Elsie Leslie: America’s First Child Star

Before the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the gleam of studio lights, and wall-sized screens, there was the stage. And just as with movies, the stage brought out the stars. Elsie Leslie Lyde (known as Elsie Leslie) was just one of these, but her youth made her special. She first stepped into the spotlight at only four years old, and within years had gained such celebrity that she’s now considered to be America’s first child star. Elsie Leslie . . . first child starElsie Leslie . . . first child star Sat, Jan 20, 1979 – 10 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

America's first child star, Elsie LeslieAmerica’s first child star, Elsie Leslie Sun, Jan 15, 1978 – Page 36 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Childhood Success

Elsie may have had her start in 1885, but it was her charming performance as Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1889 that caught the public eye. She then went on to star in Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper,” as stated in the article above.

Elsie LeslieElsie Leslie Tue, Jan 8, 1889 – 9 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Discovery of Elsie LeslieDiscovery of Elsie Leslie Tue, Jan 8, 1889 – 9 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Elsie LeslieElsie Leslie Sun, Jan 15, 1978 – Page 36 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Famous Friends

With Leslie’s fame came notable friends: the young Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and even Mark Twain himself, to name a few. She kept many correspondences with her friends throughout her young acting career and beyond.

Elsie's Famous FriendsElsie’s Famous Friends Sun, Jan 15, 1978 – Page 36 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Taking a Break

In the mid-1890s, Leslie took a break from acting. No one believed it would be a permanent retirement, however, and the public awaited her return with curiosity. Would the young starlet who captured hearts in her youth retain any talent as a mature actress? It’s a question that hangs over the heads of most child actors, even today.

Elsie LeslieElsie Leslie Sat, Feb 15, 1896 – Page 2 · The Chanute Daily Tribune (Chanute, Neosho, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Elsie Leslie rumored to soon return to the stage, 1896Elsie Leslie rumored to soon return to the stage, 1896 Fri, Feb 28, 1896 – 6 · The Press (Kansas City, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Return to the Stage

In 1898, newspapers announced Leslie’s return to acting. The young “Lord Fauntleroy” was now a lovely young woman, starring in roles like Lydia Languish of “The Rivals,” Glory Quayle in “The Christian,” and later as Katherine in “The Taming of the Shrew,” which she played opposite her then-husband Jefferson Winter.

Elsie Leslie as Katherine, Taming of the ShrewElsie Leslie as Katherine, Taming of the Shrew Wed, May 13, 1903 – 6 · The Sun (New York, New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

However, though her performances earned mostly favorable reviews, Leslie never quite recaptured the success of her earlier years. Not that she needed it—her childhood fame was said to have set her up nicely.

Find out more about this child prodigy with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Death of George Washington – This Week in History

On December 14th, 1799, George Washington dies in bed in his Mount Vernon home with Martha at his side.

General George Washington, departed this life on the 14th December, '99General George Washington, departed this life on the 14th December, ’99 Tue, Dec 31, 1799 – 2 · The Gleaner (Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.com
The ailment that took the life of this incredibly popular president, general, and founding father remains a matter of debate. Only two days before his death Washington rode on horseback, supervising his property in sleet and snow. A sore throat the next day could not keep him from going out again to continue working the land. Unfortunately, his condition rapidly worsened the night of the 13th. Dr. James Craik, the family physician, attended to his sickness throughout the day without success. Washington died the following night.

Washington’s body remained in the house for three days to ensure he was truly dead, by his wishes. His funeral took place in great solemnity on December 18th, when he was buried in his family vault with those who had gone before him.

George Washington's FuneralGeorge Washington’s Funeral Mon, Jan 6, 1800 – 3 · Farmer’s Museum or Literary Gazette (Walpole, New Hampshire, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Find more on Washington’s life and death with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Attack on Pearl Harbor

On this day in 1941, the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor was devastated by a surprise attack that resulted in over 2,400 American deaths. Today we remember and honor those who perished in the attack.

