Pollak, Robert

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This page presents a biography of Robert Peace Pollak, always known as Robert Pollak.

It is part of the site Classical 'Society' Records by Nick Morgan.

As a leading member of the Chicago Gramophone Society, Pollak was jointly responsible, with Vories Fisher, for commissioning and issuing the first records financed and sold by subscription in the U.S.A.

Pollak was a stock and commodity broker in Chicago all his working life.

He was a trained pianist, and composed musical revues and comedies for amateur performances in Chicago.

Perhaps Pollak's true vocation, pursued from 1920 until just before his death, was music and theatre criticism. He wrote regular columns for a Chicago periodical and several newspapers, and occasionally also reviewed records.

In addition, Pollak appeared as a panellist in radio and television broadcasts.

For dates of creation and latest update, please see 'Page information' in left sidebar.

Life

Born 24 June 1903, Cleveland, Ohio, USA[1]

Married 7 May 1929, to Janet, née Spitzer (1904-77), Chicago, Illinois, USA

Children 5 April 1934, son (still living). 1 March 1937, son (deceased). Both born Chicago

Died 4 May 1971, Chicago

Studies

Pollak spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father Herman (1876-1949) was President of the Pollak Waist Company (formerly Paragon Manufacturing Co.), a producer of shirtwaists including the Wayne Maid brand.[2]

Pollak showed early aptitudes for both the piano and criticism. His first piano teachers were his mother, Lulu Pollak, née Cohn (c.1878-1962), 'well known as one of Fort Wayne's leading pianists', according to a local newspaper, Mrs. Isabelle Peltier, and Mrs. Florence Huebner-Dukes.[3] Pollak gave his earliest documented public performances at their pupil concerts.[4]

In April 1917, The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette published a precocious and self-assured article on 'American Music', which Pollak had read ten days earlier to fellow-students of Mrs. Huebner-Dukes.[5]

In his teens, Pollak studied at Fort Wayne's European School of Music (founded in 1892 by Anna Siboni Ruhland).[6] He was tutored by its then head, the French-born George Bailhe (1884-1953). During at least one summer vacation, which Pollak spent in Chicago with his parents, he took piano lessons from Alexander Raab and attended Percy Grainger's summer classes at the Chicago Musical College.[7] Some years later, Pollak penned an admiring and affectionate portrait of Grainger as 'The Playboy of the Piano'.[8]

In 1919, Pollak edited The Spotlight, the magazine of his Fort Wayne high school, from which he graduated in 1920.[9] That year, a Fort Wayne newspaper published Pollak's first known reviews, of local concerts.[10]

Throughout his adolescence, Pollak performed in public in Fort Wayne, and on 15 December 1919, at the Elks Hall, he gave a solo benefit recital, assisted by his teacher George Bailhe, head of the European School of Music. The programme included the original solo piano version of Grieg's suite From Holberg's Time Op.40, and the two-piano version of Grainger's orchestral suite In a Nutshell. The proceeds were donated to the Red Cross.[11] In September 1920, Pollak was due to play Edward MacDowell's 'Keltic' Piano Sonata (No.4 in e Op.59) at the competitive National American Music Festival in Lockport, New York.[12] No report of this performance has been located; neither have reports of public performances by Pollak thereafter, until much later in his life. It is not known if Pollak or his parents had envisaged a career for him as a performer, or, if so, whether some setback, anxiety or disillusionment made him decide against it.

Whatever the reason, Pollak did not enter a music conservatoire. From 1921 to 1924, he studied at the University of Chicago, graduating as a PhB (Bachelor of Philosophy). As The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reported in 1923, Pollak enjoyed a brilliant student career:

'He has been elected one of the six marshals of the university, an honor reserved only for those who represent the highest standard in student activity. He has also been taken into the Owl and Serpent, an academic society composed of honor students, and into the Black Friars, a musical organization. To cap it all he has been elected editor of the Circle, a high grade literary magazine of the school [...] his review of The Goose Step, by Upton Sinclair, aroused that novelist to protest. [...] His friends in Fort Wayne are not surprised at the distinction he has attained in the musical circles of the university as his exceptional talent as a musician is well known.'[13]

(The Journal-Gazette later reprinted in full Pollak's scathing review of Upton Sinclair's book.[14]) As well as editing The Circle, a student literary magazine, Pollak also reported for and was News Editor of the University's celebrated student newspaper, The Daily Maroon.[15]

