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Union Square Theatre Company

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During my vacation in the Summer of ’77 Mr. A.M. Palmer sent for me to play Mrs. Tubbs in “Pink Dominos” which he was to produce in August. I accepted his offer and made my first appearance in the Union Square theatre in August 1877 in the above part. Being still under engagement to [William D] Gemmill [(c. 1845- 1882] and [J Frederick] Scott of the Chestnut Street Theatre Phila. for the Fall Season. I could not remain with Mr. Palmer to travel with Pink Dominos and returned to Philadelphia to open our season. Our season was closing at the end of May 1878 I again made an engagement with Mr. Palmer to join his company then playing in Chicago, Ill. opening in the Duchess in “A Celebrated Case”. At the end of the Summer season I returned to New York and was then made a member of the Stock Company of the “Union Square Theatre” remaining there until May 1885.

Pink Dominoes Houghton Library Harvard Theatre Collection MS THR456

 Her first role with the Union Square Company was Mrs. Tubbs in Pink Dominos, an adaption of the French farce by Hennequin and Delacour, starring  Charles Coghlan (1842-1899) and Agnes Booth, with Maud Harrison as a French serving maid.

All the wives dressed in pink dominos [long loose hooded cloaks, usually worn with a half mask as masquerade costumes] with predictable complications of identity.  This had opened in August 1877, was replaced in mid-September by the previously arranged Struck Oil, while Pink Dominos played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in October, and reopened with a slightly different cast in late October for the regular "season".  Odell did not think the replacement cast as strong as the original.

The parts I was cast for under Mr. Palmer’s management at his Union Square Theatre were Aunt Fanny in “Banker’s Daughter”, “Lady Ogden” in “False Friend”, Countess in “The Creole”, Mrs. Powers in “Daniel Rochat”, Countess in “Danicheffs”, Countess in “Two Orphans” Mrs. Jarvis in “Lights O’ London” , Eleanor Mormay in “Felicia”, Tabitha Harewood [Trump] in “Conscience”, Prudence in “Camille”, Marianne Florence in “The Rantzaus”.  EJ Phillips writing her autobiography for AM Palmer, now in the Harvard Theatre Collection

At the close of her Philadelphia engagement [in 1877], Mrs. Phillips became a member of A.M. Palmers Stock Company at the Union Square Theatre.  She remained under Mr. Palmer's Management for twenty years"  [obituary from unidentified Cincinnati newspaper].  In March of 1888 she refers to "my tenth consecutive winter in this city (New York). 

Afterwards in New York EJ Phillips was identified with all the successes at the Union Square Theatre.  She then went with the Madison Square Theatre and from there to Wallack's (now Palmer's) when AM Palmer took the house.  She was at one time in Lester Wallack's company and figured notably in an old lady character in the notable production of Rosedale [or The Rifle Ball by Edward Bruce Hanley, adapted by John Lester Wallack Jan 1881/ Mar 1894]"[Harvard Theatre Collection  Marie Burrough's Art Portfolio of Stage Celebrities 1894

Son Albert Edward Nickinson 1878, was 15 years old, when the family moved to New York. 

Albert Marshall (sometimes given as Marshman) Palmer (1838-1905) was the son of a Baptist clergyman.  He was trained as a lawyer and worked as a librarian and accountant before turning to the theatre.  more on Palmer

AM Palmer          Union Square Theatre 


Union Square Theatre, Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection
MS Thr 4535

Midway through the 1878-1879 season, Palmer could boast that in the preceding five years no other major theatre in the world, except the Theatre Francais, had so little change in its leading artists ... He sent out traveling companies, because he was obliged to maintain "the largest theatrical company of first class artists ever kept by any theatre in an English-speaking country" (New York Tribune January 2 1879).  "His employees were always secure with him" Arthur Hornblow remembered.

"Rehearsals of a new script at the Union Square were routinely greater in number than at any other American theatre -- some pieces being readied for six successive weeks, except Sundays. ... Palmer asked his players to appear in a wide variety of plays and in roles large and small.  Even the most famous accepted small roles, for Palmer convinced his company to set aside personal aggrandizement and to pursue the success of the play. Not the least of his attributes was the ability to select good advisers and associates.  His play-reader and adapter, AR Cazauran had an eager and adventurous taste in drama and the fact that he often recommended and pleaded the cause of plays a little out of the conventional line of the day may be the reason for the statement that three of Palmer's most successful productions The Two Orphans, Sir Charles Young's melodrama Jim the Penman, and Alabama by Augustus Thomas, were urged upon him against his own will and judgment.  But the choice of Cazauran as play-reader was itself an indication not only of Palmer's intelligence, but of his willingness to stand by the decisions of his associates in matters they understood, sometimes better than he did. Arthur Hobson Quinn, History of the American Drama 1927

Palmer has been said to have done more than any other manager of his day to encourage native dramatic ability...Although he himself is not credited with the creation of any great actors, his companies were always well chosen, often by the addition of favorites from his rival's houses." Dictionary of American Biography

The Life and Work of David Belasco: The Bishop of Broadway outlines Palmer's first trips with this company to San Francisco, in November 1877 and March  1878 "after a thrilling Chicago engagement". David Belasco directed that season. James O'Neill was part of that company.

