North Carolina Newspapers

a Glittering Trail
Oscar's Final Collapse;
the Mysterious Woman
at His Funeral; His
Widow’s Descent
to Poverty
Come* Thi* Photo of Mr*. Hammerttein
When She Was the Wife of Julian
Swift, Wealthy Chicago Packer, Whom
She Later Divorced To Marry the
Hr HIS is the final instalment of
•* a series of articles by Mrs.
Oscar Hammerstein, dealing with
the triumphs and disasters of her
colorful life.
Ii it she concludes the story of
how she first married a wealthy
Chicago packer, then was the wife
of the most famous impresario of
his time, and finally was found,
penniless and forgotten, drifting
about Hew York, amidst the scenes
of her former glories.
By Mr?. Oscar Hammcrstein.
S I come to the final chapter of
my story there constantly recur
to me the words Oscar Hammer
stein once wrote in a letter to me:
“Don’t worry about the future. 1
want to know that there are no lines of
care in your face. Bear in mind that 1
will always be near you in sorrow and
in happiness—even unto eternity.”
He wrote those lines just before his
London defeat. Then things began
to close in on us.He had spent oh his
The Letter
Reproduced at
Right I*
Addreaaed by
to Morri*
W Geat, the
Magnate, and
Oacar to Collect
Back Rent
for the
Opera Home.
London venture all of the $1,200,0.00
given him by the Metropolitan Opera
Company. Upon his return to New
York the United Booking Offices gave
him $225,000 in adjusting the Palace
Theatre franchise. That sum he put
Into the ill-fated Lexington Opera
The announcement that he would re
enter the New York field was a sur
prise to the Metropolitan. He tried to
circumvent the $1,200,000 agreement
by saying he would produce opera in
English at the Lexington. But just
his opera house was seven-eighths
finished, he was served -with papers in
an injunction suit brought by the Met
ropolitan to restrain him from produc
ing opera in any language. Thus the
Lexington was turned into a vaudeville
and motion picture house.
The Philadelphia
Opera House, Built,
by Oscar
Hammerstein. It
Was There He,
Introduced His
Opera Company to
the Pennsylvania
Metropolis, But the
Venture Proved a
A Dinner Given
by Mrs.
Hammerstein in
Honor of Ogden Pell,
Well-Known New
York Society Man.
During Early Days
/Of the War. 1, Vera
Brand, the Operatic
Star; 2, Mrs.
Hammerstein; 3,
Ogden Pell.
Frorh; then
on, business
reverses continued. In Ifl*
Oscar went into bankruptcy
«*x me ume me extensiveness,
and pecularities of his business
interests were reviewed. As respect
the nature, magnitude, complexity ami
variety of his operations, Oscar was a
unique bankrupt. He required the ser
vices of at least a dozen firms of law
yers, but he had only one bookkeeper!
His enemies took advantage of this
to pester him. He fought valiantly and
desperately to the end. One day, when
the black shadows of death began to
gather about him. Oscar rose from his
sick bed, against my remonstrances,
and went to his office at No. 151 West
Thirty-eighth Street, a ramshackle af
fair located over a garage. It was'then
that he surveyed the remnants of the
palaces he had built upon the sand and
in a rage penned a letter to his attor
neys denouncing all his enemies.
But on a dark day in August, IP 111,
this man—who was once worth $10.
000,000 and who had built thirteen,
magnificent theatres in hi.s time—died
practically penniless. It was just a few
months before the expiration
of his agreement with the
-Metropolitan. In his death
everything passed into ob
livion. If is opera schemes fell into de
cuy and his wonderful inventions \an
ished, ■ ■ ;■
It was on that day that the dire real
hy of the inconstancy ol' material
things thrust itself upon me with ap
palling force. While death ticked off
the crucial moments at Oscar's bedside.
I became conscious that the gigantic'
deeds he had achieved and their world
ly rewards were fleeting. And some
thing of.myself seemed to go out, too.
like a candle in the wind.