At university, Pollak came into contact with Vories Fisher, later fellow-member and President of the Chicago Gramophone Society, and co-sponsor with Pollak of its two recordings. Pollak was an active member of the Blackfriars, a student group which put on musical comedies (see below); although Fisher is not known to have joined the Blackfriars, he acted in one of its productions.[16] In addition, Pollak was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi student fraternity, Omicron Chapter, along with L. Julian Harris, possibly the L.J. Harris who later became Secretary of the Chicago Gramophone Society.[17] Pollak was also a member of the Three-Quarters Club, an honorary freshman fraternity which sang, declaimed, danced and generally acted up around a well-known stone bench on campus.[18]

After graduating in 1924, Pollak sailed for Europe on a cattle boat, landing at Liverpool and visiting Oxford, Paris, and Bad Aussee in Austria. His later reminiscence of this trip mentions a fellow-American who was studying the piano in Paris with 'a Cortot pupil'; at her Left Bank digs, she and Pollak played César Franck's Symphony in d minor, four hands, on an upright.[19] Also touring Europe at this time, as a member of a piano trio, was the young Chicago pianist Marion Roberts, who would soon study in Paris herself, supposedly under Cortot, and who later recorded a work by Franck for the Chicago Gramophone Society; but if she and Pollak met, he made no mention of the fact.

The Chicagoan

Pollak entered the stock-broking business soon after his return from Europe in 1924 (see below). It is possible that he continued to write, perhaps for an unknown publication, honing his critical and literary skills.

These skills were well developed by his mid-twenties, when he was employed as the music critic of The Chicagoan, a new bi-monthly magazine modelled on The New Yorker. In the first issue, published in mid-June 1926, Pollak was named as one of eight Associate Editors,[20] as well as contributing his first column of criticism.[21]

From then until the spring of 1933, Pollak contributed to almost every issue of the magazine. Usually, he wrote the regular 'Musical Notes', previewing and reviewing concerts, recitals, opera productions and, occasionally, other musical events, in Chicago and nearby (Evanston, North Shore, Northwestern, and Ravinia Festivals), and sometimes elsewhere. The column also critiqued the policies and management of local musical organizations such as the Chicago Civic Opera and Symphony.

Pollak's 'Musical Notes' sometimes included reviews of new records and even, briefly, of piano rolls. These reviews were sometimes tacked on to the end of his column, occasionally preceded it, and went under various titles including 'Current Records', 'Wax-Works' and 'The Better Rolls'.[22]

Pollak's other main contributions were profiles in the magazine's occasional series of 'Chicagoans', including one of the businessman and composer John Alden Carpenter.[23] More of a departure was Pollak's literary ramble along Chicago's Midway Plaisance, originally laid out for the 1893 World's Fair.[24]

In The Chicagoan, Pollak amply fulfilled the promise he had shown as a teenage critic. His writing is assured, allusive, perceptive, witty, and pulls few punches. It perfectly complements the magazine's sophisticated, worldly but unconventional voice, and would not be out of place in The New Yorker today. Some of Pollak's aesthetic judgements are perhaps to be expected from a critic of his time and social position, but others are perhaps less so, such as his support of and praise for young, local composers Stella Roberts ('very, very talented') and Ruth Crawford ('the spirit is original').[25] He positively demolished two contemporary composers, Honegger and Milhaud,[26] but some months after witnessing the Chicago premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire in January 1926, he memorably described it as

'the most provocative musical work of the past twenty years, written by a taciturn Viennese Jew, one Arnold Schoenberg, a monstrous genius who has mastered every form of musical expression only to throw each [a]side in searching for a new medium as the years of the last decade went glancing by. Pierrot Lunaire — moonstruck pantaloon — on the stage [...] in the person of Minna Hager, chanting, singing, wailing, a rising and falling ecstatic voice against the background of an acid and mysterious ensemble [...] Here was music in which all past forms were vaguely recognizable seen through a spectrum of sound, utterly strange and vital.'[27]

(Mina Hager would go on to record for the Chicago Gramophone Society, a project underwritten and probably largely produced by Pollak.) On the other hand, Pollak was also receptive to popular, commercial and vernacular music, although his approval was sometimes couched in the condescending language of the period.[28]

In May 1929 Pollak married. In July and September 1929, The Chicagoan carried two instalments of 'Musical Notes' written by his wife Janet, possibly covering for her husband while he was on an out-of-town assignment or travelling for his business.[29]

Pollak continued contributing regularly to the magazine until the spring of 1933, when he was engaged as music critic by the Chicago Daily Times (see below).[30]

Chicago Gramophone Society

Pollak's documented involvement with the Chicago Gramophone Society lasted from late 1926, when he acted as temporary chairman at the Society's first open meeting, until its sudden disappearance in mid-1928. It is examined in detail on the relevant page of this site.

