Alice Minnie Herts

Alice Minnie Herts (c. 1870 – September 28, 1933), sometimes seen as A. Minnie Hertz-Heniger, was an American theatre professional, founder and manager of the Children's Educational Theatre in New York. Mark Twain said of Herts's theatrical work, "I consider it the greatest citizen-making force of the century."[1]

Early life and education

Herts was born in New York City, the daughter of Henry B. and Esther Moss Herts. She attended Public School No. 47 before pursuing teacher training at the Normal College, New York City, and the Sorbonne in Paris.[2]

Career

Herts started as a social worker with the Educational Alliance, and in 1903 founded the Children's Educational Theatre in New York City, "to make our thousands of immigrant children better citizens; to educate them; to develop their sympathies and their characters; to give them the best possible sort of a good time, and to counteract the evil and sordid influences of tenement and factory."[3] She recruited Mark Twain to serve as president of the theatre board, and Emma Sheridan Fry served as director of the productions until 1909.[4][5] The program produced or adapted works by Mary Hunter Austin, Lady Gregory, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and other writers.[6]

Her book, The Children's Educational Theatre (1911) laid out the mission and educational bases of her project, as well as the practical aspects of creating a theatre program for children.[7] A later book by Herts, The Kingdom of the Child (1918), explored similar themes.[8]

By 1917 Herts held a faculty appointment at Columbia University.[9] She also made a lecture tour and spoke at national meetings, including the Drama League convention in Pittsburgh in 1917.[10]

From the early 1920s Herts and her husband Jacob Heniger ran a summer camp in Casco, Maine.[11][12] The site is now known as "Heniger Park."[13]

Personal life

Herts married Jacob Heniger in 1913.[14] She died in 1933, in her 60s.

Hunter College offers an Alice Minnie Hertz Heniger Scholarship to "a student pursuing a course in music, drama, or literature, with the primary purpose of benefiting children."[15] Lehman College English Department also offers an Alice Minnie Hertz Heniger Scholarship for Children's Literature.[16]

References

  1. A. Minnie Herts Heniger, "The Drama Value for Children" Good Housekeeping 57(November 1913): 637.
  2. John William Leonard, ed., Woman's Who's Who of America (Commonwealth Publishing Company 1914): 384.
  3. "To Make Good Citizens--The Theatre for Children" New York Times (November 12, 1911): 65. via Newspapers.com
  4. Beatrice L. Tukesbury, "Emma Sheridan Fry and Educational Dramatics" Educational Theatre Journal 16(4)(December 1964): 341-348.
  5. "Thirty-Five Actors Resign" New York Sun (February 11, 1909): 7. via Newspapers.com
  6. "Plays for Children" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (November 19, 1916): 21. via Newspapers.com
  7. Alice Minnie Herts Heniger, The Children's Educational Theatre (Harper & Brothers 1911).
  8. Alice Minnie Herts Heniger, The Kingdom of the Child (E. P. Dutton 1918).
  9. "City Entertains Two Interesting Women Visitors" Indianapolis Star (January 21, 1917): 33. via Newspapers.com
  10. "Raps at Vaudeville" New York Times (April 28, 1917): 11. via Newspapers.com
  11. Alice M. Robinson, Vera Mowry Roberts, and Milly S. Baranger, eds., Notable Women in the American Theatre (Greenwood Press 1989): 417. ISBN 9780313272172
  12. A Handbook of New England (P. E. Sargent 1921): 864.
  13. Ethel Blow, "Otisfield Landmark Has Final Use" Sun Journal (September 21, 1992): 9.
  14. "Miss Herts Weds Jacob Heniger" New York Times (March 12, 1913): 11. via Newspapers.com
  15. Hunter College, 2010 English Department Prizes and Awards.
  16. Lehman College, English Department Prizes and Awards Ceremony, April 2010.
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