A to Z Index
these letters About
Oscar Wilde in America and Lady Windermere's Fan
Lady Windermere's Fan in Cleveland Detroit Louisville New York 1893 St. Louis
Wilde is not referred to directly in any of
these letters, but we inherited a cigarette card of him, and EJ Phillips was in
New York in 1882 when he arrived for his first trip to America.
Between the Acts cigarette card Oscar Wilde
I discovered this caricature of Wilde in the Union Square Theatre boxes at the Harvard Theatre Collection, which makes me suspect that AM Palmer and possibly EJ Phillips and other Union Square colleagues went to Wilde's January 9 1882 Chickering Hall lecture on The English Renaissance, delivered to a standing room only audience.
Union Square Theatre Company, Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection MS Thr 4535
Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience (1881) had satirized aesthetes (and Wilde). Oscar Wilde had been sent to tour America in 1882 by D'Oyly Carte, who feared that American audiences wouldn't get the parody. Wilde lectured on art and beauty, gave interviews and was widely quoted, and tried to get his first play Vera the Nihilist produced.
Sarah Bernhardt had told Wilde Clara Morris's acting was one of two things worth seeing in America. She was his first choice for Vera. Wilde met her at a reception at the house of David and Jennie June Croly. But Morris turned him down. (Fitzsimmons, Wilde's Women)
Percy MacKaye also writes in Epoch: The Life of Steele MacKaye about his father's conversations with Wilde around this time, and Mary Anderson's initial involvement in the play. But eventually Anderson turned down Wilde as well. MacKaye then recruited Marie Prescott to play the Nihilist. Wilde had also hoped to recruit C. P. Flockton
The 1883-84 Union Square Company season opened in August in New York with Vera the Nihilist. Oscar Wilde was in attendance, but "the distinguished playwright of the future had, in 1883, much to learn about dramatic composition and [the play] was a ghastly failure". (Odell) It ran for only one week in August 1883.
Program Vera the Nihilist Union Square Theatre Company, Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection MS Thr 4535
Vera the Nihilist The New York Times review (Aug. 21, 1883 4:7) called the play "an energetic tirade against tyrants and despots, it is full of long speeches in which the glory of liberty is eloquently described.. his [Wilde's] cleverness stops short of dramatic art. The play is unreal, longwinded and wearisome. It comes as near failure as an ingenious and able writer can bring it. "
However the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library has a copy of the program, an enthusiastic review -- and an undated letter from Oscar Wilde to AM Palmer saying "I am anxious to have the privilege of seeing you with reference to the production of a drama I have written which seems to be suitable for your boards and company. Would you give me Tuesday afternoon at one o'clock when I could have the opportunity of reading it to you."
Vera the Nihilist http://users.belgacom.net/wilde/woman2.html
Oscar Wilde in America https://www.oscarwildeinamerica.org/
EJ Phillips refers to Patience in reporting on Gilbert & Sullivan's Gondoliers in 1890.
Napoleon Sarony's photographs of Wilde http://www.oscarwildeinamerica.org/sarony/sarony-photographs.html
Windermere's Fan LWF
Lady Windermere's Fan (London, 1892, New York 1893) was Wilde's first big success, followed by A Woman of No Importance (London 1893). Gilbert's Engaged seems to have greatly influenced the enormously popular The Importance of Being Earnest (London 1893). Did the Palmer company actors who played in Engaged (including EJ Phillips) discuss the resemblance? What did EJ Phillips think about the Duchess of Berwick's ideas on marriage?
"Oh, men don’t matter. With women it is different. We’re good. Some of us are, at least But we are positively getting elbowed into the corner. Our husbands would really forget our existence if we didn’t nag at them from time to time, just to remind them that we have a perfect legal right to do so." http://www.gutenberg.org/files/790/790-h/790-h.htm
AM Palmer had presented the first American LWF productions in Boston and then in New York in Feb. 1893. According to Odell, Mrs. DP Bowers (playing the Duchess of Berwick -- the part later played by EJ Phillips) and Maurice Barrymore (Lord Darlington) had "the most showy parts in the play".
The New York Times review of the London production of Lady Windermere's Fan [Feb. 28, 1892] has the subheading "The author makes an insolent speech from the stage. And assails the critics for their disapproval of his dramatic work". Calls it a "cynical society play", "Oscar Wilde has made himself the talk of the busiest theatrical week for many months. The critics almost unanimously condemn the play. They say that the plot lacks novelty and that the principal scene is palpably cribbed from "The School for Scandal". The lines, however, are very clever and people in society will rush to see the play as they did on the first night, when the most brilliant audience that has gathered for years in the St. James Theatre gathered to witness the work. ... Mr. Wilde was adorned with one of his newly invented electric green boutonnière, as were also his followers in the stalls."
New York Times review of the Boston production [Jan. 24, 1893] began "The dramatic event of the present season here took place at the Columbia Theatre last night. It is not difficult to understand its London success, and its unqualified reception here tonight bespeaks a successful run. The company was cordially received by one of the most brilliant audiences ever seen in the theatre, and calls before the curtain were the rule through out the evening. May Brookyn and Julia Arthur were especially favored. ...the play offers abundant opportunity for bright dialogue, clever situations and a display of fashionable toilets."