Financial career

Pollak's vocation was to be a critic, and he longed to pursue it in New York. But his family reportedly put pressure on him to earn a supposedly more reliable living, and introduced him to friends in Chicago's financial circles.[31] In December 1924, Pollak joined the Chicago stock-brokerage firm of E. Lowitz & Co.; around 1926, he moved to the firm of A.R. Frank & Co.[32]

In October 1929, Pollak witnessed at first hand the Stock Market Crash and its devastating effects. He and his wife lived through the Great Depression in considerably straitened circumstances, as he recounted many years later to the oral historian Studs Terkel:

'I had about $3,000 in the stock market, which was all the money I had. On Black Friday — Thursday, was it? — that margin account went out of the window. I may have had about $62 left. [...] Two-thirds of our income and all of our savings disappeared that day. [...] We had to stay up all night figuring. We'd work till one o'clock and go to the LaSalle Hotel and get up about five and get some breakfast and continue figuring margin accounts. 'Cause everybody was in trouble. But everybody. [...] In '32 and '33, there was no securities business to speak of. We played a lot of bridge in the afternoons on LaSalle Street. There was nobody to call or see. It was so quiet, you could hear a certificate drop. (Laughs.) [...] there was wholesale misery in the Depression, 'cause you knew there were people living under the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Gentlemen in old $200 suits were selling apples. There was plenty of misery. I never want to see another.'[33]

In January 1938, Pollak became a general partner of A.R. Frank & Co.[34]

In June 1939, Frank & Co. voluntarily dissolved and was taken over by the New York firm of H. Hentz & Co., one of the oldest in the country; at least two former Frank & Co. partners, including Pollak, joined the new Chicago branch of Hentz & Co.[35]

In November 1941, Pollak was made co-manager of Hentz's Chicago office, and later manager.[36] In January 1952, he became a general partner of the firm.[37]

In 1956, Hentz & Co. celebrated its centenary with a commemorative book and charitable donations.[38] In May 1957, the firm moved to new premises, twice as large as its original offices; Pollak remained resident partner in charge of the Chicago branch's 30 or so employees.[39] In July 1959, the Chicago branch celebrated its 20th anniversary; it was by now Hentz's largest.[40]

In January 1965, Hentz & Co. acquired the Chicago-based firm of Uhlmann & Co.; as a result, Hentz had 40 branches in 37 cities worldwide. In June 1967, the Chicago office again, to accommodate its now larger staff. Pollak was then one of six resident partners.[41]

In 1969, to reduce his business commitments, Pollak gave up his partnership in Hentz & Co.[42]

Journalistic and media career

Pollak's earliest known journalistic activities - editing his high school's magazine and reviewing concerts in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and reporting for and editing University of Chicago student publications - are noted above, as is Pollak's first known professional press post, as music critic of The Chicagoan, from mid-1926 until early 1933.

In 1933, Pollak became music critic of the Chicago Daily Times.[43] In 1941, remaining with the Daily Times, Pollak became its drama critic.[44] In 1942, the paper sponsored a contest for 'a new war song that will successfully take the place of war songs of World War I'; Pollak was one of several judges, alongside the pianist Rudolf Ganz, and Jack Mills, co-founder with his brother Irving of the music publisher Mills Music, Inc.[45]

In January 1948, the Chicago Daily Times merged with the Chicago Sun to become the Sun-Times.[46] Pollak retained his position as drama critic until 1950, when he resigned to devote himself entirely to Hentz & Co.[47]

This ushered in a brief hiatus in Pollak's print journalism, during which he turned to other media.

