Inherit The Wind

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

The Authors

  • Jerome Lawrence was born on July 14, 1915, in Cleveland, Ohio. Lawrence was a playwright, author, director, and an educator. In 1942, Lawrence met Robert E. Lee in New York City. The two began a partnership lasting five decades with a radio play called, 'Inside a Kid's Head'. That same year, they both entered the U.S. Army as we were fighting in World War II. Awhile after the war, the men earned a Tony Award nomination for the Angela Lansbury musical adaptation, 'Mame'. In 2002, he suffered from a stroke and spent his last years in decreased health. Lawrence died on February 29, 2004, from complications from his stroke. 'Inherit the Wind', continues to be produced in local and regional theaters as the topics still remain relevant today. The show was even the subject of a 2007 revival on Broadway.
  • Robert Edwin Lee was born on October 15, 1918, in Elyria, Ohio. Lee inherited his interest in writing from his mother, Elvira Taft Lee, who was a teacher. Lee graduated from Elyria High School in 1935. He studied at Northwestern University in Chicago in 1934 before transferring to Ohio Wesleyan, where he attended from 1935 to 1937. As co-founder, with Lawrence, of the American Playwrights Theatre and the Margo Jones Award, Lee has been involved with academic and professional theater communities. He would work as a director, teacher, and a playwright.

Scopes Monkey Trials

This was a famous American legal case in 1925. What happened was that a high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which was not to teach human evolution in any school. The trial was staged to attract publicity to Dayton, Tennessee where it was held. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned. The trial got national publicity, as reporters went to Dayton to cover the lawyers who had agreed to represent each side, in the case.

Summary of the book

Bert Cates is arrested for teaching his sophomore class about evolution. Cates is worried because Matthew Harrison Brady, three-time presidential candidate, fundamentalist, and leader of the crusade against evolution, is going to be the prosecuting attorney. Henry Drummond, an attorney, has been sent by the Baltimore Herald to defend Cates. The jury finds Cates guilty, and he is fined $100. Although he won the case, Brady's victory is a hollow one. The win belongs to Drummond and Cates, who got a moral victory for freedom of thought.