Saturday, July 17, 2021

Westland: from Scotland to India to New Zealand


I'm suppoosed to be working on the book after the book after next .. but with my morning cup of tea I came upon this lady ...

Mildred Westland, photographed in 1886 in India. So I had a wee investigate and found her family, and also ... yes connections to my New Zealand homes ...

So I thought that, with my second cuppa, I'd just record what I'd found ...

Mildred was born as Janet Mildred Jackson, in Clifton, Somerset 13 December 1854, daughter of Charles Julian Jackson, a medical man, and his wife Janet Leith née Harvey. Dr Jackson went out to India circa 1870, and his family later followed him. He died ('retired deputy surgeon-general in HM Indian army') at Nice 16 January 1895.

Mildred wed, at the age of nineteen, Scotsman James Westland of the Indian Civil Service (Darjeeling 23 April 1874) and a few weeks later he was appointed accountant and comptroller general to the Indian Government. Over the following decade and a half, he had an ever-more-distinguished career in government financial affairs, during which time Mildred gave birth to five children. The four who survived were

Charles James (b Nagpur 1875; d Glen Muick, Cheviot, Hurunui 11 July 1950)
Agnes Mildred (b Aberdeen 1877; d Boar's Hill, Oxon 23 April 1964)
Dorothy Harvey (b Calcutta 14 March 1881; d Bournemouth 1 June 1946)
Francis Campbell (b Camden 17 September 1884; d Didcot 10 April 1941)

In 1889, James resigned from his position in India, for health reasons, and the family returned to England where they can be spotted, passing through, at a Kensington hotel in the 1891 census. And a few days later (10 April 1891) they left that hotel and boarded a ship for New Zealand. Mother, father, and four children aged sixteen to seven years of age. And where did they settle? Why in the Hurunui. I pay my water-rates to Hurunui Council. I guess their homestead "Glen Muick" (named for the spot in Aberdeenshire where the Westlands came from) is about 30 minutes drive from my home.

However, their stay was short. In 1893, James was appointed to the Viceroy of India's Executive Council and the family -- seemingly minus Charles -- returned to India. In 1899, they finally returned to England where James -- now Sir James KCSI (1895) -- became a member of the Council for India. I see him at the Yarrows, Frimley in 1901.  James died at Weybridge 11 May 1903. Dame Mildred at a Montreux hotel 8 March 1927.

I belong enthusistically to a group named Family Treasures Reinstated. We try to find present day family members to whom old photos and bibles and diaries can be restored. Several of the members, in particular, are whizz-bang winklers-out. So I thought I'd see if I could find a home for Mildred.

Next generation. Agnes = 0 (unmarried), Francis = 0 (married late and died), Charles = 2 (married Jessie Eleanor Fisher, son Alan and daughter Hilary), Dorothy (Mrs Lt-Col Sisley Richard Davidson DSO) = 0

Wow! The famous First Four Ships! Toff stuff.

Charles farmed at Cheviot, but was an avid astronomer, and at one stage moved to Apia, as an official government astronomer. He also wrote on the subject.

Well. We're down to Alan and Hilary. I see Hilary as bridesmaid at Alan's wedding, I see her living in Samoa, I see her doing an 'extended tour' of the Continent with Mildred, I see her 'of New Zealand' with Mildred at a do in Scotland, and I see she is still assumed to be 'Miss' in a lawyer's ad in 1944 ... but she wasn't! Not quite. Hilary Frances Westland married Francis Richard Dykes ... she lived in St Albans, Papanui .. my stamping ground! ... and died 11 November 1989. But no children. Her husband died right after the wedding.

So it's all down to Alan. Alan Stephen Westland (1897-1970), married Edna Longdin. Son 10 September 1933. 

Omigod. The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand) 20 May 2021 ... 

Westland, George Harvey (Harvey), formerly of Glen Muick, Cheviot, on May 8 2021, peacefully at Rangiora.  Loved brother and brother-in-law of John Westland, Madeleine and Neil Bissell (Wellington) and the late Janet Parker, loved uncle to all his nieces and nephews.  A Memorial Service to remember Harvey will be held in the Kaiapoi Working Men's Club, 113 Raven Quay, Kaiapoi, on Friday June 18 at 1.00pm.  All welcome.

George lived not far from us. He was into gun manufacturing and shooting. The Malvern Rifle Club.

Well, I guess that's found the descendants. Now I'd better get a third cuppa, and get back to my real day job.

Oh PS Lt-Col Sisley R Davidson (b Cupar 26 August 1869; d 4 March 1952) went to the same school as I did. Nelson College, NZ.  Seventy years before me, of course.

Sisley and Dorothy

Friday, July 16, 2021

Harry and Charles: "The comic shadows"

Twenty or thirty years ago, when I was researching my book Emily Soldene: in search of a singer, 1500 pages and hundreds of illustrations of the Victorian theatre and its population, I tried very hard, in all corners of the pre-Internet world, to gather up portraits of the people featured in Emily's story. Right down to the chorus girls of three continents. And, with a little help from my friends, I did amazingly well. Things turned up in the most amazing places. Rootling around in the National Library of New Zealand, I even dug up a photo of 'The Raynor Brothers', blackface comedians! Why did I want them? Because when the famous Payne family, who had made such a hit in the eccentric can-can finale of La Grande-Duchesse, moved on from the John Russell tour (star Emily Soldene), Russell replaced them with the Raynors.