Lady Windermere's Fan text, Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/790
EJP to Albert, Washington DC Jan 6,1893 I suppose you have seen by the papers that AMP[almer] is to have possession of the Madison Garden Theatre in 1894. The company are now playing Alabama in Boston & rehearsing Lady Windermere's Fan" for next week I guess. Miss [Julia] Arthur, Miss [May] Brookyn & Mrs. [DP] Bowers are the ladies in the cast. [JH] Stoddart & [Frederic] Robinson are not in it. [Maurice] Barrymore, [Edward M.] Bell & [EM] Holland are.
Edward Bell, Lady Windermere's Fan and RUM Feb. 17, 1893
New York, Mar 19, 1893 I went behind the scenes during last act of Lady Windermere's Fan at Palmer's yesterday afternoon.
New York, April 12, 1893 [Mr. Palmer] offers me an engagement with Chas Frohman for next season to play in Lady Windermere's Fan. Season begins Sept 15th.
Septr 10th [1893 Philadelphia] [Neppie's birthday Sept 11th; EJP's birthday Sept 7th] Accept the enclosed as a part of your birthday gift. It would be more only I rec'd a telegram at 4:30 yesterday to go to N.Y. tomorrow to see Mr. Palmer about playing the Duchess in Lady Windermere's Fan for Mr. Chas Frohman. I have to use a part of your birthday gift until I get back to draw from the bank [first mention of a bank]. John did not draw any yesterday and I have to go to N.Y. & return on $10. ... If I succeed tomorrow in closing an engagement with Mr. Frohman, I shall soon have to go to New York, for rehearsals and dressmaking (two expensive dresses for the part!) and will soon be able to see you.
New York, Monday 18th Septr  Rehearsal for 2 weeks in Lady Windermere's Fan and play in Harlem on the 2nd of Octr under Mr. Chas Frohman's management, with whom I have signed a contract for season of 93 -94
Hattie to Neppie, Philadelphia Oct 10/93 It is only three weeks yesterday since Mama left but it seems much more. Her going was rather sudden & packing & going through trunks, etc. threw the house into disorder, so I concluded I might as well clean house early. About Friday or Saturday of week before last Mama wrote me that she had been feeling so miserable that she had visited a Doctor who pronounced her trouble "Catarrhal gastritis" & put her on a particular diet &c. She wrote that she thought he was doing her good.
On the evening after the first production of Lady Windermere's Fan I had a letter from Maud Harrison who had, I knew, been going with Mama to select her dresses & helping her in many little ways. She wrote to tell me that Mama had got through the first performance very nicely, looked lovely, &c, & then went on to tell me how sick Mama had been, what a terribly nervous state she was in, how every little thing exhausted her & all about it. She said she went with Mama & dressed her & would do so every night. She sent her letter by special delivery & enclosed samples of Mama's dresses. The latter fact made me feel almost as though Mama was not able to write herself.
I wrote to Miss Harrison & asked her if she thought Mama was able to start out, or if she ought to come home. She wrote back that she would not hear to her going if she were not able or the Doctor thought it unwise, but she considered Mama was improving & that the change might do her good. Of course Mama was writing each day that she thought she was a little better &c but I felt so worried & upset that I determined to go & see for myself before she went as far West.
So to New York I went Saturday morning leaving Jack in the care of his Grandma Dolman. I found Mama looking thinner & more haggard than when she went away & from all accounts she had had a pretty close call from a thorough break-down. The Doctor had been to see her the day before & made an examination of her. She thought she had a cancer or that her heart was diseased, both of which he denied. Said there was a slight irritation of the heart from the nervous strain & her system run down. Said her lungs were as sound as a drum. Told her she fretted too much.
She denied it, but she does & always has when she is away from her children. She worries how they may be getting on & when she is home she worries because her salary isn't coming in. Summer vacations have never done her any good for that reason. It is among my earliest recollections. She is not weak in any way & doesn't feel weak. I think it has all come from mental worriment.
Her interviews with Mr. Palmer before the engagement was made were not pleasant for her & then when she made the engagement she only had two weeks to get ready for it. Two very expensive dresses to be gotten up & the first act was hard study for her. But she has pulled through nicely, looks lovely in the part & young. I remained with her & saw her off on the train at J.[ersey] City after which I took a train for home. She writes me that she saw you for an instant & was very glad to do so.
Columbian Exposition, Chicago Oct. 1893
Detroit, Mich Novr 15th 1893 I sent you a list of the places we visit on
Monday. You can always direct a letter care of Chas Frohman's Lady
Windermere's Fan Co Theatre and it will reach me. In Cincinnati next
week we play at the "Grand Opera House" so you can send there.
I heard of the failure of the Joseph Co but not from [Albert]. Miss [Maud] Harrison sent me a notice of it from NY World. I was very sorry but not surprised. I knew it could not last another season.
