American Vaudeville Museum

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Henry C. Miner

From the late 1870s until his death in 1900, Henry (“Harry”) Clay Miner was a prominent New York impresario noted for his numerous variety theatres and involvement in other important theatrical activities. Because it meant additional bookings at other of Miner’s venues and other locales, performers aspired to play at Miner’s popular houses, especially his famous Bowery Theatre.

Miner pioneered in the creation of circuits by booking acts into several theatres under his management instead of a single engagement at one theatre. Overshadowed by his contemporary, Tony Pastor, Miner’s significant contributions to variety entertainment as it segued into vaudeville are largely forgotten but deserve recognition.

Born in New York on 23 March 1842, Miner inherited an entrepreneurial drive from his father, a mechanical engineer, who built the waterworks in Havana, Cuba, constructed the first locomotive operated on Long Island and invented an early rotary printing press. After attending public schools, Miner studied pharmacy at the American Institute of Physicians and Surgeons, subsequently clerked in several drug stores and served as a pharmacist in the Civil War.