1879, Paris. A 25-minute act.

"the place of the irreplaceable Paynes was imaginatively taken by the Raynor Brothers, Charles and Harry. The Raynors (who, of course, were not brothers at all) were ‘Ethiopian comedians’, blackface music-hall entertainers who would later bill themselves with considerable success as ‘the comic shadows’. Harry had traipsed the world as an entertainer -- California and Nevada, Australia, the East & West Indies, Tahiti, India, China, South Africa -- and had, the previous year, appeared on Broadway at the San Francisco Minstrels’ Hall and Tony Pastor’s billed as ‘the thinnest man in the Ethiopian business’. The highlight of his zany act was his performance on the one-stringed ‘Japanese fiddle’:
'He was dressed in jet black tights and jacket fitting so tight to the skin that it seems impossible for him to move about. He is the slimmest and ugliest looking nigger we ever saw and his appearance alone is sufficient to convulse and audience with laughter particularly when he takes a seat and lifting two canal boats - sometimes called feet - places a sheet of music against them and commences to play. Then it is that roars of laughter burst forth. He plays upon a Japanese fiddle with one string and although the music brought forth is not the most pleasant to listen to yet it elicits considerable applause...'
Charles, who had trained as a doctor, had recently given up medicine to join Harry in a double act, and they had been seen at Christmastime in London, performing a burlesque boxing match at the Bedford Music Hall, and again at the Cabinet Theatre, Liverpool Street, in what they called ‘The Great Australian Variety Troupe’, doing a burlesque of Italian opera. It may have been this, or else the fact they were represented by Parravicini and Corbyn, the agents who had snapped Emily up on the crest of her first success and were now billing her widely as ‘the talented artiste who has created such a furore as the Grand Duchess at the Standard Theatre’, that encouraged Russell to cast them. But, like almost all of his casting, it worked a treat"

‘THE FAMOUS FINALE to the second act will be danced by Mdlle Rosa and Messrs Raynor, and the whole of the principal characters..’.

Well, I shall add the photo which I (at great expense) had copied when I return to New Zealand. Emily' two vast  volumes are far to carry with me ... but ...

Toddling through ebay this morning, I came upon a photo "Victorian Photo: Cabinet Card: Dapper gents Cigar named: Raymond: Bertin, Brighton".

It is actually Raynor, and it is they. And for a fraction of the price that I paid 30 years ago!  I'd love to know who the chappie in the middle is, but that Harry, the skinny, crazy one on the right; and that's Charles, 7 years younger, on the left. And, oh dear, they WERE brothers!

So disgusted was I to find an error in Emily, I determined that 'the brothers Raynor' would be outed. And here is the truth of them.

Mr James Mennie, of Newington and Bermondsey, born in Bray Court, Islington 9 October 1807 to Robert Mennie and Christiana née Sheath, his wife, made a success of his life. He went into the booze business, and became mine host of the Skinner's Arms, Cannon Street West. He married Miss Caroline Amelia Elizabeth Levell, in 1838, and they had five children  -  Alfred, Louisa, Henry, Frank and Charles -- and they prospered. James invested his profits in leasehold real estate, three houses in Falmouth Road from which he derived sufficient income that, when Caroline died, in 1858, he gave up the pub and went into retirement.

Alfred became a commercial traveller cum clerk (living at 16 Falmouth Street), Frank an advertising agent. Charles didn't study for medicine for very long, because in 1871 he's already listed as 'actor'. Harry of course is already on his way by 1869. With the greatest of American burlesque travesty artists, Francis Leon (prima donna)

I wonder if the rhinoceros was somewhere in Barberblu (as their burlesque of the opéra-bouffe was later called). But to have billing on a Kelly and Leon programme was already something.

But already in October 1869 the brothers are up as a double act at  the Bedford Music Hall: 'The Brothers Raynor are two of the funniest Niggers to be found in the Music Hall world. They are quaint and extremely grotesque, but never unwarrantably coarse, and the solo of one of them on a curiously manufactured banjo is a really droll effort'. That will have been Harry. It was Harry who was the zany one. 'Their eccentric Ethiopian entertainment, the funniest part of which consisted of a boxing match' 'The original black shadows" at the Alhambra .. and on they went.

1871, London

1872 Vienna

Henry seems to have remained a bachelor. But Charles wed, in 1878, a well-liked dancer and burleque performer known as Clara St Leger. Her actual name was Clara Soper, daughter of Bermondsey tailow, William Lemon Soper (1809-1897) and his wife Ann Degenhardt Reed.  The other girls in the family plied the tailoresses needle, but Clara trained with Espinosa and took to the stage, playing on both sides of the Atlantic over some twenty years. 