I have not as yet been asked to go to California and I do not think I shall be. It would, as you say, be very pleasant to spend the cold months there, but to study a lot of new parts, rehearse and get costumes ready, would not be so pleasant, and there would not be any money in it for me. Besides there is no glory in belonging to Palmer's Co anymore. I will enclose an article from last Sunday's Chicago Tribune which shows the state of things as viewed by the recent performances given by the Co in Chicago.
The week after next will be hard work. Three one night towns and long trips. Go onboard a boat tonight. Do not think I will sleep much. We are due in Cleveland at 7 in the Morning. Slight showers of snow have been blowing about all day & yesterday, not enough to cover the ground but I am afraid enough wind to make the Lake very rough.
Review of Lady Windermere's Fan. EJ Phillips played the Duchess of Berwick in Oscar Wilde's new and financially successful society play. Good sized audience. Frohman's Co. has the reputation of always casting a play well and having a company of uniform strength in all parts. An undoubted success in New York and Chicago but there is something about it which will prevent it from ever becoming popular. "Its moral tone is not very high and a great many who heard it are loath to believe that the English society is quite as bad as represented. The play glorifies the repentant woman and attempts to show that society forgives and forgets a woman's missteps...The play is like a familiar face. It reminds you of something you have seen or heard before. Sensitive folk are apt to think there are just a few too many "damnits" in the part of Mr. Hopper [Walter Dolman's role] On the whole the cast seems superior to the play"
The other article which
is much longer is headlined Near to its Tomb AM Palmer Company dying as a
New York has practically turned the AM Palmer Co out of doors. Miss Agnes Booth and Mrs. EJ Phillips are recent defections from the organization and neither could be spared.
Cleveland, Ohio Friday
Novr 17th, 1893 The clipping you sent from the Sun is one of many in which Mr.
[AM] Palmer still uses my name, but I do not think it will do him any
good. I think Chas Frohman will fulfill his contract with me for this
season, and then will perhaps want me for the next season. In going to
California with Palmers Co I would still be under Chas Frohman's &
management. It is a mixed up affair all around. In fact a game of Battledore
and Shuttle-cock. And the Actor is the latter and the manager Battledores him
where ever he pleases.
Miss Elsie deWolfe did not gain her bit of diplomacy as Miss Ada Dyas & Mrs. Thorndike Boucicault are engaged for A Woman of No Importance. It was a cheeky bit of work for Miss deWolfe and she did not deserve to succeed. And it is well for herself she didn't for, it would have been her third dramatic failure.
We opened to a very nice house last night and two performances tomorrow. We go to Louisville for three nights. Then to Evansville 1 night, Lafayette 1 & Peoria 1. Three miserable bad towns, hotels and theatres bad. Then go to St Louis. Play in the old Olympic where I used to belong to the Stock Co [with Benedict DeBar].
Novr 27th 1893
My dear Son,
Next week we are to be in St Louis and a great Jewish festival or Charity is selling tickets and share receipts with [Charles] Frohman. A very large sale has already been made. Three days ago announced in Cin'ti papers as $10,000. So I suppose Chas Frohman's share will amount to $5000 at least.
I have a Courier Journal ready to post with this giving an account and the paper's opinion of the Hawaiian trouble. Places Mrs. expresident in a rather queer position if all can be proven true.
Yesterday on leaving the hotel in Cin'ti they gave us all souvenirs of the hotel. As it was Cin'ti I am going to send them to you for Ted to play with [Albert was born in Cincinnati.]. Love and Kisses to my dear children 3 from their loving Mother
Hawaiian trouble The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii began on January 17, 1893, with a coup d'état against Queen Liliʻuokalani on the island of Oahu by subjects of the Kingdom of Hawaii, United States citizens, and foreign residents residing in Honolulu. A majority of the insurgents were foreigners. They prevailed upon American minister John L. Stevens to call in the U.S. Marines to protect United States interests, an action that effectively buttressed the rebellion. The revolutionaries established the Republic of Hawaii, but their ultimate goal was the annexation of the islands to the United States, which occurred in 1898. ...Newly inaugurated President Grover Cleveland called for an investigation into the overthrow. This investigation was conducted by former Congressman James Henderson Blount. Blount concluded in his report on July 17, 1893, "United States diplomatic and military representatives had abused their authority and were responsible for the change in government." Minister Stevens was recalled, and the military commander of forces in Hawaiʻi was forced to resign his commission. President Cleveland stated, "Substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair the monarchy." Cleveland further stated in his 1893 State of the Union Address that, "Upon the facts developed it seemed to me the only honorable course for our Government to pursue was to undo the wrong that had been done by those representing us and to restore as far as practicable the status existing at the time of our forcible intervention." The matter was referred by Cleveland to Congress on December 18, 1893, after the Queen refused to accept amnesty for the traitors as a condition of reinstatement. Hawaii President Sanford Dole was presented a demand for reinstatement by Minister Willis, who had not realized Cleveland had already sent the matter to Congress—Dole flatly refused Cleveland's demands to reinstate the Queen. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overthrow_of_the_Kingdom_of_Hawaii
St Louis, Decr 5th 1893
My dear daughter Neppie,
On Friday last the Thermometer registered 3 degrees below zero at 5 AM in La Fayette. And we had a big snow Fall all the way to Peoria and a foot deep there and it is cold here.
