James Sibley Watson (1894 - 1982)

Lot in Sodom (1933) (1933)

Dr. James Sibley Watson, Jr. (August 10, 1894 - March 31, 1982) was a Rochester, New York, medical doctor, philanthropist, publisher, editor, and early experimenter in motion pictures.

Born in New York, Dr. James Sibley Watson, Jr. was an heir to the Western Union telegraph fortune created by Hiram Sibley and Don Alonzo Watson. He graduated from Harvard in 1916, although he is listed as a member of the class of 1917, where he became friends with poet E. E. Cummings. Watson and his first wife, Hildegarde Lasell Watson, were lifelong supporters of Cummings, as well as of Marianne Moore and Kenneth Burke.

In addition to earning a medical degree, Watson became directly involved in the literary movements of the post-World War I era with another Harvard graduate, Scofield Thayer, who had purchased $600 worth of stock in the influential literary magazine, The Dial, in 1918. In 1919, Thayer invited Watson to purchase ownership of The Dial from the financially strapped Martyn Johnson, with Watson serving as the magazine's new president and Thayer becoming the editor. Their joint venture produced its first issue in January 1920 and featured works by friends of Thayer and Watson such as Cummings, and through another Harvard connection, Gaston Lachaise.

The Dial was anchored by Watson's infusions of capital and editorial support. It ceased publication with the issue of July, 1929. Marianne Moore was editor at the time.

In the late 1920s, Watson became interested in the new art form of motion pictures. He produced, directed, and served as cinematographer and art director for: The Fall of the House of Usher" with Melville Weber, 1928; and Lot in Sodom" with Melville Weber, 1933. Composer Alec Wilder, also a Rochester native, assisted with all the films, writing original music. -- Wikipedia