Posts Tagged ‘Mora (photographers)’


Lizzie Webster, American burlesque actress and singer

October 10, 2013

Lizzie Webster (1858-1937), American burlesque actress and singer, whose short career flourished between about 1877 and 1879 under the management of Edward E. Rice.
(photo: Mora, New York, 1877/79)

Lizzie (Elizabeth) Webster, who is said to have begun her career at McVicker’s Theatre, Chicago, retired from the stage upon her marriage in June 1879 to Jacob Nunnemacher (1853-1928), a Milwaukee businessman who built the Nunnemacher’s Grand Opera House at Milwaukee and who in 1880 was connected with Edward E. Rice in a theatrical venture. Nunnemacher was born in Milwaukee, one of the children of Jacob Nunnemacher (senior) and his wife, Catherine, who were natives respectively of Switzerland and Prussia.

‘Rice’s Evangeline Combination.
‘Rice’s Evangeline Combination begins an engagement at the Memphis Theater Monday night. In speaking of this grand spectacular extravaganza, the Louisville Courier-Journal says: ”Evangeline comes to us with a new brightness and freshness. Several substitutions have been made, notably Miss Lizzie Webster for Miss Eliza Wethersby in the character of ‘Gabriel,’ Miss Venie Clancy for Miss Flora Fisher, as ‘Evangeline,’ and Mr. Richard Golden for Mr. N.C. Goodwin as ‘Le Blanc.’ The loss and gain are so evenly balanced that it is hardly worth while discussing, and, besides, the new-comers give to the extravaganza an air of newness quite refreshing. Many points have been added in the way of hits and in the business of the different characters, and there is such a variety of matter than the extravaganza will bear seeing many times and other seasons yet. Miss Lizzie Webster and Miss Eliza Wethersby differ in qualities rather than quality. The present ‘Gabriel’ has not quite the assertive dash of the former one; is not quite the actress or quite the singer, but is quite as charming in appearance, and has an air of sweet disposition, freshness, gentle archness and purity, with that degree of sprightliness which win the good-will and affection of the audience. Thus there is no loss in the change.”’
(The Memphis daily Appeal, Friday, Memphis, Tennessee, 30 November 1877, p. 4c)

Lizzie Webster appeared as Ralph Rackshaw in an ‘unofficial’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore when it was produced at the Lyceum Theatre, New York, under the management of Edward E. Rice on 23 January 1879.

‘It is published in the leading New York papers that Lizzie Webster has had a house in that city make a pair of tights for her which cost one hundred dollars – and she fills the bill plumply.’
(Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, Sedalia, Missouri, Tuesday, 18 March 1879, p. 2a)

‘Ned Rice’s Evangeline Revival and the Memories That it Awakes …
‘… Of Gabriels there have been many, but none more sweetly picturesque than Venie Clancy, a delicate and pretty little girl, whom consumption carried away all too soon; there was a roguish Gabriel in Lizzie Webster, a brunette whom to see was to worship, and whom Jacob Nunnemacher, the Milwaukee manager, now esteems as his wife… .’
(The News Herald, Hillsboro, Ohio, Thursday, 5 May 1887, p. 5b)

* * * * *

‘In 1871, German-born [sic] businessman and theater enthusiast Jacob Nunnemacher was able to fulfill his aspirations of providing Milwaukee with its first opera house… . this, the Nunnemacher Grand Opera House was constructed at the northwest corner of Wells and Water Streets in the center of Milwaukee’s civic activity.’
(Megan E. Daniels, Milwaukee’s Early Architecture, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, &c., 2010, p. 34)

‘Messrs. E.E. Rice and J. Nunnemacher have leased the Fifth Avenue Theater, N.Y., for an indefinite period, commencing Monday, March 29, (Easter Monday,) and on that day will produced Mr. James A. Herne’s Hearts of Oak
(The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Saturday, 20 March 1880, p. 2d)


Eliza Weathersby

June 30, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Eliza Weathersby (1849?-1887), English burlesque actress and one of the original ‘British Blondes’ introduced to American audiences by Lydia Thompson
(photo: Mora, New York, circa 1880)

‘Eliza Weathersby Dead.
‘Eliza Weathersby (Mrs. Nat Goodwin) died in New York last night [24 March 1887], after long suffering, from a tumor in the womb. She was 38 years of age. There was no performance last evening at the Bijou Theatre, where Nat Goodwin is now engaged.
‘Miss Weathersby was born in London in 1849, and she made her first appearance in 1865, at the Alexandria Theater [sic, i.e. the Royal Alexandra Theatre], Bradford. Her American debut was made at the Chestnut Street Theater, Philadelphia, on April 12, 1869, in the burlesque of Lucrezia Borgia. She afterwards became the original Gabriel in Edward E. Rice’s Evangeline, a burlesque which was successful all over the country, and thus Eliza Weathersby, originally one of the ”English blondes” brought over by Lydia Thompson, gained a national popularity. When she was singing the chief boy’s part, ”Gabriel,” in Evangeline, the Boston school boy, destined to become famous as Nat Goodwin, was playing ”Captain Dietrick” in the same caste, and Henry E. Dixey, the ”Adonis” of to-day, was acting as the hind legs of the heifer, who executes a solemn dance in one act of Evangeline. On June 24, 1877, Miss Weathersby was married to Nat C. Goodman [sic], and she afterward shared all his successes on the stage. Her last appearance was made in Hobbies.’
(The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., Friday, 25 March 1887, p. 4c)

