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Adele Gutman Nathan (1889–1986)

Author of The Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad

Includes the names: A.G. Nathan, Adele Nathan, Adele Nathan, Adele G Nathan

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Adele Gutman was a daughter of Ida and Louis Kayton Gutman, who owned the department store Joel Gutman & Company in Baltimore. She graduated from Baltimore Girls Latin High School and Goucher College before earning graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and the Peabody Institute. In 1912, she married James Nathan; the couple divorced about eight years later. Adele Gutman Nathan's interest in theater began in college. She produced and directed for small theater companies in Baltimore and New York, including plays by Theodore Dreiser, H.L. Mencken, Elmer Rice and Irving Stone. She went to Provincetown, Massachusetts, home of the new Provincetown Players, where she met the then-unknown Eugene O’Neill and produced early stagings of his works. She later directed short nonfiction films for Paramount and Grand National Pictures, and was chief scriptwriter at the U.S. Department of Education in 1941. She also wrote for newspapers, serving as a European correspondent in the mid-1920s, was the features editor for St. Nicholas Magazine, and contributed to Vogue, the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and the Encyclopedia Americana. She had another career as a writer of 14 nonfiction children’s books, some of which were translated into other languages. Later Adele Nathan became a leading producer of grand theatrical pageants celebrating historical events. She staged successful pageants marking the 100th anniversary of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1927, the 1933 and 1939 World’s Fairs, the American Jewish Tercentenary in Trenton in 1955, and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1963. In 1974, she wrote How to Plan and Conduct a Bicentennial Celebration.
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