Very little is known about Ada Clifton’s early life before she came to the stage in New York. Ireland places Ada Clifton’s debut on the New York stage in 1855 and labels her as a pupil of Mrs. Maeder (642). We do know that Clifton eventually performed with Laura Keene's company, and alongside Edwin Booth and John Brougham after joining with the company at Burton’s theatre on Broadway (Wingate 213). Clifton did star as Ophelia opposite Edwin Booth in Hamlet and also appeared in the title role of Aladdin beginning July 23, 1860 (Odell Vol.7). Despite her leading roles, Clifton was rather known for being a successful character actress, never ascending to stardom. Clifton is also mentioned often in the
While not much is known about the particulars of her life, Ada Clifton does seem to have made some appearances at Pfaff’s. Justin Martin, names her as one of the actors who “was an occasional visitor to Pfaff’s” (73). Christine Stansell describes an occasion when Clifton was present at Pfaff's "with a journalist beau." The actress is also mentioned as one of "the handful of women artists [who] figure in the accounts of New York Bohemia" (Stansell 111). Thomas Butler Gunn describes a quarrel between Fanny Browne and Adolphus Davenport which seems to have involved Clifton: "There has been a furious row between the actor and his ex-mistress, in consequence of the former's infidelity with another actress, Ada Clifton, as she calls herself. Fanny caught Davenport kissing t'other strumpet, pitched into him, tore his clothes to rags and received a black eye. Cahill says she is constitutionally a wanton, and proposes to avail himself of that idiosyncacy [sic]. He visits her" (18.245).
Listed among the original cast in the role of "Louise, (wife of Gen. Sturner)."
Odell includes reviews of Clifton's 1855-1856 performances. She is also listed among the performers at the second Brougham benefit.[pages:452,464-465, 499, 513, 522, 541, 542(ill), 565,56]
Personne writes that the City Editor of the Tribune has claimed that he is not going to marry Ada Clifton (2).[pages:2]
Clifton acted in the cast of the evening performance of Nine Points of the Lane at the Benefit (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions Clifton in his review of Nine Points of the Law (2).[pages:2]
Clifton is listed as one of the "new engagements" for Laura Keene's Theatre for the next season (3).[pages:3]
Personne mentions that Clifton is in Havana (2).[pages:2]
Personne reviews her performance in The House; or, The Home (2).[pages:2]
Personne reports that Clifton has left Keene's company and is expected to join the company at the Winter Garden (3).[pages:3]
Personne reports that Clifton is slated to play "Hermia" in the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Laura Keene's Theatre (2).[pages:2]
Personne discusses Clifton's role in Brougham's Art and Artifice (3).[pages:3]
SOURCE: Odell, George Clinton. Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VI (1850-1857). New York: Columbia University Press, 1931.
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015