Charles gets a mention on 1873 in a review at Cremorne Gardens -- 'Some exceedingly clever musical and comical sketches were given by a troupe identified with the name of Mr Charles Raynor, who are making just now a considerable stir ..' but by and large, over the next fifteen years the brothers worked as a highly successful duo, all round the world.

In 1888, freshly returned from a tour to the Antipodes, the pair took on the management of the Pack Horse Hotel in Staines 

but two years later, Harry died, aged 45.

Charles carried on. He sold the hotel, and went into partnership with Alfred Wood: 'The clown of the pair is Mr Raynor, who certainly knows how to be funny and how to play the concertina. Mr Wood tootles on the bassoon, and his partner improvises on the clarionet, the pair finishing their diverting business with the celebrated Cats' Duet which the Brothers Raynor in the years that are gone served to bring into great popularity'. 

But a few years later he, too, fell ill. Within three months, in 1896, both Clara (aged 38) and Charles (aged 47) went to their graves at Staines. A sad end to a very merry story ...

To which we can now affix the facts, alongside this delightful photograph

RAYNOR, Henry [MENNIE, Henry] (b Newington ?July 1844; d Staines 6 January 1890)
RAYNOR, Charles [MENNIE, Charles] (b Newington 21 March 1851; d Staines 10 November 1896)
ST LEGER, Clara [née SOPER, Clara] (b Bishopsgate 1 January 1855; d Staines 26 August 1896)

Caroline [Eliza] Brook. Ah, yes. Married Horatio Nelson Hunt. There they are at the 'Pack Horse', in 1891. He's 'brother in law'.  William Brook(e) 'brother-in-law'. But ... how are they brothers in law?  No, I'm not going there. I'll stop here. 

I found what I wanted to know.  

Here are further details (which I have not checked) from the Australian press:

Monday, July 12, 2021

Lord Love you Millie Vere! or, Out of Cartesian Gaol


Yesterday, I related how I dragged George Smith Bradshaw, clinking his chains, from the oubliettes of the Geraldine de Maur-Millie Vere prison for too-hard-to-discover folk. The too-hard basket for recalcitrant Victorian vocalists. I was awf'lly proud of my effort. Little did I think that today one of the longest-serving prisoners would escape therefrom as well!

Fifteen months ago I frustratedly posted a tale of woe entitled 'Goddam you Millie Vere' after a day spent failing to divulge her identity. So frustrated was I, that I even christened the Cartesian Dungeon Cell in her (co)-name. I knew I would never sort her out. Never, well ... Today was the day. I finished the very very very final proof-reading of my G&S book, and was fiddling around with bits and pieces and .. well ... I must have left the Dungeon door open ...

Post of April 2019:

"If I hadn't renounced the demon drink 3 1/2 weeks ago, I'd be reaching for the bottle. It is nearly 3pm, and have spent the whole day, since dawn, trying to get to the bottom of Miss 'Millie Vere', Cartesian contralto. Why so long? Because she kept of throwing up HINTS of her identity, and I investigated each one until each ended in a brick wall. Surely, sometime, I thought, in her long career someone must have said something ... well, they did, but ...

But first, that career. My first sighting of 'Milly' or 'Millie' is in 1874, when she joins P E van Noorden's ladies' minstrel group, the Blondinette Minstrels, as pianist. She stayed with the group until 1876 (and maybe longer), rising to feature as a contralto vocalist as well. Another member of the group was harpist Annie Wade, and Annie and Millie could be seen appearing together until 1878. Annie played at Riviere's proms, Millie got a date at the Crystal Palace, another at Glasgow's New Year's Day Concert and joined 'Mr Federici' in a vocal group (1878), and both girls appeared with Paganini Redivius's concert party ('a contralto voice both sweet and pleasing') before Annie disappears. Sister, I wondered. Mother, even? 'Wade' wasted an hour, at least.

At Christmas 1878 Millie played Polly Larboard in Charles Bernard's Robinson Crusoe at Newcastle and Sunderland ('splendid voice ... repeatedly encored'), with Joseph Eldred as comedian, and was immediately signed for his touring burlesque company, but soon she joined the HMS Pinafore tour, initially as Hebe. During the tour, she played in conductor Ralph Horner's operetta Four by Honours, alongside Robert Brough, Florence Trevallyan annd John Le Hay. As Betsy the maid she went 'far to securing the success of the performance'.
In 1880, she played Jack in the Beanstalk with Nellie Power, before rejoining Carte for another tour. But in May, in Dublin, she was laid low with gastric trouble, and the company went on without her. In 1881, I see her in concert in Sunderland, in 1882, on tour in a chorus role with Emily Soldene in Boccaccio (with Miss Annie Vere alongside her!), then with H S Dacre in the title-role of Olivette, and at Brighton for Little Red Riding Hood, before in 1883 she rejoined Carte for an extended period during which she featured as Iolanthe and Katisha, and, in an emergency, conductor. And a provincial critic mentioned that she was 'Mrs Wallace'. Clue number two, another two hours.
It was fairly clear who the 'Wallace' was. She was seen for some time thereafter in concerts with another ex-Cartesian who went by the name of Welbye WALLACE.

