Haworth's Notable Characters

List Compiled by Beth Potter

Liz Gillies

 Acting professionally since she was 12 years old.  When she was 15, she was cast as Lucy in the Broadway production of the musical “13.”  In 2010 she won the role of Jade West in the hit Nickelodeon television series “Victorious.”  And in 2015 Liz was cast in the FX series “Sex& Drugs & Rock &Roll,” playing an aspiring singer and daughter of an aging rock star (played by Denis Leary).  In 2017 she joined the CW re-boot of “Dynasty” as Fallon Carrington.


Paul Reed

(1909-2007)  Actor Paul Reed lived on Hardenburgh with his wife June and their son, Paul, Jr.  Among Reed’s many parts — Captain Block in “Car 54, Where Are You,” which also starred Fred Gwynne and Joe E. Ross.  As Wikipedia puts it, “His trademark on the show was the slow burn in which his reaction would go from restrained anger until he reached his boiling point and would explode.” 

Stanley Turrentine

(1934-2000)  Another jazzman who lived in Haworth for a time.  To quote NPR, Turrentine was “one of the most distinctive tenor saxophonists in jazz….known for his big, warm sound.”  Among his recordings—the critically acclaimed album “Sugar” for the CTI label—but it was at Blue Note records that Turrentine became one of the top figures in the field of soul jazz.  

Duncan Pirnie

(1923-1993)  Chief announcer for classical radio station WQXR in New York City.  The station hired Pirnie in 1942, when he was just 19 years old.  He retired in 1987 after more than four decades.  The NY Times described him as having one of the “more distinctive voices on New York radio,” and, as WQXR advertised: “With his warm, funny, often irreverent (but never irrelevant) comments, he makes listening to WQXR like listening to a concert with a friend.”  


Diane and David Biesel

Diane and David Biesel  run what they call a “niche” publishing house , St. Johann’s Press.   They publish books that some of the big publishers might pass on...but still would have a certain “niche” audience.    Among their many special categories— button collecting, religion, and offbeat sports books, like “Baseball Burial Sites,”  “The Brooklyn Football Dodgers,”  and “Hockey’s Historic Highlights.” 


Ralph J. Mole

Ralph J. Mole (1949-2022) was a multiple-award-winning television sports producer and director, president of the independent Windfall Productions company.  Working often in partnership with ESPN, Ralph had the best seat in the house for major sporting events, like  the Junior and Special Olympics, World Championship Tennis, and “X Games” of every kind. His Olympic production experience includes volleyball at the LA and Barcelona games, wrestling at Seoul, track-and-field in Atlanta, and skiing at Salt Lake City.  

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Carl Hubbell

(1903-1988) Baseball Hall-of-Fame pitcher who helped the New York Giants to the 1933, 1936, and 1937 World Series. He and his wife Sue bought a house on Haworth Avenue in 1946, when he was director of the Giants farm system. He was a lefty, known for his masterful delivery of the screwball, to quote the New York Times. Sue herself made the Times when she fell all the way down her stairway, and was found twelve hours later by a laundry driver who heard her yelling.
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Clark Terry

(1920-2015) Jazz great. One of the “best improvising musicians alive,” according to one jazz critic. And in the words of another, Clark Terry is the “possessor of the happiest sound in jazz…music that is exuberant, swinging, and fun.” Lived in Haworth with his wife Gwen (a jazz singer) for several years at the beginning of the 21st century. Terry started playing trumpet in St. Louis clubs in the early 1940s, then joined a Navy band during World War II. From there, he went on to play with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington (1951-1959), and he then spent about a dozen years in Doc Severinsen’s band on the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." His accomplishments as a trumpeter and flugelhorn player are too many to list, but he composed more than two hundred jazz songs, performed for seven U.S. presidents, had more than three hundred recordings, influenced the likes of Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, and had the unique talent of performing duets with himself—playing both trumpet and flugelhorn.
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Judith LeClair

