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.

Liked this post? You might like these, too:

Margaret Brent, First Suffragette?

Charlotte Cushman—another famous actress of the 1800s

Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cottingley Fairies

 

Share using:

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.

Share using:

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.

Share using:

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.

Share using:

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.

Share using:

Mrs. Shaw and the Fatal Cooking Mistake

A woman named Mrs. Shaw made the news in the Lancaster Gazette, 1830, when she accidentally poisoned everyone at her dinner party, including herself.

Mrs. Shaw's fatal cooking mistakeMrs. Shaw’s fatal cooking mistake Sat, Sep 4, 1830 – 3 · The Lancaster Gazette (Lancaster, Lancashire, England) · Newspapers.com

Best not to mix that arsenic and bold taste.

Find more like this with a browse through Newspapers.com.

Share using:

The Ghosts of Papers Past

Happy Halloween! Today is a day of scares and haunts, and what better captures the spirit of all things mysterious than a ghost? Ghost stories have existed for hundreds of years. Maybe you even have some of your own?

The people interviewed for this 1889 article did, and they shared it all.

Community Ghost StoriesCommunity Ghost Stories Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The article is a full page of stories, suspicions, and skepticism. But here are some of the best and most entertaining of the bunch. From passenger-packed trains to murdered bunnies, a wide range of spirits and specters can be found in these clippings.

Ghostly Objects

First up, a carriage apparition startles a couple of interested gentlemen:

Ghost of an Old-Fashioned CarriageGhost of an Old-Fashioned Carriage Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Here, a Mr. Ed Pemberton remembers a time when the train tracks beneath his feet shook from the passage of a beautiful phantom train.

Phantom TrainPhantom Train Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ghostly Animals

Ever heard of a phantom cow? If not, this clipping will do the trick:

Giant Ghost CowGiant Ghost Cow Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

A certain aforementioned bunny makes his appearance in this roller-coaster ride of a story:

Created a Ghost by Mistaking it for a GhostCreated a Ghost by Mistaking it for a Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Headless humans make frequent appearances in ghost stories, but how about a headless dog?:

Headless Dog GhostHeadless Dog Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ghostly Humans

Human ghosts often present themselves in two ways: either to haunt a place where they resided or died, or to serve as an omen for the living. The following two clippings give accounts of the former.

This clipping shares a slightly longer story, but is perhaps the most quintessential ghost story in this collection. It involves an old man, the home where he died, a fiddle, and a gruesome cat.

Corroborated Ghost StoryCorroborated Ghost Story Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Here we have a spirit whose presence at the place where he was killed seems to curse the very ground:

Murdered Man Haunts the Spot Where He DiedMurdered Man Haunts the Spot Where He Died Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The next two clippings are stories of ghosts acting as omens. In this first clipping, a super-human phantom hops into an fresh grave to warn the observer of impending death:

Grave Ghost an Omen for Things to ComeGrave Ghost an Omen for Things to Come Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

And in this clipping, the ghost of a Confederate soldier disappears when fired upon by the storyteller, who came to believe it had been a friendly warning:

A Soldier GhostA Soldier Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ghostly Surprises

Finally, we have a couple of ghost stories with surprise endings. This clipping describes a haunting shadow that no one could explain…until they could:

Ghost Solution Leads to LaughsGhost Solution Leads to Laughs Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

And perhaps most surprising at all was this clipping, in which a man describes a very real ghost who had a very peculiar favor to ask:

Ghost Appeared to Ask For Spirit Ball ProgrammesGhost Appeared to Ask For Spirit Ball Programmes Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

So what do you think? Are ghosts real, or simply the imaginations of minds that are often over-tired or overworked? Perhaps the truth of it all should be left alone, just as this clipping suggests:

Poetic View of GhostsPoetic View of Ghosts Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Find these ghost stories and more from this article here, and more on Newspapers.com with a search through the collection.

Share using:

The Monster Vampire of Summit Street

It’s almost Halloween, so what better to read today than a clipping about a “Monster Vampire?”

A A “Monster Vampire” Thu, Mar 4, 1880 – 1 · The Morning Journal-Courier (New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Notice how it’s never called a bat? Interesting how that crucial addition is always included these days.

Find more like this with a search or browse through the collection on Newspapers.com.

Share using: