Cushman, Charlotte, 1816-1876

Alternative names
Birth 1816-07-23
Death 1876-02-18

Biographical notes:

Cushman originally trained as an opera singer, but not having sufficient talent she shifted to the stage. She acted both in the U.S. and in England and lived for a time in Rome among an American expatriate community made up mostly of lesbian artists and sculptors.

From the description of [Letter] 1873 Mar. 12, The Arlington, Washington, D.C. [to] Dear friend / Charlotte Cushman. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 212207092

Epithet: American actress

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000987.0x000070

American actress.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : "Winter Garden", to Mr. Davidson, [1861] Mar. 12. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270530770

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Boston, to F. C. Wemyss of Pratt & Wemyss, 1844 Oct. 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270515843

Charlotte Saunders Cushman was an actress who appeared in productions in the United States and Great Britain. For biographical information, see Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (1971).

From the description of Letters, 1858-1864 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 19332636

From the description of Letters, 1837-1874 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 19332637

Cushman was an American actress who excelled in tragic or character parts; she made her first appearance on stage in 1836 as Lady MacBeth.

From the description of Letters to various correspondents, 1842-1874. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 612378880

From the guide to the Charlotte Cushman letters to various correspondents, 1842-1874., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Boston, Mass. resident.

From the description of Letter, n.d. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 38520654


From the description of Charlotte Cushman papers, 1823-1941 (bulk 1861-1875). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70979903

Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876) was an American actress.

From the description of Letter by Charlotte Cushman to [Mr. Murrays?], 1841. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 79167885

Biographical Note

  • 1816, July 23: Born, Boston, Mass.
  • 1835: Operatic debut as Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Tremont Theatre, Boston, Mass. Strained voice during performance at the St. Charles Theatre, New Orleans, La.; turned to acting
  • 1836: First performance as Lady Macbeth in a benefit production of Macbeth, New Orleans, La. Debut, Bowery Theatre, New York, N.Y., as Lady Macbeth
  • 1837: First appeared as Meg Merrilies in Guy Mannering
  • 1842 - 1844 : Stage manager, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1844: Toured with William Charles Macready Went to England
  • 1845: Debut in London, England, as Bianca in Fazio at the Princess Theatre
  • 1849 - 1852 : Toured in America
  • 1852: Announced retirement and moved to England
  • 1857: Returned to America to appear as Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII, Burton's Theatre, New York, N.Y.
  • 1858 - 1870 : Lived in semi-retirement, Rome, Italy
  • 1860: Performed in New Haven, Conn.
  • 1863: Gave series of performances on behalf of the United States Sanitary Commission
  • 1874: Farewell performance at Booth's Theater, New York, N.Y.
  • 1875: Farewell performance in Boston, Mass. Last appearance on stage, Easton, Pa.
  • 1876, Feb. 18: Died, Boston, Mass.

From the guide to the Charlotte Cushman Papers, 1823-1941, (bulk 1861-1875), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


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  • Benefit performances--19th century
  • Americans--History--19th century
  • Actresses--19th century--Correspondence
  • Theater--United States--History--19th century
  • Theater--History--19th century
  • Finance, Personal
  • Drama
  • Acting
  • Benefit performances--United States--19th century
  • Theater--England--London--History--19th century
  • Actresses
  • Amusements
  • Americans--Italy--Rome--History--19th century


  • Actors
  • Compilers
  • Actresses


  • United States (as recorded)
  • England--London (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Italy--Rome (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Boston (Mass.) (as recorded)