He had previously been Mr W Harrington Mitchell. Whether that was his real name, I knew not, but under that name he had sung in amateur concerts in Cheshire and Hull in the early 1870s. Maybe he was the William Chandler Harrington Mitchell gent from Manchester. He had made a big effort to establish himself 'after his return from Italy' as a tenor, concert giver, lecturer, manager, musical you-name-it in the 1870s, but without real success. So, he ended up as singer-staff with Carte between 1882-5. And, apparently, married or 'married' Millie. Ah, its supposed to have happened in Dublin: amazing how many performers got married in Dublin.

'Welbye Wallace'

After leaving the Carte, Millie was seen in concerts (Crystal Palace etc), took part in the Drury Lane panto of 1887 (Puss in Boots) behind Tillie Wadman and Letty Lind, and in 1888 went on the road as Teresa in a revamp of the musical Rhoda, with show's original star, Kate Chard and her husband, and Cartesian Robert Fairbanks. It lasted a little longer this time, but kept clear of the West End.  Millie was soon touring as Javotte in the much more successful Erminie (1888-9). In 1889 she and Welbye (and Fairbanks) are on the bills at Southsea's Clarence Pier, but in 1890, I see her only singing for the Masons. In 1891 she sang Alfred King's The Epiphany and, seemingly, the Verdi Requiem at Brighton, in 1892 in a concert of mainly old Cartesians, playing 'her original part' (it wasn't) in Quits, before getting a job in the West End playing in The Wooden Spoon as a forepiece to The Wedding Eve. The Wedding Eve topbilled Decima Moore, Mabel Love and Kate Chard, so maybe contralto Millie was not an understudy.
Thereafter, I spot her in a couple of one-off performances (The Competitors, A Laggard in Love), as Oberon in pantomime at the Brighton Aquarium (Jack and the Beanstalk 1894) and Titania in Cinderella in the north (Cinderella 1895). Cinderella was played by a Daisy Wallace. I started looking, but enough is enough and the age was wrong. But, by now, Millie was what she needed to be: a character lady, and the stage jobs began flowing. She toured as Mrs d'Erskine to Billie Barlow's The Bicycle Girl, as Mrs Smith in Dandy Dan the Lifeguardsman, as Madame Moulinet in The Topsy Turvey Hotel, as Miss Basingstoke in The Gay Grisette ... and, I thought, it stops here. But then I found a 1909 notice from the Granville, Walham Green: Who's my Dad? with Millie Vere as Miss Semolina Snipe ... and there she is writing
to The Stage in 1913 ...
So she should be in five or six censi, but I couldn't find her (or 'Welbye') in any of them. And I've tried. Wade, Wallace, Mitchell ... oh, I should say that one provincial paper billed her as 'Clara Millie Vere'. So I've looked there too ... the nearest I've got is a widowed Mary Ann Wade née Wilkinson, in 1871, at 1 Canonbury Square, Islington, with two daughters, Melina 24 'musical profession' and Clara 22 ditto. In 1881, Melina (1864-1923) is still professor of music, but Clara has gone. Annie and Millie? Straws are made to be clutched at.  

Post scriptum a year later: 

Glad I didn't clutch them! They would have broken.

First discovery. Mr W Chandler [H] Mitchell 'actor' had a daughter. Daisie Marie Wade Mitchell ... Daisy Wallace!!  But WADE! She married another actor, William Willoughby West  ... Amelia Annie Mitchell is a witness ..  MILLIE ... Looks as if I were right first time up. Died Amelia Ann Mitchell of 13 Drakefield Road, Balham, Widow, 5 July 1931 ... administration Daisie Marie Wade West (1882-1952).  Oh, Millie. Her estate was L8 4s 6d. But what is this? 
I go in search of Wade .... and there we are! Mrs Amelia Annie Mitchell aged 45, born Bloomsbury, married, with her sister, Emily McGee, in the 1901 census in Streatham and 1911 ... 1891, William, Millie, daughter Daisie, two servants in Reigate ...  Wait a minute, her unmarried sister is named McGee? What happened to Wade?
1861, John McGee, 48, boardinghouse keeper 5 Montague Street. Wife Alice née Gillett, daughter Amelia born 21 January 1855. So that's Millie! 

But who is Annie Wade, apart from Jules Rivière's pet harpist? And why did Millie give the name Wade to her daughter? Well, I'm skipping this one. All I know is that the Wade connection led to Millie's disrobing! The rest can wait.

VERE, Millie [McGEE, Amelia Annie] (b Bloomsbury 21 January 1855; d 13 Drakefield Rd, Balham 5 July 1931).  I shall have to give the too-hard basket a new name now  ...

