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BROOKS, CHARLES STEPHEN

BROOKS, CHARLES STEPHEN

BROOKS, CHARLES STEPHEN (25 June 1878-29 June 1934) was an essayist and playwright who was instrumental in the founding of the CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE. A Cleveland native, and the son of Stephen E. and Mary (Coffinberry) Brooks, he graduated from WEST HIGH SCHOOL and Yale University (1900) and then entered the family printing and stationery business. After rising to the rank of vice-president, he retired in 1915 to devote himself to a literary career that produced more than a dozen volumes. Most of these consisted of essays gleaned from numerous bicycle travels in England and elsewhere, of which the first, Journeys to Baghdad, was published in 1915. He indulged in a leisurely style on such fanciful topics as "The Decline of Night-Caps" and "In Defense of Plagiarism." He also wrote plays, of which Wappin' Wharf, a pirate comedy, had received 150 presentations by 1931. Brooks was a founder and first president of the Cleveland Play House (1915), which produced 2 of his plays and named one of the theaters in its first permanent home after him. Brooks headed the theater's building campaign and at his death was president of the Play House Foundation. During WORLD WAR I he had served on the House Commission gathering data for the use of the American peace delegation at Versailles. He also lectured on English literature at Western Reserve University (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE). Brooks married Minerva Kline (see MINERVA K. BROOKS) in 1907. Following a divorce from her in 1925, he married Mary S. Curtis Brown in 1929. Together they produced several of his short plays in their home on Magnolia Dr. One of Brooks' last works, Prologue, is a memoir of his childhood on the near west side. Brooks had no children and is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.