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Book outline  EJ Phillips: Her dramatic career, cross-country travels, family life and Golden Age of the American theatre
Plucky 19th century Canadian girl finds an acting career and love in Toronto. but must support her two young children and herself when their much older father dies in 1864. She becomes a notable Broadway actress, touring California seven times and performing for and meeting Grover Cleveland in the White House.

John Nickinson and EJ Phillips -- What we don't know  

Nickinson Chronology 1830-2018 Excel  EJ Phillips, John Nickinson, Nickinson children 

Barrymores, Drews and EJ Phillips

Denman Thompson, his plays  Old Homestead and The Sunshine of Paradise Alley

Dion Boucicault and The Octoroon

Fires and EJ Phillips, Albert and the Volunteer Fire Dept

Historical Tourism and biographies   with thanks to Sarah Vowell and Richard Holmes for their inspiring books

Boston  Theatre   Old Landmarks of Boston    Boston Railway stations    

Buffalo walking tour  Great architecture, Olmstead parks and the Historical Society building from the Pan American Exposition of 1901 -- reminds me of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  My thanks to Ellen and George  

Chicago  2012 photographs   Cincinnati of John Nickinson and EJ Phillips  I haven't really been to Cincinnati, only the airport (which is in Kentucky).  But I did find some nice photographic histories in the airport bookstore.   

Los Angeles  2013 Lucky Baldwin's house and Arboretum  Middletown, NY   New Orleans    New York and John Nickinson   Other letters and the play Burnt Over   Manhattan Walking tours

Philadelphia 2011 photographs  Portland Oregon 2014 photographs San Francisco    Toronto  Vancouver   2014 photographs  Washington DC  April 2014 trips to Arlington and the Lincoln Cottage

I've been experimenting with Google Maps  as they seem incredibly well suited to getting maps of neighborhoods EJ Phillips lived and/or worked in. The web has become increasingly valuable for history and historical accounts over the past 15-20 years. It took me awhile to realize that the Willard and Palmer House Hotels were not the buildings EJ Phillips had stayed at -- though they are on the same sites.  New York, with a wealth of addresses and years of letters has been the most tractable (and compact) place to investigate.  See photographs of Boston .  

Railway stations   Baltimore   Denver  Philadelphia    Washington DC  Western railroad trip planned

I had a wonderful time visiting cousin Sue Spencer in Toronto in June 2005, and getting a sense of John Nickinson's -- and EJ Phillips' time there.  Thomas Phillips [my generation's great-great-great grandfather] helped build the Rideau Ottawa Canal,  "arguably the most scenic waterway in North America, links the lakes and rivers between Ottawa and Kingston, and is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. The locks are operated today much as they were when first opened in 1832." [Sounds like another worthwhile trip someday.]

EJ Phillips grew up in Hamilton and her parents are buried there.  Hamilton, Canada city and cemetery tours   Hamilton postcards   Brief history of the postcard in Canada   EJ Phillips first stage appearances
EJ Phillips' handwritten autobiography found in the Harvard Theatre Collection

New pictures of  EJ Phillips A.R. Miller's Photographic Gallery, Indianapolis  No 45 E. Washington St. [about 1860]
John Nickinson Dewey's Gallery 102 W. Fifth St., bet. Vine & Race, Cincinnati [1862] 
more on Cincinnati and the Nickinsons  new  [to us] John Nickinson obituary   another new [to us] John Nickinson photograph

Allister Hardiman e-mailed from Australia about a photograph of "Auntie" Christine Zavistowski
The Nickinsons and the 1870 census.

EJ Phillips' professional photographs     Need to scan in a new cigarette card of Maud Harrison's I found on eBay.

revised John Nickinson account     New photograph of John Nickinson 

Did John Nickinson ever meet Edgar Allan Poe?    Did they drink on this street in New York?
John Nickinson compared (favorably) with Charles Dickens

Importance of Nickinson's military career for his theatrical work 

Toronto revised and expanded after visiting cousin Sue Spencer in June 2005  walking tour    Royal Lyceum Theatre site today
Lola Montez and John Nickinson   
EJ Phillips enters the picture
New pictures of Charlotte Nickinson Morrison and familyEliza Nickinson Peters Charles PetersVirginia Nickinson Marlowe  Owen Marlowe
Many thanks to Toronto theater historian Mary Shortt. 

1858 Royal Lyceum playbill The great Nautical Drama of the SEA! Lost and Saved! STORM AT SEA! AND THE RESCUE!  John Nickinson may have been a soldier, but grandson Ted Nickinson went to Annapolis and wound up living in Pensacola, a Navy town, as did his parents.    

Another Nickinson production of Uncle Tom -- this time the play is by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In six acts and twelve tableaux, Davies as Uncle Tom, Miles as George Harris (the fugitive), Nickinson as Phineas Fletcher, Miss Kimberly as Eliza, Miss Blanche as Eva, Miss Phillips as Cassey and Emily L. Miles as Topsy (the girl that never was born).  Where did I find this?

No date, no place identifiable "To-morrow evening benefit of J. Nickinson, when a great will be offered. Lady and Gent, front seats 70 cents; single gent, 35 cents other parts of the house admission will be 25 cents. Phineas Fletcher was the Quaker who helped slaves escape. Cassey was a slave belonging to Simon Legree. 
more on Uncle Tom's Cabin

Gilder, Rosamond, Enter the Actress: The First Women in the Theater, NY: Theatre Arts Books, 1960
Lerner, Gerda, The Majority Finds its Past: Placing Women in History: NY Oxford University Press, 1981

Last updated August 28,  2020

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