French Family Association
The Official Website of the Surname French
This page was updated by Mara French on 12/30/10. Send any corrections or additions to this chart to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samuel French, 1821 – 1898 NYC, was an American playwright who in 1846 pioneered the concept of providing published plays and musical plays to theatrical producing groups throughout the world.
Founded by Samuel French (1821-1898) in New York City in 1846, Samuel French, Inc. is the largest and oldest publisher and supplier of plays for amateur and stock theatre in the world. Moreover, the company also serves as a licensing agent for performance rights and runs a theatrical bookshop. His studio is located at 45 W 25th St New York New York 10010.
Samuel French (1821 - 1898) was a U.S. entrepreneur who, together with British actor, playwright and theatrical manager Thomas Hailes Lacy, pioneered in the field of theatrical publishing and the licensing of plays.
French started his publishing business in New York City in 1854. In 1859 he visited London, where he met Lacy, who had given up the stage and been active as a theatrical bookseller since the mid-1840s. Lacy, who had removed his shop from Wellington Street, Covent Garden to 89 Strand in 1857, had also started publishing acting editions of dramas. Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays, published between 1848 and 1873, would eventually run to 99 volumes containing 1,485 individual pieces.
French and Lacy became partners, each acting as the other's agent across the Atlantic. In 1872, French decided to take up permanent residence in London, leaving his son Thomas Henry French in charge of the New York business. When Lacy retired in 1873, he sold out to French for five thousand pounds. Lacy died in the same year, and French finally established his name as the most important theatrical publisher in England. At the time of his own death in 1898 almost all renowned English playwrights of the present and recent past had been represented by his company.