Originally from Delaware, Judith LeClair is the Principal Bassoonist for the New York Philharmonic, a position she’s had since 1981.  Judith became the first woman to take over a first chair at the Philharmonic, and she’s now made more than fifty solo appearances with the orchestra. In 1995 she premiered a work called “Five Sacred Trees,” written expressly for her by composer John Williams.  In its review of that performance, the Times wrote, “Ms. LeClair played the work with the best kind of virtuosity, the sort that creates the illusion that the toughest demands were no trouble at all.  She brought a beautiful singing tone to Mr. William’s more ruminative passages, and vitality to its more overtly showy ones.” She’s married to the musician listed below.

Jonathan Feldman

Pianist with the New York Philharmonic and noted chamber musician, ensemble player, solo recitalist, and accompanist.   Has performed on four continents with some of the world’s greatest instrumentalists, including Itzhak Perlman, James Galway, Sarah Chang, and the legendary Russian violinist Nathan Milstein.  Feldman is also a dedicated music teacher, giving master classes throughout the U.S.  He’s been on the faculty of Juilliard since 1989 and on the faculty of the New England Conservatory since 2011.  


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Sheryl Staples

Violinist and Principal Associate Concertmaster for the New York Philharmonic.  Originally from Los Angeles, Sheryl joined the orchestra in 1998. She’s appeared as a soloist with more than forty orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Her instrument is the “Kartman” Guarnerius del Gesù, made around 1728. When she made her solo debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1999, the Times wrote of her relationship with her instrument, “she draws a wonderful array of vibrant and luminous colors from it.”
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Denman Fink

(1880-1956)  Artist and magazine illustrator, noted for his “Cream of Wheat” ads. Came to Haworth around 1910 and lived on Westview Terrace.  He left Haworth for Florida and designed many of the architectural details of Coral Gables, as well as the orange, green, and white color scheme of the University of Miami. For a time, Fink’s nephew, George E. Merrick (1886-1942) lived with the family here—Merrick is credited as being the overall planner and developer of Coral Gables.

Vince O'Brien

(1919-2010) put his drama degree from Carnegie-Mellon to good use. On Broadway he was in the original Broadway cast of the Neil Simon/Burt Bacharach musical "Promises, Promises."  On television his career spanned the history of the medium, with appearances on "Studio One," "Dark Shadows," "Guiding Light," and "Law and Order."  As for movies, he appeared in "Annie Hall," "Six Degrees of Separation," and "Quiz Show."  Vince also acted in many off-Broadway plays and commercials.  But he was perhaps most recognizable as the Shell Answer Man, in television and print ads for the oil company.  The O'Briens' son Conal was a long-time director of the ABC daytime show, "All My Children," and won two daytime Emmys.  

Ward G. Leathers

(1882-1969)  Inventor who created Regina Vacuum’s Electrikbroom. Among his patents: a small “jitney submarine” for one passenger; an “individual drink refrigerator,” which was a dry ice container that sat atop your cocktail; a concept for car air-conditioning in the 1930s; an indicator that would tell you when to change your vacuum bag. Lived in Haworth in the 1920s and 1930s.
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Charles A. Corwin

(1857-1938)  Painted murals for dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He later was staff artist for many years at the Field Museum in Chicago, painting backgrounds for their dioramas of birds, mammals, and prehistoric animals.  Was a member of Haworth’s Congregational Church in the early 1900s.
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Max Wieczorek

(1863-1955)  German-born artist who was first with the Tiffany Glass Studios (while living in Haworth) and then became a noted portrait artist (in California). He worked mainly in charcoal and pastels.

