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Palmer Theatre Companies colleagues 

Union Square Stock Co   Madison Square Stock Co.   Palmer's Theatre

Maurice Barrymore  (1847-1905) Born Herbert Blythe in India he came to New York in 1875, first working for Augustin Daly.  He moved to Wallacks and then to AM Palmers in 1888, playing Wilding in Captain Swift and Captain Davenport in Alabama.  "In his last active years, his erratic behavior, stemming from the paresis [syphilis] that ultimately killed him, caused producers to shun him, so he turned to vaudeville."  Husband of Georgie Drew Barrymore and father of John, Ethel and Lionel. [Oxford

EJ Phillips saw Barrymore as Orlando in As You Like It (with Helena Modjeska) in San Francisco in Aug. 1886 before he joined Palmer's company.  Aunt Jack (1889) was written for Barrymore. A founder of the 5As American Actors Amateur Athletic Association. Played Lord Darlington in Palmer's production of Lady Windermere's Fan, one of "the most showy parts in the play" according to Odell.  Barrymore was  36 in 1883, when these letters begin.
Photograph   http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Barrymore,Maurice.jpg

Agnes Booth (1846-1910) Born in Australia, first appeared in the US aged 12 in San Francisco as a child dancer.  Married at 16 to Harry Perry and widowed a year later.  She married Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. (brother of Edwin and son of the more famous actor of the same name) in 1865 (and was widowed again in 1883).  Junius Brutus Booth Jr. appeared with EJ Phillips in Othello the night John WIlkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln (Apr. 1865, Cincinnati Ohio)    

Her son Sidney Booth joined Richard Mansfield's company in June 1888

She surprised many with her excellent comic skills as the openly selfish Belinda Treherne in Engaged in 1879...Joining AM Palmer when his ensemble was at its height, she won distinction as the deceived Mrs. Ralston in Jim the Penman (1886); Mrs. Seabrook, the woman with a secret in Captain Swift (1888); the comic, uninhibited Joan Bryson, otherwise known as Aunt Jack (1889).  

After leaving Palmer in 1892, her star began to wane, to some extent because of poorly chosen vehicles, but also because her robust acting style was seen as superannuated by the newer naturalistic schools.  [from?]  

Agnes Booth was 37 in 1883. She appeared with EJ Phillips in Pink Dominoes in 1877. Old Love Letters was described as an Agnes Booth vehicle since 1878. Described  in a New York Times review as a star of Jim the Penman.  EJP reports that she wore "some very fine dresses" Nov. 1886   Her second husband Junius Brutus Booth Jr. died in Sept. 1883.  Her third husband, Julius Schoeffel is the one occasionally mentioned in these letters..

Son Sidney Booth [1873-1937] joined Richard Mansfield's company in June 1888.

Agnes Booth (1843-1910), PictureHistory http://www.picturehistory.com/find/p/21137/mcms.html  
Agnes Booth in Aunt Jack, National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an10698679-1 

May Brookyn (c. 1859-1894) First shows up in Our Society, went west with Palmer's company in 1886 and 1888. Described by EJ Phillips as one of the "weak lot to take to San Francisco" in 1888. Cast in Partners in Boston 1888Played Maurice Barrymore's former sweetheart in Alabama, in the Pharisee in 1890-1891, in Palmer's Lady Windermere's Fan 1892.  

Philadelphia July 4, 1888 When I left Boston besides myself there was only to be Misses May Brokyn, [elsewhere her name is spelled with two o's, but EJP consistently spelled it with one] [Marie] Burroughs, Kate] Moloney & Miss [Clara] Lipman all rolled into one would make a bad actress.  

Played Maurice Barrymore's former sweetheart in Alabama, in the Pharisee in 1890-1891, in Palmer's Lady Windermere's Fan 1892.  Married Mr. King. May Brookyn was 24 in 1883.