I had an excellent [Thanksgiving] dinner in Evansville, quite a surprise to us all. It was a sumptuous bill of fare and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We did not give a Matinee. Had a very good house at night. Opened last night to a very poor house. That is, the lower part of the house was good, but the balcony & gallery were almost empty, showing the poor man has not the money to attend theatres. Times are very dull all through this part of the Country.
Next week we have six towns to play in as follows Monday, Springfield Ill, not far from here and we stay here until Monday Morning. Tuesday, Bloomington, Ill, Wednesday Decatur, Ill, Thursday Terre Haute, Ind. All these places are not far apart and the journeys will not be fatiguing. Friday, South Bend, Ind a little longer ride. Saturday Grand Rapids, Mich. The following week we are not to play. On Xmas day open in Baltimore for a week. Then to Phila for two weeks. After that New England, playing one week in Boston and one week in Providence.
Ted's ring is called the Isabella ring. They were very popular at the [Columbian Exposition] Fair as souvenirs. When Ted is old enough he can wear it on his watch chain. Love and Kisses to my dear children Albert, Edward and Neppie from their loving Mother
This sterling silver ring and bracelet set is among the most exemplary souvenirs from the World's Columbian Exposition 1893 that we have encountered. The two pieces are part of a small number of souvenirs created by the Gorham (Silver) Manufacturing Company commemorate the Exposition. The paperwork included with the ring translates the inscription on the jewelry. It reads as follows: "The Isabella Ring - This token is intended to recall in after years the World's Columbian Exposition, and also to suggest the occasion of its celebration; carrying the mind back through the centuries both to the great Discoverer and to his sovereign patroness, Isabella of Castile, known in history as "The Catholic," by whose noble faith and help the marvelous discovery of a world was made possible, and the names Isabella and Columbus immortal. Online Antiques Mall http://www.the-forum.com/collect/93isabel.htm https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/101572
St. Louis Decr 10th 1893 Mr. [AM] Palmer sent to Mr. [Charles] Frohman to release me for California. Mr. Frohman sent Mr. [JG] Saville to me to ask if I wanted to go, and that he, Mr. Frohman, did not want me to go. So I said I did not want to under any circumstances. And Mr. Frohman made me an offer of resting this week. Would pay my salary and send me to Phila so that I would be well rested to join the Co in Baltimore, but as I could rest next week I told them I preferred working this week unless I got very tired and would then take their offer and go home from Terre Haute on Friday.
next: Philadelphia Dec. 1893
Newark, N.J. April 3rd 1894 Walter [Dolman] has done very well in the "part" of "Hopper" and I guess is all right for the Summer, and possibly the Fall. I expect my season to close in Chicago about the 12th of May, for I think there are plenty [of others] anxious to go on for the "Duchess" for half my salary. Nothing further has been said to me, and I do not think they will be likely to keep me at present salary.
The new "Mrs. Erlynne" and "Lady Windermere" are giving better satisfaction than their predecessors did, so that will incline them to think they may get a more satisfactory "Duchess" for less money. Week after next we shall be at "The Peoples Theatre" in Bowery.
We gave nine performances last week in Phila. Here we give seven. Next week one night stands.
Philadelphia Pa, May 14th 1894 I left Walter [Dolman] behind me in Chicago, but he and the new "cast" of Lady Windermere were to leave at 6 PM yesterday for Minneapolis where they are to play tonight and the next two nights. Then go to St Paul for 3 nights. After that 3 weeks of 1 night stands before reaching Denver, Col where they play for one week afterwards, proceeding to the Northwest, and then down to San Francisco where they play for a week. Very tall travelling, but very interesting to those who have never been over the Country.
Nobody is offering me $100 per week for next season as yet, but may shortly. AMP[almer] is in England. Will be home early in July. I feel rather glad to have a rest. I hope the weather will continue cool so I can do some sewing and make myself presentable to visit you in July. I am in rags and tatters at present.
Phila Pa July 19th/94 Did not settle anything definitely in New York. Left my affairs in hands of Mrs. Fernandez. I found everything very dull in New York.
Mrs. Dolman got a letter from Walter this Morning. He and the [Lady Windermere's Fan] Co were detained in Ogden [Utah] 10 days. Says there were three thousand travellers detained there who could not go either way. When Walter's train started it was guarded by U.S. troops. He is now in Washington State.
St Louis, Octr 16th 1894 You will be surprised to receive this from so far a distance, unless Hattie has written to you since I left. I had received a telegram from Gustave Frohman on Friday asking me if I could play the "Duchess" in [Lady] Windermere's Fan for this week in St Louis. I answered yes, and on Saturday Morning about 9 rec'd another telegram from him telling me to start by Penn RR.
I got ready in a hurry, took the 4:30 train and arrived here at 7 on Sunday night. Played last night and expect to through the week -- eight performances in all. The Co then go to Columbus, O[hio] for three nights, then back to Indianapolis for three nights. And after that go South, playing in New Orleans on Xmas.