Golden Age of American theatre & Touring Stage Companies 
By January 1882 the number of first-class American stock companies had diminished to three (of which the Union Square was one) giving employment to about 100 actors and actresses.  "The remainder of the fraternity," wrote the New York Times, "must wander over the land for a livelihood, just as the strollers of old were wont to do" (January 1, 1882). There were upward of 3,500 theatres, opera houses, and places of amusement in the United States in 1887, giving employment to about 40,000 persons."

Blum's Pictorial History of the American Theatre notes that "the 1880's brought to an end what historians call the 'golden era' of the American theatre and began the [single play, as opposed to a company with a varying repertory] 'combination system' that was in the next decade to kill the brilliant stock companies, bringing theatres and "the road" under the control of powerful managers and theatrical combines who found it more profitable to send complete productions on tour from city to city rather than to maintain local stock companies and mount new productions in each place. Plays were often produced more with a view to road tour profits than for their artistic merit."

However the number of actors was still expanding. "AM Palmer's count of American actors and actresses in the legitimate theatre was fewer than 800 in 1860, about 4,500 in 1888 and 7,000 by 1895. Better wages, increasing social respectability, and the example of celebrity attained by a few were the attractions drawing people of ever higher levels of education into the theatre." [History of World Theatre]

EJ Phillips' career was winding down at a particularly difficult time for actors.  The rise of the Syndicate in 1896, of which Charles Frohman and AL Hayman were important participants, the decline of stock companies and the rise of the star system made life challenging for many.

Wikipedia Combination companies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combination_company  Broadway theatres 1890s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_theatre#1890s_and_early_1900s
Stock company https://www.britannica.com/art/stock-company  Touring company https://www.britannica.com/art/touring-company

An obituary notes The Two Orphans as one of EJ Phillips well known roles.  Hart Jackson's translation of Les Deux Orphelines (by Eugene Corman and Adolphe Phillipe D'Ennery) was first performed at the Union Square Theatre in 1874, with Kate Claxton and Kitty Blanchard in the leading roles.  Odell called the play "one of the great theatrical successes of all time in America" and it played almost continually through the rest of that century. 

Two Orphans Collection 1874-1926, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Univ. of Texas at Austin http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uthrc/00358/00358-P.html

The "tasteful, elegant, and ample" Union Square Theatre in the center of the Union Place Hotel, on 14th Street, on the south side of Union Square,  between Broadway and 4th Avenue, was designed and build by architect HM Simons for brewer-politician [and AM Palmer partner] Sheridan Shook.  It began as a theater for "reputable burlesque and vaudeville" in 1871, but AM Palmer renovated and "transformed it into a home of legitimate drama" where it served as the home of the Union Square Theatre Stock Company from 1872-1883.

After first season losses, the theatre showed profits for ten years, and Union Square companies made lucrative tours after 1877.  When company actors were not occupied in New York, "Palmer sent them forth, in the belief they were better at work than lounging around New York, thereby making money for the other managers, for his artists, and for himself.  This system is notable not so much for its sheer magnititude as because it was new.  Palmer's first aim was the perpetuation of the best New York stock company that was possible; his means toward that goal were no longer those of the old-school manager but of a modern producer.

From the first, Palmer employed a large staff: a treasurer, assistant treasurer, advertising agent, bill distributor, scene painter, two assistant scene painters, stage carpenter and machinist, gas man, property man, assistant property man, door keeper, orchestra leader, house orchestra, stable of house dramatists and for 1872-73 an acting company of sixteen men ... and a dozen actresses...to be joined later by several more female players, and by two visiting stars."  Durham 1986

The last play put on by Palmer was in 1883, and the company was disbanded in 1885.  The theatre burned in 1888, was rebuilt but never re-established as a serious theatre, and demolished in 1936.

In 1884  Henry Arthur Jones adapted Ibsen's Doll's House for the English using the title Breaking a Butterfly.  Author of more than sixty plays "Jones was one of the most popular and productive dramatists of his day", active until the beginning of World War I.   

Union Square is on Broadway, between East 14th and East 17th Streets.  Today "it has lost the repose and charm of its beginnings as a residential square, the glamour of its period as New York's theatrical district, and the fervour of its days as a political forum" Blue Guide, 1983.  Union Square now seems to be a thriving center of off-Broadway productions.  