Connection with FA Lovecraft http://library.cmsu.edu/walker/limbonaut_8  http://www.nisbett.com/spiritualism/ms/ms6.htm  
Suicide in San Francisco http://www.maranathamedia.com.au/Download/Books/Modern%20Spirirtualism.pdf 

 
Our Society review San Francisco 1888

Marie Burroughs (1866-1926) Played Letty Fletcher, the minister's daughter in Saints and Sinners in 1885 and 1887. Played Florida Vervain, the lively American girl the priest (Alessandro Salvini) fell in love with in Foregone Conclusion 1886.  In cast of Margery's Lovers  and Elaine in Elaine 1887. Played Lucy Robins, the butler's niece in Heart of Hearts 1888. In Partners and Captain Swift in 1888. In Middleman and Judah in 1890.  Married Louis Massen. Published  Art Portfolio of Stage Celebrities in 1894. Described by EJ Phillips as one of the "weak lot to take to San Francisco" in 1888.  Played a heroine of humble origins, about to marry a young man of high social position Partners in Boston and San Francisco 1888

Photographs, Theater Archives, Michigan State Univ. http://theatre.msu.edu/Academics/TheatreArchive/Burroughs_Marie/  
Marie Burroughs, Art Portfolio of Stage Celebrities, Chicago: AN Marquis, 1894 is at the Harvard Theatre Collection.

Strang's Famous Actresses

Marie Burroughs  was born in San Jose, California and invited to join the Madison Square Co. when she had finished her convent school education [about 1883]. She created the role of Queen Guinevere in Elaine and describes a rehearsal with the Palmer Company and Henry Arthur Jones in Saints and Sinners. She appeared in the first production of Pinero's "The Profligate".  Strang notes " While Miss Burrough's starring venture showed that she hardly had sufficient power alone to carry a play to success, she is nevertheless one of the most thoroughly equipped and most satisfactory leading women that we have.   She makes a strikingly beautiful picture on the stage;    her face is one of much sweetness and her personality one of great charm.     

Mr. Jones came to New York to rehearse "saints and Sinners" said Miss Burroughs ...I shall never forget that last rehearsal of "saints and Sinners." It took place on the afternoon of the day of the first performance. It began at an early hour in the morning. It came to an abrupt end in the middle of the long afternoon, five hours and more later, with me in tears, Mr. Jones in a tantrum, and the whole company n disorder, and only the third act reached. 

With Mr. Palmer Miss Burroughs also acted Florida in "A Foregone Conclusion," Marjory in :Marjory's Lovers" and appeared in "Partners", "Heart of Hearts", "Captain Swift" and other plays.  In 1889 Miss Burroughs went to London and saw Mr. Willard in "the Middleman", though at that time she had no idea of playing with him in this country. Olga Brandon was engage ... but at the last moment refused to leave London. Then Miss Burroughs got her opportunity, and her work with Mr.. Willard added greatly to her reputation."

 
Omaha Excelsior Oct. 13,1888 Jim the Penman

William [Pleater] Davidge (1814-1888) Born in England, principal comedian Davidge first appeared in the US in 1850 at the Broadway Theatre. He later acted with Daly’s and Palmer’s Madison Square Theatre Companies. “Rare Old Bill” was awarded a special testimonial during his fiftieth year on the stage (which EJ Phillips acted in on April 21, 1887) and died the next year, in Wyoming, on his way to San Francisco with the Madison Square Company. “Generally regarded as an actor of the old formal school, his assignments ranged from classic roles such as Bottom and Sir Toby Belch to important comic parts in newer ephemeral works” [Oxford]  For [Elizabeth Clark] and their three children he maintained as a home in Brooklyn a house he had won in a lottery in 1858. [Dictionary of American Biography]  Davidge was 69 in 1883.

"On the afternoon of April 21st [1887 was offered] a testimonial to William Pleater Davidge, in commemoration of his fiftieth year of active service on the stage" including John Gilbert and Herbert Kelcey, Davidge's colleagues from the Madison Square Theatre -- Stoddart, Holland...Massen, Holliday, Millward and Marie Burroughs in the third act of Saints and Sinners [Odell]

Davidge played Peter Greenacre in Saints and Sinners 

JH Stoddart writes in his memoirs Recollections of a Player]  about Davidge preparing for the Palmer Company trip to California in 1888.  "It was thought necessary to purchase a few essential things, such as fruit and other delicacies. Most of us, too, donned costumes suitable for crossing the desert. I remember William Davidge's get-up caused us much amusement.  He wore the most eccentric suit of clothes and a sort of helmet hat, also carrying half a dozen palm- leaf fans and a large basket of fruit and provisions. "What do you think of this make-up, boys?" he said. "No fear of the alkali spoiling these things, is there?"

