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Jessie Vokes dead, 1884

January 9, 2013

Jessie Vokes (1851-1884), Victoria Vokes (1853-1894)
and Rosina Vokes (1854-1894), English actresses and dancers
(photo: Mora, New York, circa 1880)

‘JESSIE VOKES DEAD.
‘THE FIRST ONE TO DIE OF THE FAMOUS FAMILY OF COMEDIANS.
‘Miss Jessie Vokes, the actress, a member of the well-known Vokes family, died yesterday in London. She was educated to the stage from a tender age, and when only 4 years old appeared at the Surrey Theatre, where she played in children’s characters. In the early part of her career she played Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale; Prince Arthur in King John, and the Prince of Wales in Richard III. She attracted special notice first as one of the children in [Charles Reade and Tom Taylor’s comedy] Masks and Faces, dancing, with her sister, a jig, when old Benjamin Webster played Triplet at the London Standard Theatre. With her brothers and sisters, Fred and Fawdon and Victoria and Rosina, she began began her career as ”The Vokes Children,” which was afterward changed to ”The Vokes Family,” at the Operetta House in Edinburgh. Their success was pronounced and continuous. Their debut was made in London at the Lyceum Theatre on Dec. 26, 1868, in the pantomime of Humpty Dumpty, and they traveled through a great part of the civilized world. Jessie Vokes, the eldest of the sisters, was educated in the ”business” of the stage by Mr. Cheswick, and in dancing, in which she excelled, by Mr. Flexmore. The piece that most successfully carried an audience by storm was The Belles of the Kitchen, in which the ”family” made its debut in this country at the Union-Square Theatre on April 15, 1872. Jessie’s clever recitations and dancing were appreciated, but she was not so prominent in the cast as Victoria and Fred, who were especially happy in their rendering of the tower scene from Il Trovatore, or as Miss Rosina, who was regarded by the young men as the flower of the family.’
(The New York Times, New York, Friday, 8 August 1884, p. 5b)

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