The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M. B. Curtis The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty discussion

Biography of forgotten Jewish immigrant who changed American Culture

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Richard Schwartz I hope the news of the release of this new biography of the Jewish immigrant who became the only American citizen to personally pay to light the Statue of Liberty when Congress refused right after the statue was dedicated in 1886 and who was the first Jewish male actor to be allowed to portray a Jewish male theatrical character onstage will be of much use to you.
My Best,
Richard Schwartz

" The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty" has been chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margret Herrick Library to be included in their

"The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty" is now on sale at all the stores at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monuments.

This book lovingly brings this amazing Jewish immigrant’s life back to us.

“The Most Famous Forgotten Man in American History”

M. B. Curtis performed in a record-breaking play, Sam’l of Posen," for decades.This play transformed the country’s deep feelings about immigrants and Jews. He was the first Jewish actor to be allowed to portray a Jewish male character on stage and did so with humanity so that the audience laughed with him, not at him. This was a seismic change in American theater and opened the flood gates for ethnic theatrical portrayals that followed. Curtis turned a corner for ethnic portrayals and gave the stage Jew a humanness and personality as opposed to a worn pile of negative stereotypes lumped in one character. M. B. Curtis’ famous theatrical portrayal was of an awkward Jewish immigrant who became a traveling salesman in New York City.

Curtis was approached by Mark Twain to produce one of his books on stage, was a pioneer in the silent movie industry, built one of the largest hotels in the West, was accused of murdering a San Francisco policeman enduring three trials for that murder and was famous for his philanthropy. Even President Theodore Roosevelt was compared to "Sam'l of Posen" twenty-five years after the play was released.

“An outstanding new biography of one of the most talented characters of his time.”
—Barry Moreno, historian & author, the Bob Hope Memorial Library at Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty National Monument


“How rich in colorful characters America’s history must be if someone as picturesque, self-invented, dynamic, contradictory, and influential as M. B. Curtis could have been so largely forgotten. And how fortunate we are to have Richard Schwartz stumble upon him, wash away the dust of neglect, put color in his cheeks, a glint in his eyes, and a spring in his step, and have him stride the stage once again.
I applaud Curtis for the amazing life he led, and I applaud Richard Schwartz for having rescued him from undeserved obscurity.”
--- MALCOLM MARGOLIN, author and publisher emeritus of Heyday Books

"This is a fascinating book of someone in history I had never heard of until I started reading the book. And just fascinated by this guy...He has been dead for a hundred years but his influence is invisibly effecting us still...We do now know of M. B. Curtis thanks to the book... That's what's amazing- the resilience [of M.B. Curtis]...Its an excellent read and leaves you wanting more...and hopefully we'd love to see this on the big screen because its such an impactful story... Its an excellent book."
--- Ric Bratton, Host, This Week in America

"I came so close to passing on an opportunity to talk with Richard Schwartz. It is one of the most phenomenal books I have ever read. Phenomenal story of the guy who wrote it. Unbelievable story about the guy who is the subject of the book. And how can a guy be universally known in 1900 and unknown in probably 60 years later, certainly a century later nobody knows M. B. Curtis...It is written by a guy who is a construction worker. Who has such great command of the English language that after reading this book I wouldn't I don't even have the desire to challenge a book. I wouldn't even begin to try and write a book."
--- Dan Manly, Radio Broadcaster WMST, Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Richard Schwartz On April 10, 2018, the book "The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty" was awarded the bronze medal for biography by the Independant Publishers Book Awards.

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