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Guide to Bradshaw or, The Lost Comedian


I've been acquainted with 'Mr G S Bradshaw' for nigh on thirty years. He played for some years with Emily Soldene's companies. But, although I noted details of his career in an ancient file, I didn't ever investigate him further. Then, last year, when I was scrutinising the members of Mr D'Oyly Carte's companies for the G&S Who's Who, he turned up again. And, again, I didn't deeply investigate him. 'Bradshaw' was clearly a pseudonym. He was popped into the Geraldine St Maur-Millie Vere box, classed as 99 percent unfindable. But ... yesterday, quite unexpectedly, he rattled his chains and jumped out of that box ...

And I can tell you that GSB was born, wait for it, George Smith. Somewhere in Marylebone. Maybe Thayer Street. Date 26 October 1844. His parents were Thomas Smith, upholsterer, and his wife Margaret, née Jordan, formerly a servant, it seems, in the Crooked Billet public house in Aldgate. 

As you can see, George was named for his grandfather, who seems that he might have been the Geo Smith upholsterer of 69 Dean Street, Soho. But then something odd happens. Thomas and Margaret had three more sons and a daughter. And they were christened (all in a bunch in 1856) Milton (b 27 February 1847), Byron (b 5 September 1850), Hahnemann Gall (b 4 July 1852) and Concordia Mercy (b 30 September 1855). So, we have an hereditary upholsterer who is into poetry, homeopathy and prayer? 

The other odd thing is that, after the birth of Mercy (as she was known) and the bulk christening, I lose Thomas. In 1861 Margaret -- 'married' not widow, and a needlewoman -- is at 22 Denmark Street with the children; in 1871 at 11 Rathbone Place 'married' and -- what? retired actress! -- but no sign of Tom. In 1881 she finally admits to 'widow' and 'annuitant'? How? And she, Hahnemann, his wife and children, all back in Gerrard St, Soho, are now calling themselves 'Bradshaw'. As is Byron. Only Milton remains 'Smith'. Curious.

But back to George. In 1861, he is a compositor. But by 1871 he has put a toe into showbusiness. He hasn't given up his day job, though, he lists himself as vocalist, actor and printer. 

His first job seems to have been, in early 1869, as a singer, touring with 'Professor' John Henry Pepper CR, FCS of Pepper's Ghost celebrity and his programme of scientific and chemical illusions. Pepper made up his programmes with all sorts of entertainments (George Grossmith took a turn), and he had produced a version of Der Freischütz. George sang the well-known music, as accompaniment to the visuals, and acted in an accompanying farce. I see him also singing in variety at Macclesfield. Apparently, he was for a while with a group of minstrels, Charles Christy's Minstrels, who toured minor provincial venues. I notice an ad, briefly, in the trade press, for "Leslie and Shaw .. the Two Crows" coming from his address. Well, the Smith-Bradshaws weren't the only folk living at 11 Rathbone Street. It was divided into three. But I think George was the only striving blackface singer.

The crows seem not to have flown. 

In 1871, he found himself a different employ: as low comedian with one of the small opera companies touring the provinces. This one was run by Henry Haigh, and I see he played in The Waterman 

It was followed by a company run by Isidore de Solla, and its star was Mrs de Solla, the former 'Arabella Smythe' ...

I see he played the Marquis in Maritana .. probably Alessio and maybe Florestein ... anyway, Macclesfield found that 'Mr Bradshaw's propensities for singing and acting peculiarly fit his for the stage. He possesses a good clear voice'. He toured for something like a year with de Solla, then after a brief appearance at the East London Theatre in La Fille de Madame Angot, he joined another like troupe yclept the National Opera Company with whom he played Florestein, Robin in The Waterman, the Burgomaster and Pitou in Geneviève de Brabat, Spyk in The Loan of a Lover, Turbey in The Goose with the Golden Eggs, the Sherrif in Martha as well as in the accompanying farces. And Pomponnet, this time, in La Fille de Madame Angot. Pomponnet would be his bread-and-butter in the coming years. All the way from Kilkenny to Drury Lane. In 1875, he advertised for the role, stating that he had 'two splendid Pomponnet dresses'.

At various times he had brief engagements in the Queen's and Theatre Royal, Dublin (Alphonse in The Rose of Auvergne, Florestein, Pomponnet, Alessio, Marquis, Patoche in Calino), Bath, Worcester and apparently with Virginia Blackwood, with the minuscule Dixon and Haines opera, but his next substantial job, in 1878, was another round of Pomponnet on an Edward Rosenthal tour with 'Annie Beauclerc' as his Clairette. 1879 saw a nice change. Mr D'Oyly Carte, sometime agent of Mr Bradshaw, was putting out a second tour of his hit musical HMS Pinafore. And for the George Grossmith role of Sir Joseph Porter KCB he hired: Mr Bradshaw!

He also played in  In the Sulks and After All, the curtain-raisers.

And on Easter Monday 1880, he opened at Drury Lane, giving his Pomponnet alongside Cornélie d'Anka, Alice Burville and Wilford Morgan.

