The unofficial biographer of the Pfaff’s crowd, William Winter was born in coastal Massachusetts, and his mother died
A collection of biographical sketches about actors and other men and women in the theater business that William Winter wrote throughout his career as a drama critic for such publications as The New York Tribune, The Weekly Review, The Albion, Harper’s Weekly, The Saturday Press, The Leader, Vanity Fair, and The Boston Gazette. Actors profiled include Edwin Forrest, Charlotte Cushman, H. L. Bateman, John Collins, Mary McVicker Booth, Junius Brutus Booth, Ada Clare, and John Brougham.
Features a brief biography of Wood.
Lengthy reflections on Brougham's career and the respect that he won from his peers.
The life of Ada Clare . . . was, for the most part, a life of trouble and sorrow. . . . . Her real name was Jane McElhenney. She came of a reputable family, and was the cousin of the poet Paul Hayne. Her parents died when she was a child, and she was left to the guardianship of her grandfather, with whom she first came into the North. At an early age she left her home, adopted the name of Ada Clare, and, after some vicissitudes, determined to follow the profession of the stage. Her advent was made at Wallack's old theater, where she represented Knowles's Julia. Her efforts failed; and thereafter, for a considerable time, she devoted herself to literature—writing stories, sketches, and miscellaneous articles for "The Atlas," "The Saturday Press," "The Leader," and other journals. In 1860 she wrote a novel entitled "Asphodel"; but this, though it got into print, was never published, owing to the suspension of a Boston firm that had undertaken to bring it out. Her only published novel appeared in 1865, and is entitled "Only a Woman's Heart." This venture likewise failed to attract the public attention, and she then formed anew the resolution of succeeding upon the stage. This purpose she pursued with sense, discretion, and quiet energy, and this time her efforts were rewarded—for she found congenial employment and earned a worthy place in her profession. The name under which she acted was Agnes Stanfield. In September, 1868, she was married to Mr. Frank E. Noyes, an actor, and in his society the latter years of her life were passed in honorable industry and quiet happiness. Her remains are buried at Hamerton, New Jersey. The friends that Ada Clare made she "grappled to her soul with hooks of steel." Many false and harsh words have been said of her, but it is right that this record of her cruel death should be made with remembrance of her virtues. She was truly known only to a few persons; but by them, in the solemn, grief-stricken words of an old poet, she will be "mourned till Pity's self is dead."
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015