Robert Noland

(1913-1999)  Tenor with “Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians,” and on many NBC radio programs, before creating his own “Robert Noland Chorus”  in Bergen County. Sang on some of the first plastic records for children.
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Armin K. Lobeck

(1886-1958) Noted explorer, geographer, author, and professor of geology at Columbia. Drew topographical maps that were used in the dividing of Europe after World War I, and prepared coastline maps of Africa and Europe that were used for Allied invasions in World War II. For wartime use, Lobeck would often make very large scale maps, up to five feet by five feet.
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William Ettinger

(1862-1945) Superintendent of New York City schools, 1918-1924. Moved to Haworth in 1898. As Superintendent, he fought for all teachers’ minimal salary to be raised to $1,000 a year. Removed the study of German from NYC schools during WWI. Promoted vocational training in the younger grades and smaller class sizes. Lost re-election to Tammany Hall candidate. He was also co-author of a series of children’s primary readers.
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Churchill Ettinger

(1903-1984) Artist known for his etchings of sporting, hunting, and wildlife scenes.  He painted a lot of cover art for leading sporting magazines, and he himself was an avid sportsman and outdoorsman---an alpine skier, hunter, dowser, and collector of mushrooms. Son of William Ettinger.
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Donald M. Genaro

Industrial designer whose concepts and designs have been reflected in numerous classic pieces of Americana: the Trimline phone, John Deere tractors, the SX-70 Polaroid camera, an updated graphic look for American Airlines, Flicker razors, the sinks and faucets of American Standard.  When Genaro was working on the re-design of Singer sewing machines, he did his homework by taking sewing lessons in Englewood.  Genaro graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in industrial design and worked for Henry Dreyfuss Associates for his entire career, 1958-1994.  He was senior partner for the last 25 of those years. Don lives on Contant Avenue, in a house he designed himself in the mid-1960s.


Josiah Dwight Whitney III

(1878-1926) Cartoonist and journalist at the New York World and the New York Post, 1899-1915. Referred to as “Haworth’s Poet Laureate.”  Made the Times in 1914 when he was bitten on the leg by a pet rabbit belonging to the Congregational minister. Lived on Sunset Ave.  His uncle was also “Josiah D. Whitney,” the Harvard geologist for whom Mt. Whitney was named (in California, the highest peak in the contiguous United States).
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Charles E. Stanton

(1880-1953) Architect and builder who supervised the building of the London Terrace apartment complex in New York. London Terrace was once the world's largest apartment complex, with Manhattan's largest indoor swimming pool.  The doormen dressed as London bobbies. In 1937 Stanton built a Tudor house on Sunset Avenue--the house was once described in an ad as a "Castle in Shangri-La."
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Joseph S. Cortelyou

(1877-1962)  Made headlines across the country when his perfect driving record was praised publicly by the NJ Commissioner of Motor Vehicles--Cortelyou had driven 500,000 miles in 38 years with no tickets and no accidents. Cars were Cortelyou's "thing"--he published an automotive trade magazine and actually made some of his own cars just after the turn of the century (local cops didn't like his self-made cars because Cortelyou added doors, and the police thought that would slow down passengers if they had to exit the car in a hurry). Cortelyou lived on the corner of Haworth and Owatonna Avenues.

Mary Olds

Had regular morning radio show on WOR during the 1930s. Voice of Bamberger’s Department Store.
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Robert A. Graham

(1873-1946)  Artist noted for landscapes of the Hudson River and the American West. Also painted some scenes around Haworth.  Was called a “classic American impressionist.” Lived on Sunset from about 1910 to 1920, when he moved to Colorado.
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Richard Belcher

(1905-2003) Chief architect of Macy’s Department Stores, late 1940s. Also artist, illustrator, and professor at Cooper Union, where, during World War II, he taught a course on how to camouflage industrial buildings and keep them safe from air strikes. Lived in one of the old Dutch colonial farmhouses on Schraalenburgh Road.
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Frank Osmers, Jr.

