seven Commonwealth war graves – six British and Canadian servicemen of World War I and an airman of the Royal Canadian Air Force of World War II. In 2011, Woodlawn Cemetery was designated a National Historic Landmark, since it shows the transition from the rural cemetery popular at the time of its establishment to the more orderly 20th-century cemetery style; as of 2007, plot prices at Woodlawn were reported as $200 per square foot, $4,800 for a gravesite for two, up to $1.5 million for land to build a family mausoleum. Woodlawn was the destination for many human remains disinterred from cemeteries in more densely populated parts of New York City: Rutgers Street church graves were moved to Woodlawn. Most graves were re-interred with a stated date of December 20, 1866 into the Rutgers Plot, lots 147-170. West Farms Dutch Reformed Church, at Boone Avenue and 172nd Street in The Bronx, had most of its graves moved to Woodlawn Cemetery in 1867 and interred in the Rutgers Plot, Lots 214-221.
Bensonia Cemetery known as "Morrisania Cemetery", was a Native American burial ground. The graves were moved to Woodlawn Cemetery with a stated date of April 21, 1871 and re-interred into Lot 3. Public School #138, in The Bronx, is now on the site. Harlem Church Yard cemetery internees were moved to Woodlawn. Most graves were re-interred with a stated date of August 1, 1871 into the Sycamore Plot, lots 1061–1080. Nagle Cemetery remains were moved in November–December 1926 and reinterred in Primrose Plot, Lot 16150. Identities of those interred are unknown; the Dyckman-Nagle Burying Ground, West 212th Street at 9th Avenue, in the Borough of Manhattan, was established in 1677 and contained 417 plots. In 1905, the remains, with the exception of Staats Morris Dyckman and his family, were removed. By 1927, the Dyckman graves were moved to Woodlawn Cemetery; the former Dutch colonial-era cemetery is now a 207th Street subway train yard. The fictional cemetery of the Synagogue in Brooklyn in the film Once Upon a Time in America is located here, renamed "Riverdale Cemetery".
List of cemeteries in the United States List of mausolea List of National Historic Landmarks in New York City Rural Cemetery Act Woodlawn Official Page Woodlawn Cemetery at Find a Grave Photographs of graves of famous persons in Woodlawn Woodlawn Cemetery Records are held by the Drawings and Archives Department of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
The Charleston is a dance named for the harbor city of Charleston, South Carolina. The rhythm was popularized in mainstream dance music in the United States by a 1923 tune called "The Charleston" by composer/pianist James P. Johnson which originated in the Broadway show Runnin' Wild and became one of the most popular hits of the decade. Runnin' Wild ran from 29 October 1923 through 28 June 1924; the peak year for the Charleston as a dance by the public was mid-1926 to 1927. While the dance came from the "star" or challenge dances that were all part of the African-American dance called Juba, the particular sequence of steps which appeared in Runnin' Wild were newly devised for popular appeal. "At first, the step started off to rhythm in a lazy sort of way. When the dance hit Harlem, a new version was added, it became a fast kicking step, kicking the feet, both forward and backward and done with a tap." Further changes were undoubtedly made. In the words of Harold Courlander, while the Charleston had some characteristics of traditional Negro dance, it "was a synthetic creation, a newly-devised conglomerate tailored for wide spread popular appeal."
Although the step known as "Jay-Bird", other specific movement sequences are of Afro-American origin, no record of the Charleston being performed on the plantation has been discovered. Although it achieved popularity when the song "Charleston", sung by Elisabeth Welch, was added in the production Runnin' Wild, the dance itself was first introduced in Irving C. Miller's Liza in the spring of 1923. Willie "The Lion" Smith noted; the characteristic Charleston beat, which Johnson said he first heard from Charleston dockworkers, incorporates the clave rhythm and was considered by composer and critic Gunther Schuller to be synonymous with the Habanera, the Spanish Tinge. Johnson recorded several "Charlestons," and in years derided most of them as being of "that same damn beat." Several of these were recorded on player piano rolls. The Charleston and similar dances such as the Black Bottom which involved "Kicking up your heels" were popular in the part of the 1920s, they became less popular after 1930 because after seven years of being fashionable people became less interested.