Sisters Marjorie and Mary Glen in Union Square, Nov. 2002

Odell's 15 volume Annals of the New York Stage is a useful source of information on EJ Phillip's years in New York, before the letters begin. 

In  May- July 1878 she was appearing in Chicago in A Celebrated Case as the Duchess.  By November she was back in New York in Banker's Daughter as Fanny Holcombe, the banker's daughter's widowed aunt, through May 1879.

James O'Neill as D'Artagnan in The Musketeers,  Strang's Famous Actors, 1900

more on James O'Neill   Father of Eugene O'Neill and best known for over 6,000 performances as the Count of Monte Cristo.

She did appear in the third act of The Danicheffs in Dec 1878 as part of in the testimonial for John Gilbert at Wallacks, on the fiftieth anniversary of his theatrical debut.  EJ Phillips played the Countess and Walden Ramsey Vladimir. Playwright  Dion Boucicault, Ada Dyas and Lester Wallack (and many others) were also involved.

EJ Phillips was cast as Mrs. Holcomb in The Banker's Daughter, by Bronson Howard, "then the best playwright in America " [Odell]. The play had been around since 1873 and originally had an unhappy ending.  Bronson Howard gave great credit to AR Cazauran as "reconstructor" (JH Stoddart's word, according to Recollections of a Player, which also quotes Charles Coghlan as saying the play "was the greatest trash he had ever heard" when it was first read to the company.)  With a happy ending and Charles Thorne, Sara Jewett, Maud Harrison, Walden Ramsay, WJ LeMoyne and Sarah Cowell, [later Mrs. LeMoyne] the play was a great hit.

"This was really Maud Harrison's arrival at a place she never lost in the public estimation -- the accepted representative of high comedy parts, bright, refined, charming.  Few actresses have been so lovely as Sara Jewett and few so vivacious and delightful as Maud Harrison....And Mrs. EJ Phillips in this play succeeded Fanny Morant as leading "old Woman"; she never left (nor did Miss Harrison leave) the Union Square company till it disbanded in the spring of 1885; and in the autumn of 1885 they were both found with Stoddart, Ramsey, &c. in the company of their former manager, AM Palmer at the Madison Square Theatre, where again they appeared for many years.  That was one of the glories of the old stock system -- the permanency of the position assured one, and, I might add, the affection with which one was regarded by one's devoted friends in the audience...Those were the glad days of the theatre.Odell

The hundredth performance of The Banker's Daughter was celebrated in March 1879 and the run ended with the hundred and thirty seventh performance in April.  This was the last season Fanny Morant appeared with the company.  The Banker's Daughter was a rewrite of Howard's 1873 play Lillian's Last Love about "how a woman grows to love the older man she married for his money. Oxford Companion

EJ Phillips again appeared in the Banker's Daughter in the fall of 1879 and in  November-  December in Camille with Charles Thorne and Harry Hogan and then at the Union Square Theatre in January 1880 as Lady Ogden in The False Friend by Edgar Fawcett (based on the Tichborne case).  

False Friend program

Charles Thorne played the impersonator of the heir (believed by him to be dead).  When the genuine heir appeared he was assumed to be the impostor until the clever sister obtained a confession.  Ellie Wilton [see letter of Oct. 21, 1887 for EJ Phillips's visit to her beachfront house on Long Island] had first appeared in this season, in French Flats and then in this (as Rebecca). 

AM Palmer wrote in his History of the Union Square Theatre "“The performance was fine in many particulars… To Mrs. Phillips belonged one of the most striking scenes that fell to her in her long service at the house….She was a marvelous picture of a very, very old woman: the aunt of the true heir, made up of keen suspicion, delicate instinct and worldly wisdom. She refuses to accept the impostor and her resistance is about to foil his scheme when she is stricken down by a thunderbolt at the decisive interview which is to reveal the villain. …The intensity with which the scene was worked out by Mrs. Phillips was quite remarkable.

 The New York season ended with a three week revival of The Two Orphans, EJ Phillips playing the Countess.  Original cast members included Charles Thorne, Ida Vernon and John Parselle.  At the conclusion of the New York season the Union Square company went to Boston.   

Haverley’s Theatre NEXT WEEK COMMENCING OCT. 4 A.M. Palmer’s UNION SQUARE THEATRE COMPANY Entire and complete, will present the great Society Play LED ASTRAY  The cast included Chas. R. Thorne, Owen Fawcette, Walden Ramsey, Joseph Whiting, WJ LeMoyne, Miss Maude Harrison as Mathilde, Miss EJ Phillips as the Baroness de Rivonrierre, Miss Nellie Morant, and Miss Sarah Cowell. New and elegant scenery and effects. Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1880 Sat Oct 2 http://www.newspapers.com/image/50505131/ 

The regular fall season at the Union Square began in October 1880 with Sardou's play Daniel Rochat.  The plot involved the conflict between a free thinker who offered to sacrifice his principles (played by Charles Thorne) and a deeply religious woman who refused a compromise repugnant to her beliefs (played by Sara Jewett).  EJ Phillips played Mrs. Powers.  "There was some fear that, in 1880, so frank a discussion would offend patrons of the theatre, but the magnificent acting of Palmer's company and the beautiful presentation of the play won over any possible opposition.  Daniel Rochat ran until mid December, when Palmer revived The Banker's Daughter for a month.

