EDWARD SOTHERN: DISTINGUISHED STAGE ACTOR APPEARING IN “DAVID GARRICK”

This cabinet card features celebrated English actor Edward Askew Sothern (1826-1881). Sothern was known for his comic roles in Great Britain and America. He is often associated with his role in “Our American Cousin (1858 ). Sothern complained to his friend, actor Joseph Jefferson, about the smallness of his part in that play. Joseph Jefferson responded with the classic line “There are no small roles, only small actors”.  Incidentally, “Our American Cousin” was the play that President Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated. He began acting as an amateur in 1848. He made his debut in America in 1852. In 1854 he joined the company at Wallack’s Theater and in 1856 he became a member of Laura Keene’s company. He gained fame starring in “Camille (1856) at Wallack’s theater. In 1864 he created the title role in Tom Robertson’s “David Garrick” (1864) at the Haymarket Theater.This comic play was about eighteenth century actor and theater manager, David Garrick.  This cabinet card photograph captures him in this role in which he had much success. This image was produced by Napoleon Sarony, famed celebrity photographer. To view other images by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

Agnes Ethel: Broadway Stage Actress

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Agnes Ethel (1853-1903) was briefly one of the more popular and promising actresses of her time. She made her debut in New York in 1869 playing Camille. Augustin Daly signed her and she appeared in Play (1869). Daly’s biographer described Ethel as “a slender figure, candid eyes, flowing auburn hair, an oval face, and regular features always lit up by an expression of childish appeal.” Her biggest success was in Daly’s Frou-Frou  (1870). In 1873, he retired at the height of her career when she married Francis Tracy, a millionaire from Buffalo, New York. She stated her reason for leaving the stage was to aim “for quiet domesticity”. She spent post retirement supporting charities and helping struggling actors and actresses. When her husband died, she was involved in a nasty legal dispute about his will. She was eventually awarded his entire fortune. The photographer of this Cabinet card is the well known studio of Gurney & Son.