I next spot him at the Philharmonic in April-May 1881, playing Pompéry in A Cruise to China, Mr Corrigan in The Colleen Bawn, Widow Melnotte in a burlesque Lady of Lyons, in East Lynne, The Dancing Barber et al, then at the Alexandra Palace where he gave his Pomponnet as a pendant to the horse show (24 June) and the goat, mule and donkey show (15 July), before joining up with the top opéra-comique company in Britain: Emily Soldene's. I see him giving his Pomponnet with Soldene at the Crystal Palace and at the Standard Theatre, but he seems to have temporarily dropped out, for a Christmas engagement at ... Covent Garden. He played Granny Grin in the pantomime Little Bo-Peep and Obadiah in The Miraculous Cure until 11 February and then rejoined the Soldenes, as Pomponnet, Pitou and Lotteringhi/Lambertuccio in Boccaccio.
Next, he joined Frederic Wood (October 1882) for a small-scale tour of The Beautiful Galatea, The Waterman, The Rose of Auvergne and Prizes and Blanks, and took a turn with Joseph Tabrar at the poor Imperial Theatre, but he returned to Soldene for a three-weeks season at Hastings in which she pulled out her old triumphs in a vain attempt to save her sinking management. He stayed on at Hastings a while thereafter, but the end was nigh. 
I see George at Bury St Edmunds, playing Trénitz, not Pomponnet in a tiny production of Angot for the Hon Veronica Knollys .. and with the Mohawk Minstrels ('buffo vocalist') ... and touring as Brother Pelican in Falka (1885)

So where, then, did he go? What happened? I simply don't know. And did he do it as Smith or Bradshaw. To be solved.  Anyhow, I chased up the brothers and sister to see if a clue was to be found ... sister was the most interesting.

Mercy not only played piano, she also sang. As early as 1870 she can be seen playing at concertina-player Charles Roylance's concert ('Miss Smith Bradshaw') at Cambridge Hall, Newman Street. She advertised herself in 1876, as a pianist, as 'of the Opera Comique'.

However, from the profound depths of my memory I pulled a comic-opera chorister named Miss Mercy. Could it be?

Well, it was. From the South company (1876-7), Mercy went to the Carte company. and while in Dublin (23 March 1878) she married the baritone, Michael Dwyer. The couple can be seen in 1881 touring with the Walsham Company. She had two sons and a daughter, retired from performing, and died 22 October 1922. George wasn't with them in 1881. They were on tour in Burnley.

Milton, who staunchly remained Smith stuck to the printer and stationery trade. He married Mary Ann Forbes, and had one son who died aged 28.  He died in Hampstead 8 December 1903. I can't find him in 1881. 

Byron became Bradshaw and an heraldic and decorative designer and draughtsman. He married Margaret Sarah Starie in 1882 as Bradshaw and, for the occasion, confirmed his father's name as Thomas ... Bradshaw (deceased). He died in Camberwell 7 September 1920. In 1881 he's living in Gerrard St, alone. No George.

Hahnemann is, in 1881, a stone seal-engraver, with a wife, Caroline Sarah née Hatfield, two children, and a sister-in-law. And mother Margaret. No George. They are all now Bradshaw. He died 18 February 1897.

So, no George by any other name.  And no Margaret after 1881. And no Thomas. I particularly want to find Thomas. Because ... well, Mercy got a piano-playing job at the Opera Comique circa 1875-6. How?  Well, funnily enough, round about that time there's a Mr T Bradshaw playing in the chorus of Princess Toto. And that Mr Bradshaw was in the original chorus of Trial by Jury ... could it be? I doubt it. Thomas would have been in his seventies.

Well, that's enough brain-beating for one day. Over to the G&S experts now!

George Smith Bradshaw, weaver and upholsterer, of Soho ... mid eighteenth century.. .  'the last of the Soho tapestry makers' .. oh died 1795.  Son John Bradshaw Smith!  Ohhhhhh ... second son, George ... well, I think here's the connection. Whether said second son is grandad, or whether our Smiths just borrowed a celebrated name ... ?  I have a gut feeling is (a). The Soho upholstery, you know ..

Geore Smith Bradshaw of Dean Street died at Pershore in his 93rd year ... April 1812 ... Miss Smith daughter of George Smith Bradshaw died Pershore 1806 ..  yes, the Smiths and Bradshaws are already interchangeable ..  Ooh look George Smith Bradshaw upholsterer of Dean Street being robbed in 1759 by a woman with a pick-lock ... and in the proceedings he's referred to as ... George Smith! And she got off! Ah, and here's his will!  Eight pages. Son John Smith, annulation of four thousand debts! His wife Mary and daughter Charlotte .. son-in-law Lt Richard Thomas, husband of Margaret ... daughter Jane Smith ..  my son George Smith ... thousands of pounds everywhere!  Heavens, has he been lending to the Earl of Sandwich? Henry Glover of Dean Street, Soho ...

And his younger son is plain George Smith. I'm satisfied that this hugely wealthy man is great-grandfather to the lost low comedian ...  grandfather to the missing Thomas ...  what a turn up for the books. 

