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PLA Y ERS
Record of the Albany Stage
INCLUDING NOTICES OF PROMINENT ACTORS
BY H. P. PHELPS.
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1879, by
H. P. PHELPS,
BURDICK & TAYLOR, Printers,
Martin Hall, Albany, N. Y.
The history of the Albany stage is, in a great measure, the history of the theatre in America. From the days of Hallam to the present time, scarcely an actor of any prominence has appeared in this country, who has not visited Albany. It was here that the genius of Edwin Forrest was first discovered and nurtured, and by a curious coincidence, here, also, Charlotte Cushman
'first bound her buskin on.” Other highly honored members of the profession, who were either born here, made their debut here or practised for months in Albany stock companies, are to be counted by the score; while among Albany managers are to be found such names as Bernard, Gilfert, Blake, Duffy, Conner, Trimble, Lawlor and Albaugh. In short, the supply of material for a history of this kind was soon found to be embarrassing in its richness, and its arrangement for publication, to a great extent, a matter of selection.
A large part of what follows appeared originally, during 1879, in the Sunday edition of the Albany Argus, the compiler reserving the right to republish the articles in book form. He was encouraged to do so by the kindly interest manifested in them as they were read from week to week, and now presents his work, enlarged, revised, and corrected, and made available for reference by index.
Such a history must necessarily be, in part, a compilation from old newspapers, old play-bills, and old inhabitants ; but in part, also, from dramatic records previously published. While credit has frequently been given to the latter, in the text, the author here acknowledges his special indebtedness to Dunlap's History of the American Stage, Clapp's History of the Boston Stage, Blake's History of the Providence Stage, Brown's History of the American Stage, Hutton's Plays and Players, and in particular, Ireland's Records of the New York Stage, by far the best work of dramatic history published in America. Greater freedom has been felt in quoting from these authorities, from the fact that, with possibly one exception, they are out of print, and unavailable to the general public.
The writer is also indebted for many local reminiscences to Mr. Henry D. Stone, Mr. William D. Morange, Mr. Joel Munsell (the venerable Albany antiquary, whose lamented death occurred as these pages are passing through the press), Mr. and Mrs. Lucien Barnes and Capt. John B. Smith; to many co-laborers on newspapers, and others who have kindly added to the interest and value of the record.
H. P. PHELPS. ALBANY, N. Y., February 20, 1880.