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On his father's side Nathan was French; his father, Charles Naret Nathan, was the son of a Parisian attorney.He was one of the owners of the Eugene Peret vineyards in France and of a coffee plantation in Brazil, but his primary income came from his wholesale liquor business.
Nathan's estate, which "shall be paid to the American who has written the best piece of drama criticism during the theatrical year (July 1 to June 30), whether it is an article, an essay, treatise or book." The Prize The trust is of such size that the prize is the richest and one of the most distinguished in the American theatre. In addition, the winner receives a trophy symbolic of, and attesting to, the award.
The George Jean Nathan Award Symbol The picture inscribed on the Nathan Award Medallion was devised in 1969.
Charles Frederic Nirdlinger was a playwright and drama critic who encouraged Nathan's entrance into journalism.
Uncle Samuel Nixon-Nirdlinger was an important theater manager who secured free tickets for Nathan's family.
Nathan's father spoke eight languages fluently and took frequent business trips to Europe.
All through Nathan's childhood the family spent alternate summers in Europe.He suppressed any mention of his Jewishness and even fabricated a story that his mother attended the same convent school, St. Mary's Academy, but there is no record of her attending St. Nathan attended Cornell University where he was a champion fencer. After being graduated in 1904, he did not pursue a master's degree from the University of Bologna.This canard stems from the sham biographies Nathan and Mencken circulated during their .Young George was thus brought up in an aristocratic and cosmopolitan atmosphere.Nevertheless, Nathan harbored a lifelong dread that his family's Jewish origin would be exposed. Nathan had converted later in her life and several of his uncles had attended the Catholic boys' school affiliated with St.Nathan's maternal grandfather was one of the founders of this frontier trading post.Two of Nathan's maternal uncles were to influence his career as a drama critic.Nathan wrote during the most important period of our theatre's history and set critical standards that are still being followed.In his will he established the annual George Jean Nathan Award for drama criticism.Here was one of the great partnerships in American letters, for Mencken and Nathan were the arbiters, if not dictators, for what the "flaming youth" of 1920s America deemed worthwhile reading.Nathan and Mencken were much more than trend selectors though, for in the pages of their magazines appeared the most influential and artistically promising writing of the era.