EJ Phillips is obviously standing center.
Daniel Rochat 
Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection MS Thr 4535

In January 1881 Palmer produced AR Cazauran's adaptation of D'Ennery's play The Creole (EJ Phillips playing the Countess de Maillepre, the cast also included Charles Thorne, John Parselle, Walden Ramsey, JH Stoddart, Owen Fawcett and Maud Harrison) "but the play was impossible and not even the excellent cast could save it".

In February The Danicheff's (from 1876-77) was revived with Thorne, Parselle and Stoddart in their original roles.  "But no one could expect Mrs. Phillips, good routiniere, to replace the magnificent Fanny Morant as the Countess Danicheff, a part in which Miss Morant had been superb in the expression of haughty pride and iron insistence on the feudal rights of domination in the lives of her son and dependents".  Others in the cast were Walden Ramsey, Maud Harrison and Louisa Eldridge The Danicheffs lasted only until the end of February. 

Rose Eytinge returned (after five years) on Feb 28th, 1881 for a special engagement in AR Cazauran's adaptation of Adolph Belot's  Le Fils de Coralie, called Felicia or Woman's Love.  Rose Eytinge played the "farmer woman forced by fate to reveal her shady past in order that her illegitimate son (Charles Thorne) might marry the girl of his choice (Sara Jewett playing Dolores Mornay).  EJ Phillips played Eleanor Mornay. 

Palmer had initiated a popular series of special Clara Morris matinees that winter, and EJ Phillips replaced Marie Wilkins in Conscience at some point.  "The regular season closed on the 30th of April, a term, except for Daniel Rochat and the Clara Morris matinees, not among the most glorious in the history of the Union Square."

The 1881 season began late, on November 14th with a revival of Daniel Rochat.  After two weeks, six performances of Camille were staged "with the great cast of last season, including Clara Morris, Maud Harrison, Eleanor Carey, Netta Guion, Mrs. Phillips, Thorne, Parselle, De Belleville, Fawcett and Walden Ramsey". 

And on Dec 5th George Robert Sim's "powerful melodrama" The Lights o' London with "the falsely accused hero, the villainous cousin, the obdurate father, the long suffering wife, the comic relief, the elaborate scenery, the frequent change of scenes, virtue triumphant and villainy foiled.  EJ Phillips played Mrs. Jarvis to John Parselle's "Dicken's like character of Jarvis "of Jarvis'  Temple of the Legitimate" and Maud Harrison their son Shakespeare Jarvis.  The play was a great success and the last time Charles Thorne and Sara Jewett appeared together, as Thorne left the company at the end of the season and died a few months later. 

"Some must have missed Marie Wilkins as Mrs. Jarvis, a part she should have played admirably, whereas the competent, conscientious Mrs. Phillips lacked something of the required touches of broad comedy".

James O'Neill returned to the Union Square in January 1882, in The New Magdalen, and Virginia Buchanan was also in that cast.  Alexander Salvini and Clinton Stuart were in Article 47.  The Lights o' London celebrated its hundredth performance in March 1882. When the regular season closed in April, The Lights o' London moved to Brooklyn for two weeks, with Walden Ramsey replacing Charles Thorne. 

The 1882-83 season began quite late on Nov 28th with Erkmann- Chatrian's The Rantzaus, which ran only until January 8th.  EJ Phillips played Marianne Florence. A Parisian Romance by Octave Feuillet, adapted by AR Cazauran then opened, with Richard Mansfield replacing JH Stoddart, who had asked to be released from the part of the roué, and making Mansfield famous overnight.  

This was the last Union Square play produced by Palmer, who on May 14, 1883, "severed his connections with the house, and Sheridan Shook and J.W Collier then assumed control of its destinies.  One by one, the old accustomed arrangements disintegrate into something new and questionable". 

Other colleagues from this time included  JB Polk James O'Neill, JH Stoddart,  Ida Vernon and George Giddens

EJ Phillips first trip to California seems to have been in August 1882 when she appeared in Sacramento and San Francisco in Banker's Daughter, False Friend, Lights o' London and Daniel Rochat. By November 1882 she was appearing as Marianne Florence in The Rantzaus, through January 1883. In April there was a one week revival of Banker's Daughter and by May AM Palmer had left the Union Square Theatre to Shook and Collier.  Palmer then went to Europe for a year and returned to New York in  1884 and was elected President of the Actor's Fund for the next 12 years.