In 1940, Pollak had twice appeared as a panellist on Your Music I.Q., a musical quiz broadcast on Chicago's WGN radio station.[48] In the early 1950s, Pollak resumed broadcasting, initially as a contributor to a financial advice forum on Chicago's WIND radio station.[49]

Pollak then moved into television. In 1952-53, he was a panellist on Super Ghost, a new quiz game aired on the NBC television network;[50] the show was described later as a 'super flop'.[51] In March 1954, he joined the panel of It's About Time, a new show broadcast on the ABC television network;[52] this too was not a critical success ('The chief fault of the show seems to lie with the panelists') and only had a short run.[53] No further television appearances by Pollak have been documented.

In the late 1950s, Pollak returned to print as a critic. In late 1958, he began writing a column titled 'This Side of the Footlights' for the Southtown Economist, a community newspaper published by Chicago's Sagan family.[54] This series seems to have been very short-lived; in early 1960 Pollak apparently started a new column, 'As Seen By Our Critic', which continued for an unknown length of time.[55]

From 1961 to 1970, Pollak wrote a column titled 'The Lively Arts' for the Sagans' Hyde Park Herald newspaper,[56] and from 1964 to 1970, he wrote 'Critically Speaking', a column syndicated in other Sagan community newspapers, such as the Austin News.[57]

Musical activities

Performances

As a child and teenager in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Pollak participated in several joint public recitals and concerts given by pupils of local music teachers (see above). He performed piano music by contemporary or near-contemporary composers such as Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Edward MacDowell, Moritz Moszkowski, and Cyril Scott, as well as popular works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, and no doubt other romantic composers.[58]

At the University of Chicago, Pollak is reported to have achieved 'distinction' in 'musical circles' (see above). For the moment, details of his musical activities there are lacking, apart from his membership of the Blackfriars: Pollak may well have co-authored one of the musicals which this student group produced.[59]

After graduating, Pollak is not known to have performed in public as pianist for several years. In 1925, he appeared in an amateur production of a mediaeval French play, La Farce de maître Pathelin, at the Arts Club of Chicago. Also in the cast was one Julian Harris, possibly soon to become Secretary of the Chicago Gramophone Society.[60]

In 1941, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported that the author Thornton Wilder, then on the University of Chicago's faculty, 'plays double piano with Robert Pollak as one means of recreation.'[61]

In February 1951, Pollak assisted the young Chicago-born violinist Boris Zlatich (b. 1930) in a recital at the Tavern Club.[62]

In April 1956, Pollak assisted the singer and children's television presenter Winfred ('Uncle Win') Stracke at a benefit recital at the University of Chicago's International House, in aid of a scholarship find for foreign graduate students.[63]

No record of a later public performance by Pollak has been located.

Compositions

On 10 May 1919, at a concert given by pupils of Fort Wayne's European School of Music, Pollak performed a Study and Minuet of his own composition.[64] No other reports of juvenilia composed by Pollak have been located.

At the University of Chicago, Pollak's membership of the Blackfriars gave him the opportunity of working on its annual music comedies. In 1923, for The Filming of Friars, the first Blackfriars show to be broadcast, Pollak co-wrote one song, titled 'You and I'.[65] In 1924, with fellow-student John ('Jack') Oppenheim, Pollak co-authored the book and lyrics of So Long Susan and composed four of its 13 songs.[66]

No evidence has been found of Pollak's further activity as composer until much later in his life, except for a statement in the online finding aid for the Robert Pollak Papers at the University of Chicago that

'As a member of the Quadrangle Club, he was involved in writing and staging the Club's yearly Revels. Pollak is credited with introducing the faculty wives chorus line to the Revels in 1938.'[67]

In 1950, as part of Northwestern University's campaign to raise $8,250,000 for its centennial the following year, Pollak co-authored Much Revue About Nothing, a parody of Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing, performed by University of Chicago faculty members for the annual 'Revels' of the University's Quadrangle Club. It is not known if Pollak wrote only the music and his co-author, Mrs. John P. Siegel, the book, or if these were joint efforts.[68]

