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Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?497048">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Marcia Davenport (1903–1996)

Author of Mozart

Includes the names: Marca Davenport, Marcia Davenport, Marica Davenport

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Marcia Davenport was born Abigail Marcia Gluck, the daughter of opera singer Alma Gluck and her first husband, Bernard Gluck (some sources give his surname as Glick). In her autobiography, she wrote that her parents, whose marriage ended in divorce, "were part of the tidal wave of emigration from the Russian Pale and Eastern Europe." Marcia traveled extensively with her mother and stepfather, violinist Efrem Zimbalist, and attended private schools in Pennsylvania. She dropped out of Wellesley College in order to marry her first husband, with whom she had a daughter. Later she earned a degree from the University of Grenoble. In 1928, she began her writing career with a job as a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she worked for three years. In 1929, she married Russell Wheeler Davenport, a novelist who became the editor of Fortune Magazine, and had another daughter. That same year, she became the music critic for Stage magazine. Her first book, Mozart (1932), was the first published American biography of the composer and is still in print. She wrote several popular novels, including the bestseller The Valley of Decision (1942). It was adapted into a Hollywood film, along with her novel East Side, West Side (1947). In the 1930s, Ms. Davenport was a regular commentator on radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera House; in the 1940s, she often participated in radio panel discussion shows. Her autobiography, Too Strong for Fantasy, which described the people, music, places and political forces that shaped her life, including Jan Masaryk, was pubished in 1967.
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