Her second trip to California was in August and September 1883, with a stops in Denver, and Sacramento and six weeks in San Francisco with Led Astray and The Lights o' London. She was in The ckara nin in San francisco in  September-October 1994.

next: Climbing Pike's Peak Aug. 1883

The 1883-84 Union Square Company season opened in August in New York with Vera the Nihilist by Oscar Wilde, but "the distinguished playwright of the future had, in 1883, much to learn about dramatic composition and [the play] was a ghastly failure".  It ran for one week in August 1883. EJ Phillips couldn't have seen it since she was in San Francisco, writing Albert about climbing Pike's Peak  Did she hear about it before or after her trip?

Clara Morris was Oscar Wilde's choice for Vera, and when that didn't work out Marie Wilkins played the Nihilist heroine.   He had also hoped to recruit C. P. Flockton

This was followed by revivals of The Great Divorce Case and Ruth's Romance and Pink Dominos.  Next (Nov 26th) was an elaborately mounted production of Robert Buchanan's melodrama Storm BeatenMaud Harrison, known for her light comedy was cast in "the tearful struggles of a wronged girl".  McKee Rankin, then managing the Third Avenue Theatre returned to the Union Square after many years, and was one of the two mortal enemies (the other was Joseph E. Whiting) who met in mortal struggle on an ice floe.  [McKee Rankin was eventually Lionel Barrymore's father-in-law.]  EJ Phillips played Maud Harrison's and McKee Rankin's mother.   A History of the New York Stage reported that the 13th Union Square season opened Nov 26 1883, under Shook and Collier, with Robert Buchanan's Stormbeaten for its first American performance, with EJ Phillips as Dame Christiansen, and Willie Seymour, John Parselle, McKee Rankin, Maud Harrison, Marie Greenwald, Nellie Wetherall and JH Stoddart in the cast. It was acted for the last time Jan  26, 1884.

It was then replaced by Bartley Campbell's Separation with Charles Coghlan and Eleanor Carey.  EJ Phillips and Maud Harrison played Miss Fanny and Miss Mamie Maxwell.  Separation ran until the end of the regular season on April 5th, 1884 and opened in Boston in late April with EJ Phillips, and in Chicago in August.

EJ Phillips also went west in the summer of 1884.  A letter from Salt Lake City Sept. 28, 1888 refers to the bathing accommodations being much improved since she was there four years ago.  She was in San Francisco by September for seven weeks, playing Mrs. Jarvis in The Lights o' London.

Stormbeaten program, New York 1884

Just how big was this cast with Sailors, whalers, peasants, etc. etc. etc. ?

A new AR Cazauran play The Fatal Letter, a Civil War drama with a Confederate heroine had Charles Walcott(husband of Isabella Nickinson) in the cast, but closed after two weeks and was declared a failure. 

The final Union Square Season began on October 6th, 1884 with a costume play in the time of Louis XV and a "dire failure" The Artist's Daughter by Elliott Barnes, with JH Barnes as "a persecuted hero", JH Stoddart as "a dreadful villain" and Sara Jewett as the mother of the prologue and the daughter of the main play.  EJ Phillips played Nanette Ponchon and Maud Harrison, Ida Vernon and Marie Greenwald were also in the cast. 

On Oct. 25th this was replaced by a revival of French Flats, "a wild helter-skelter of pursuit from flat to flat and hiding of various characters in room after room or closet after closet" and a jealous tenor and impressionable baroness.  EJ Phillips played the Marchioness, Sara Jewett the Baroness, and JB Polk returned as the tenor.

A third failure opened on Nov 18th, D'Ennery's Duprez and Son, Bankers and Brokers (EJ Phillips played Suzanne) and closed on Dec 6th.  On Dec 8th another French farce Three Wives to One Husband by Grenet-Dancourt opened.  EJ Phillips played Mrs. Batterby with Maud Harrison her boarding school daughter Euphemia.  JE Whiting appeared in a pith helmet and puggaree [turban] and Sara Jewett as a Parisian grisette.  JH Stoddart writes in Recollections of A Player "There was in this a noisy burlesque scene where many of the characters were...kicking up a row and knocking the furniture about...Poor Miss Jewett was given a brass coal scuttle and a pair of tongs, and at certain cues had to beat upon the scuttle...as a means of augmenting the uproar.  I was at her elbow doing something equally absurd and can even now (1902) see her look of despair as she said in a helpless aside:  "Oh, Mr. Stoddart, after what we have seen on this stage!"  Oh, -- bang, bang!  "Isn't this dreadful?"

