Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Women as Actresses


Margaret Mary Anglin 1876 ~ 1958
Was born April 3, 1876, in Ottawa, Canada, and is the daughter of Honorable T. W. Anglin, formerly speaker of the Canadian House of Commons. She was educated at convents in Toronto and Montreal, and received her dramatic training from the Empire School of Dramatic Acting, in New York City, and in 1894 made her debut on the stage in "Shenandoah.'' She has played leading parts in the Shakespearean dramas, has acted with Sothern, Richard Mansfield, in "Cyrano de Bergerac," her latest effort was in "The Awakening of Helena Richie."

Eleanor Elsie Robson Belmont 1879 ~ 1979
Came to America when a child from England. She entered upon her professional career when but eighteen years of age, appearing as Marjory Knox in "Men and Women." Her greatest success has been Zangwill's plays, "Merely Mary Ann" and later she added to this by her performance in "The Dawn of a Tomorrow." On February 12, 1910 she married August Belmont.

Agnes Booth 1846 ~ 1910
Was born in Sydney, Australia, October 4, 1846. Daughter of Captain Land and Sara Rookes. Commenced her stage career as a dancer when but a small child. Her first husband was Harry Perry, an American actor who died in 1863. Her second was Junius Booth who died in 1883, and later she married John B. Shoeffel. She made her first appearance in New York in 1865, and soon thereafter became the leading lady in the company of Edwin Forrest.

Gertrude Elliott 1874 ~ 1950
Is the sister of Maxine Elliott, and the wife of Johnston Forbes-Robertson, the great English actor. She made her first appearance in 1894 with Rose Coghlan's company, in "A Woman of No Importance." She played with her sister for some time and made her first appearance on the London stage in "The Cowboy and the Lady" at the Duke of York's Theatre, June 5, 1899. In 1900 she was engaged by Forbes-Robertson, and played Ophelia in "Hamlet," Carrot in the play of that name, and Judith Anderson in "The Devil's Disciple." On December 22, 1900, she married Forbes-Robertson, and since then has played in London with the exception of a brief tour in the United States in 1906. Since that time she has played with her husband at the Savoy Theatre, London.

Maude Fealey (Mrs. Louis E. Sherwin.) 1886 ~ 1971
Was born in Memphis, Tennessee, March 4, 1886. Her mother was on the stage for many years, and now conducts the Tabor School of Acting in Denver, Colorado. Augustin Daly discovered Miss Fealey. He made a five years' engagement with her. She played as leading lady with William Gillette for many years. While in England with this company, E. S. Willard made an engagement with her and she played in his company for some time. She has played with R. N. Johnson, but the most important engagement of her career was as leading lady with Sir Henry Irving, playing the roles formerly taken by Ellen Terry. In 1907 Miss Fealey married Louis E. Sherwin, dramatic critic of the Denver Republican.

Mary Garden 1874 ~ 1967
Was reared in Chicago, Illinois. Completed her musical education in Paris, making her debut there in 1891. Is now one of the great operatic stars of the present day. She is recognized by critics, universally, as second to no one on the operatic stage in the dramatic rendition of the parts she has taken.

Corinne Kimball 1873 ~
Miss Corinne Kimball was born in 1873 in Boston, Massachusetts. She was well known by her stage name of "Corinne." She was the daughter of Mrs. Jennie Kimball, who was herself an actress and theatrical manager. Her first appearance on the stage was at a baby show held in Horticultural Hall, in Boston. She met with success, and exhibiting marked talent she obtained an engagement in light opera, singing in the "Mascot," "Olivet, " The Chimes of Normandy" and "The Mikado."

Grace Kimball (Mrs. M. D. McGuire.) 1870 ~
Was born in Detroit, February 18, 1870. Has played in one of Frohman's companies in the Lyceum Theatre, the Garden Theatre, Madison Square, and several of the leading New York companies. In 1897 she married M. D. McGuire, a prominent New Yorker and retired from the stage temporarily.