In 1958, Pollak started a new and fruitful collaboration with Professor Robert L. Ashenhurst, appointed the year before to the University of Chicago's Business School. For the University faculty's 1958 'Revels', they co-wrote The Sky's No Limit, reportedly enjoying considerable success. Ashenhurst wrote some of the songs, but it appears that their subsequent collaborations were true joint efforts. In 1959, as part of the University of Chicago's Darwin Centennial Celebration, Pollak and Ashenhurst co-authored a musical comedy, Time Will Tell, based on the life and evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin: 'we never knew which one wrote the words and which one the music.'[69] (An excerpt of approximately 2 and half minutes may be listened to online; it is possible that Pollak is playing the piano.) In 1963, Pollak and Ashenhurst collaborated again, co-authoring for the University of Chicago faculty 'Revels'

'a musical comedy about the foibles of professors and the power of secretaries in university administration [...] roughly based on Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience.'[70]

This was followed in 1965 by It's About Time, another collaboration for the University of Chicago 'Revels'.[71] Materials for a final work, No Title Yet, presumably also written for the University faculty 'Revels' and dated to 1968, are held among the Robert Pollak Papers, but no report of the performances has been located.[72]

Charitable and other activities

Mr. and Mrs. Pollak undertook various charitable and voluntary activities, which are only summarized here.

From 1948 to 1960, Pollak was a trustee of Roosevelt University, a private university in Chicago.[73] He resigned in protest at irregularities during a fund-raising drive.[74]

In 1961, Pollak was elected President of the Immigrants Service League (now Heartland Alliance).[75]

In addition, Pollak was a director of the Hyde Park Bank and Trust Co.,[76] and a member of the Illinois Society for Mental Health.[77]

Mrs. Pollak was Vice-President and then President of Hyde Park High School Parent-Teacher Association;[78] Chairman of the High School Council District 1 Recreation Committee;[79] and variously co-chairman and chairman of the Women's Benefit Committee of the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.[80]

The Pollaks were members of the Chicago Art Institute's Public School Art Society.[81]

Images

Several images of the young Robert Pollak were found in the course of research for this page.[82] Images illustrating Pollak's adult life have been harder to come by, beyond small, low-quality byline portraits, and one illustrating his reminiscences of his student days in the University of Chicago Magazine.[83] Another, taken by an unknown photographer around 1940, shows Pollak and his wife Janet in the offices of the Chicago Daily Times newspaper, late in the evening after a theatre opening:
(Unknown photographer) Robert and Janet Pollak in the offices of the Chicago Daily Times newspaper after a theatre opening, c.1940
Collection: Richard Pollak, by kind courtesy