The last production of the Union Square Company opened on Feb 4th 1885 A Prisoner for Life adapted by Louis Nathal from Stella by Anicet Bourgeois.  The scenery was particularly elaborate and included an avalanche which overtook Maud Harrison when, disguised as a boy, she was trying to rescue her father JH Barnes the "prisoner for life".  John Parselle played Louis XIV (and died during the run) and EJ Phillips played Mme Marguerite.

JH Barnes wrote in his autobiography Forty Years on the Stage "I received an offer by cable to play the leading business of the Union Square Theatre, New York in the autumn. Now this theatre, under the management of Messrs Shook and AM Palmer had long been about the foremost in the United States. ..I took all my belongings to New York with me and began my engagement on Oct 6 1884. But unfortunately I was destined to suffer a great disappointment. Mr. Shook was still the financial partner, but Mr. Palmer had left , and had gone into management at the Madison Square Theatre. His successor, Mr. James Collier, whose experience had been gained in a broader and coarser field of work, was in no way his equal in either judgment of plays  or stage management, and I had a disastrous season as regards plays and parts. Forty Years on the Stage others (principally) and myself 1915  http://books.google.com/books?id=F54WAAAAYAAJ&dq=transgressor+gattie&source=gbs_navlinks_s

A NY Times article (Jan 30 1885) discusses theatrical salaries and appears under the headline "STARS AT UNION- SQUARE A RADICAL CHANGE BY SHOOK & COLLIER.  "Since AM Palmer left the Union-Square, Shook & Collier have continued in his footsteps, maintaining a first-class stock company, of artists commanding high salaries and producing attractions requiring the outlay of great sums of money ... This policy is now to be abandoned for a year at least, and after the close of this season the stock company of the Union-Square will be disbanded...The change in the policy of the Union-Square will have no effect on the traveling enterprises of Shook & Collier who will keep their companies on the road as heretofore...[Mr. Shook is quoted as saying] "The main reason, however, is the very general depression of business ...We think the salaries of first- class stock artists are entirely too large, considering the present state of the country ... The salaries of good actors and actresses are as high now or even higher than they were during the war, when everything was prosperous.

"Under the regime of James Collier, Palmer's   successor as manager, the Union Square fell quickly from former eminence. Collier...was in no way [Palmer's] equal in either judgment of plays or stage management". Durham 1986

EJ Phillips' New York Dramatic Mirror obituary lists "those with whom Mrs. Phillips was more particularly associated were JH Stoddart, Rose Eytinge, Fanny Morant, Clara Morris, Stuart Robson, Maud Harrison, Agnes Booth, Sara Jewett, Annie Russell, Virginia Harned, Charles Thorne, Ida Vernon. Herbert Kelcey Frederick Robinson, Thomas Whiffen, EM Holland and Kate Claxton."

The New York Clipper obituary had a similar list consisting of JH Stoddart, John Parselle, Rose Eytinge, Fanny Morant, Stuart Robson, Agnes Booth, Maud Harrison, Sara Jewett, Virginia Harned, Annie Russell, Charles Thorne, Ida Vernon and McKee Rankin

Virginia Harned as Alice in Alice of Old Vincennes, Strang's Players & Plays of the last quarter century, 1902
more on Virginia Harned 
NY Public Library pictures https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/search/index?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=virginia+harned

Kate Claxton
(1848-1924) was cast as Louise, the blind girl in The Two Orphans in 1874, the part with which she was identified the rest of her life in a play with "abundant action, pathos, bitter anguish and a conflict between love and duty.  Many of her colleagues considered her a jinx as she performed in several theaters on the night they burned down."   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Claxton    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19169896/kate-claxton

Rose Eytinge (1835-1911) Specialized in high comedy and tragedy, best known for her  Nancy in Oliver Twist.  Considered temperamental and often unmanageable.  Memoirs of Rose Eytinge (1905)  https://books.google.com/books?id=6yMMAQAAIAAJ&dq=rose+eytinge+cleopatra&source=gbs_navlinks_s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Eytinge  "Considered to be the first actress to earn a three figure salary"  https://jwa.org/people/eytinge-rose
photo as Cleopatra http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/ref/collection/19thcenturyactors/id/195

Sara Jewett (c. 1847-1899)  Not Sarah Orne Jewett http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/soj/bio/name.htm Sara Jewett played Adrienne in the Union Square's A Celebrated Case.  http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/maude/mplay9.html  Catalog of Dramatic Portraits
1887 cigarette card https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/422427

Fanny Morant (1821-1900) Began her career in London and decided to stay in the US after a starring tour through the country.  Remained a member of James Wallacks company until hired by Edwin Booth for his new theatre. (History American Stage)   The attractive, if somewhat mouse-faced, performer was born in England and performed at Drury Lane before settling in America n 1853. [Oxford Reference] Catalog of Dramatic Portraits  1864 http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/ref/collection/19thcenturyactors/id/417  Charles D Fredericks

