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 Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln.

Early Years
She was born Mary Frances Moss July 20, 1826 in Winchester, …Read More...

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 all time: the Barrymores. Her legacy lives on in her descendants, including her great-great-granddaughter Drew Barrymore.

Louisa Lane was born …Read More...

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 Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. While performing in Washington, DC, Cushman's audience included President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State …Read More...

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
Born on March 5, 1819, in France, Anna Cora Ogden was one of fourteen children born to Samuel and …Read More...

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 to Europe to regain her health.

Childhood and Early Years
She was born Maria Isabelle Boyd in Martinsburg, Virginia …Read More...

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 actress. She landed some small parts and caught the attention of a theatre owner from New Orleans, who hired her …Read More...