A Tribute to Mrs. Robinson, co-founder of Professional Children's School
by Mrs. John Speiden, reprinted from an unknown source (1945)
The death of Mrs. Franklin W. Robinson on October 4, 1945, has been a great loss to the theatrical world. Though Mrs. Robinson was not a professional, her interest in the theatre never flagged and her life was spent aiding and abetting those actively engaged in professional work.
Her father, Bishop Greer [Episcopal Bishop of New York], also had a great interest in the theatre. Daisy Greer Robinson inherited this interest and joined the Board of the Three Arts Club in 1907 and served as Vice-President for thirty-four years. [The Three Arts Club was a residential club for women moving to New York to study painting, music, or dramatic art.] With the help of Deaconess Hall, The Rehearsal Club was started in 1913. The original purpose of this Club was to provide a room for rehearsals and also a place where young actresses could eat and rest.
It was soon apparent that a building was needed where these girls could live. Several moves were made before the present location at 47 West 53rd Street was selected. At first there was just one building but later on, as the Club grew, the adjoining building was acquired. At present, forty-four girls can be comfortably housed in homelike surroundings. Mrs. Robinson had been the President of The Rehearsal Club from the start and continued in that capactiy until the time of her death.
she knew the problems of the struggling young artist, she knew the hopes and dreams, the joys and sorrows
In 1914 The Professional Children's School came into being. Until that time there was no school which would accept a stage child, and no school existed whose program was sufficiently elastic to allow a child to continue his professional work as well as carry on a school routine. Stage children had snatched a hit-or-miss education whenever it was available or jobs were lacking, but no continuity or feeling of security could exist for them. Deaconess Hall and Mrs. Robinson organized classes in the living room of the [Rehearsal] Club. In a short while it was discovered that this arrangement was completely inadequate and that a school was needed for all children engaged in professional work in and around New York City.
It was a large undertaking and a venture in a new field, for no such school had ever existed. A Correspondence Department was set up for children on the road and an arrangement was made whereby children could take examinations in any city where they happened to be working, under the Superintendant of Education in that town. At no time was the student's individual problem forgotten and each one was helped in making a fine adjustment to life. The School has grown from the group of six children in 1914 to the large organization able to cope with 329 students in 1945, largely due to the tireless efforts of Mrs. Robinson. She remained the President through all those years. The Professional Children's School was incorporated in 1927 and has had a brilliant record scholastically...
Mrs. Robinson knew the problems of the struggling young artist, she knew the hopes and dreams, the joys and sorrows, and she never failed to give of herself. Whenever guidance was needed she did what she could to be of help. She felt that this was her own large family, and her interest in each young person continued through the years. I am sure that there are countless mourners who feel that they have lost a good friend.
The continuing success of these two organziations of which Mrs. Robinson was President, will be the finest memorial to her. The need for The Rehearsal Club and for The Professional Children's School was recognized by her; let us hope that the fine work she has started will be carried on with vision and insight.