Clara Morris (1846/49-1925) Canadian actress, known for her "portrayal of unrestrained, almost hysterical emotion and the first of the "realistic" school of emotional acting.  Oscar Wilde tried very hard to persuade Clara Morris to play Vera in his play Vera the Nihilist  more on Clara Morris


John Parselle (1820-1885) Catalog Dramatic Portraits  Sarony portrait http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/ref/collection/19thcenturyactors/id/407 
John Parselle in A Celebrated Case https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-b91a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Charles Thorne (1840-1883) Son of acting parents and known for his "good looks and dashing personality"  One critic said of him "His instincts are mock-heroic, bully boy instincts, but he knows better."  He never knew enough or had the ambition to overcome these instincts thoroughly; he was too handsome and easygoing perhaps.  Another critic remarked after his funeral (which raised a teapot tempest which branded Thorne "an atheist") "Thorne didn't know enough to be an atheist."  implying "that he lacked the mental equipment required of the best actors". Dictionary of American Biography

The Union Square Theatre Wikipedia article accessed 2018 Feb 11  says it "was a Broadway theatre that opened in 1870, was converted into a cinema in 1921 and closed in 1936.

Next: Madison Square Theatre Company

Connolly, LW, Theatrical Touring and Founding in North America, Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1982.
Durham, Walter B. American Theatre Companies 1881-1930, Westport CT : Greenwood Press, 1987.
Eytinge, Rose Memories of Rose Eytinge, FA Stokes Co 1905 
Henderson, Mary C., The City and the Theatre: New York Playhouses from Bowling Green to Times Square,  Clifton NJ : James T. White & Co, 1973.
Ireland,  Joseph Norton, Records of the New York Stage from 1750-1860, New York : TH Morrell, 1866-67.
Jenkins, Stephen, The Greatest Street in the World: The Story of Broadway, Old and New, From the Bowling Green to Albany, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1911
Lancaster, AE, AM Palmer and the Union Square Theatre, The Theatre Magazine, Jan 1903 pages 62-65  https://books.google.com/books?id=m-VKAQAAMAAJ&vq=palmer&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Morris, Clara, Life on the Stage: My Personal Experiences and Recollections, New York: McClure, Phillips & Co, 1901 https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.161119
Morrison, William, Broadway Theatres: History & Architecture, Dover Publications, Inc. 1999.
New York Times Theater Reviews, New York: New York Times, 1975. Vol. 1. 1870-1885, Vol. 2 1886-1895, 
Odell, George Clinton Densmore,  Annals of the New York Stage, New York : Columbia University Press, 1927.
Palmer, Albert Marshman, History of the Union Square Theatre under AM Palmer's management, 1904 typescript, Harvard Theatre Collection MS Thr 173  
Poggi, Jack,  Theater  in American: The Impact of Economic Forces 1870-1967, Ithaca: Cornell University  Press, 1968.
Rothman, John, Origin and Development of Dramatic Criticism in the New York Times 1851-1990,  New York:  Arno Press, 1970.
Timberlake, Craig, Life and Work of David Belasco: The Bishop of Broadway, New York, Library Publishers, 1954 https://www.questia.com/library/1440461/the-bishop-of-broadway-the-life-work-of-david-belasco
Towse, John Ranken, Sixty Years of the Theater, New York Funk & Wagnalls 1916  http://archive.org/details/sixtyyearstheat01towsgoog has chapters on the Union Square Theatre Company
Union Square Theatre Records 1874-1895 Harvard Theatre Collection, MS Thr 4535
Seven boxes with correspondence with AM Palmer, autographs and autobiographies collected from actors. "papers are somewhat organized."

The William Seymour Theatre Collection, Princeton NJ has a fragment of the Union Square Daybook and Notebook, and Palmer's Theatre comes up in the William Seymour correspondence.

New York City Dept. of Parks, http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=6533 History of Union Square
Union Square Theatre, circa 1895- Virtual Vaudeville Project  http://vectors.usc.edu/projects/index.php?project=39&thread=DesignersStatement

Union Square Walking Tour, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RbSZztuDqA

Video Broadway and Union Square New York 1901/1903  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GdqAVGYZcE&feature=related 

The Walter Hampden-Edwin Booth Theatre Collection and Library at the Player's Club (New York) has AM Palmers "inlaid, voluminous Record of the Union Square Theatre, including autobiographies, playbills, clippings, and so on".  Hampden Booth Library http://www.hampdenbooth.org/index.php   Catalog http://www.hampdenbooth.org/search.php

