"How Charlotte Cushman Came to Play 'Nancy Sykes,'" The Superior Times, Oct 26, 1878

Dublin Core


"How Charlotte Cushman Came to Play 'Nancy Sykes,'" The Superior Times, Oct 26, 1878


Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892
Citation of Different Periodical / Reprint
Boston Daily Advertiser
United States
Gender Norms
Actors and Actresses--US American
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Intimacy--As Source
Intimacy--With Subjects


The reprint from Brewster's article for the Boston Advertiser speaks to Cushman’s performance as Nancy Sykes before she went to England. It is a glowing review and covers Cushman’s financial precarity and beginning of her career. The article is explicitly based on the knowledge and insights Brewster gained from Brewster’s and Cushman’s "intimacy." It uses direct quotes from Cushman and her family to tell the story.




Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892


Superior Times Printing





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During our intimacy she often related to me incidents of her artistic career, and most interesting were her recitals, for she was as dramatic off the stage as on. Her stage life had begun early, and had been a hard and painful one, with much to contend against--not only poverty, but envy and ill will; she was a brave, vigorous woman, resolute and prompt, and these qualities gain what genius often misses. [...] For some unlucky reason she had gained the ill-will of her manager. One day the casts came from the theater while she was out. Miss Susan Cushman opened the paper and found among other work, an order for her sister to act "Nancy Sykes" in "Oliver Twist," the folliwng week. It was an unimportant character, and always given to actresses of litte or no position in the company. "Charlotte will be furious," was the remark of the mother and sister; and so she was. "But what could I do?" said Miss Cushman, sadly, when she told me the story. "I was at the mercy of the man. It was mid-winter; my bread had to be earned. I dared not refuse or even remosntrate [sic], for I knew he wished to provoke me to break my engagement." [...] Her make-up was a marvel. There was not the sign of feminine vanity about Miss Cushman. She was always ready to sacrifice her appearance at any time to the dresses required by her parts. [...] It was a tremendous success, and each succeeding scene sealed down her triumph, and the discomfiture of the manager. [...]



Superior, WI, US

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Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892, “"How Charlotte Cushman Came to Play 'Nancy Sykes,'" The Superior Times, Oct 26, 1878,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed May 28, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/855.

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