Fania Marinoff (March 20, 1890 to November 17, 1971) was an immigrant to the United
States when a young girl. She was born in what is now Ukraine. Marinoff worked as an actress and in that world met and married, in 1914, one of our leading cultural figures. We read about her career:
Working on both stage and screen throughout the 1910s, Fania Marinoff developed a reputation as a gifted actress who could perform popular comic roles as well as more challenging classical and experimental parts. Her most celebrated performance was as Ariel in The Tempest in 1916, in which the New York Times found her "bewitching." Marinoff was still quite young when she retired from acting. She and her husband remained central figures in several arts communities, serving as a point of connection between many of the period’s most important artists and thinkers, those from Harlem and Greenwich Village, New York and Europe.
Here we see she was on the cover of a magazine in 1910.
Her husband was Carl Van Vechten. Since she was on a magazine cover before she met
him, which happened in 1912, we get a sense of the social realities surrounding their courtship. For he too was a famous person.
Carl Van Vechten was not just a herald for modernism in art, not just the photographer who documented the Harlem Renaissance, he was the historian of cat lovers. The Tiger in the House (1920) in charming detail outlines the modern enthusiasm for the feline species.
Fania Marinoff was Van Vechten's second wife. By all accounts they were very happy the next 50 years. Here is an adorable picture of the couple.