THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


74 Charlotte Saunders Cushman 1816-1876
Diary
Manuscript, 164 p., 1844-1845
The most prominent American actress of the nineteenth century, Charlotte Cushman spent the first half of her life on the brink of financial and professional failure; she had been a singer, a newspaper poet, a stage manager and, whenever possible, an actress in her attempts to maintain her family of five. Her necessary thrift is evident in the reuse of the 1844 diary in 1845 in which she wrote across the entries of the earlier year. This journal which the actress kept for a year and a half chronicles the major turning point of her career: the 1844 notations are filled with figures, mainly debts and expenditures, while the 1845 entries describe her roles, successes and social encounters. After her London debut, which she describes succinctly on February 13, 1845, as "Triumphantly successful," she continued to act in England to great acclaim and returned to America in 1849. In the next quarter century her active career consolidated her tremendous popularity and brought her a great fortune.
Gift of Brander Matthews

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