(1907-1977)  One of the “Osmers” of “Osmers Way” on the east side of town. Became a borough councilman at age 22, Haworth mayor and state legislator (both positions) at age 27, and served as Republican Congressman for the 9th Congressional district, 1939-1943 and 1951-1965 (leaving Congress to serve in the Pacific during World War II). His father, Frank Osmers Sr., was also a Haworth mayor.
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Donald L. Mason

(1925-1999)  Special Agent for the FBI in charge of art theft investigations, during the 1970s.  Often went undercover, posing as a potential buyer. In August of 1976, just days before his retirement, Mason famously recovered a painting stolen from the offices of film director Otto Preminger (a modern abstract work by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky). Preminger said he’d given up hope, but Mason traced the painting from New York to Philadelphia to New York and then to Switzerland. He found the painting, caught the bad guy, and gave it back to Preminger at a dramatic news conference. After 25 years with the FBI, Mason became an art security consultant, with clients including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. Published The Fine Art of Art Security in 1979.  Lived on Park Street, across from the bridge.
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Dick Hall

(1930-    )  One of the top relief pitchers in the 1960s for the Baltimore Orioles. Never famous, just good. Led the American League in saves in 1970, and was instrumental in the Orioles’ World Series victory that year. While calling him “a valuable man to have around,” a 1963 Sports Illustrated profile said Hall had “one of the strangest and least attractive pitching motions in the Major Leagues, a curious tangle and twist that ends with an abrupt little flip of the arm…[and] he looks and acts more like an instructor in qualitative analysis than an athlete” (the author of the article was amazed that Hall had made it from Swarthmore College to the Big Leagues).
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Johnny Lindell

(1916-1985)  Major league pitcher and outfielder during the 1940s and 50s. Best season was with the Yankees in 1944, batting .300 and tying a record with four consecutive doubles in a game against the Cleveland Indians.

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Rudy Isley

(1939-)  Part of the Isley Brothers singing group, formed in the 1950s. Hits included “Shout!”, “Twist and Shout” and “It’s Your Thing.” Lived on Herkimer Street.
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Brooke Shields

(1965-      )  Model and actress of stage and screen.  Seen on television in Suddenly Susanne, Nip/Tuck, Hannah Montana, That '70s Show.  Seen in the movies Brenda Starr, Blue Lagoon, Pretty Baby.  Seen on stage in Wonderful Town, Cabaret, Chicago, Grease.  Lived on Haworth Avenue.  Family home was sold in 2009.  Tag sale was extremely well-attended.

Maureen Orcutt

(1907-2007)  Top woman golfer who grew up in Haworth and played out of White Beeches Country Club. Won more than 60 championship events and also reported on golf for the New York Times. Her tournament wins spanned seven decades, and she only gave up golf when she was 87.
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Philip Bosco

(1930-2018) Tony-award-winning actor of stage, film, and television.  Television work included “Damages” and “Law and Order.”  Film work included “The Savages,” “Hitch,” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”  Theater work included “Twelve Angry Men, “Copenhagen,” and “Lend Me a Tenor.”  May not be at the top of his hefty resume, but in 2004 Mr. Bosco also played the Stage Manager in the production of  “Our Town” which celebrated the centennial of Haworth, New Jersey.

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Walter L. Lewis

(1884-1957)  Famous child actor and vaudevillian who started acting at age 5.  Break-out role was as the foundling  “Dick” in “The Soudan.” Critics wrote that the boy’s death scene was very convincing. As an adult resident of Haworth, he helped with many town theatricals. His father, Horace Lewis, also an actor, often appeared onstage with Edwin Booth. Walter Lewis served as borough clerk during the 1940s.
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General Henry M. Robert

(1837-1923)  Author of Robert’s Rules of Order, the most widely used manual of parliamentary procedure in the world. Was Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps of Engineers. Chaired the board of engineers that designed the Galveston sea wall after the hurricane of 1900. Married Haworth school principal Isabel Hoagland and they lived on Sunset Avenue, early 1900s.
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Hagan “Hook” Andersen

(1912-1975)  All-American NYU basketball player during the hot NYU teams of the 1930s, undefeated in 1933-34. Famous for his hook shot, which explains his nickname. After a short stint with the New York Jewels of the American Basketball League, he became one of the nation’s top NCAA basketball referees.
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Myrtle Vail

(1888-1978)  Originated, wrote, and starred in the Myrt and Marge radio show, during the Golden Age of Radio. Myrtle Vail was a veteran vaudeville performer who performed on the show with her real-life daughter Donna Dameral—the two played Chicago chorus girls. In 1932 NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker presented Myrtle the New York Mirror award for the most popular dramatic show on radio. Myrt and Marge made the song “Poor Butterfly” famous as its theme song. Donna, who lived in Tenafly, died during childbirth in 1941, but the show continued, with a new “Marge,” until 1946.