The new fashion for floor level sheath evening dresses was probably a factor. The new dresses constricted the leg movements essential for the Charleston. There is a British Pathé Instructional Short from 1933 in which a new variation – The "Crawl Charleston" – is demonstrated by Santos Casini and Jean Mence; this shows a sedate version of dance similar to a Tango or Waltz. It wasn't until dress hem lines rose toward the end of the thirties that the Charleston is again seen in film. A different form of Charleston became popular in the 1930s and 1940s, is associated with Lindy Hop. In this Charleston form, the hot jazz timing of the 20s Charleston was adapted to suit the swing jazz music of the 1930s and 1940s; this style of Charleston has many common names, though the most common are Lindy Charleston, Savoy Charleston, 30s or 40s Charleston and Swing Charleston. In both 20s Charleston and Swinging Charleston, the basic step takes eight counts and is danced either alone or with a partner. Frankie Manning and other Savoy dancers saw themselves as doing Charleston steps within the Lindy rather than to be dancing Charleston.
Today Charleston is an important dance in Lindy Hop dance culture, danced in many permutations: alone, with a partner, or in groups of couples or solo dancers. The basic step allows for a vast range of variations and improvisation. Both the 20s and Swinging Charleston styles are popular today, though swinging Charleston is more integrated into Lindy Hop dancing. Charleston can be danced solo, or with a partner, its simple, flexible basic step makes it easy to concentrate on styling and musicality. Whichever style of Charleston one chooses, whether dancing alone, with a partner, or in groups, the basic step resembles the natural movement of walking, though it is performed in place; the arms swing forward and backwards, with the right arm coming forward as the left leg'steps' forward, moving back as the opposite arm/leg begin their forwards movement. Toes are not pointed, but feet form a right angle with the leg at the ankle. Arms are extended from the shoulder, either with straight lines, or more with bent elbows and hands at right angles from the wrist.
Styling varies with each Charleston type from this point. Solo 20s Charleston has gained popularity in the early 2000s, in many local Lindy Hop scenes around the world, prompted by competitions such as the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown and workshops in the dance taught by high-profile dancers such as the Harlem Hot Shots and a range of independent dancers. Danced to hot jazz music recorded or composed in the 1920s, solo 20s Charleston is styled quite differently from the Charleston associated with the 1930s, 1940s and Lindy Hop, though they are structurally similar. Solo 20s Charleston is danced to music at comparatively high tempos, is characterized by high-energy dancing. Faster movements are contrasted with slower, dragging steps and improvisations; as it is danced today, solo 20s Charleston combines not only steps from dance
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement". On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Parks rejected bus driver James F. Blake's order to relinquish her seat in the "colored section" to a white passenger, after the whites-only section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation, but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People believed that she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws. Parks' prominence in the community and her willingness to become a controversial figure inspired the black community to boycott the Montgomery buses for over a year, the first major direct action campaign of the post-war civil rights movement, her case became bogged down in the state courts, but the federal Montgomery bus lawsuit Browder v. Gayle succeeded in November 1956.
Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation, she organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP. At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, she had attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although honored in years, she suffered for her act. Shortly after the boycott, she moved to Detroit, where she found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American US Representative, she was active in the Black Power movement and the support of political prisoners in the US. After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and continued to insist that the struggle for justice was not over and there was more work to be done.
In her final years, she suffered from dementia. Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP's 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, becoming the third of only four Americans to receive this honor. California and Missouri commemorate Rosa Parks Day on her birthday February 4, while Ohio and Oregon commemorate the occasion on the anniversary of the day she was arrested, December 1. Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913, to Leona, a teacher, James McCauley, a carpenter, she was of Cherokee-Creek descent with one of her great-grandmothers having been a documented Native American slave. Additionally, she had a Scots-Irish great-grandfather, she suffered poor health with chronic tonsillitis. When her parents separated, she moved with her mother to Pine Level, just outside the state capital, Montgomery.
