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OHIO Expert

Photo of Lisa Stein Haven

Lisa Stein Haven, Ph.D.

Areas of Expertise:
Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Comedy, English, Max Linder, Silent Film Comedy, Syd Chaplin, Women's Literature

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Dr. Stein Haven is an expert in all things Charlie Chaplin, who burst on the scene during World War I and became an American icon by the Great Depression in the late 1920s.

Chaplin gained worldwide popularity and recognition beginning in the 1910s for his "Little Tramp" character, a man dressed in a mishmash of ill-fitted suiting, bushy mustache, Derby hat and bamboo cane. That character has become one of the most iconic film images of all time. The Little Tramp's antics, slapstick comedy and pathos created a timeless persona that critics and audiences are still applauding and analyzing.

In the process of completing a dissertation on the silent film actor, Stein Haven developed a relationship with the Chaplin family and published a new edition of Chaplin's 1934 travel narrative, "A Comedian Sees the World." In 2010, the 100th anniversary of Charlie's first trip to America, Haven hosted the first international Charlie Chaplin conference ever held on American soil at Ohio University-Zanesville, that culminated with a showing of a lost Keystone Studios film, "A Thief Catcher."

"A Thief Catcher," missing for decades and presumed lost, was recently recovered at an antique sale in Michigan. The film features Chaplin in his only known performance as one of the "Keystone Kops," a pack of bumbling police officers created and popularized by the studio. The Zanesville showing was only the fourth venue to play the film since its rediscovery.

Haven brings her interest in the history of silent film comedians and comediennes into the college classroom to make traditional lecture classes more interesting.

"Utilizing examples from classics such as Charlie Chaplin film helps students relate literature to something with which they are often familiar; visual entertainment," she says. "By introducing my students to Chaplin's character and carrying it throughout the course, they can realize elements that writers of modernist period and beat generation focused on in their work."

From print to presentation, and classroom, Haven is well-recognized for her insight on classic comedians, publishing two books on Chaplin family members. "A Comedian Sees the World," is an edition of Charlie Chaplin's early 1930's travel book by the same name. Haven wrote the introduction, extensive notes, and appendices of the new edition of the book, which was launched at the Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna, Italy. During fall 2007 Haven's book was also featured at the Artelibro: Festival del Libro d' Arte in Bologna.

In 2010, Haven released "Syd Chaplin: A Biography," the first study of the life and art of Chaplin's brother, who has been credited for establishing Charlie's career and founding Hollywood enterprises such as United Artists and the nation's first domestic airline, the Syd Chaplin Aircraft Corporation.

Her latest book is "Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp in America, 1947-1977." She's now writing on French comedian Max Linder.

Haven's Media Placements include:

  • Yorkshire Evening Post
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Columbus Dispatch
  • The Daily Jeffersonian
  • Zanesville Times Recorder
  • Dayton Daily News
  • WCBD-TV (SC)
  • Google News
  • Associated Press

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