Walter Dolman is looking splendidly. There has been some trouble in the Co with the Duchess and her husband who played Lord Darlington and they were dismissed, So I was sent for, for this week. I had nothing to do and thought I might as well come. I shall not be much richer for it, but it was a nice little trip. I am not as strong as I would like to be, but if in an engagement I think I should feel better.
Hopper played by Walter Dolman is described by the Duchess of Berwick as "that rich young Australian people are taking such notice of just at present. His father made a great fortune by selling some kind of food in circular tins—most palatable, I believe—I fancy it is the thing the servants always refuse to eat. But the son is quite interesting. I think he’s attracted by dear Agatha’s clever talk. Of course, we should be very sorry to lose her, but I think that a mother who doesn’t part with a daughter every season has no real affection." http://www.gutenberg.org/files/790/790-h/790-h.htm
Mrs. Thomas Whiffen wrote of Oscar Wilde in her autobiography Keeping off the Shelf "Oscar Wilde and his plays. The comedies were being done in America for the first time, and I'll never forget how the critics took this opportunity to condemn the playwright. When "The Woman of No Importance" was done by Rose Coghlan, one critic spoke of it as "one of Oscar Wilde's foul-minded plays,." I think it is one of the most moral plays ever written, but it just goes to show how a man's reputation can poison everything he touches, especially in the eyes of intolerant people.
Tom [Whiffen[ and I knew Oscar Wilde and respected his talent and his keen wit. He was very fond of the violin and Tom used to play for him while he was in New York. I can see him now with his sorrowful eyes and long hair, slumped in a corner, nervously pulling his long fingers while Tom played Bach. Turning over my old letters, I find one from Mr. Wilde excusing himself for mixing up a date with my husband, regretting that he had made an engagement to speak in Philadelphia, and although he'd rather hear Tom play, he thought he'd better go, as they were paying him quite a sum to listen to him talk, and he supposed "they really expected him". He ended up by saying they didn't want to hear him, they only wanted to look at him, making him feel like a nice, fat Persian kitten at a cat show."
Poor Oscar Wilde, how little we understood him in the Nineties! "The Ideal Husband' was taken off the boards in New York because of Mr. Wilde's reputation.
The Importance of Being Earnest had been produced in London in Feb 1895. NY Times Feb 27 1895 reported that "No English play for many years has been the subject of so much competition among American managers as Oscar Wilde's latest farce... The manuscript of this play was sent to America before its production in London, but, after reading it, no manager developed any particular enthusiasm over it, and it began to look as though the American rights would go begging....
The San Francisco Call of July 30 reviewed the Lyceum Company's production which
AT THE CITY PLAYHOUSES. Epigrams and Perversions in "The Ideal Husband" at the Baldwin. A GRACEFUL TRILBY DANCE…. The author of "An Ideal Husband" used to go to the first nights of his plays to see whether the audience succeeded. If he had been at the Baldwin last night he would have been almost satisfied with San Francisco, for it laughed at his perverted proverbs, at the bitter froth of his epigrammatic sentences which begin with the roar of moral cannon and end with the fizz of an ineffective firecracker. "An Ideal Husband" is a brilliant series of clever scenes. It contains nothing new as to plot, nothing original as to character creation, but the play of its wit is fascinating, and what it lacks in dramatic action it makes up in the sparkle of intellect, in atmosphere and in polished worldly wisdom. It is a picture, most likely a very truthful one, of English society. It does not caricature my Lord into a Tweenways, neither does it idealize him into a Sir Richard Kald. He is there, though, with his faults and follies, as well as his serious moments, which are few. But after four acts of "An Ideal Husband" one is pessimistic enough to believe that there is more realism in Lord Goring than in either of the aristocratic gentlemen who touched respectively the height of the sublime and the ridiculous in tire modern drama. The Lyceum Company does some very excellent acting in "An Ideal Husband." [Herbert] Kelcey makes much of Lord Goring. He contrives to make the indolent, conventional young lordling . quite human and altogether likable. The scene between Goring and his father is as careful and well proportioned a bit as any the Lyceum Company has given here. [William] LeMoyne's dry manner, the low, disgusted tone of his voice as the Earl of Caversham leaves the draughts of his son's apartments are very natural and expressive. And nothing could be gentler or sweeter than Kelcey's tone as he gives voice to those biting little undutiful remarks as to parents. The best role in the play is that of Mrs. Cheverly. She is an English Forget-Me-Not, an ineffably dainty, well-bred, well dressed adventuress. She doesn't smoke a cigarette, perhaps, because smoking has become far too respectable; she does not gloat, nor make vain threats. But like all stage adventuresses she is in love with the man who checkmates her, and she does play upon his sympathy by affecting womanly weakness. Still it's an excellent part, and Miss Annie Irish is equal to it. Just once she offends and challenges unpardonable comparison with Stephanie de Mohrivart by giving vent to a melodramatic laugh as she leaves the second scene triumphant. But Mrs. Cheverly was not intended to be melodramatic. She herself would have been the first to condemn anything so human and natural. Miss Irish speaks the sparkling, clear-cut epigrams that fall to her with a saucy distinctness and a significance of inflection that make her worthy the part she has to play. Mrs. Walcott has an opportunity as Lady Markby to show that she is an actress of experience, excellent taste and judgment….The stage setting last night was unusually pretty, the ladies' gowns are beautiful and becoming, and throughout the whole play there is a delicate, sure touch which speaks of capable, tasteful stage management