Drawing is from his NY obituary 
Henry Andrews (18?-1868) painting of William Pleater Davidge as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, c.1846 (No. 77), National Theatre, UK, Somerset Maugham collection of theatre paintings http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/image.php?id=6468&embed=yes

Davidge as Pistol in King Henry V, Univ. of Washington carte de visite collection http://content.lib.washington.edu/cgi-bin/viewer.exe?CISOROOT=/19thcenturyactors&CISOPTR=345&CISORESTMP=...

Wm. Pleater Davidge short biography, Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. 6 vols. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889   http://www.famousamericans.net/williampleaterdavidge/

Theatre historian Mary Shortt refers to "the popular comedian, William P. Davidge, Sr. visiting Toronto regularly in the 1850's, while John Nickinson was at the Royal Lyceum.  Was this the same Davidge or his father?

Maud Harrison (1854-1907)  [Mrs. Edward M. Bell] was a member of the Madison Square,  Union Square and Palmer's Companies.  The New York Dramatic Mirror obituary of EJP notes  "The great number of friends that she leaves behind is evidenced by the many letters of condolence received by Mrs. Dolman [Hattie] and by Maude Harrison, who was to Mrs. Phillips almost as a daughter."  Maud Harrison made her stage debut in 1875 in Dion Boucicault's The Flying Scud or Four-Legged Fortune  [the first of the popular horse racing melodramas 1866] with the Brooklyn Theatre Company. Played with EJ Phillips in STORMBEATEN. Left Palmer's to join Daniel Frohman's Lyceum Company.   Maud Harrison was 29 in 1883.  
http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Harrison,Maude1.jpg http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Harrison,Maude3.jpg


|Our Society Review San Francisco 1888

Edmund Milton Holland (1848-1913)  Joined Wallack's Company in 1867, his actor father insisting that his son be billed as E. Milton until he was sure he would not discredit the family name.  After thirteen years at Wallack's, and a London engagement, he joined Palmer's Madison Square company, playing Lot Burden (foreman to Hoggard and collector of pew rents at Bethel Chapel) in Saints and Sinners, Captain Redmond in Jim the Penman (according to the NY Times one of the stars of the play as  the "sly seemingly blasé, but effective detective", Dr. Chettle, the family physician in Heart of Hearts, Colonel Moberly in Alabama, and the title role in Colonel Carter of Cartersville.  He was also in Brander Matthews' Margery's Lovers  Shared a birthday (see letter of Sept. 7, 1887 from Boston) with EJ Phillips (but was 18 years younger).

E.M. Holland, Strang's Famous Actors of the Day in America, 1900


Omaha Excelsior Oct. 13,1888 Jim the Penman

"As an actor he was regarded as a character comedian of the school of Joseph Jefferson and was credited by critics of his day with unfailing delicacy and good taste, precision, infinite humor and sagacity...He had an actor's face -- clean shaven, tight-lipped, with deepset eyes and a broad dome- shaped head." [DAB] Holland was 35 in 1883. 

EM was the second son of the actor George Holland (whose funeral in 1870 inspired the remark that led to the Church of the Transfiguration being known ever since as "the little church around the corner). George Holland appeared at the Royal Lyceum, Toronto in July 1857 for two weeks. 

EJ Phillips mentions the "Holland seasons" in 1895.and refers to "the Hollands" in the 1890's, as producers, though who the other Hollands might be is unclear.

William J. LeMoyne (1831-1905) LeMoyne made his acting debut in 1852 in the Lady of  Lyons. He toured in Uncle Tom’s Cabin before the war. He interrupted his acting career to enlist in Company B. 28th Massachusetts Regiment, as a first lieutenant, later captain. Took part in the battles of James Island, second Bull Run,  Chantilly, and South Mountain, where he was wounded. Permanently incapacitated for further service, he was honorably discharged. In after years he was wont to tell stories of picturesque and exciting incidents of his life as a soldier.

