Texas then and now

This week in the Hill Country

Austin’s New Year, Dec. 31

Auditorium Shores.

This alcohol-free, family-friendly event celebrates the diversity and creativity of the city with visual art installations, jugglers, storytellers, fire dancers and other festive performances.

Yesterday’s news

1895    Rose Lewin Franken, author and playwright, was born in Gainesville. Her family moved to New York when she was 12. In 1914 Lewin married Dr. Sigmund W. A. Franken, an oral surgeon. She began writing to amuse Franken, and he encouraged her efforts. At first she wrote short stories for newspapers and popular magazines. Her first novel was published in 1925. She had 3 sons (and a housekeeper.) When Dr. Franken died, Rose moved her family to Hollywood, where she began to write screenplays. She wrote the 1936 Beloved Enemy. She married again, moved back to New York, and continued to write prolifically, slowing down only in the later 1950s. She died in Tucson in 1988.

1971    Shirley Tennyson, jazz singer, married Joe McFatter. Back in Dallas, she gained a reputation as a smooth and versatile jazz singer who cooed audiences with a broad repertoire that included Cole Porter and George Gershwin numbers to jazz tunes to rhythm and blues. She initiated the Sunday Music Series, regular jazz programs at the South Dallas Cultural Center, that provided a forum to expose children to the nuances of jazz. McFatter started a similar series, Jazz Under the Dome, at the African American Museum in Dallas. During her career, she also collaborated with fellow Texan and Lincoln High School graduate, jazz saxophonist David ‘Fathead’ Newman, a longtime sideman with Ray Charles. She died in Dallas in 1994.

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