Jennie Kimball 1851 ~ 1925
Mrs. Jennie Kimball was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the 23rd of June, 1851. She appeared first at the Boston Theatre in 1865. After the success made by her daughter Corinne in "Pinafore," Mrs. Kimball retired from the stage herself and became her manager. She was interested in several theatres. She was a woman of remarkable business ability. She personally superintended all of the work connected with the theatre and the companies in which she was interested; wrote her own advertising matter and superintended the work of the scenic artists, occupying a unique position among women.

Margaret Mather 1862 ~ 1898
Was born in Tilbury, near Montreal, Canada, in 1862, but is an American by adoption. She is of Scotch descent. In 1868 her family left Canada and settled in Detroit, Michigan. Later Margaret was sent to New York to live with one of her brothers, who assumed charge of her education. In 1880, this brother died, and she was left dependent upon her own efforts. This opened up an opportunity for her to satisfy her desire to go upon the stage and she made her debut as Cordelia in "King Lear" with such marked success that she attracted the attention of Manager J. M. Hill, who made a contract with her for six years' engagement, opening as Juliet, August, 1882, in a theatre in Chicago, scoring an immediate success. She then played in all the principal cities of the United States appearing in the Union Square Theatre in New York City in her famous role of Juliet. Her repertoire includes, Rosalind, Imogene, Lady Macbeth, Leah, Julia, Peg Woffington, Mary Stuart, Gilbert's Gretchen, Pauline, Julianna, Barbie's Joan of Arc, Nance Oldfield, Medea, and many other leading parts. In 1887 she became the wife of Emil Harberkorn, leader of the Union Square Theatre orchestra.

Alice Nielsen 1872 ~ 1943
Was born in Nashville, Tennessee. Daughter of Erasmus I. and Sarah A. Nielsen. Received her musical education in San Francisco where she sang later in one of the local theatres, her first appearance being at Oakland, California, as Yum Yum in "The Mikado." In 1896 she attracted the attention of the ''Bostonians" then playing in San Francisco, and was engaged by them, taking the role of Annabel in "Robin Hood." Has sung nearly all the principal parts which this opera company gave: "Maid Marion," "The Serenade," "The Fortune Teller," and starred in 'The Fortune Teller." Later she studied for grand opera in Rome, and has sung in several grand operas both in Europe, and this country, touring the United States in 1906-1907 with the Boston Opera Company.

Sibyl Sanderson 1865 ~ 1903
Was born in 1865 in Sacramento. She was the daughter of the late Judge S. W. Sanderson, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California. In 1884 she went to Europe to study and at different times renewed her musical studies under several of the great teachers. Massenet predicted a brilliant career for her. She made her debut February 6, 1888, in Amsterdam. She was selected by Massenet to create the role of Esclairmonde and sang that opera one hundred times the first year. In November, 1890, she made her debut in Massenet's "Mignon" in Brussels, appearing in London, England, in 1891. She ranked with the greatest singers, and was always a great favorite with the American public. She died in 1903.

Rose Smock Melville  1873 ~ 1946
Was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, January 7, 1873. Daughter of Rev. Jacob and Caroline Puett Smock. Created the role of Sis Hopkins in 1893, and has starred in this character in her own company since 1899.

Mabel Taliaferro (Mrs. Frederick W. Thompson.) 1887 ~ 1797
Was born in May, 1887, in New York City. Entered upon her stage career when a mere child. Has played in various well-known companies, and created the role of Lovey Mary in "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch." Miss Taliaferro married F. W. Thompson, a theatrical manager, in October, 1906 and has since starred in her own company.

Lucia Genevieve Teresa Ward 1833 ~ 1922
Was born March 27, 1833, in New York. She is the granddaughter of Gideon Lee. Genevieve Ward was her stage name. Her maiden name was Lucia Geneviva Teresa. Her fine voice attracted the attention of Rossini who trained her in music. She had a most successful career as a singer, and having lost her voice through diphtheria she won equal success as an actress. In 1882 she started in a tour of the world. Later became manager of the Lyceum Theater London, and in 1888 she retired from the stage.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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