War! Honolulu Paper Headline, Dec 7 1941War! Honolulu Paper Headline, Dec 7 1941 Sun, Dec 7, 1941 – 1 · Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

War Declared! 3,000 Killed, Wounded | Dec 8. 1941War Declared! 3,000 Killed, Wounded | Dec 8. 1941 Mon, Dec 8, 1941 – Page 1 · The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, Burleigh, North Dakota, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Pearl Harbor Day Thought | Editorial Cartoon 1946Pearl Harbor Day Thought | Editorial Cartoon 1946 Sat, Dec 7, 1946 – 4 · The Austin American (Austin, Travis, Texas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Find more on the Pearl Harbor attack and its effects through subsequent years with a search on Newspapers.com.

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This Week in History – 21st Amendment Ends Prohibition

With the ratification of the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933, nationwide prohibition comes to an end. Utah was the last state needed for a three-fourths majority. With their ratification, thirteen years of speakeasies, illicit stills and large-scale bootlegging came to an end…mostly. Several states used state-level temperance laws to prolong prohibition locally. The last dry state was Mississippi, where prohibition lingered until the mid-60s.

Prohibition Ends TonightProhibition Ends Tonight Tue, Dec 5, 1933 – 1 · Public Opinion (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Prohibition RepealProhibition Repeal Tue, Dec 5, 1933 – Page 1 · The Evening Review (East Liverpool, Columbiana, Ohio) · Newspapers.com

Sidenote: In 1929 Henry Ford claimed he would close his automobile plants if prohibition ended, saying “Gasoline and booze don’t mix; that’s all.”

Find more on the prohibition era with a search on Newspapers.com, or browse through the papers of the 1920s.

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Meteorite Mishap in Mrs. Hodges’ Home

May Be First Known CaseMay Be First Known Case Wed, Dec 1, 1954 – 15 · The Journal Times (Racine, Racine, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Mrs. Ann Hodges was not the first to claim injury by meteorite, but her unusual story was the first to be verified as true.

The Incident

On November 30, 1954, an explosion in the sky was the only warning the napping Ann would get of the 7-inch, 8 pound meteorite hurtling her way. It crashed through her roof, bounced off a radio, and hit the sleeping woman on her hip.

Meteorite Injures Woman in HomeMeteorite Injures Woman in Home Wed, Dec 1, 1954 – 1 • The Morning Call (Allentown, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, United States of America) • Newspapers.com

The Spectacle

The space rock’s impact led to a big bruise and even bigger publicity. Much of the media attention came from the peculiar nature of the event. What are the chances that with all the open, empty space in the world, the meteorite hit a sleeping woman on a couch in Alabama? But more headlines followed when the meteorite was claimed by both the Hodgeses and their landlord, Birdie (Bertie) Guy. A legal dispute followed over who would get the meteorite. Guy eventually settled out of court; she would give up her claim in return for $500. Ultimately the Air Force returned it to Ann and her husband, who would later donate it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Meteorite FragmentMeteorite Fragment Thu, Dec 2, 1954 – 1 • The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America) • Newspapers.com

Mrs. Hewlett Hodges and the meteoriteMrs. Hewlett Hodges and the meteorite Thu, Dec 2, 1954 – 3 • Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida, United States of America) • Newspapers.com

Mrs. Hodges, the hole in her roof, and the meteorite fragmentMrs. Hodges, the hole in her roof, and the meteorite fragment Wed, Dec 1, 1954 – 1 • Alabama Journal (Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America) • Newspapers.com

The One in a Million

Ann Hodges remains the only person in history to have been verifiably injured by a meteorite. The offending rock still remains on display in the Alabama museum today, its story summed up in a single line: “Penetrated roof of house and struck Mrs. Hodges on the thigh.”

Find more on the Hodges meteorite and all the many associated headlines with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Lady Astor Elected to Parliament – This Week in History

Lady Astor becomes first woman elected to ParliamentLady Astor becomes first woman elected to Parliament Fri, Nov 28, 1919 – 14 · Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Dane, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

On November 28, 1919, American-born Lady Nancy Astor becomes the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. Her well-publicized election and individual approach to politics earned her quite a following. Her supporters saw her through another 26 years in Parliament, until her retirement in 1945.

