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James Brander Matthews (February 21, 1852 - March 31, 1929) was an American writer and educator. He was the first full-time professor of dramatic literature at an American university and played a significant role in establishing theater as a subject worthy of formal study in the academic world. His interests ranged from Shakespeare, Moliere, and Ibsen to French boulevard comedies, folk theater, and the new realism of his own day.Biography[edit] Matthews born to a wealthy family in New Orleans, grew up in New York City, and graduated from Columbia College in 1871, where he was a member of the Philolexian Society and the fraternity of Delta Psi, and from Columbia Law School in 1873. He had no real interest in the law, never needed to work for a living (given his family fortune), [1] and turned to a literary career, publishing in the 1880s and 1890s short stories, novels, plays, books about drama, biographies of actors, and three books of sketches of city life. One of these, Vignettes of Manhattan (1894), was dedicated to his friend Theodore Roosevelt. From 1892 to 1900, he was a professor of literature at Columbia and thereafter held the Chair of Dramatic Literature until his retirement in 1924. He was known as an engaging lecturer and a charismatic if demanding teacher. His influence was such that a popular pun claimed that an entire generation had been "brandered by the same Matthews." During his long tenure at Columbia, Matthews created and curated a "dramatic museum" of costumes, scripts, props, and other stage memorabilia. Originally housed in a four-room complex in Philosophy Hall, the collection was broken up and sold after his death. However, its books were incorporated into the university library and its dioramas of the Globe Theatre and other historic dramatic venues have been dispersed for public display around campus, mainly in Dodge Hall. Matthews was the inspiration for the now-destroyed Brander Matthews Theater on 117th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. An English professorship in his name still exists at Columbia. William Archer (23 September 1856 - 27 December 1924) was a Scottish critic and writer. Life: He was born in Perth, the son of Thomas Archer. He spent large parts of his boyhood in Norway where he became acquainted with the works of Henrik Ibsen, and was later educated at the University of Edinburgh, where he received the degree of M.A. in 1876. Archer became a leader-writer on the Edinburgh Evening News in 1875, and after a year in Australia returned to Edinburgh. In 1878 he took up residence in London.In 1879 he became dramatic critic of the London Figaro, and in 1884 of the World, where he remained until 1905. In London he soon took a prominent literary place and exercised much influence. Archer had much to do with introducing Henrik Ibsen to the English public with his translation of The Pillars of Society, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, 1880. It was the first Ibsen play to be produced in London but made little impression.He also translated, alone or in collaboration, other productions of the Scandinavian stage: Ibsen's A Doll's House (1889), The Master Builder (1893, with Edmund Gosse); Edvard Brandes's A Visit (1892); Ibsen's Peer Gynt (1892, with Charles Archer); Little Eyolf (1895); and John Gabriel Borkman (1897); and he edited Henrik Ibsen's Prose Dramas vols., 1890-1891). In 1897 Archer, along with Elizabeth Robins, Henry William Massingham, and Alfred Sutro, formed the Provisional Committee to organize an association to produce plays of high literary intrinsic merit, such as Ibsen's. The association was called the "New Century Theatre" but was a disappointment by 1899, although it continued until at least 1904.In 1899, a more successful association, called the Stage Society, was formed to replace it. Max Beerbohm's caricature of Archer paying a humble visit to Henrik Ibsen was published in The Poets' Corner, London 1904...."
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