Langford, Laura Carter Holloway
- Joseph Horowitz
(b Nashville, TN, Aug 22, 1843; d Canaan, NY, July 1930). American impresario and philanthropist. Born Laura Carter, she moved after the Civil War to New York City with her family, resettling by 1870 in Brooklyn, where she became a newspaper editor and writer of genteel non-fiction. Her marriage to Colonel E. L. Langford in 1890 solidified her social standing. Her interest in theosophy (which she studied with Blavatsky in London) resonated with the Wagner cause she made her own. Though her aspiration to create an “American Bayreuth” remained unfulfilled, she was for a period Brooklyn’s dominant presenter of symphonic concerts. Her philanthropic and cultural efforts peaked in 1889 when she founded a women’s club, the Seidl Society, to support Anton Seidl’s foundering summer season at Coney Island’s Brighton Beach resort. In 1894 the Seidl Society became the producer of Seidl’s Brighton Beach concerts, given fourteen times weekly for two months. With a repertory dominated by Wagner and Liszt, and 25-cent tickets, these constituted a visionary undertaking in musical pedagogy. Special railroad cars were furnished for women without escorts. Children’s festivals were presented. Orphans were treated to free seashore meals and musical entertainment. The Wagner lectures Langford delivered at Brighton Beach in ...