the first 130-plus years of the United States’ existence, the apex of upscale cultural life in the nation was live theater. By the 1880s, the introduction of formulaic melodramas also captivated a rapidly growing middle class. However, by 1910, the embryonic but ambitious film industry was beginning to draw audiences away from the stage. Fearful that their favorite art form was going to be supplanted by these upstart flick makers, Chicago philanthropists and art patrons Arthur T. Aldis and Mary Aldis, as well as Hull House director Laura Dainty Pelham, spearheaded

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