Last updated Dec. 28, 2019
1872 9 16   New York NY Olympic Theatre Wife The  1 week and 1 night        
1872 9 27   New York NY Olympic Theatre Hunchback  Olympic closed Sept 28      
1872 9 28   New York NY Olympic Theatre received salary from the Olympic for 2 weeks ending 9/28    
1872 9 30   New York NY   Board paid for children in Indianapolis         
1875 2     New York NY   travel expenses EJP board and meals        
1877 1 to 1882 New York NY   Statue of Liberty arm and torch in Madison Square Park for fundraising    
1877 8 15   New York NY Union Square EJP joined AM Palmer's Union Square Theatre Co    
1877 8 15 to sep 15 77 New York NY Union Square Pink Dominos   Mrs Tubbs    
1877 8   to 1893 New York NY   Golden age of American Stock companies AMP Palmer's Union & Madison Sq Theatre Companies
1878 11 30 to Apr 79 New York NY Union Square Banker's daughter Fanny Holcombe banker's daughter's widowed aunt    
1878 12   to 1881 New York NY Wallacks Theatre Danicheffs testimonial Countess Danicheff     Parselle John
1879 2 7 New York NY Standard Theatre HMS Pinafore with Thomas Whiffen Blanche Galton as Buttercup    
1879 9 30 New York NY Union Square Bankers Daughter Fanny Holcombe    
1879 9 New York NY   Albert to New York employed by JC Johnson per 1882 letter Dr Nagle        
1879 12 31 New York NY Fifth Avenue Theatre Pirates of Penzance premiere    
1879 12     New York NY Union Square Camille Madame Prudence      
1880 1 8th reg season New York NY Union Square False friend   Lady Ogden    
1880 3 22 or May 3 wk? New York NY Union Square Two Orphans   EJP Countess        
1880 10 17 to Dec 14 New York NY Union Square Daniel Rochat   Mrs Powers    
1880 10 25   New York NY Union Square French flats   Marchioness    
1881 2 1 to end Feb New York NY Union Square Danicheffs revival Countess Danicheff replacing Fanny Morant    
1881 2 7   New York NY Acad Music Children's Carnival 5th Annual       Mr Seymour had a box at
1881 2 28   New York NY Union Square Felicia or Woman's Love Eleanor Mornay     Cazauran AR adaptation
1881 3 17 winter New York NY Union Square Conscience   Tabitha Trump    
1881 8 15   New York NY Madison Sq Theatre Bankers Daughter Isabella Mrs and Mrs CM Walcott in Bronson Howard's Cazauran adapted            
1881 9 22   New York NY Standard Theatre Patience New York Premiere          
1881 11 14   New York NY Union Square Daniel Rochat   Mrs Powers    
1881 11 28 6 perfs New York NY Union Square Camille Madame Prudence      
1881 11 29 NYT New York NY Wallacks Theatre Rosedale or the Rifle Ball Mother Mix an old gypsy queen?    
1881 12 5 to April 5 New York NY Union Square Lights O London Mrs Jarvis    
1882 1 9   New York NY Chickering Hall Oscar Wilde lecture -- could EJP have gone?  She was in New York     
1882 1 17 to Feb 8 New York NY Union Square Creole The   Countess de Maillepre    
1882 2 9 to Feb 28 New York NY Union Square Danicheffs   EJP Countess Danicheff     
1882 6 8   New York NY   Actor's Fund founded          
1882 9 15   New York NY   Dr Nagle writes of Albert Nickinson that he's known hm for the past few years is of good moral character            
1882 11 28 to Jan 8 New York NY Union Square Rantzaus The   Marianne Florence    
1883 1 1   New York NY   Albert Nickinson to work for LD Brown as salesmen  machine twist sewing silk $85/monthb      
1883 4 9 1 week New York NY Union Square Bankers Daughter 1 week revival    
1883 5 14   New York NY Union Square AMP left Union Square, Shook and Collier took over    
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
1883 11 27 TO Jan 26 New York NY Union Square Storm beaten   Dame Christiansen   mother Maud Harrison McKee Rankin  
1883 11 28   New York NY Union Square Rantzaus The   Marianne    
1884 1 25   New York NY Union Square Storm beaten 75th performance Dame Christiansen of the Fen Farm    
1884 1 27 to April 4 New York NY Union Square Separation   Mamie Maxwell    
1884 10 6 dire failure New York NY Union Square Artist's Daughter Mme De Vaux     NY Clipper Oct 11
1884 10 26   New York NY Union Square French Flats revival Marchioness    
1884 11 18 failure New York NY Union Square Duprez & Son Bankers & Brokers Suzanne    
1884 11 26   New York NY Union Square Storm beaten   Dame Christiansen     Shook & Collier
1884 12 13   New York NY Union Square Three wives to one husband Mrs Batterby   French farce Mrs Phillips satisfactory
1884 ?   to 1885 New York NY Madison Sq Theatre Charles Walcott member Madison Square Theatre Co         Esmerelda   
1885 2 4   New York NY Union Square Prisoner for Life Mme Marguerite    

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