CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN (Charlotte Saunders Cushrnan), one of the most celebrated American actresses, was born in
Boston, July 23, 1816. She was descended from one of the earliest Puritan families. Her first attempt at stage
work was at the age of fourteen years in a charitable concert given by amateurs in Boston. From this time her advance
to the first place on the American lyric stage was steady, until, in 1835, while singing in New Orleans, she suddenly
lost control of her voice so far as relates to singing, and was compelled to retire. She then took up the study
for the dramatic stage under the direction of Mr. Barton, the tragedian, She soon after made her debut as "Lady
Macbeth." She appeared in New York in September, 1836, and her success was immediate. Her "Romeo"
was almost perfect, and she is the only woman that has ever appeared in the part of "Cardinal Wolsey."
She at different times acted as support of Forrest and Macready. Her London engagement, secured in 1845, after
many and great discouragements, proved an unqualified success.
Her farewell appearance was at Booth's theater, New York, November 7, 1874, in the part of "Lady Macbeth,"
and after that performance an Ode by R. H. Stoddard was read, and a body of citizens went upon the stage, and in
their name the venerable poet Longfellow presented her with a wreath of laurel with an inscription to the effect
that "she who merits the palm should bear it." From the time of her appearance as a modest girl in a
charitable entertainment down to the time of final triump as a tragic queen, she bore herself with as much honor
to womanhood as to the profession she represented. Her death occurred in Boston, February 18, 1876. By her profession
she acquired a fortune of $600,000.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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