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”.

JOSEPH WHEELOCK SR: LEADING THEATRE ACTOR

This cabinet card features stage actor, Joseph Wheelock Sr. (1839-1908). He began his careeer in Boston and later played leads in various stock companies. His first hit was his appearance in  “The Stranger”. His principal stock company was the Meech Brothers. During his career he appeared with many of the most renowned theatre actors. His fellow cast members included Edwin Booth, Agnes Booth, Adelaide Neilson, Mary Anderson, Edward Sothern and Julia Marlowe. Wheelock was one of the founders and the first President of the Actors Society of America. The society was organized in 1895 and its purpose was to regulate and standardize contractual obligations between performers and producers. The group dissolved in 1912.  This cabinet card was photographed by Napoleon Sarony of New York City, one of the most popular celebrity photographers of this era. To see other photographs in the Cabinet Card Gallery by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”. It is important to note that Joseph Wheelock Sr. had a son who was also an actor. Judging by the estimated age of the subject of this photograph, and the estimated date of this photograph; it seems almost certain that this image is that of Joseph Wheelock Sr., and not Joseph Wheelock Jr.