Los Angeles Herald of July 28 1895 Los Angeles Theater.—Daniel Frohman's Theater company, which appears here Wednesday, August 7th, at the Los Angeles theater, is the best example now before the public of continuous work of talented players in close association for a number of years. It has been admitted by managers that only in this manner can high excellence be attained in the profession. Yet, in so few instances can this be made financially profitable, that few managers have the hardihood to attempt to achieve that result. The plays offered upon this engagement are entirely from English sources. This is due, to some extent, to the fact that there is a vast class in England who are cultured and have great leisure at their disposal, and for years they have been growing into literary work until they have at last distanced the French and German schools, and the brightest dramatic minds today are found in England. The first of the plays to be produced here Wednesday night and Saturday matinee, will be "The Case of Rebellious Susan," written by Henry Arthur Jones, who has been before the public as a dramatist for some years, but has been gradually increasing in popularity and refinement of this work. Those who knew Mr. Jones' work in ' The Silver King' would hardly recognize that in "The Middleman. ' "Masqueraders," or "The Dancing Girl." And now, in this last work, "Rebellious Susan," he has made another departure as astonishing as his previous one. The second play given, Thursday night, is also a comedy, the scene of which is laid in England. It is entitled, "An Ideal Husband," by the author of "Lady Windermere's Fan," and is still playing in London, the home of its author. The serious element in this story is the illustration of how an early fault may threaten the existence of a blameless life in after years. It is extremely right, and has been spoken of as offering a greater quantity and more original epigrams than any play ever placed before the public. It with the previous named play, divided the time of this company during the last season at its home theater in New York.
Was it true that Ideal Husband was still running in London after Oscar Wilde's conviction and imprisonment? It certainly seems to have been produced in California later that year.
The trials shut down Wilde’s playwriting career, and his time in prison was wretched. After his release, Wilde, poor, ill, and alcoholic, lived a meandering life until he died in Paris in 1900. His misery has led many to assume that the trials guaranteed that his name, like his supposed crime, had become unspeakable. Actually, Wilde received constant attention in the newspapers even after his conviction. ... His [Wilde's] plays continued to be produced. Daniel Frohman’s Lyceum Theatre Company put on An Ideal Husband in New York, then toured with it to Chicago and Denver (“[Theater Notice]”). In London, His Majesty’s Theatre revived A Woman of No Importance in 1907 (“A Woman of No Importance at His Majesty’s”). Students at the University of Cincinnati’s Law School put on The Importance of Being Earnest during commencement week in 1908 (“Commencement Week, 1908”), and in London it appeared at the St. James’s Theatre in 1909, which revived Lady Windermere’s Fan in 1911 (“[Advertisement for The Importance of Being Earnest]”; “Lady Windermere’s Fan Revived at the St. James’s”). Salome was produced in France in 1896 as a gesture of support for Wilde, and by 1910, Strauss’s Salome, whose libretto came from Wilde’s play, appeared at Covent Garden (“[Review of Salome]); Salome spin-offs became a fad in early twentieth-century Britain (Dierkes-Thrun). The Vaudeville Theatre produced a poorly-reviewed stage version of The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1913 (“The Picture of Dorian Gray at The Vaudeville”).Elfenbein, Andrew. “On the Trials of Oscar Wilde: Myths and Realities.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. accessed 2018 Jan 29 http://www.branchcollective.org/?ps_articles=andrew-elfenbein-on-the-trials-of-oscar-wilde-myths-and-realities
Producer Daniel Frohman wrote "It is true that Oscar Wilde was proficient in all branches of literature; as a novelist, as an essayist, as a short story writer, as a poet and as a dramatist. ... few writers have excelled him in wit, satire and in epigrammatic speeches. First, before everything else, he was a dramatist. ... I was not fortunate enough to have known [Wilde] personally, although I produced several of his plays, the first of which ws, "An Ideal Husband" at the old Lyceum, March 12th, 1895. [Wilde's first trial was in April 1895.] My brother Charles [Frohman] also produced Wilde's plays including, "Lady Windermere's Fan." This was Oscar Wilde's first great play ...It is my belief that Wilde would have been another Sheridan if he had not fallen on evil days." Daniel Frohman Presents, 1935.
The New York Times had a number of articles on the Wilde trials in 1895 and the New York Clipper had some. Did EJ Phillips read any of them? She certainly kept his cigarette card and I can only imagine that she appreciated the cleverness of his plays and the beneficial effect Lady Windermere had on her career. It has closed by the time of his trial, so it seems unlikely that his own troubles influenced her employment prospects.
Wilde NY Times obituary Dec 1, 1900 https://www.nytimes.com/1900/12/01/archives/death-of-oscar-wilde-he-expires-at-an-obscure-hotel-in-the-latin.html Said to have died of meningitis but there is a rumor he committed suicide.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Review by Philip Bounds of Neil McKenna, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde (London: Century, 2003 https://book.douban.com/subject/3657069/ As a distinguished gay journalist and former editor of the Pink Paper, Neil McKenna is one of the more idiosyncratic entrants to the ranks of the radical biographers. The purpose of The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde is not simply to show that Wilde was gay (a fact which not even the school syllabuses have been able to cover up) but that his entire way of life was a sort of technicolour exercise in the politics of resistance.