George Smith Bradshaw born Soho 28 December 1767, son of George Smith Bradshaw and Margaret, Dean Street ..  yes, see the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840. Huge entry. It looks as though the Bradshaw was assumed by Mr Smith after inheriting from William Bradshaw ... so now we know.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

"The Minute Gun at Sea"

During my years wandering in the Victorian age and making to acquaintance of its music-makers, I've come upon a number of songs which obviously come from pre-Victorian years, but which remained popular, and sung all round the country, right through the great queen's reign. One of these was the intriguingly-titled "The Minute Gun at Sea'. I had a picture in my mind of a teensy-weensy rifle floating through the waves .. Well, of course, it wasn't my-newt, it was minnit, and the minute gun was a gun fired off at one-minute intervals to guide ships in distress. Odd subject, I thought, for a soprano/tenor duet. They usually sang about roses and moonlight and fairies. So ...

Well, just my luck! It's a show tune. From an 1809 musical ('comic opera') entitled Up All Night, or the Smuggler's Cave, mounted at the newly-licensed English Opera House, Lyceum, as its opening piece. Text by the manager, Samuel Arnold, music by Matthew P King.

The story was the usual old stuff. Get the heroine in and out of male disguise, give the chief comic plenty of clownish moments, let the young lover sing tenoriously ... but it was enlivened by a group of smugglers ... well, here's how the contemporary press tells it:  

The score, as befits a soi-disant comic opera was quite substantial.  The book of words (price 1/-) gives us the following breakdown:

1.1 Chorus of Smugglers
1.2 Comic song (Admiral) 'When first time began'
1.3 Air (Meddle) 'He who feels a lover's anguish'
1.4 Duet (Admiral/Meddle) 'When a Man a Fair Maid would Obtain'
1.5 Air (Flora) 'In vain I strive with aspect gay'
1.6 Duet (Flora/Mr Heartwell) 'Nature no proud distinction knows'
1.7 Ballad (Young Heartwell) 'Tom Steady'
1.8 Trio (Young Heartwell, Harry Blunt, Peter) 'In every heart where feeling dwells'
1.9 Air (Juliana) 'Oh! Roses are sweet (on the beds where they grow)'
1.10 Duet (Admiral/Juliana) 'When first a man marries a wife'
1.11 Airs and septet 'Oh! ask the inexperienced heart'
1.12 Glee (Juliana, Flora, Young Heartwell, Harry Blunt) 'Cold the link'

I've managed to find music for two of the first-act pieces: no7, sung by Philipps and no 9 sung by Mrs Mountain

And no 3, sung by the novice Charles Horn, who tells the story of his nervous first first night amusingly in his memoirs, is there but I can't get my hands on it.
As for no 4, well I haven't heard the melody, but the lyric is amazingly close to W S Gilbert's Yeomen of the Guard song 'A man who would woo a fair maid'.

Act the second
2.1 Duet (Juliana, Flora) 'As when the moon in silent night'
2.2 Ditty (Juliana) 'A maiden once who lov'd in vain'
2.3 Song (Peter) 'On board the Termagant we sailed'
2.4 Duet (Peter/Madge) 'A damsel once so truly lov'd'
2.5 Rondo (Young Heartwell) 'Sigh not for love'
2.6 Glee (Juliana, Flora, Young Heartwell, Harry Blunt) 'Tis at fair beauty's shrine' 
2.7 Song (Harry Blunt) 'The Parent Oak' 
2.8 Song (Admiral) 'Some poets sing of nought but wine'
2.9 Air (Meddle) 'The Soldier's Bride'
2.10 Finale 'Hark! tis the Nightingale'

Act the third

3.1 Quartet (Juliana and solo smugglers) 'Softly, comrade'
3.2 Air and chorus (Young Heartwell and solo smugglers) 'Away no more time let us waste'
3.3 Song (interpolated, by James Smith) (Admiral) 'Old Flam'

3.4 Duet (Juliana, Young Heartwell) 'The minute gun at sea'
3.5 Ballad (Flora) 'Dear home'
3.6 Air (Meddle) 'I love to rise at early morn'
3.7 Finale

Well, the songs -- both the lovey ones and the nautical ones -- are eminently extractable. And extracted they were, and published as singles. But what impresses me is that, whereas often a third act merely, in the old days, dribbled musically away into reprises and a finale, Arnold and King's third part contains not only the hit of the show, but also two other popular numbers.

And here it, the song or rather duet in question

I can't sight-read music, but it seems to me to be just another of those melodramatic numbers about shipwrecks -- 'Asleep in the Deep', 'Launch the Lifeboat' -- but it clearly had something that clicked, for it was to become a concert classic for more than a century, sung in theatres, music-halls, concerts -- it even made the Boosey Ballad Concerts more than once (Ann Banks/Henrik Nordblom) -- at penny readings, charity concerts, usually sung by sop/tenor, but sometime by two tenors. One one occasion the 'female tenor' Florence Wreghitt took the top line at the Foresters' Music Hall. The Eistedfodd at Llanwit Vardre used it as its test piece for duet singers. And eventually it was got hold of by performers such as the Sisters Claribell, who came on in dinky sailorboy cossies ...
There were nautical plays produced, using the phrase as title or subtitle -- The Press Gang, or the minute gun at sea -- or the drama by C Zachary Barnett ...

