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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Collection Description
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Benjamin Holzman Papers
    Dates: 1917-1963
    Collection number: MS107
    Creator: Holzman, Benjamin
    Collection Size: 3 linear feet (4 archival document boxes, 1 oversize archival flat box)
    Repository: Loyola Marymount University. Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    Collection is open to research under the terms of use of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Series number, Box and Folder number, Benjamin Holzman Papers, MS107, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Bud Wittenberg (1989). Accession number: 2011.15.

    Biography

    Benjamin Holzman (1891-1963) was a New York newspaper theater critic; press agent, both in Los Angeles and New York; and the personal business manager of Eddie Cantor. A native New Yorker, Holzman began his newspaper work with the New York Press in 1910 or 1911 as the “cabaret editor," and then joined the New York Evening Mail in the same position in 1916, eventually becoming its “dramatic editor" (theater critic). In 1924, fearing the demise of the newspaper because of its purchase by Frank Munsey, Holzman became the head of the publicity department of the great producer Florenz Ziegfeld (1867-1932). In 1926 or 1927 Holzman then teamed with fellow newspaperman Nat Dorfman to form the first independent publicity firm for theater on Broadway. The two men represented the Broadway producer George White (1892-1968); Florenz Ziegfeld (again); Fox Film; the actor, comedian, and radio star Eddie Cantor (1892-1964); and the actor Jackie Coogan (1914-1984).
    The Great Depression’s dreadful impact on theater attendance in New York left Holzman’s and Dorfman’s publicity firm wanting for clients, which led Holzman to leave the partnership to become Eddie Cantor’s business manager in 1932. For this position he moved to Los Angeles. He stayed in this position with his close friend Cantor until 1941, when he joined the William Morris Agency as a press agent and represented such show business stars as Betty Hutton (1921-2007) and Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972). He stayed at William Morris until his death in 1963. The actor, producer, and songwriter George Jessel delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Benjamin Holzman, testifying to the latter’s stature and connections in the show business world. Benjamin Holzman was survived by his wife Harriett and a daughter.

    Collection Description

    The collection consists of textual and non-textual material related to the life and professional career of Benjamin Holzman (1891-1963), a newspaper show business critic and press agent, who worked and lived on both the East and West Coasts. Materials include professional and personal correspondence, photographs, pubicity releases for New York plays, theater programs, newspaper clippings, and autobiographical statments on Holzman's career. This last material (see Box 1, Folders 4 and 5) offers glimpses into life on Broadway and the United States theater in the 1920s. Of particular value is the correspondence and telegrams between Holzman and Florenz Ziegfeld (1867-1932), the great Broadway and show business producer. They treat publicity for the Ziegfeld Follies and musicals ("Kid Boots") and the promotion of Billie Burke. Also of interest are theater programs for such theater productions as "Showboat," "Kid Boots," and "Whoopee."The latter two productions starred Eddie Cantor, whose materials are found Series 2. Materials here include, among other things, Cantor's personal joke book, some correspondence, and film stills from the film "Roman Scandals."
    The theater section of the New York Evening Mail includes a column by Benjamin F. Holzman and much information on Broadway and movies in New York. Newspaper clippings in Series 5 and pieces on or by the American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935), and advertisments for New York theater. The fragility of the newspaper clippings required the substitution of the originals with photocopies for research use.

    Arrangement

    With the original order not discernable, the Benjamin Holzman Papers are arranged into five series based on subjects and types of material:
    • Series 1: Benjamin Holzman
    • Series 2: Eddie Cantor
    • Series 3: Florenz Ziegfeld
    • Series 4: Photographs
    • Series 5: Printed Ephemera, Theater Programs, and Newspaper Clippings

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Holzman, Benjamin, 1891-1963
    Cantor, Eddie, 1892-1964
    Ziegfeld, Florenz, 1869-1932
    Vaudeville -- United States
    William Morris Agency
    Press agents
    Theater programs
    Ziegfeld Follies
    Theater -- New York (State) -- New York