References

  1. Biographical data for Pollak and family retrieved from birth, death, census, travel and other documents, ancestry.co.uk, except where noted
    I must also record a special debt of gratitude to Richard Pollak for great kindness, patience, and help in answering questions, checking assertions and painting a much richer picture of his father's background, character, interests and life than I could gain from printed sources (personal communications, 2016-18)
  2. 'Fort Wayne Is the Home of Ladies' Shirtwaist; 200 People Now Employed in it's [sic] Manufacture Here', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 30 November 1919, Section Three(?), p.6 (NB scan available at newspapers.com jumbled up, with unclear pagination)
    Details of Pollak's early life, education and personality kindly supplied by his son, 2017, except where noted.
  3. 'Society', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 9 April 1916, p.18; 'Society', The Fort Wayne [Daily] News [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Tuesday 6 March 1917, p.2
  4. Earliest reference located: 'Gave Splendid Program', The Fort Wayne Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Saturday 26 June 1915, p.6
  5. 'Youth Writes Creditable Article', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Monday 30 April 1917, p.5
  6. Schick, Gertrude 'Society', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Friday 27 June 1919, p.14
  7. 'Society', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 29 June 1919, second section, p.16
  8. Pollak, Robert 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.3 No.12, 27 August 1927, p.30
  9. 'Welcome to "The Spotlight"', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 5 October 1919, first section, p.4; 'This Year's Graduating Class of the Fort Wayne High School', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Saturday 15 May 1920, p.7
  10. Pollak, Robert 'The Morning Musical', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Friday 20 February 1920, p.14; Pollak, Robert 'The DeLamarter Recital', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Tuesday 2 March 1920, p.14
  11. 'Pollak Recital', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Tuesday 9 December 1919, p.14; 'In Benefit Recital', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Wednesday 10 December 1919, p.12
  12. 'To Enter Musical Contest', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 13 June 1920, p.16; 'The National American Music Festival Opens in Lockport Next Monday Morning, Sept. 6th' (advertisement), Lockport Union-Sun and Journal [Lockport, NY], Tuesday 31 August 1920, p.5
  13. 'Honors Bestowed on Robert Pollak, Chicago U. Student', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Thursday 7 June 1923, Final Edition, p.10
  14. Pollak, Robert 'Corruption Versus Dullness', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 24 June 1923, Section Three, p.2
  15. 'The Daily Maroon Staff, 1921', Cap & Gown (University of Chicago Junior Class yearbook), Vol.26, 1921, p.210; Bird, Harry Jr. 'News of the Quadrangles', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.14 No.8, June 1922, p.296; Wisner, C. Victor 'News of the Quadrangles', ibid., Vol.15 No.8, June 1923, p.300; I am grateful to Richard Pollak for drawing my attention to the University of Chicago's very rich digital repository of historical Campus Publications (personal communication, 26 June 2017)
  16. Bird, Harry Jr. 'News Of The Quadrangles', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.XIV No.7, May 1922, p.256; Pollak also encountered Fisher at gatherings of an unofficial student society, the 'Green Chalybeate', whose 'Supreme Calyb' was Fisher's friend, the future writer John Gunther: Pollak, Robert 'Continental Footnotes', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.31 No.3, December 1938, pp.8-9, 20
  17. Cap & Gown (University of Chicago Junior Class yearbook), Vol.28, 1923, p.286; ibid., Vol.XXIX, 1924, p.268
  18. University of Chicago Library 'Guide to the Robert Pollak Papers 1950-1970', 2006; Sentman, Eli 'The Story of a Bench', college.uchicago.edu, posted Tuesday, 26 June 2012
  19. Pollak, Robert 'Continental Footnotes', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.31 No.3, December 1938, pp.8-9, 20
  20. 'Editor Marie Armstrong Hecht... ', The Chicagoan, Vol.1 No.1, 14 June 1926, p.[7]
  21. Pollak, Robert 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.1 No.1, 14 June 1926, p.22
  22. Pollak, Robert 'Current Records', The Chicagoan, Vol.4 No.5, 19 November 1927, pp.26-27; id. 'Wax-Works', ibid., Vol.13 No.8, 1 March 1933, pp.53-54; id. 'The Better Rolls', ibid., Vol.4 No.6, 3/17 December 1927 (issue dated 17 December on cover, 3 December on verso of cover), p.24