She grew up on a farm with her maternal grandparents and younger brother Sylvester. They all were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a century-old independent black denomination founded by free blacks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the early nineteenth century. McCauley attended rural schools until the age of eleven; as a student at the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery, she took academic and vocational courses. Parks went on to a laboratory school set up by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes for secondary education, but dropped out in order to care for her grandmother and her mother, after they became ill. Around the turn of the 20th century, the former Confederate states had adopted new constitutions and electoral laws that disenfranchised black voters and, in Alabama, many poor white voters as well. Under the white-established Jim Crow laws, passed after Democrats regained control of southern legislatures, racial segregation was imposed in public facilities and retail stores in the South, including public transportation.
Bus and train companies enforced seating policies with separate sections for whites. School bus transportation was unavailable in any form for black schoolchildren in the South, black education was always underfunded. Parks recalled going to elementary school in Pine Level, where school buses took white students to their new school and black students had to walk to theirs: I'd see the bus pass every day... But to me, a way of life; the bus was among the first ways I realized there was a white world. Although Parks' autobiography recounts early memories of the kindness of white strangers, she could not ignore the racism of her society; when the Ku Klux Klan marched down the street in front of their house, Parks recalls her grandfather guarding the front door with a shotgun. The Montgomery Industrial School and staffed by white northerners for black children, was burned twice by arsonists, its faculty was ostracized by the white community. Bullied by white children in her neighborhood, Parks fought back physically.
She said: "As far back as I remember, I could never think in terms of accept
Chicago the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450, it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area referred to as Chicagoland, the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States; the metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area. Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild; the construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, by 1900 Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world.
Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles, the development of the City Beautiful Movement, the steel-framed skyscraper. Chicago is an international hub for finance, commerce, technology, telecommunications, transportation, it is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is the largest and most diverse derivatives market gobally, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures. O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, the region has the largest number of U. S. highways and greatest amount of railroad freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index; the Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products in the world, generating $680 billion in 2017. In addition, the city has one of the world's most diversified and balanced economies, not being dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
Chicago's 58 million domestic and international visitors in 2018, made it the second most visited city in the nation, behind New York City's approximate 65 million visitors. The city ranked first place in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis Tower, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, film, comedy and music jazz, soul, hip-hop and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams; the name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the indigenous Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa for a wild relative of the onion, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum and known more as ramps.
The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the eponymous wild "garlic" grew abundantly in the area. According to his diary of late September 1687:...when we arrived at the said place called "Chicagou" which, according to what we were able to learn of it, has taken this name because of the quantity of garlic which grows in the forests in this region. The city has had several nicknames throughout its history such as the Windy City, Chi-Town, Second City, the City of the Big Shoulders, which refers to the city's numerous skyscrapers and high-rises. In the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples; the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. Du Sable arrived in the 1780s, he is known as the "Founder of Chicago".
In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area, to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, destroyed in 1812 in the Battle of Fort Dearborn and rebuilt; the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis; the Potawatomi were forcibly removed from their land after the Treaty of Chicago in 1833. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of about 200. Within seven years it grew to more than 4,000 people. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales began with Edmund Dick Taylor as U. S. Receiver of Public Monies; the City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837, for several decades was the world's fastest-growing city. As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city became an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States.