‘A Sensational Episode Growing Out of Eliza Weathersby’s Death.
‘NEW YORK, April 24 [1887]. – [Special Telegram to the BEE.] – The death of Eliza Weathersby-Goodwin, the actress, promises to have a sequel. Dr. Merion Sims has presented his bill for professional services to her husband, Nat C. Goodwin, and Mr. Goodwin has refused to pay, on the ground that it is exorbitant. But this difference of opinion does not make the sensational episode. There are other things back of the matter that, if brought out, as it seems likely they will be in the courts, will prove extraordinary. Mrs. Goodwin had been ill for a considerable period. The trouble was a disorder that resisted all attempts to check it. Eventually the family physician, Dr. T.S. Robertson, deemed it advisable to have experts summoned to consult on the case. Dr. Sims was not among those who came at first. The doctors were in grave doubt as to the precise nature of the malady, but some were inclined to the opinion that it was a tumor in the fallopian tubes. If such were the case the only possible remedy would like in an operation for the removal of the tumor – a very dangerous matter at the best, and one that would be liable to cause death, even if successfully performed. When Mrs. Goodwin was informed of the possible nature of her trouble she expressed a desire that an operation be made, but Dr. Robertson promptly refused to perform it. He was not confident that a tumor existed, and was wholly unwilling to assumer the terrible responsibility for the result if none should be found. The other experts agreed with the family physician. Mrs. Goodwin, however, was anxious that whatever might be done for her should be resorted to, and Dr. Sims was called. He made an examination, and his opinion agreed in its general features with that of his colleagues. The truth of the matter simply was that Mrs. Goodwin must die if the disorder were to be left alone; that a surgical operation might possibly save her, but the chances were so strongly against her that it would hasten the end. This was made clear to the patient, and she unhesitatingly asked Dr. Sims to make the operation. He consented, and Dr. Robertson and one other were present when it was performed. The result showed that no tumor existed. The disorder was inflammation of the fallopian tubes, and soon after the conclusion of the operation Mrs. Goodwin died. Dr. Sims is a physician of the highest professional standing, has an extended practice and comes high. The actor, who disputes the bill, purposes to show, when the doctor sues him for the amount, that the death of his wife was nothing less than scientific murder. He will endeavor to produce the experts to swear that the operation was uncalled for, dangerous and inexcusable. On the other hand it is said that Dr. Sims can easily justify his course. It is pretty sure to be a disagreeably interesting case, unless the actor yields and pays the bills, for the physician is determined to collect, even if it should prove necessary to invoke the aid of the law.’
(The Omaha Daily Bee, Omaha, Monday, 25 April 1887, p. 1c)


Bijou Heron

February 9, 2013

carte de visite photograph of
Bijou Heron (1862-1937),
American actress, daughter of Matilda Heron
(photo: Mora, New York, circa 1877)

Death of Matilda Heron, 7 March 1877
‘Matilda Heron, the celebrated actress, for a long time a resident of Philadelphia, where her family resided, died on the 7th instant, at her residence, in East Twenty-fifth street, New York, of weakness resulting from a surgical operation, performed for an insidious malady almost three weeks since, and general ill-heath superinduced by irregular habits. She was conscious up to a short time before her death, and conversed with a few of her friends. Miss Heron was born in Lubbyvale, Londonderry, Ireland, and came to the United States when very young. She became the pupil of Mr. Peter Richings, and made her first appearance on the stage February 17, 1851, at the Walnut Street Theatre, in Philadelphia, as Bianca, in Fazio; or, The Italian Wife. In 1858 she left for California, in company with George W. Lewis, her agent, who died on the passage, leaving her to arrive in San Francisco a total stranger. She, however, soon found friends, and on December 26th made her debut at the American Theatre, San Francisco, as Blanca, supported by Mr. Lewis Baker as Fazio. In 1854 she left California, and arriving in New York, commenced a starring tour though the country, which proved highly successful. In 1857 she was married to Robert Stoepel, leader of the orchestra at Wallack’s Theatre. She made her debut in London at the Lyceum Theatre in 1861 as Rosalie Lee in New Year’s Eve. She returned to this country, and afterwards separated from her husband. Her greatest stage role was Camille, a part which she almost created, and in which she achieved her greatest stage triumph. Up to a recent period Miss Heron was engaged in training pupils for the stage, in which she was quite successful. She leaves one daughter, ”Bijou” Heron, now playing at the Union Square Theatre, New York. Her age was about forty-eight.’
(Titusville Herald, Titusville, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, 14 March 1877, p. 1b)


January 19, 2013

a cabinet portrait of the much-photographed English actress,
Maud Branscombe (fl. 1870s/1890s)
(photo: Mora, New York, circa 1880)

‘Actress’ Ruse That Got Rid of Undesired Admirer.
‘Miss Maud Branscombe the famous actress, relates an amusing story concerning the unappreciated attentions of a youth who once fell in love with her. The young man’s parents were much concerned about the matter, and implored the actress not to marry him.
‘“I’ll give him a sound thrashing,” said the father.
‘“Don’t do that,” said Miss Branscombe. “There is a better way of curing him. After the performance this evening I’ll put on an old dress and hat, and make myself up to look quite ugly. You bring your boy around to the stage door and point me out to him as I come out.”
‘This was done, and so cleverly was the ruse carried out that Miss Branscombe heard the youth exclaim to his father as she passed them:
‘“My golly! I thought she was pretty!”’
(Oelwein Daily Register, Oelwein, Iowa, Monday, 4 February 1907, p.1e)


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)

‘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)