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One Life: Will Rogers
June 25, 2021 @ 8:00 am - January 1, 2022 @ 5:00 pm UTC+0
Credit information: “Will Rogers at the mike of Radio KHJ in Hollywood” by an unidentified photographer, gelatin silver print, c. 1930. Will Rogers Memorial Museum, OHS, Claremore, OK.
“One Life: Will Rogers” is the National Portrait Gallery’s first exhibition to be presented exclusively on its website. Will Rogers (1879–1935) was a prolific political commentator whose comedic wit crossed social and political divides. With a career spanning vaudeville, silent films, “talkies,” radio and newspaper, he lifted the nation’s spirits during some of the most trying times—World War I, the recession that followed and the Great Depression. Born to a prominent Cherokee family on a ranch in Indian Territory near present-day Oologah, Oklahoma, Rogers could lasso anything. Defying stereotypes of the rugged cowboy, he was a great intellect, who authored six books, appeared in seventy-one films, wrote 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns and hosted a popular Sunday evening radio program. The precursor to Mickey Rooney, or today’s Stephen Colbert, Rogers voiced a perspective with broad appeal to the masses in the first half of the twentieth century. This exhibition is co-curated by retired Portrait Gallery Historian James Barber and Historian Kate Clarke Lemay. Since 2006, the museum has held seventeen exhibitions in the series “One Life,” which is dedicated to the biography of a single figure. This exhibition has been funded in part by the Guenther and Siewchin Yong Sommer Endowment Fund. Additional support was received from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee