Thursday, July 6, 2023 - 6:00pm
A picaresque biography of immigrant and entrepreneur M.B. Curtis of San Francisco, whose claim to fame was on stage and in silent films, but also includes many extraordinary ventures.
Winner of the 2018 Bronze IPPY for biography, The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis tells the biography of immigrant actor M.B. Curtis who saved the Statue of Liberty in 1886, though his actions were forgotten. Curtis’ rise and fall from grace is a dramatic arc that rivals anything created for stage. Actor, producer, real estate developer, promoter, hotelier, benefactor, and murder suspect, M.B. Curtis’s life encompassed the highs of celebrity and fame as well as the lows of failure, illness, and a faltering career.
Richard Schwartz is a historian and the author of Eccentrics, Heroes, and Cutthroats of Old Berkeley; Earthquake Exodus, 1906; Berkeley 1900; and The Circle of Stones. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. An outdoor enthusiast and animal lover, Schwartz worked on a Pennsylvania Dutch farm for two years before heading west to find higher mountains. He now lives in Berkeley, California, where he works as a building contractor and documents early Native American sites in the Bay Area. The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty (April 2017) is his fifth book and was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library to be included in their collection. The book was also recently awarded the bronze medal in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Mechanics Institute Members FREE
Public sliding scale, $5 to $10
Meet the Author(s)
Future Meet the Author(s)
Jun 16 - 6:00pm
with Anne Bingham Goess (fiddle, vocals), Ellen Hoffman (piano) with singers and actors John Ilyin, Esther Mulligan and Simon Winheld
Jun 29 - 6:30pm
NEA Big Read Finale
NEA Big Read "Interior Chinatown" Grand Finale with Chef Martin Yan