Chicago's first railway and Chicago Union Railroad, the Illi
Alexander Pantages was a Greek American vaudeville and early motion picture producer and impresario who created a large and powerful circuit of theatres across the western United States and Canada. At the height of his empire, he operated 84 theatres across the United States and Canada, he was known as a tireless operator and a ruthless one. In 1929 he was accused of raping a 17-year-old dancer named Eunice Alice Pringle. Despite his pioneering spirit and promoting of the "movie palace" concept, he is forgotten today in historical accounts of the early development of motion pictures, he died in 1936 worth only a fraction of his original net worth. There is dispute about his year of birth, but it is that he was born in 1867 on the island of Andros, Greece, it is suggested that he was born "Pericles" Pantages but changed it to "Alexander" when he heard about Alexander the Great. In a personal correspondence between Rodney Pantages, son of Alexander, Arthur Dean Tarrach, Pantages' biographer, this claim is denied.
At the age of nine he ran away while with his father on a business trip in Egypt. He went to sea and spent the next two years working as a deck hand, he arrived in the United States in the early 1880s. His ties to his homeland seem mercurial, he used to call himself "King Greek" in emulation of Louis B. Mayer's "Super Jew". After having been at sea for two years he disembarked in Panama and spent some time there helping the French to dig the Panama Canal, but after contracting malaria he was warned by a doctor to move to cooler climates, he headed north, stopping in Seattle but settling in San Francisco where he worked as a waiter and briefly and unsuccessfully, as a boxer. He left San Francisco in 1897, made his way to Canada's Yukon Territory during the Klondike Gold Rush, ending up in the mining boom-town of Dawson City. In his time in the bitter cold of Dawson City, he worked as a waiter and janitor, but always restless and allergic to manual labor, he became business partner to the saloon dancer and brothel-keeper'Kitty' Rockwell, operating a small, but successful vaudeville and burlesque theatre, the Orpheum.
In 1902, Pantages left Dawson and moved to Seattle, where he opened the Crystal Theater, a short-form vaudeville and motion picture house of his own. He ran the operation entirely by himself, charged 10 cents admission; this took place a few months after Rockwell had opened up a small storefront movie theater in Vancouver, built a theater there in 1907 that stood until 2011, another in 1914. That same year, he married a musician named Lois Mendenhall.'Kitty' Rockwell filed a breach-of-promise-to-marry lawsuit against him as'Klondike Kate', settled out of court. It would be more than two decades. In 1904, Pantages opened the Pantages. By 1920, he owned more than 30 vaudeville theatres and controlled, through management contracts 60 more in both the United States and Canada; these theatres formed the "Pantages Circuit", a chain of theatres into which he could book and rotate touring acts on long-term contracts. In Seattle Pantages competed with John Considine, their competition included such clandestine methods as stealing acts from each other and committing various forms of sabotage.
This competition lasted for several decades and was one of the defining features of the vaudeville circuit of the times. His theatres were efficiently operated, he live vaudeville to his audiences. Despite refusing to allow African-Americans into his theatres he yielded after being sued by an African-American, refused entry into a Pantages theater in Spokane, Washington; the starting point of the Pantages Circuit was the city of Winnipeg, where Pantages built the Pantages Playhouse in 1914. All Pantages tours moved from there around the circuit of theatres. While the majority of the theatres were owned by others and managed by Pantages, he became, from 1911 on, a builder of theatres all over the western U. S. and Canada. His favoured architect in these ventures was B. Marcus Priteca, of Seattle, who worked with muralist Anthony Heinsbergen. Priteca devised an exotic, neo-classical style that his employer called "Pantages Greek". Pantages sought out and judged performers instead of relying on New York agents like many of his competitors did.
A ruthless but intensely hard-working businessman, Pantages invested his theatrical profits into new outlets and moved to Los Angeles. His showcase theatre at 7th and Hill Street in downtown L. A. housed his offices. Around 1920, Pantages entered into partnership with the motion picture distributor Famous Players, a subsidiary of film producer Paramount Pictures, further expanded his "combo" houses, designed to exhibit films as well as staging live vaudeville, to new sites in the western U. S. Throughout the 1920s, the Pantages Circuit dominated the vaudeville and motion-picture market in North America west of the Mississippi River. Pantages was blocked from expansion into the eastern market by New York-based