1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cushman, Charlotte Saunders
|←Cushion|| 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 7
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders
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CUSHMAN, CHARLOTTE SAUNDERS (1816-1876), American actress, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 23rd of July 1816. Her father, a West India merchant, left his family in straitened circumstances, and Charlotte, who had a fine contralto voice, went on the operatic stage. In 1835 she successfully appeared at the Tremont theatre as the countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. But her singing voice failing her she entered the drama, and played Lady Macbeth in the same year. She then engaged herself as a stock actress, but was soon given leading parts. In 1842 she managed and played in the Walnut Street theatre in Philadelphia. She accompanied Macready on an American tour, winning a great reputation in tragedy, and in 1845 and in 1854-1855 she fulfilled successful engagements in London. She was a keen student, and acquired a large range of classic rôles. Her best parts were perhaps Lady Macbeth and Queen Katherine, her most popular Meg Merrilies, in a dramatization of Scott's Guy Mannering. Her figure was commanding and her face expressive, and she was animated by a temperament full of vigour and fire. These qualities enabled her to play with success such male parts as Romeo and Cardinal Wolsey. During her later years Miss Cushman worked hard as a dramatic reader, in which capacity she was much appreciated. Her last appearance on the stage took place on the 15th of May 1875, at the Globe theatre, Boston, in which city she died on the 18th of February 1876.
See Emma Stebbins's Charlotte Cushman, her Letters and Memories of her Life (Boston, 1878); H. A. Clapp's Reminiscences of a Dramatic Critic (Boston, 1902); and W. T. Price, A Life of Charlotte Cushman (New York, 1894).