After recovering from his war wounds he joined Augustin Daly’s company in New York for two seasons, spent three seasons at the Boston Museum (specializing in Dickens characters) and from 1877 was in New York, variously at the Union Square, Daly’s, Madison Square, and Lyceum stock companies. William Winter [the critic] said “his impersonations of eccentric, humorous peppery old gentleman were among the finest and most amusing that our stage has known.” Dictionary of American Biography LeMoyne was 52 in 1883.  

LeMoyne played Mons Gervais Dupuis (banker and broker) in Sealed Instructions, Spring 1885

He married Sarah Cowell in 1888. Sarah Cowell LeMoyne (1859-1915)  CDP
Mrs. LeMoyne, Strang's Famous Actresses, 1900

Strang's Famous Actresses has a chapter on Sarah Cowell LeMoyne. She was with the Union Square Company for a season in the early 1880s, playing the mother in A Celebrated Case, a maid in the Banker's Daughter, the opera singer in French Flats and an old woman in the Danicheffs.  She played the old woman first in Chicago and AM Palmer insisted she play it in New York and she offered to play any other part.  But she left the stage (until 1898 when she played Mrs. Lorimer in the Moth and the Flame] to teach elocution and give readings.  While giving readings in England in 1884 she met Robert Browning and "was an important factor in the popularising of his works in this country"... "Mrs. LeMoyne's genius for the delineation of the middle-aged heroine is not exactly paralleled on the English-speaking stage. She understands thoroughly the woman whose life has been chastened by suffering, and whose sympathy for others has been sharpened by experiences that have taught her to judge the world honestly, intelligently, and lovingly." 

We have a watercolor self-portrait he drew and gave to EJ Phillips, inscribed
“I don’t cherish an unchristianlike spirit” A Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year 
– “Sam Hoggard”  The “Saint”  to E.J.P. “The Sinner”


William LeMoyne self-portrait

Since Hoggard was the “evil, money-grubbing deacon” who betrays the minister’s daughter, causing her exile and that of her father (in Saints & Sinners), the inscription appears to be a small joke. The Saints and Sinners program describes Hoggard as a tanner,  and senior deacon of Bethel Chapel.

How did LeMoyne play "the dwarf, Mousta" in WS Gilbert's Broken Hearts?

AM Palmer   Union Square Stock Co  Madison Square Stock Co.  Palmer's Theatre  

AM Palmer, Wayne S. Turney http://www.wayneturney.20m.com/ampalmer.htm   

Walden Ramsey  (died 1895)  Member of the Madison Square Company 1884-1891, later joining  Palmer's Theatre.  He played the villainous brother-in-law in Alabama and was  described in his obituary (NY Dramatic Mirror?) as a "good, conscientious actor and an excellent stage manager who could be depended upon to do admirable work.  Played Jack Raddles in Saints and Sinners.

Walden Ramsey in Jim the Penman, Omaha Nebraska 1888


Omaha Excelsior Oct. 13,1888 

Frederic Robinson  (1832-1912) English actor CDP  Made his first appearance on the stage in York, England Apr. 23, 1849. In July went to Liverpool and in November was in Edinburgh as walking gentleman, where he remained until July 1851. First appeared in London at Sadler's Wells Theatre that year, under Mr. Phelps's management, In 1862 he played at Drury Lane. Was engaged in England in 1865 by Lester Wallack for America. Was at Selwyn's Theatre, Boston season of 1868-69 and 1870. HAS Played Marcus Latimer, guest at Avonthorpe Priory in Heart of Hearts 1888.

Frederic Robinson as Lord Dorchester in Sealed Instructions, Spring 1885

Mr. Robinson played Jim the Penman in that play in Chicago in 1886. He played Mr. Seabrook in Captain Swift He had "a very long part" in Ibsen's Pillars of Society, the one played by Ernest von Possart.