Find more on Lady Astor’s historical election with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Kennedy’s Assassin Killed – This Week in History

On November 24, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy, is fatally shot.

Kennedy's Assassin is Dead - Nov 25, 1963Kennedy’s Assassin is Dead – Nov 25, 1963 Mon, Nov 25, 1963 – Page 1 · Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, Delaware, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

The event was witnessed by thousands who tuned in to Oswald’s televised departure from Dallas police headquarters. His killer, Jack Ruby, was charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to death. In 1966, the decision was reversed, and Ruby died of lung cancer before he could be retried.

Find more about Kennedy’s assassination and the history surrounding it with a search on Newspapers.com.

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How to Cook a Turkey

How to Cook A TurkeyHow to Cook A Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

You may have seen a running internet joke this week about asking mom how to cook a turkey in a microwave. But when it comes to cooking, who gives better instruction than children? Check out these third-grader responses to the question, “how do you cook a turkey?” from this 1998 paper.

Raleigh Middleton - How to Cook a TurkeyRaleigh Middleton – How to Cook a Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ke-Ke Jones - How to Cook a TurkeyKe-Ke Jones – How to Cook a Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Aleasha Fulgham - How to Cook a TurkeyAleasha Fulgham – How to Cook a Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Kevin Warren - How to Cook a TurkeyKevin Warren – How to Cook a Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Blair Huffman - How to Cook a TurkeyBlair Huffman – How to Cook a Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Brandon James - How to Cook a TurkeyBrandon James – How to Cook a Turkey Wed, Nov 25, 1998 – 10 · The Webster Progress-Times (Eupora, Mississippi, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

Find more Thanksgiving related articles with a search or browse through Newspapers.com.

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Margaret Brent, First Suffragette?

Margaret Brent demanding voting rights, art by Edwin TunisMargaret Brent demanding voting rights, art by Edwin Tunis Sun, Mar 12, 1950 – 141 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

In a time when women’s voices were primarily filtered through the opinions of their husbands and fathers, wealth (and being single) was one of the few things that could give a woman power. In the 1600s, Margaret Brent’s wealth and property gained her prominence in the Maryland colony. But her intellect and forceful nature made her someone to be reckoned with. You might even say she was one of America’s first suffragettes.

First Suffragette? Margaret BrentFirst Suffragette? Margaret Brent Fri, Sep 19, 1952 – Page 6 · Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, Broome, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Governor Calvert’s Decision

One of Brent’s good friends was the governor of Maryland, Leonard Calvert. On his death, Calvert made the unexpected decision to name Brent as executrix of his estate. It was a significant choice that speaks highly about her character.

Margaret Brent made ExecutrixMargaret Brent made Executrix Sun, May 17, 1925 – Page 4 · The Star Press (Muncie, Delaware, Indiana, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Along with the authority to make decisions about Calvert’s lands and debts, Brent also gained power of attorney over the local property of his brother, Lord Baltimore. Yes, that Lord Baltimore. The man who established and managed the Province of Maryland from his home in England.

Brent Demands a Vote

Brent’s position meant that, in theory, she should be given a place in the Maryland General Assembly. She therefore asked for a vote “in the howse for her selfe,” and a “voyce” as the attorney of Lord Baltimore. However, despite the respect they held for Brent, her request was refused. Property or no property, Brent was a woman. The Assembly went on without her, to her great displeasure.

Leaving Maryland

With no power to suggest taxes on the county, she ended up paying a portion of Calvert’s debt by selling some of Lord Baltimore’s property. His negative reaction, and her experience with the Assembly, left her with a sour taste in her mouth. She moved to Virginia, sold off her Maryland properties, and continued to accumulate absurd amounts of land in her new home.

“Had she been born a queen she would have been as…Elizabeth.” Sun, May 17, 1925 – Page 4 · The Star Press (Muncie, Delaware, Indiana, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Find more on Margaret Brent and other early pioneers in women’s politics with a search on Newspapers.com.

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