  23. Pollak, Robert 'Chicagoans John Alden Carpenter', The Chicagoan, Vol.7 No.4, 11 May 1929, pp.24-25
  24. Pollak, Robert 'The Streets of the Town The Midway', The Chicagoan, Vol.7 No.11, 17 August 1929, pp.15-16
  25. Pollak, Robert 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.3 No.2, 9 April 1927, pp.14-15; 'Musical Notes', ibid., Vol.4 No.12, 10 March 1928, pp.27-28
  26. Pollak, Robert 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.7 No.1, 30 March 1929, pp.36-37; 'Musical Notes', ibid., Vol.4 No.12, 10 March 1928, pp.27-28
  27. Pollak, Robert 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.1 No.1, 14 June 1926, p.22
  28. e.g. Pollak, Robert 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.3 No.4, 7 May 1927, p.16
  29. Pollak, Janet 'Musical Notes', The Chicagoan, Vol.7 No.8, 6 July 1929, pp.28-29; 'Musical Notes', ibid., Vol.8 No.1, 28 September 1929, pp.28-29
  30. Last known contribution: Pollak, Robert 'Critics Prefer Brunettes', The Chicagoan, Vol.13 No.8, 1 March 1933, pp.52-53
  31. I am grateful to Richard Pollak for this information about his father's early career (personal communication, June 2017)
  32. Terkel, Studs Hard Times, New York: New Press, 2000 (reprint of revised edition, 1986; first edition 1970), p.75; 'ST drama critic, is dead', Suburbanite Economist [Chicago, Illinois], Sunday 9 May 1971, p.6
  33. Terkel, Studs Hard Times, New York: New Press, 2000 (reprint of revised edition, 1986; first edition 1970), pp.75-77; I am grateful to Richard Pollak for drawing my attention to his father's testimony, published by Terkel under the pseudonym 'John Hersch' (personal communication, 6 August 2015)
  34. 'We Are Pleased To Announce...' (notice), Chicago Daily Tribune, Monday 3 January 1938, Section 2, p.25
  35. 'Established 1856 H. Hentz & Co. ...' (notice), Chicago Daily Tribune, Thursday 15 June 1939, Section 2, p.27; 'Business Bits', ibid., Section 2, p.29
  36. 'People And Events', Chicago Daily Tribune, Friday 28 November 1941, Section 3, p.37
  37. 'Robert Pollak Becomes H. Hentz & Co. Partner', Chicago Daily Tribune, Wednesday 2 January 1952, Part 3, p.3
  38. van Bokkelen, D'Arcy, with Stroock, Mark (ed.) H. Hentz & Co. 1856 1956, Chicago: H. Hentz & Co., 1956 (Pollak may have contributed to this book, but no copy has been available for consultation); 'Clipper Ship Era Firm Is in 100th Year', Chicago Daily Tribune, Friday 9 November 1956, Part 4, p.5
  39. 'Hentz Chicago Office Moves Its Quarters', Chicago Daily Tribune, Monday 13 May 1957, Part 6, p.7
  40. 'Hentz Office To Mark 20th Anniversary', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 12 July 1959, Part 2, p.9
  41. 'Hentz Moves Up 5 Floors In Board Of Trade', Chicago Tribune, Thursday 22 June 1967, section 3, p.7
  42. 'Obituaries', Chicago Tribune, Wednesday 5 May 1971, Section 3, p.16
  43. unsigned Weaver, William R.(?) 'Editorial', The Chicagoan, Vol.14 No.7, 1 March 1934, p.[11]
  44. 'News Of The Classes', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.34 No.1, October 1941, pp.21-28
  45. 'Here’s "Mud in His Ears"; It Is Winning War Song', The Billboard, Vol.54 No.37, 19 September 1942, pp.62, 65
  46. 'About Daily times. (Chicago, Ill.) 1935-1948', Chronicling America, Library of Congress
  47. 'Literati', Variety, Vol.181 No.1, Wednesday 13 December 1950, p.77
  48. Your Music I.Q. apparently ran from June 1940 to August 1941, but Pollak is attested as a panellist only twice: 'Malko To Be Guest On Music Quiz Tomorrow', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 30 June 1940, Part 3, p.4 S; 'Today's Features', Chicago Daily Tribune, Monday 21 October 1940, p.24
  49. 'Today's Radio Programs', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 25 May 1951, Part 3, p.3
  50. Super Ghost ran for two seasons, from July to September 1952, and from June 1953 to January 1954; billings rarely name panellists but Pollak certainly participated from the start of both seasons, see: 'Word Game Quiz Will Premiere On TV July 27', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 20 July 1952, Part 3, p.[7], and 'Super Ghost Will Return To WNBQ Today', ibid., 19 July 1953, Part 3, p.[6]
  51. Wolters, Larry 'Big Prizes Fail to Save TV Show', Chicago Daily Tribune, Wednesday 2 May 1956, Part 3, p.[2]
  52. 'ABC-TV Sets Panel Show', Broadcasting, Telecasting, Vol.46 No.9, March 1954, p.72
  53. Norse, Leon 'It's About Time', The Billboard, Vol.66 No.12, 20 March 1954, p.14
  54. Pollak, Robert 'This Side of the Footlights', Southtown Economist [Southtown, Chicago], Wednesday 10 December 1958, Section 1, p.10
