Married: James Loeb
Children: Peter Loeb; Susan Loeb Lupino
Ellen Katz Loeb was the wife of Jim Loeb, the co-publisher of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and ambassador to Peru and Guinea under John F. Kennedy. While in Saranac Lake, she was a member of a chamber ensemble, the Adirondack Players; she also gave violin lessons. She recognized the historic importance of the Bartok Cabin, and worked to save it, but the effort at that time to move it to the campus of North Country Community College was not successful.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 14, 1954
Capacity Audiences Enjoyed "LaBoheme"
By ELLEN LOEB
Friday the thirteenth may be an unlucky day for some people. But for the residents of Saranac Lake it was indeed, a day to remember. Friday the thirteenth marks Saranac Lake's first grand opera and also its first modern dance performance.
The capacity crowd at the Saranac Lake High School was conclusive proof that people in the Adirondacks do enjoy fine music and dancing. Their enthusiastic reception of last night's entertainment was extremely gratifying.
A dance, "American Folk Suite," -with choreography by Donald McKayle, opened the program. This work consisted of separate dances done to the unaccompanied folk melodies, and the interpretation they were given in dance form was beautifully effective. Space does not permit mentioning all of the group. They were all fine and most of the comments heard led this reviewer to believe that modem dance had conquered Saranac Lake.
Since the last act of "La Boheme" was given at Saranac Inn two weeks ago, it was reviewed in detail at that time. With the exception of Bruce Tolbert, who was Rodolfo, in Act I, the cast was the same as on that occasion and all sang beautifully. I hope I shall be forgiven for singling out the lead in the cast since this performance was at Barbara Altman's own High School. As the years go on, we feel it is not too much to say that Saranac Lake will become increasingly proud of its star. This young lady will really be heard from if her growth during the last year is any indication of what is ahead.
The evening was really a gala affair, even including celebrities in the audience. During the introduction to Act III, Mr. Pelletier presented Madame Florence Easton, a Summer resident of Lake Clear. For those in the audience who could remember the days at the Metropolitan Opera Company when Caruso was its stellar attraction, Miss Easton's name was a familiar one. For those who could not remember but only recall hearing about this Golden Era second hand, it was almost as thrilling. Miss Easton sang opposite Caruso in his last opera, "La Juive," and to opera lovers, and, indeed, to all musicians, she is a really great person.
Certainly everyone, whether this was the first opera or the thousandth, will want to come August 20th when Deerwood Opera Workshop will present another Puccini work, "La Rondine." This will be in English, with full orchestra and will be right here at the Saranac Lake High School.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 9, 1962
Ellen Loeb Scores Musical Success With Unprecedented Tour of Peru
(Editor's note: The following is a reprint of a story which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor on February 6, 1962. The story which concerns Mrs. James Loeb, Jr., wife of The Enterprise copublisher and Ambassador to Peru, was written by Elsa de Sagasti.)
By ELSA de SAGASTI
Ellen Loeb was laughing when she told me about her problem. I laughed too. It was really a funny predicament for the wife of a United States ambassador.
She had been invited to have tea with the First Lady on the same evening the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru was to give its last and most important concert of the season.
As a diplomat's wife, Mrs. Loeb, of course, had to attend the tea at the Government Palace; as a member of the symphony orchestra she had to play— equally as a matter of course — at the concert. The way the Ambassador's wife solved this dilemma is typical of Ellen Loeb. She attended the First Lady's tea in the long gown she had to wear to perform on the stage, and rushed from the Government Palace to the Municipal Theater where she arrived just in time, panting but happy.
When the Peruvians learned that the American Ambassador's wife was going to join their symphony orchestra, they were pleased and flattered, but not too sure what the Ambassador's wife meant by this gesture.
It was soon made clear that she meant business. This was no publicity stunt.
Ellen Loeb, born Ellen Katz in Memphis, Tenn., had graduated from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago in 1934 and since then has been a member of various symphony orchestras in New York, Washington, and Vermont.