At first there were difficulties in ai
ranging a funeral. Arthur Hammer
stein. Oscar’s son. and Morris (Jest, the
producer, and l decided the publi.
would want to see the remains of so
great an impresario. Through the ef
forts of Otto Kahn. Oscar’s deadliest
rival in the opera world, Henry Mot
genthau, former United .States Ambas
sador to Turkey, and Felix Warburg,
the. famous financier, consent was ob
tained to have services in Temple
On the day of the funeral I suc
ceeded in reaching John McCormack,
the tenor. I knew it would have been
my husband’s wish that McCormack
sing at his funeral. It was Oscar who
had enabled McCormack to win fame
in America. And McCormackV sing
in? of “The Lost Chord" at that fune
Ho w
(Phytician and Surgeon)
"T*HE voice-box, called the larynx,
is &b expansion of the upper
part of the wind-pipe, the
trachea. It is composed chiefly of two
iarge cartilages, tne thyroid cartilage
(commonly called the Adam’s Apple),
and the cricoid cartilage which lies im
mediately beneath it. The thyroid car
tilege is somewhat V-shaped and re
sembles a partially opened book that
lias been set on end. The cricoid car
tilage looks like a signet ring, the nar
row band being in front, the wide part
being behind, between the two open
*nds of the thyroid cartilage.
Resting on top of the cricoid at the
back are two little cartilages called
the arytenoids. They are not tightly
fastened to the cricoid but are free to
move inward toward each other, or
outward away from each other, in
much the same way that garage doors
open and close.
_ The vocal cords are merely bands of
~ tissue which run along the side walls
*' of the larynx, one on each side, from
the front to the back. The attachment
in front is to the thyroid cartilage. The
rear attachment is to the arytenoid
^ How is the voice produced? Each
" breath of air that we take passes
J through the voice-box between the two
vocal cords. In ordinary quiet breathing
' the vocal cords lie close against the
_ walls of the larynx out of the way of
the air which rushes back and forth. In
making a sound such as saying a word
9r singing a note, the vocal cords arc
These Sketches Illustrate the \ppeai
mice el the Voice-Box from Different
Angles. I he Cartilages Are the Thyroid
(\), the Cricoid (V) and the Two Small
Arytenoids (Z). The Vocal Cords (V)
Are Shown in Fig. C in the Positions
for Normal Breathing. The White
Dotted Lines in Fig. 1) Indicate Their
Position When Speaking.
brought directly into the path of the
air. As the air strikes the cords, they
are made to vibrate. In order to vary
the pitch of the-sounds made it is
necessary to correspondingly vary the
degree of tightness of the vocal cords.
The vocal cords are brought into and
taken out of action by means of mus
cles which are attached to the aryte
noid cartilage. When a sound is pro
duced these cartilages move inward
toward each other, so that the vocal
cords are drawn away from the voice
box, permitting the breath to strike
ano vibrate them. The closer the car
tilages approach each other, the tighter
the cords become and the higher the
Pitch. It is the continuous change in
pitch of the words we utter.which gives
color to speech. Those who are unfor
tunate enough to have some affection
of the vocal cords which interferes
with the variation in pitch talk in a
The longer and heavier the vocal
cords are, the lower the voice. The
larynx _ of a man is. larger than a
woman’s. Consequently, the cords are
longer and heavier. This explains why
man possesses a voice which is lower
in pitch and huskier.
Almost everyone is familiar with
the experiment of striking a tuning
fork and then placing it over a jar
and noticing the resonance and fullness
of -tone which is produced. The reso
nance for the voice-box is made pos
sible by the spaces which are built
above it, the mouth and the nose. In
nasal catarrh, when the passages
through the nose are obstructed, the
voice loses an important resonance
chamber. We say the individual is
talking through his nose. Actually,
however, he is talking without the use
of his nose.
It is nothing short of miraculous
that a mechanism can be so highly per
fected tliat in a rapid succession of
split seconds, the muscles and car
tilages can so arrange themselves that
sounds of predetermined character and
pitch can be made.
A Recent
Photo of Mr*.
Hem merttc in.
Note the Defiant,
Doternrined Look
With Which She
Faced <* World Thai
Ignored Her Former
Preitige and
ra! w as something never to be forgot
ten. ,
Meanwhile, as Millionaires, fgmous
artists; ami others sat in sorrow at the
passing of this genius who once was
art: immigrant boy, a mysterious lady
in black wept bitterly, audibly, unre
strainedly in a bark pew. She was
pointed out to me later at the grave
a Miss Frances l,ee. once a well
known singer. The opera world ha
heard nothing of her now for many
It whs strange to see Mis-. at:
the funeral, for I recalled that, it was
-he who had figured ill a spectacular
suit against Oscar, in which she dec
iminded $100,000 because hr had failed
to kerp his promise to make her an
opera -tar. I recall how some of tin*
letters Oscar wrote, to her long, long
ago, before he married trie, lie gave
me some of these to preserve. Hr wrote
eloquently and. philosophically, hut it
will he noted that sometimes hr had a
curious habit of referring to the pet
-on he was addressing as though lie or
.-hr were a third party. One Tetter to
Miss Lee in particular is handy to
quote in part as follows::
"The only thing got/ ail nut it Hint non
rnn e nu ra a nff. J an
i rrcr told me it was
iirdbgply none of tiri/
business. When a no
wan loves a man dr
VOtedly she hue no
secrets. You are the
only per soil in this
! treat wide no rid that
I i online all and
ei rrythitiy to. Your
letters of late, h a ti
er er, hare been sitfro
typed in character and
• old and when /'
thought of the last
one mil blond stormed
through my i:iens and
I lail still in my hen
A* Mr*. Hammeratein
Stand* Above Her
Husband's Grave (the
Photo Above Wa* Take
Soon After Hi* Burial)
She Reflects Upon the
Colorful Pageant of Hi
Triumph* and Defeat*.
