Mary Fox (nee Hewins) was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1842, a precocious child with an affinity for the fields of literature and drama. She ran away to join a circus as a child, but left after two weeks to embark with a theatrical company ("Mary Fox"), making her first acting appearance in Troy, New York. She later appeared at Laura Keene’s Varieties in New York (Wilson & Fiske 521), and was one of several actresses who accompanied Ada Clare to Pfaff’s (J. Browne 157). The New York Times obituary of Henry Clapp identifies Fox as both a Pfaffian and as a correspondent for the St. Louis Republican who wrote under the name "M. H. B.” (7). She also wrote as Giddy Gusher for the New York Dramatic Mirror. James Grant Wilson and John Fiske write, “She has written many poems of merit, and dramatized several works, which have been successfully produced on the stage” (521). She wrote a play titled "Philip Herne," produced by Manager J. M. Hill, and was in the process of writing one for Joseph Wheelock at the time of her death. Fox also lectured and was well recieved in Europe for her "descriptive and chatty letters" ("Mary Fox"). Her obituary describes her as "one of the most original, prolific, and entertaining newspaper writers of her time."
Although not much is known about Fox, what is known suggests that she had a colorful life. Mentioned as an “old favorite” to the stage in the 1867-8 season, Fox took part in The Glorious Seven, a burlesque that George C.D. Odell writes was the predecessor of similar future revues (647). Tice L. Miller writes that she was “a feminist who fought actively to improve the role of women” (110). Fox's first marriage was to comedian Charles K. Fox, brother of "Humpty Dumpty" Fox and one time manage of the Bowery Theatre ("Mary Fox"). She retired from the stage after marrying Mr. "Zeke" Burnham of New York City, her second husband after comedian Charles K. Fox, but the marriage would be short lived (Wilson & Fiske). Fox began an affair with dramatic critic Stephen Ryder Fiske, which prompted Mr. Burnham, to attempt to shoot and stab Fiske (T. Miller 110). Fiske survived and Fox became known as Mary Fiske, giving birth to a son in 1877. She died before the age of fifty after a week-long illness with pneumonia.
She is mentioned as one of the Bohemians' "female companions" at Pfaff's. She was an actress (157).[pages:157]
The presence of actresses, like Mary Fox, in Pfaff's was so commonplace that little information about them survives (57).[pages:57, 60]
One of several women who frequented Pfaff's. She was a "feminist who fought actively to improve the role of women" (110).
Fox eventually married Stephen Ryder Fiske, but the couple first engaged in a scandalous affair. The affair prompted Mary's husband of the time, Mr. Burnham, to attempt to shoot and stab Fiske (110).[pages:16, 110]
She was a regular at Pfaff's. The "Obituary" states that she is "not at all dead" and "is frequently heard of as 'M. H. B.' the correspondent of the St. Louis Republican."[pages:7]
M.W. Fiske is mentioned as an old favorite on the stage in the 1867-68 season (404). She took part in The Glorious Seven, a burlesque that boasted several actresses of the time and "forty graceful beauties" and Odell says that this show is the predecessor of future similar revues (647). Fox might also be known as Minnie Maddern -mentioned as "the afterwars famous Mrs. Fiske" (564). (unconfirmed if this is the right Mary Fox/Fiske)[pages:404,585,588, 646-7,564]
A regular at Pfaff's.[pages:142]
Appleton claims Fox's career on the stage began in Troy, NY.[pages:521]
MARY HEWINS FISKE DEAD. (1889, Feb 05). New York Times (1857-1922)
The Vault at Pfaff's
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