Ackroyd, Peter, The last Testament of Oscar Wilde, Sphere Books, Penguin , 1983
Blanchard, Mary, Oscar Wilde's America, Counterculture in the Gilded Age, 1998
Edwards, Louis, Oscar Wilde discovers America, 2003 http://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Wilde-Discovers-America-Novel/dp/B0002Z0M5Q
Effenbein, Andrew, On the trials of Oscar Wilde myths and realities http://www.branchcollective.org/?ps_articles=andrew-elfenbein-on-the-trials-of-oscar-wilde-myths-and-realities
Ellmann, Richard, Oscar Wilde, New York: Knopf, 1987
Fitzsimmons Eleanor, The Failure of Vera, Wilde's First Play https://eafitzsimons.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/the-failure-of-vera-wildes-first-play/
Fitzsimmons, Eleanor, Wilde's Women: How Oscar Wilde was Shaped by the Women He Knew https://www.amazon.com/Wilde's-Women-Oscar-Wilde-Shaped/dp/1468312669 recounts more of the story of Wilde trying to recruit various actresses to play Vera.
Friedman, David M. Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of American Celebrity, WW Norton, 2014
Frohman, Daniel, Daniel Frohman Presents, New York, C. Kendall & W. Sharp [c1935]
Harris, Frank, Oscar Wilde, New York: Dell Publishing, 1960 with appendix George Bernard Shaw My Memories of Oscar Wilde and Robert Ross, Oscar's Last Days
Hofer, Matthew & Gary Scharnhorst, editors, Oscar Wilde in America: The Interviews, University of Illinois Press, 2010
Holland, Merlin & Rupert Hart Davies, Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, New York, Henry Holt & Co., 2000
Hyde, H. Montgomery, Annotated Oscar Wilde, New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1982
Kendrick, John, Our Love is Here to Stay II, 1996-2003 http://www.musicals101.com/gay2.htm
Lloyd Lewis and Henry Justin Smith, Oscar Wilde Discovers American , New York: Harcourt Brace, 1936
MacKaye, Percy, Epoch: the life of Steele MacKaye, genius of the theater, in relation to his times & contemporaries; a memoir by his son. New York Boni & Liveright 1927
Marcosson, Isaac F. and Daniel Frohman, Charles Frohman: Manager and Man, New York : Harper Brothers, 1916
Morris, Roy Jr, .Declaring his Genius: Oscar Wilde in north America, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017
Reed, Frances Miriam Reed, Vera the Nihilist or the history of a failed play, Theatre Survey 26(2) Nov 1985 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/theatre-survey/article/oscar-wildes-vera-or-the-nihilist-the-history-of-a-failed-play/F4FD7EC22CBC2EF0185C79E5F0E1EE78 Multiple reviews including quotes from the NY Times.
Sehat, David, Gender and Theatrical Realism: The Problem of Clyde Fitch, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Jul., 2008), pp. 324-352 Society for Historians of the Gilded Age & Progressive Era http://www.jstor.org/stable/25144531
Sherrard, Robert Harborough, The Real Oscar Wilde, T Werner Laurie Ltd. http://www.archive.org/stream/realoscarwildeto00sherrich#page/n7/mode/2up
Sinfield, Alan, The Wilde Century: Effeminacy, Oscar Wilde and the Queer Movement, Columbia University Press, 1994
Whiffen, Mrs. Thomas Keeping off the Shelf, New York, EP Dutton & Co. 1928
American's Wilde, New York University http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/fales/exhibits/wilde/4america.htm
Gays and Musicals The 1800's http://www.musicals101.com/gay2.htm Patience and Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde: The Marlowe of the New Drama Univ. of South Florida http://chuma.cas.usf.edu/~dietrich/britishdrama2.htm#Wilde
Oscar Wilde, American Sheet Music, Library of Congress http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/fales/exhibits/wilde/4america.htm
Oscar Wilde Famous Trials, Douglas Linder http://www.famous-trials.com/wilde
Oscar Wilde in New York, https://oscarwildeinnewyork.com/
Oscar Wilde's 1895 martyrdom for indecent acts http://www.rozanehmagazine.com/MayJune04/awild.html
Vera a play by Oscar Wilde, British Library https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/vera-a-play-by-oscar-wilde
Wikipedia Lady Windermere's Fan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Windermere%27s_Fan
Oscar Wilde http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_wilde
Vera the Nihilist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera%3B_or%2C_The_Nihilists
Last updated Aug. 23, 2020
|1882||1||9||New York NY||Chickering Hall||Oscar Wilde lecture -- could EJP have gone? She was in New York|
|1883||8||20||1 week||New York NY||Union Square||Vera the Nihilist by Oscar Wilde produced with Marie Prescott EJP was in San Francisco|
|1892||9||15||1 performance||Peekskill NY||Depew Opera House||Lady Windermere's Fan||Lady Dunscombe|
