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Rodgers, Dorothy

Dorothy Rodgers, wife of the composer Richard Rodgers, was herself a writer and inventor. Born in New York City on May 4, 1909 as Dorothy Feiner, she attended Horace Mann School and Wellesley College. On March 5, 1930 she married composer Richard Rodgers; their marriage ended at his death on December 30, 1979.

In addition to her duties as wife of one of this country's most celebrated composers and theatre producers, Dorothy Rodgers had many career achievements of her own. From 1935 to 1941 she served as Founder and President of Repairs Incorporated, a Manhattan-based agency that hired skilled craftsmen to repair broken or damaged objects. Among her inventions patented and marketed are: The Jonny Mop (Johnson & Johnson, 1945); the "Basically Yours" dress pattern (McCalls, 1958); and the "Turn and Learn" storybooks (Ideal Toy Co., 1972). She was the author of several books on interior decorating and home entertaining, including My Favorite Things (Atheneum, 1964), and The House In My Head (Atheneum, 1967); also, A Personal Book (Harper & Row, 1977); and she collaborated with her daughter Mary Rodgers on several projects, including the book A Word to the Wives  (Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), which was also a nationally syndicated radio program (1971-72), and "Of Two Minds," a monthly column for McCall's Magazine (1971-79).

Dorothy Rodgers was associated with many organizations including: The Authors League of America, Inc.; the American Institute of Interior Designers; the Museum of Modern Art; the Writers War Board; the Public Education Assocation; New York Chapter, American Red Cross; The Whitney Museum; the New York State Council of the Arts; International House; Federation of Jewish Philanthropies; and the Jewish Museum. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in 1978.

Mrs. Rodgers died peacefully in her sleep at home in New York City on the morning of August 17, 1992 at the age of 83. She is survived by two daughters (Mary Rodgers Guettel and Linda Rodgers Emory); six grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

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      Did you know that both Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II married women named Dorothy, and both had fathers named William? This last fact lead Rodgers & Hammerstein to name their music publishing company Williamson Music Company when they founded it in 1945.
      In 1953, Edward R. Murrow interviewed Richard and his wife Dorothy Rodgers live from their Manhattan home on "Person to Person,"" CBS-TV."
      In 1983, Dorothy Rodgers and Dorothy Hammerstein hosted a party in Los Angeles for Yul Brynner on the occasion of his 4,000th performance as the King in The King and I.
      In 1930, Richard Rodgers married Dorothy Feiner.