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The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty

5/18/19 - 8/22/2019

Main Library

Art, Music & Recreation Center Exhibit Space - 4th Fl

100 Larkin St.

A photo exhibit on the life of immigrant M. B. Curtis (1849–1920) who became an actor in San Francisco in the 1870s, starring in Sam’l of Posen, a ground-breaking comedy about an awkward Jewish immigrant traveling salesman. The play was a run-away national sensation for decades, opening discussions about immigrants, traveling salesmen and Jews.

Curtis is the only citizen to ever personally pay to light the Statue of Liberty when Congress refused in 1886.

While Curtis was totally forgotten after he passed in 1920, in his day he was one of the superstars of his era, significantly influencing American culture with his play.

This exhibit includes the first public showing since 1910 of a three-minute clip of M. B. Curtis’s long-thought-lost 1910 silent movie Samuel of Posen. This early silent movie star influenced Chaplin’s portrayal of The Tramp and the work of the Marx Brothers.

Upcoming Events

Gallery of Illustrious Queers: Portraits by Jordan Reznick
Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 6:00 pm
Main Library, LGBTQIA Center
Freestyle Watercolor Painting
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 2:00 pm
Ocean View, Ocean View Meeting Room
Mission Murals Tour
Saturday, October 26, 2019, 2:00 pm
Mission, Mission General Floor Area

More related events

Upcoming Classes

Mission Photography Group
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 6:30 pm
Mission, Mission General Floor Area
Watercolor Tape Painting
Sunday, November 3, 2019, 3:00 pm
Potrero, Potrero Meeting Room

Current Exhibits

10 Years of the SFAC Galleries Passport Event
Through Thursday, January 2, 2020
Main Library, Art, Music & Recreation Center
Gallery of Illustrious Queers
Through Thursday, January 16, 2020
Main Library, LGBTQIA Center Exhibit Space