Getting to Know Him
Librettist and lyricist. Theatrical game-changer. Humanitarian.
Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. Oscar studied at Columbia Law School, but left for the theatre, where he collaborated with various composers including Richard Rodgers to create Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King & I and The Sound of Music. Over his illustrious career, Hammerstein contributed lyrics to more than 800 songs that have continued to reverberate around the world for generations.
Much as his achievements in theater took place behind the curtain, Oscar’s humanitarian work was as humble as it was extraordinary. Throughout his career, Hammerstein used his creative talents to elevate the social consciousness of audiences on topics such as racial oppression, civil rights, power and privilege. As a political activist, Oscar secretly wrote a speech for 1956 Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson. In his home of Bucks County, Oscar worked with Pearl S. Buck to support her humanitarian efforts. He co-founded her Welcome House, which matched more than 7,000 orphans and children from around the globe with adoptive families in the United States. 2, 3, 4, 5
1. IBDB.com 2. PBS.org, 3. Forbes.com 4. Michenerartmuseum.org 5. Pearlsbuck.org