Richmond?s Illuminating Connection to the Statue of Liberty
Berkeley historian and author Richard Schwartz will tell the story of Jewish actor Maurice B. Curtis, who used his fortune to light the Statue of Liberty in 1886 when the US Congress didn?t want to spend the money. He is the author of The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis. The book?chronicles the actor?s rise??from overnight success in a groundbreaking play that transcended the stereotypes of Jewish characters of his time to a successful real estate career ? and ultimate ruin.
Curtis was the?manager of the Richmond Opera House, which was in operation from 1907 to 1918, and featured well-known performances including Uncle Tom?s Cabin and Girl of the Golden West. His acting career virtually ended when he was accused, and later acquitted, of shooting a San Francisco police officer.
The event is part of the Pioneers to the Present: Jews of Richmond and Contra Costa?exhibit series.