At Left i* the Monumen
Erected Later Over His
Grave. The Name of
Mrs. Hammerstein Ha*
Since Been Removed Fron
pruymp *Q pc struck dead, I knew / wm
.ffvitiff mad.
av that nit/ -ini, mi/ lore, that hu t
suddenly, turned from we writhing* 111
mortal pain* Couhi she turn aa-ip
from Oscar Hammer stein. of whom th
town if prowl; Who. even if f say <f
myself, toners above common ivmkin<1
of Oscar Hnmmrrstrin, almost the toy
like man tilth: the heart of a t/n l: v-h ,
never harmed a Hyman being in fits
life; mho had one pleasure \n .life, our
happiness in the terrific struggie mth
adversity t"
Thus Oscat writine of himself to
someone he adored. How delightfully
ego-centric. It was this egotism that
helped to carry him to fame.
So far as adversity us concerned .1
had plenty of it after , his death. I
sought in vam to retrieve some dr l,i
vanished wealth. With Fortune Hallo,
head of the San Carlo Opera Cum
panv, I made an uiusueee.-. ful i t for; to
produce tight opera.
Then I attempted art amuitiou- plan
to import French opera and French
stars—remembering that m.v hu band
had been the pioneer producer ot
French works on the American op
eratic stage. Appeals for cooperation
and assistance wore seitl to many.
Pinny prominent, persons who had
known Oscar well—hut in most case
they did ‘not meet with much sym
pathy. ■
Then I turned to friend?, hut ui
t-o^yntot. inter national Featur* ge.fice. lac'., U:
real Britain S'.ahts R*s«rted
'inn. Little by little I began to rd’aliie
that the had changed, that a
cyder-the cycle of wealth, social pow
'T umi popularity — was passing for
me There remained but one more
blow and it did not fail to come;
Previous to tny husband's death he
had been quarreling with his daugh
ter N .Stella , and Lose. They were
angered' because he; tried to sell the
Victoria Theatre. For one thing, they
feared lie would put the money into
more opera schemes. They claimed
they were entitled to the income pro
vided by their mother-— which came
out of profits of the theatre and other
interests; in the Hamiiierstein Amuse
ment Company.
When Oscar learned of In daugh
ters' fulminat.ons he was not the.least
bit disturbed. He giggled'with delight.
"I have been supporting my da ugli
right along.” he aid to me, “Now
tlmt they have two husky American
fellows for husbands, let the young men
work lor theni>l don't care what any
of them say. 1 am not going to emulate
King Lear,”
Then followed Court proceedings in
abundance. They reached up to the
day Oscar Hammersteln died and ex
tended for two years to one terrible
day for me
On that day I was evicted from my
apart ment in the Manhattan Opera
House, which had been Willed to me,
and upon which Stella and Hose
brought foreclosure actions.
Although Oscar Hammerstein, a'
one time worth nearly $10,000,000
made me his sole legatee and execu
t'ri-x in his will, it remained fora news
paper man to find me on a bench ii
Central Park.
I was deserted, distrait and pen
niiess. lit my purse 1 had exactly
three pennies. Now 1 was pondering,
not with too much deliberation, on the
next step in my chaotic career.
When 1 said I was deserted I meant
that most of those human friends of
mine from palmier and more roseate
days Imd forsaken me, However, one
friend remained steadfast through all
my tribulations—-Teddy, my ten-year
old collie.
Soon my predicament became known
through others—for I was too proud
ti> reveal the secret of my distress.
There were several who eumc to my
aid. That night 1 did not go back to
my shabby room in lower Columbus
avenue. John Hoagland, thp baking
powder king, who remembered me
when Mayfair would have spread
purple rugs for me, was kind to me.
The rest of my story 13 merely the
anti climax of shattered hopes and de
feat. The dream (for that is all it is
now) of wealth, triumphs, happiness,
has faded. The best I’ve known has
Nothing—not njfbn despair—remains.

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