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Nagle, Urban


Also known as Edward J., dramatist, orator, pioneer in the apostolate of the theater; b. Providence, Rhode Island, Sept. 10, 1905; d. Cincinnati, Ohio, March 11, 1965. After public and parochial schooling, Nagle graduated from La Salle Academy and Providence College and received a Ph.D. (1934) from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He was professed as a Dominican friar on Aug. 19, 1925, and ordained on June 15, 1931. Subsequently he served as a professor at Providence College, the editor of the Holy Name Journal, and chaplain for the Dominican Sisters' motherhouse at St. Mary of the Springs, Columbus, Ohio.

Nagle devoted the first 20 years of his priestly life to the drama, while fulfilling other assignments. In 1932, with Thomas F. Carey, OP, he founded the Blackfriars Guild. Five years later they established the Blackfriar Institute of Dramatic Arts at Catholic University that later became the Speech and Drama Department. As one of the cofounders of the Catholic Theatre Conference (1937), Nagle served for 25 years on its board of governors and was honored in 1961 with its Father Dineen Award. From 1940 to 1951 he was the moderator of the Blackfriars Guild in New York City, which operates the oldest off Broadway theater.

Nagle's principal dramas were Barter (1929), a Longmans Green prize play; Catherine the Valiant (1931); Savonarola (1938), selected as one of the Ten Best Plays of the 194142 season by the New York Herald-Tribune; Lady of Fatima (1948); and City of Kings (1949), a Christopher prize play.

Bibliography: w. romig, ed., The Book of Catholic Authors, 5th ser. (Grosse Pointe 1957).

[j. b. larnen]

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