|1893||9||10||Philadelphia PA||Charles Frohman||Lady Windermere's Fan telegram to see AMP Palmer about playing the Duchess of Berwick|
|1893||9||15||New York NY||Palmer's Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan||Duchess of Berwick||Charles Frohman|
|1893||9||18||2 weeks||New York NY||Palmer's Theatre||Lady Windermere/s Fan rehearsal||Sept 9 dressmakers shoemaker milliners|
|1893||10||2||New York NY||Hammersteins Harlem||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1893||10||2||to Oct 7||New York NY||Hammersteins Harlem||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1893||10||9||Buffalo NY||Lady Windermere's Fan||Genesee|
|1893||10||16||to Nov 3 2 wks||Chicago IL||Schiiller||Lady Windermere's Fan||3 weeks||Colombian Exposition||to Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland|
|1893||11||8||1 week||Milwaukee WI||Davidson Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan||Hotel Davidson|
|1893||11||13||3 nights||Detroit MI||Lady Windermere's Fan||Failure of Joseph company||Russell House|
|1893||11||20||1 week||Cleveland OH||Euclid Ave Opera House||Lady Windermere's Fan with Charles Frohman||very nice house||Hollenden|
|1893||11||23||1 week||Cincinnati OH||Grand Opera house||Lady Windermere's Fan||To Spring Grove Cemetery||Palace Hotel|
|1893||11||27||3 nights||Louisville KY||Lady Windermere's Fan||Evansville LaFayette Peoria 1 night each||Willard|
|1893||11||30||Evansville IN||The Grand?||Lady Windermere's Fan||to Springfield Decatur Terre Haute South Bend Grand rapids||Thanksgiving in Evansville|
|1893||12||4||1 wk||St Louis MO||Olympic Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan||to South Bend Grand Rapids Binghamton||Southern|
|1893||12||10||Pittsburgh PA||Lady Windermeres fan|
|1893||12||11||Springfield IL||Lady Windermere's Fan||then Bloomington, Decatur IL 2 nights Grand Rapids|
|1893||12||25||& week||Baltimore MD||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1894||1||1||2 weeks||Philadelphia PA||Chestnut St Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan||Broad Street Theatre?|
|1894||1||15||Scranton PA||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1894||1||16||Binghamton NY||Stones Opera House||Lady Windermere's Fan||then Utica Syracuse Rochester Montreal|
|1894||1||23||to 29||Montreal||Acad Music||Lady Windermere's Fan||bad house||Windsor|
|1894||1||29||to Feb 4||Providence RI||Lady Windermere's Fan||to Lowell Worcester Newport RI New London New Haven||Narragansett House|
|1894||2||8||Newport RI||Lady Windermere's Fan||by steamer after Worcester then New London Rochester||Perry House|
|1894||2||9||New London CT||Lyceum Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan||and New Haven Newark NJ|
|1894||2||10||New Haven CT||Grand Opera?||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1894||2||12||to 18th||Wash DC||Lady Windermere's Fan||To Easton PA Wilmington DE||bus fair opp Henry Irving||Willards|
|1894||2||19||1 week||Pittsburgh PA||Lady Windermere's Fan||but this Pittsburg week canceled|
|1894||2||23||3 nights||Rochester NY||Lyceum?||Lady Windermere's Fan||good house||Whitcomb House|
|1894||2||26||1 week||Philadelphia PA||Park Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1894||3||5||1 week||New York NY||Grand Opera House||Lady Windermere's Fan||next week in Brooklyn||Aberdeen Bway & 21st|
|1894||3||11||? to May 1||New York NY||Lady Windermere's Fan||new company formed under Gustave Frohman|
|1894||3||12||1 week||Brooklyn NY||Park Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan|
|1894||3||26||1 wk||Philadelphia PA||National Theatre||Lady Windermere's Fan||3219 Clifford St|
|1894||4||3||1 wk||Newark NJ||Lady Windermere's Fan||fair house||to Lancaster PA||Park Hotel|
|1894||4||9||16-21||New York NY||Peoples Theatre Bowery||Lady Windermere's Fan||Olive Olive Mrs. Erlynne||43 E 21st St|
|1894||4||23||Allentown PA||Lady Windermere's Fan||then to Harrisburg Altoona Johnstown PA Wheeling WV Ft Wayne IN|
|1894||4||30||2 weeks||Chicago IL||Schiller||Lady Windermere's Fan||to Pittsburgh Philadelphia May 13||Sherman House|
|1894||5||11||to Jul 20||US west of Detroit||Pullman strike||Walter Dolman and LWF Company tied up for 10 days in Ogden Utah|
|1894||5||11||Pittsburgh PA||Lady Windermere's Fan||Hotel Schlosser|
|1894||5||12||New York NY||Lady Windermere's Fan AM Palmer offers EJP engagement to start Sept 15|
|1895||3||.||New York NY||Lyceum Theatre||Ideal Husband Isabella Walcotts Lady Markby in Oscar Wilde's Ideal Husband March Chicago July SF Aug LA||Kelcey & LeMoyne|
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