In search of the truth about Diana Nyad



Articles about Marion Morgan, Dorothy Arzner, Jeannette Glass, and George Warrington Curtis


In Find A Way, Diana Nyad says of her mother:

Lucy Winslow Curtis was born in New York City in 1925, daughter of a wealthy, erudite man of society: businessman, artist, and college professor George Warrington Curtis, age seventy-one. Her mother was a young show dancer and gold digger, Jeanette, age twenty-one. (p. 36)

A 50-year age difference would be kind of disturbing if it were true, but it's not. When Diana's maternal grandparents married, George Warrington Curtis was 55, Jeannette Glass somewhere between 27 and 31, though most likely 30. Glass did dance, but she wasn't a show dancer in the disparaging way her granddaughter probably intends it. Jeannette danced for Marion Morgan, a pioneering choreographer of the 1910s and ’20s. In 1922, the Marion Morgan Dancers performed at George Warrington Curtis's estate in Southampton, New York. In all likelihood, that's when he met his future wife.

Note that when Nyad writes about her grandparents' marriage, it's always Jeannette's wiles that make it happen. As Nyad tells it, Jeannette takes advantage of GW, a virtuous bystander with no agency. However, since little Lucy arrived six months and 21 days after the wedding, GW bears at least as much responsibility as Jeannette.


Marion Morgan & Jenny Glass


Feb 3: Seattle Town Criercover / article (troupe appears as "Greater Morgan Dancers")

Feb 10: Seattle Town Criercover / article

Feb 13: "Beautiful Dancing Girls are Called Messengers of Art"

Mar 16: Morgan Dancers to visit Stockton, California

Mar 22: Morgan Dancers to visit Los Angeles

Mar 23: more on Los Angeles visit (via the Redondo Reflex)



May 18: "Marion Morgan & Famed Girls Head Orpheum Program" (back in Los Angeles)

Jul 20: Jennie Glass dances "Spring's Awakening" in benefit at the Liberty Club Fair in Los Angeles

(though not about Jennie, see also "Club Fair Will Help Women's Hospitals" and "Girl to Dance at Liberty Club to Aid War Effort)



Feb 8: "The Dance as an Aid to Perfect Health: Marion Morgan Dancers Now Appearing in a Novel Interpretation of One of Their Own Conceptions" (Buffalo Enquirer)

Mar 8: Morgan Dancers to headline in St. Louis

Apr 17: "Dance as an Expression of Art" (Buffalo Enquirer)

Jun 1: Marion Morgan on her way to Los Angeles to teach

Jun 10: Orpheum ad (San Francisco Examiner)

Jun 27: Orpheum ad (San Francisco Examiner)



Jan 3: "Dancers Elucidate the Elusive Lotus" (with Jenny/Jeannette Glass)

Jun 6: Ad for Marion Morgan "Summer School of Dancing and Pantomime"

Jun 20: Marion Morgan summer school in Los Angeles (with item that mentions Jeannette Glass)

Dec 11: Seattle Town Criercover / page 1 / page 2 / page 3



Jul 26: Morgan dancers to perform at George Warrington Curtis estate in Southampton, Long Island (NY Herald) / "To See Morgan Dancers" (NY Tribune)

Aug 6: "G.W. Curtis Entertains 300 At His Southampton Home"

Aug 9: image from Curtis performance (changes "Warrington" to "Washington")

Aug 12: another image from Curtis performance

Oct 18: "Dancers to Head Bill at Orpheum" (San Francisco Chronicle)



Mar 5: "[Morgan] to Demonstrate How Steps Aid Beauty" (Includes another article, "Dr. Shuey Blames Novels as Corruptors of Youth." Some things never change.)

Apr 29: Morgan in Pittsburgh (I include the full page because there's just too much great stuff to cut out.)

May 12: Image: Marion Morgan Dancers at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. on May 12th, 1923.



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Jenny Glass & George Warrington Curtis


Sep 29: Curtis and Glass marriage notice



Apr 17: Birth of Lucy Winslow Curtis






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Marion Morgan & Dorothy Arzner


Mar 10: "Director Finds All Beauties Not Dumb" (complete page here)



Sep 10: "Watching the Stars Go By," Piqua Daily Call, (Piqua, Ohio)

In Directed By Dorothy Arzner, Judith Mayne cites this article as one example of a journalist struggling to make sense of Arzner, someone who doesn't come close to fitting any stereotype of a woman in Hollywood:


Miss Arzner . . . has a soft, melodious voice, which, however, is so distinct, she never has to raise it. She was a symphony in tan, which, somehow seemed to accentuate her beautiful dark brown eyes and hair, her tan suit and white shirt, brown four-in-hand, and felt hat, looking decidedly business-like, yet feminine as well. (p. 157)



Jul 20: Morgan and Arzner attend performance at Pasadena Community Playhouse

Dec 29: "Dorothy Arzner Resembles Napoleon in Posture," San Francisco Chronicle (complete page here)

Mayne cites this article in Directed By Dorothy Arzner:


To share even one characteristic with the great Napoleon is often the aim of men, but it is the real privilege of one woman in Hollywood, namely Dorothy Arzner, only woman director for Paramount. She resembles the great Corsican in her posture — that of standing with her hands clasped behind her back. In all other respects she is feminine and dainty. (p. 160)



Oct 8: Arzner obituary



LA Times photo-essay about the Arzner-Morgan home in Los Feliz



Independent piece about Arzner: "One hell of a director: the queer pioneer of Hollywood" (also available at newspapers.com)