Becky Quick

Wall Street Journal veteran who’s now co-host of CNBC’s signature financial show “Squawk Box.”
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Gene Ames

(1923-1997) Part of the Ames Brothers singing group, red-hot group of the 1950s. First hit record was “Rag Mop” in 1950. Lived on Myrtle Street.

Rev. Robert S. MacArthur

(1841-1923) Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan from 1870 to 1911. Also editor of “The Christian Herald.” As president of the Baptist World Alliance, he went to Russia to dedicate a new Baptist church and he lobbied the Czar for a Baptist college in St. Petersburg.
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Mornay Williams

(1856-1926)  President of the NY Juvenile Asylum, a residence and school for homeless “waifs” in the early 1900s. Worked against sweatshops, and for child labor laws.
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James Gordon Irving

(1913-2012) Artist noted for nature artwork in the “Golden Guide” books by St. Martin’s Press. Among the titles he illustrated: Birds, Fishes, Insects, Stars, and Snakes.
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James Gelsey

Author of many children’s books on library bookshelves, including the “Scooby-Doo” mysteries, published by Scholastic, Inc. Many of Gelsey’s stories have been translated into French and Spanish.
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John Dalley

Renowned violinist with the Guarneri String Quartet. This esteemed chamber music group was formed in 1964—the group played its last New York City concert in May of 2009.  Superlatives abound when describing the Quartet, but the Times once wrote that their music “caresses the ear” and is the “smoothest playing this side of heaven.”
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Gay Willis

Award-winning soprano who’s performed in Showboat, Phantom of the Opera, and From Galway to Broadway, televised on PBS. Ms. Willis performed in the world tour of “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, and played to sold-out houses in six countries, including two weeks at Radio City Music Hall.

William A. Keener

(1856-1913)  Dean of the Law School at Columbia University. Became New York Supreme Court Justice in 1902. Was said by the Times to have a "ferocious red beard” and “joy in intellectual combat.”
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Heather Reveller

(1930-1941)  The dog that “had the most sensational show record of any Scottish Terrier ever exhibited in America,” according to the New York Times. Won “best in show” multiple times. As a finalist at Westminster in 1932, Time Magazine said the dog was “built like a midget plough horse.”  Heather Reveller was owned by mystery writer S.S. Van Dine (real name Willard H. Wright). Wright’s chauffeur would drive him out to Haworth, from Manhattan, to visit his Schraalenburgh Road kennels. Eventually Wright decided that breeding the country’s finest Scotties was too expensive and he switched to exotic fish.

Haworth Kewpie and others

Haworth Kewpie, Haworth Mircelli, Haworth Pixie, Haworth Marie, Haworth Punch, Haworth Picolo, Haworth Mon Amour, Hugo of Haworth (Circa 1914-1943)  World class French bulldogs owned by Haworthian Mabel Riddell. Won best of breed at Westminster, 1943. Mabel was also a noted dog show judge, for both French bulldogs and Pekingnese.

Clarence D. Ashley

(1851-1916)  Dean of the Law School of New York University, 1896-1916.

Helen McCulloch Phyfe

(1888-1976)  Haworth teacher, librarian, daughter of Haworth’s first mayor, and suffragette.  As a young woman in her 20s, she was President of the Bergen County Women’s Suffrage Association, 1915-1917, and delegate to the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Atlantic City, 1916. Author of many articles on women’s suffrage and The Haworth Story. Lived in the old house known as The Grange on Schraalenburgh Road. The McCulloch family is remembered in Haworth today with the name of the street, McCulloch Place.

