Laura Keene


Performing at Ford's Theatre When Lincoln Was Shot

Laura Keene was a British-American stage actress who became known was the first powerful female theater manager and is credited with establishing New York City as the leading theatrical center in the United States. She was the featured actress in the production of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre, during which John [Read More ...]

Louisa Lane


Stage Actress and Theater Manager

Louisa Lane (1820-1897) was an actress and theater manager of British birth, who commanded great respect as the first female manager of a major American theater. Known for her skill as a character actor and comedian, Louisa Lane was a stage star who ultimately became the matriarch of one of the greatest acting families of [Read More ...]

Charlotte Cushman


Women in Theater: Dramatic Stage Actress

Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876) was the most famous American actress of the nineteenth century, enjoying success on the stage in both the United States and Europe. Cushman's acting career spanned four decades during which she performed many roles in plays by William Shakespeare, such as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Queen Katherine in Henry VIII and [Read More ...]

Anna Cora Mowatt


Writer and Theater Actress in the Civil War Era

Anna Cora Mowatt (1819–1870) was an author, playwright and actress. She was the first upper-middle-class woman to make a career in the theater, and her successes helped to legitimize acting as an occupation for women. Mowatt is generally regarded as a significant contributor to the development of American drama.

Early Years[Read More ...]

Belle Boyd


Confederate Spy in the Civil War

One of the most famous of Confederate spies, Belle Boyd served the Southern forces in the Shenandoah Valley, running her spying operations from her father's hotel in Front Royal, Virginia. Betrayed by her lover, Boyd was arrested on July 29, 1862, and again in June 1863. Finally released but suffering from typhoid, she went [Read More ...]

Pauline Cushman


Civil War Spy and Theater Actress

Pauline Cushman, a Union spy, was born Harriet Wood on June 10, 1833, in New Orleans and spent some of her early childhood there. Her father then moved the family to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pauline did not like it there, and at seventeen she ran away to New York to become an [Read More ...]