Although she joined the Peruvian Symphony Orchestra ad honorem, she took her job as seriously as any of the paid musicians, faithfully attending daily rehearsals. She even confessed to me the amazement she felt when she began to understand that in this country "punctually at 9:30 sharp really means something more like "any time after 10."
The public, who at the beginning tended to regard her activity as a sort of nine days' wonder, soon became used to it and has a warm feeling for this unassuming woman who so enthusiastically tries to get close to our people.
In capitals all over the world a phenomenon is to be observed which I have always found both curious and depressing.
Diplomatic corps members, who sometimes appear to regard themselves as the "cream of society," form a separate entity quite out of touch with the people of the country to which they have been sent to represent their own.
Ambassadors, their secretaries and assistants, entertain each other, attend each other's receptions and congratulate one another on respective national holidays. Rarely if ever, do they step down from their ivory towers to meet nationals of the country where they are stationed.
James and Ellen Loeb have put to work here in Peru a completely different concept of what diplomacy means. Her participation as a regular performer in the symphony orchestra is only part of this. All along the line this couple is moving ahead in a program destined to deepen understanding between the two countries.
The Loebs are interested in every manifestation of art and intelectual life. Recently the embassy became an impromptu art gallery for a reception at which they showed the newest work of Peruvian painters to journalists and writers, businessmen and diplomats, students and housewives, and a great number of "just people."
An exhibit to be brought on loan from the New York Museum of Modern Art is scheduled for the near future. To show it they are planning a series of receptions for "all kinds of people": diplomats, wealthy persons who might like to buy, as Mrs. Loeb candidly confessed to me, high school art teachers, students, and local artists.
At the embassy there are frequent informal meetings with groups of students, from, the different universities to discuss "anything that comes up." Some of our young people, not used to free and easy discussion on all kinds of controversial questions, are getting at these meetings a first heady taste of what a working democracy can get to mean.
Ambassador Loeb has already toured the country extensively and is more familiar with its problems than many a Peruvian. His daughter, Susan, goes with him during school holidays. His wife is conscientiously tied to the capital by daily orchestra rehearsals.
The Loebs are a typical American family, at home in Saranac Lake, N. Y. Ellen, who has always done all her own housework, will putter about among the embassy's numerous butlers, attending to this and that.
Susan, a spirited teen-ager whose only problem is being taller than most boys here, entered public school. This, a natural thing to do in the United States, but most unusual in a country where diplomats' daughters frequent only the highly expensive and hermetically exclusive private schools, attended by wealthy local girls, further endeared the family to Peruvians.
Susan greatly enjoyed the yearend parties given by her middleclass schoolmates, at which she was very popular.
Peter, the couple's 19-year-old son, is studying music at Harvard. When he was here for the holidays he immediately joined a jazz ensemble in the jazz club and played every night. During his short stay he organized a jazz concert which was a howling success.
The first Female Chamber Music Quartet ever to tour Peru has just completed a series of one-night stands in towns in northern and southern regions of the country. The creation of this quartet, a long-standing dream of Angelic de Arce, our great cellist, became possible when Mrs. Loeb joined the symphony orchestra. The cellist and two lady violinists, all professional orchestra musicians, hesitantly broached the subject over an after-rehearsal snack, to the new viola player.
"At first we thought it was a pity that the new viola performer who could have completed the quartet we dreamed about, was an ambassador's wife. But then she behaved so cordially and naturally so unlike our idea of a diplomat, that we dared approach her." From that minute, they were swept on by the unrelenting tide of Ellen Loeb's enthusiasm.
The program for this first tour included Franz Joseph Haydn, Samuel Barber, Charles Griffes, and two local composers. It also includes a piece by Mrs. Loeb.
One of the performances was scheduled in Lima, and after the ovation I went backstage to congratulate the ladies. I found them glowing with happiness in spite of the grueling ordeal of a one-night stand tour in the middle of summer.
Seeing Mrs. Loeb laugh excitedly, surrounded by Peruvian well-wishers, I suddenly thought I had found the secret of the success of her unorthodox approach to diplomacy: she really loves people, Peruvian people as well as any other, and she enjoys meeting them, working with them, and working for them.
See also Saranac Lake Concert Society