Mr Henry Burkhardt Harris

Henry Burkhardt Harris

Mr Henry Burkhardt Harris,1 45, was born on 1 December 1866 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of William Harris, a theatrical manager (b. 17 October 1845 in Prussia, d. 25 November 1916 in New York City), and Rachel Freefield (b. 21 December 1845 in Germany/Prussia; d. 15 February 1903 in New York City).2  Henry B. Harris had four siblings, including Minnie, b. 30 August 1865 (d. 1929 in New York as Mrs. Stearn/e), Jennie, b. ca. 1868 (later Mrs. Cohen), Gertrude, b. January 1877 in St. Louis (d. 1929 in Virginia as Mrs. Loeb), William Oakland, b. 22 July 1884 in Massachusetts (d. 2 September 1946 in New York City).

Henry B. Harris married Bertha Prager 3 February 1887 in Boston, Massachusetts, but she died 31 May 1895 aged only 27. Mr. Harris was noted as the manager of the Columbia theatre at the time of his wife’s death.

He moved to New York at some point after the death of his first wife and there married Irene Wallach 22 October 1899.

His principal producing theatre in New York was the Hudson Theater (1903) and he also acquired the Hackett theatre, and the Folies Bergere (1911).

His greatest managerial success was won with Charles Klein's ''The Lion and the Mouse,'' which brought him a fortune.  Henry managed such personalities as Lily Langtry and Amelia Bingham in "The Climbers" and launched Robert Edeson as a star.

''...His first theatrical experience was the management of the famous of the old Howard Athenaeum, where, at the time, the most famous actors and actresses of this country played when they apeared (sic) in Boston. Later he became associated with the firm of Rich & Harris and managed Miss May Irwin, Peter Daily, Mrs. Langtry, Miss Amelia Bingham and Robert Edeson. He took over the management of the Hudson theater now the Harris, in 1906. He has been president of the Henry B. Harris Co., the National Producing Managers of America, director of the Metropolis theater association, director of the Theater Managers' asociation (sic) of New York, treasurer of the Actors' Fund of America and trustee of the Hebrew Orphan asylum. He married Miss Irene Walach (sic), of Washington, D. C., in October, 1898. '' The Pittsburgh Press, April 17, 1912, p. 3

Harris was a Mason and was affiliated with the Democratic party. At one time he served as the treasurer of the Actors' Fund of America, was a trustee of the Hebrew Infant Asylum of New York. He was also associated with the Howard Athenaeum of Boston for a number of years. He had 18 companies on tour during he tour season 1910-1911. He was President of the Henry B. Harris Company, and the Director of Theater Managers of Greater New York.

Mr. and Mrs. Harris probably lived at 50 Central Park West, New York City. He was 5’10’’ tall, had dark eyes and black hair.

Harris and his wife boarded the Titanic at Southampton, they occupied cabin C-83 (ticket number 36973, £83 9s 6d).

Among the other first-class passengers was his friend John D. Baumann.

Mr Harris died in the disaster, his body, if recovered, was never identified.  After his death newspapers reported that his estate valued at $1,000,000 had gone to his wife, but it has also been suggested that he was in fact heavily in debt.

Notes

  1. Often listed as Burkhardt or Birkhardt, his middle name was more likely originally Burckhardt and may have been changed or the other spellings may be transcription errors.
  2. His parents had married ca. 1863 2 very likely 7 July 1863 in St. Louis, albeit William Harris was listed as ’Philip Burkhardt,’ his father’s name was Burkhardt.

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Pictures

HENRY B. HARRIS, MAJ. ARCHIBALD BUTT, WILLIAM B. SILVEY
Washington Times  (1912) 
HENRY B. HARRIS, MAJ. ARCHIBALD BUTT, WILLIAM B. SILVEY
Henry B. Harris - Theatrical Manager
Boston Globe  (1912) 
HENRY B. HARRIS - THEATRICAL MANAGER
Henry B. Harris (1)
HENRY B. HARRIS (1)
The Traveling Salesman - poster for Broadway play produced by Henry B. Harris
THE TRAVELING SALESMAN - POSTER FOR BROADWAY PLAY PRODUCED BY HENRY B. HARRIS
Hudson Theatre programme 1909
HUDSON THEATRE PROGRAMME 1909
 

Articles and Stories

Boston Daily Globe (1922) 
New York Times (1914) 
Unidentified Newspaper (1912) 
(1912) 
Billboard Magazine (1912) 
Bristol Banner (Indiana) (1912) 
Daily Home News (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Herald (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 
Daily Home News (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 
Washington Herald (1912) 
Trenton Evening Times (1912) 
Brooklyn Daily Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
 

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Mrs Renee Irene Harrisb strange encounter (5 posts)

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Rene Harris's Article in Liberty Magazine (1 post)

Looking for pictures of Rene Irene Harris (1 post)

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Credits

Peter Engberg, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Arthur Merchant, USA

References and Sources

Passport Application, Bureau of Citizenship, May 4 1908
Reading Times, April 26, 1912
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) Henry Burkhardt Harris Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #149, updated 15th September 2019 14:40:25 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/henry-birkhardt-harris.html