Title: Benjamin Holzman Papers
Collection number: MS107
8 linear feet (5 archival document boxes, 4 oversize archival flat boxes, 1 map case drawer)
Loyola Marymount University. Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
Languages represented in the collection:
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[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.
Gift of Bud Wittenberg (1989). Accession number: 2011.15.
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.
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 in this series 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 contain 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.
With the original order not discernable, the Benjamin Holzman Papers are arranged into six series based on subjects and types
- Series 1: Benjamin Holzman
- Series 2: Eddie Cantor
- Series 3: Florenz Ziegfeld
- Series 4: Photographs
- Series 5: Printed Ephemera, Theater Programs, and Newspaper Clippings
- Series 6: Scrapbooks
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
Theater -- New York (State) -- New York