Industrialist and the Diva


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9780300255485

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An animated account of the launching of Yale’s Elizabethan Club, and the life of its founder and his intriguing wife

A millionaire carpet manufacturer, noted philanthropist, and avid yachtsman, Alexander Smith Cochran, Yale Class of 1896, gathered a superb collection of original editions of plays and related works from the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In 1911, with the help of William Lyon Phelps, Cochran launched Yale’s Elizabethan Club as a place to house his collection and offer a congenial environment for social and intellectual interaction between Yale undergraduates, graduates, and faculty concerned with literature and the arts. Cochran’s creation “changed the tone and atmosphere of modern Yale” until the colleges arrived.
 
Drawing on extensive sources, Walter Goffart surveys Cochran’s life and many occupations, notably his founding of the “Lizzie.” He also takes a close look at Cochran’s intriguing wife of two years, Ganna Walska—the aspiring opera singer celebrated for developing the Lotusland gardens in Montecito, California.