Henry C. Copeland

(1854-1933)  President and one of the founders of New York’s Riverside Bank.  Bank was known for its clientele of “wealthy women on the upper west side,” according to the Times.  Bank was also known for a headline-making robbery in 1902, when a 23-year-old teller absconded with $26,000, money going directly from depositors into his pant pockets.  Copeland had just given the teller a raise, up to $900/year. Copeland resigned as bank president shortly after the teller’s arrest.

Charles Altman

(1905-1995)  Founded the dominant stage lighting company in America, Altman Lighting, in 1953. Created the now-ubiquitous “PAR 64” light (often used with colored gels) for the 1966 Rolling Stones tour.  Altman spent his early childhood years in the family home on Owatonna Street.

Rev. Frank Rogers Morse

(1839-1904)  Associate Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, under the Rev. Robert MacArthur.  Morse was known for his enthusiastic rants against Christian Science (“a horrible humbug”), Roman Catholics (“secret and bitter enemies to our institutions”), President Teddy Roosevelt (“how I wish the President of the United States would spend Sunday in God’s house”), Democrats (“nearly every saloon keeper and brothel keeper in the land is a member of that party”), and Republicans (“the party for the enrichment of the few to the impoverishment of the many”). He also didn’t care for the press or his hometown (“New York was never viler than it is tonight”). In 1898 the Times also reported how Morse sermonized that bicycling would lead to drinking: “Will not the wheel lead many a young man and young woman into this vicious and destructive habit?”
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John Waterhouse

(1839-1918)  Chief Engineer and designer for the Manhattan Elevated Railroad. In 1878 and 1879 Waterhouse engineered the construction of an elevated line on Manhattan’s west side, from Columbus Ave. and 83rd St. to Eighth and 155th. The line included the infamous 110th street “reverse curve,” which was then the highest elevated set of tracks in the world, sixty feet above the street.
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Augustus Pauli

(1854-1934) Swiss-born and Swiss-educated architect who practiced in the New York firm of Robert H. Robertson. Designed many of Haworth’s “concrete houses” (it’s been written that Thomas Edison took his idea for concrete houses from Pauli). The Times obituary says Pauli “contributed to modern architecture the use in skyscrapers of high-speed elevators.”  Specifically, he designed the elevators for the Park Row Building, which, from 1899-1908, was the tallest building in the world, with the tallest bank of elevators—a rise of 308 feet, 9 inches.

Charles O’Connor Hennessy

(1860-1936)  President of the Franklin Society for Home-building and Savings, which built many of Haworth’s first homes around the turn of the century. In the book New Jersey’s First Citizens, Hennessy is credited as “chiefly responsible for the growth of Haworth, the interesting residential town on the West Shore Railroad where he makes his home.”  Irish-born, he was a city editor with the Daily News before going to the Franklin Society. Between 1911 and 1917,  as a state assemblyman and then a state senator in Trenton, Hennessy was a champion of preserving the Palisades and women’s right to vote. Hennessy Street was named for Charles O'Connor Hennessy.
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Berkeley Tobey

(1881-1962)  Greenwich Village rogue and bon vivant, married somewhere in the neighborhood of eight times (a couple of times to give U.S. residency to his new spouses). Other wives included Dorothy Day, the Catholic activist now being considered for sainthood; and Esther McCoy (his last wife), the architectural historian who put modern California architecture on the map. Besides being a serial husband, Tobey was a reporter for “The New Republic,” and business manager of the socialist magazine “The Masses.” Tobey was a very close friend of author Theodore Dreiser and was a pallbearer at his funeral. In Haworth, Tobey and his second wife Virginia lived on Haworth Drive (she wanted a respectable house in the suburbs, according to Berkeley and Virginia’s son, Forrest Tobey Choate). Virginia soon left Berkeley for a shell-shocked, multi-medalled World War One solder she met at White Beeches Country Club.