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Aldis, Mary, b. 1872 (1872-1949) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Aldis, Mary, b. 1872 (1872-1949)
Variant Name: Aldis, Mary
Fuller Form: Aldis, Mary Reynolds

Historical Note:

Mary Reynolds Aldis, wife of Chicago developer Arthur Aldis, wrote one-act plays, poetry, and painted in watercolor. Born in Chicago and educated at St. Mary’s School in Knoxville, IL, she married her husband in 1892. After moving to Lake Forest in 1902, she occupied an estate on the southeast corner of Deerpath Rd and Green Bay Rd. She and her husband added and then converted a cottage on their property into an amateur playhouse which opened on June 11, 1911.

The Aldises were considered pioneers in amateur and community theater in Chicago. Mary’s Lake Forest summer playhouse ran full seasons until 1915 and ended by 1920. The playhouse put on plays by both amateur and professional playwrights and reflected Mary’s tastes as a writer, translator, and dramatist.

Aldis worked to support women's rights and other progressive causes. She, at times, lived independently from her husband and died in 1949 in Milwaukee.

Sources: Inglehart, Babette.  "Mary Reynolds Aldis," Women Building Chicago, 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary Bloomington: Indiana U. Press, 2001.
Note Author: Meredith Knoff

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