Mr. and Mrs. Robinson both came on the 1888 and 1890 trips to the West.  Do we know who Mrs. Robinson was?  They also went to Chicago in 1892 (just after the Actors Fund Fair).

July 10, 1890, San Francisco  The road [rail from Portland to San Francisco] runs with the Sacramento River, a beautiful stream and a great place for fancy fishing.  Mr. [Frederic] Robinson was wild with delight over the prospect of throwing out his lines there.  He travels with fishing tackle worth a $1000 & goes fishing whenever & where ever he gets an opportunity.  It is a great hobby with him, and I felt sorry he could not stop and have a days sport.  He is in every "bill" however, and will not get much chance to fish this trip. 

Troy, New York, Nov. 13, 1892  Mr. [Frederic] Robinson fortunately was engaged by Miss [Rose] Coghlan and, although at first his engagement was only for six weeks, yet he is going to travel with her for the Season, he having made a big hit in his part in Diplomacy

Annie Russell (Mrs. Presbrey) (1864-1936) Born in Liverpool, her family went to Montreal  when she was five, taking her from a Dublin convent, and put her on the stage in 1872. She made her New York debut in 1879 in HMS Pinafore in the chorus, but soon was playing Josephine, as well as a boy in Rip Van Winkle and Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  … She joined Palmer’s Madison Square company in 1885 and created many important roles there, including Maggie McFarlane in Engaged, Elaine, and Mabel Seabrook in Captain Swift.  She became quite ill in 1889 and two years later went to study and regain her health in Italy, on the proceeds of a Palmer benefit for her. [Oxford Dictionary Theatre, Dictionary of American Biography] Annie Russell was 19 in 1883.  

Shakespeare & the players, Emory Univ. http://shakespeare.emory.edu/actordisplay.cfm?actorid=77 

Annie Russell as Ada in Sealed Instructions, Spring 1885


Our Society, San Francisco 1888

Omaha Excelsior Oct. 13,1888 Jim the Penman

Played Ada in Sealed Instructions, Madison Square Co. Spring 1885
Strang's Famous Actresses says "In England they called Annie Russell "the Duse of the English speaking stage".  After playing in New York in HMS Pinafore and in the West Indies in a number of roles at 16 she played Esmerelda at the Madison Square Theatre  [c1880] giving up the part in 1882 when she married Eugene Presbrey.  She also played Maggie in Engaged, Lady Vavir in Broken Hearts, Sylvia Spencer in Our Society and Ada Houghton in Sealed Instructions.  But her greatest success was in Elaine, produced at the Madison Square in Dec. 1887.   "The Elaine of Annie Russell was the ethereal being that a breath might have blown away, and who looked as if she might indeed fade away to death as her heart broke." .. Miss Russell's last appearance before her retirement from the stage in 1889, on account of ill health, was in Captain Swift... Five years of pain and suffering followed, and for a long time it was not expected that she would ever act again. She recovered her health, howe4ver, and 1894 returned to the theatre.

Strang's Famous Actresses


photos and brief biography http://www.perspicacity.com/elactheatre/library/tast/russea.htm
http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Russell,Annie2.jpg  http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Russell,Annie3.jpg

James Henry Stoddart (1827-1907)  Originally from Yorkshire, England, Stoddart made his American debut in 1854 with Wallack’s Company. “The slim, handsome, if somewhat gaunt-faced actor was immediately recognized as a superior low comedian. A fiery temperament allowed him to stay at Wallack’s only two years, after which he moved to Laura Keene’s.  By 1875 he was playing under Palmer’s aegis at the  Union Square  …Although his prominence later diminished, Stoddart continued to act until he was struck down by a train.” DAB, Autobiography Recollections of a Player (New York, Century 1902). 

Stoddart was 56 in 1883.[portrait of Stoddart from Recollections of a Player and photograph in One Touch of Nature]  Played Jabez Green in STORMBEATEN. Played Jacob Fletcher, minister of Bethel Chapel, Steepleford in Saints and Sinners. Played James Robins, butler at Avonthorpe Priory, and uncle of Lucy (Marie Burroughs) in Heart of Hearts 1888.


Last revised March 29, 2005

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