  55. Pollak, Robert 'As Seen By Our Critic', Southtown Economist [Southtown, Chicago], Wednesday 17 February 1960, p.13; NB the run of this paper available on newspapers.com is not complete, and a printed run has not been available for consultation.
  56. University of Chicago Library 'Guide to the Robert Pollak Papers 1950-1970', 2006; I am grateful to Richard Pollak for drawing my attention to his father's papers (personal communication, 6 August 2015)
  57. 'New Column On Theater, Music, Arts Starts Today', Austin News [Chicago, Illinois], Wednesday 12 August 1964, p.1; Pollak, Robert 'Critically Speaking', Oak Park World [Chicago, Illinois], Sunday 10 May 1970, p.7-OP
  58. Coleridge Taylor, Scott: 'Society', The Fort Wayne [Daily] News [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Tuesday 6 March 1917, p.2; MacDowell: 'Society', ibid., Friday 28 April 1916, pp.2, 22; Moszkowski: 'European School of Music', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Tuesday 24 June 1919, p.14
  59. Original materials for Blackfriars productions from 1904, including 'printed and manuscript scores, programs, clippings, and other materials', are listed in the online finding aid to the records of the Blackfriars held in the Special Collections of the University of Chicago Library, but no authors or composers are named
  60. 'Mme X.' 'News Of Chicago Society', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 17 May 1925, Part 9, pp.1-2
  61. Provines, June 'Front Views and Profiles', Chicago Daily Tribune, Friday 24 July 1941, p.13
  62. Page, Eleanor 'Chicagoans Add to Gayety of Social Life at Palm Beach', Chicago Daily Tribune, Saturday 17 February 1951, Part 2, p.2
  63. 'Concert To Aid Scholarship Fund At U. Of C.', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 15 April 1956, Part 3, p.2 S
  64. 'Music in Fort Wayne', The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Saturday 10 May 1919, p.10
  65. '"The Filming of Friars"', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.15 No.6, April 1923, pp.208-09
  66. Wisner, C. Victor Jr. 'News of the Quadrangles', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.16 No.7, May 1924, p.254-55; 'Blackfriars', Cap & Gown (University of Chicago Junior Class yearbook), Vol.30, 1925, pp.358-63
  67. University of Chicago Library 'Guide to the Robert Pollak Papers 1950-1970', 2006; NB this statement has not been verified from contemporary sources
  68. Page, Eleanor 'Art Institute Group to Fete Miss Bartlett', Chicago Daily Tribune, Thursday 18 May 1950, Part 4, p.5
  69. Bailey, Roland 'Recollections of Bob Ashenhurst', Hyde Park History, Vol.32 No.1, Winter 2010, pp.5-6
  70. 'U. of C. Cast Will Present "Impatience"', Chicago Daily Tribune, Thursday 6 June 1963, Section 2 B, p.11
  71. Page, Eleanor 'Quadrangle Revels On Tonight', Chicago Daily Tribune, Friday 12 March 1965, Section 2, p.13
  72. University of Chicago Library 'Guide to the Robert Pollak Papers 1950-1970', 2006
  73. 'ST drama critic, is dead', Suburbanite Economist [Chicago, Illinois], Sunday 9 May 1971, Section 1?, p.6
  74. 'Roosevelt U. Dispute; 3 Quit Board', Chicago Daily Tribune, Tuesday 1 March 1960, Section 1, pp.1, 4
  75. 'Pollak Heads Immigrants' Service Group', Chicago Daily Tribune, Saturday 25 February 1961, Part 1, p.9
  76. 'Obituaries', Chicago Tribune, Wednesday 5 May 1971, Section 3, p.16
  77. '6 Residents Will Be Cited By University', Chicago Daily Tribune, Thursday 1 June 1961, Part 3, p.2
  78. 'Hyde Park High PTA Will Discuss Helping Schools', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 10 December 1950, Part 3, p.3; 'PTA At Bright To Close Year On Thursday', ibid., 6 May 1951, Part 3, p.3
  79. 'District Head To Address 2 PTA Meetings', Chicago Sunday Tribune, 13 September 1953, Part 3, p.3
  80. 'Civil Liberties Union Has 'Fair Lady' Ducats', Chicago Daily Tribune, Monday 1 July 1957, Part 3, p.12; McCarthy, Marilou 'Mrs. Beadle Makes First Speech Here', ibid., Saturday 30 September 1961, Part 1, p.14
  81. '6 Residents Will Be Cited By University', Chicago Daily Tribune, Thursday 1 June 1961, Part 3, p.2
  82. e.g.
    • 'Society', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 9 April 1916, p.18
    • 'In Benefit Recital', Fort Wayne News and Sentinel [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Wednesday 10 December 1919, p.12
    • 'This Year’s Graduating Class of the Fort Wayne High School', ibid., Saturday 15 May 1920, p.7
    • 'To Enter Musical Contest', The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette [Fort Wayne, Indiana], Sunday 13 June 1920, p.16
    • 'College Marshals', Cap & Gown (University of Chicago Junior Class yearbook), Vol.XXIX, 1924, p.20
    • 'The Circle', ibid., p.360
  83. Pollak, Robert 'Continental Footnotes', University of Chicago Magazine, Vol.31 No.3, December 1938, pp.8-9, 20