The actual piece had a good run, too. It was played at the Lyceum for three consecutive seasons, with Dowton, Philipps and Mrs Mountain in their original roles ... which I have neglected to list: Admiral Blunt (William Dowton), Harry Blunt (Mr Doyle, from Bath/W Miller/James Smith), Heartwell (T Marshall), Young Heartwell (Tom Philipps), Meddle (Charles E Horn), Peter (George Smith), Juliana (Mrs Mountain), Flora (Mrs Bishop), Madge (Mrs Orger), solo smugglers (C Fisher, W Miller/James Smith/Mr Lee, William S Chatterley) with Messrs Caulfield, Cooke, Danby, Wilson, Meade, Jones, Dibble, Whinshurst, Mathews, Saunders, Tarrier, Heath, Gusset, Second &c.  No ladies chorus? It ran, in its original season, from 26 June till 22 July when another opera The Russian Impostor or the Siege of Smolensko was produced with fair success. 

Up all Night was revived in 1819 ... by which time, it seems, a number of extraneous songs had been ladled into the proceedings

However, it was the song that lasted for a century and more, while the comic opera which had birthed it gave way to a multitude of others ...

I mustn't get in too deep here, and there is no reason to dilate on folk like the celebrated Dowton and Rosemond Mountain, or on Charles E Horn who wrote his own story. Nor Tom Philipps (b 1777), who died on a railway track 27 October 1841 .,.

I see that poor William Chatterl[e]y died aged 33. Mr Doyle, I imagine, is Mr Doyle the Bath oratorio, concert and glee-singer, and the Mr Doyle playing at Liverpool in Lock and Key in 1822; George Smith was apparently a bass church singer and Thomas Marshall seems to have ended up in America ..
Mrs Bishop, the wife of Sir Henry (Sarah Elizabeth Lyon b London 4 July 1787; d London 10 June 1831) left the theatre in about 1820, and suffered ill health before a premature death. 

Enough. One can dig deeper and forever. I found what I wanted to find. And now I know what a 'minute gun' is. Not a pistolette.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Adolf Philipp: the German godfather of the American musical comedy

In the early 1990s, I wrote an article about Adolf Philipp for my Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre. I don't think anyone had much bothered about him before that. Writing that piece, I became slightly aware of what an important place he held in the American musical theatre. It is arguable (and I now thus argue) that he effectively introduced the book-based 'musical comedy' -- in English, it had been around for years in German and French -- into the mainstream of American Theatre with his Alma, Where Do You Live?. But putting aside considerations of 'first', in any case, he and his career clearly deserved serious study. It got that study in 2009, when John Kögel published his book Music in German Immigrant Theater; New York City 1840-1940. I wrote, of it, one of the most enthusiastic and appreciative book reviews I have ever penned. And my thoughts were confirmed. Well, I didn't need to research Adolf any more. John Kögel had done it diligently. And, anyway, I was deep, deep, deep into my Victorian Vocalists.

In 2016, Kevin Clarke of the Operetta Research Centre, who had originally sent me the book to review, got in touch for an article. I was hectically busy, with Vic Voc getting into pre-publication, and I thought it was time Adolf got a fresh boost, so I took my Encyclopaedia article, freshened it, borrowed some pictures from Kögel's book, and it got a new run on the famous ORC site.

But then, today, I came upon a delicious photo of one of Adolf's Berlin shows. So I went looking, to see if there were more. Well, there are. But they're displayed by an institution which seems to be on the site of his one-time Berlin Deutsche-Amerikanische Theater, one of those institutions which pretends to promote history but actually just says 'yah! look what I'VE got' and stamps a big watermark over the picture. Never mind. We can do without the quasi-historians! But it is a shame.

Kogel and Gänzl have supplied the (slightly incomplete) facts, and I'm delighted to see that we've both been 'used' by writers since, unquestioning of our hard-work (pre the Internet!) say-so. In these days of 'studies' of 'ethnicity and transnationalism', Adolf is sneaking back into fashion because of us!

Kögel's book is still in print, though I haven't seen a copy in circulation for a decade. If you do, grab it. It's a classic.

In the meanwhile, try the short version. My slight re-titivation (with more pictures) of the revised article that got all this going ...

Adolf Philipp (b Lübeck, 29 January 1864; d New York, 30 July 1936) was the eclectic leading light of the German-language stage in turn-of-the-century America. And maybe something more.

The young Adolf Philipp ran away from home at the age of 17 (when he remembered, he said it was 14), joined a German provincial stock company, and went on to make himself a career as a performer in both straight and musical theatre (‘sometimes as a tenor singer, sometimes as a heavy tragedian, but mostly in light comedy’). This career led him first to Graz (1884, 'eine hübsche und kraftige Stimme'), Vienna, then to Hamburg and, in the 1891-2 season, to New York for an engagement as principal tenor at Gustav Amberg’s German-language theatre (Duncan in Adolf von Neuendorff’s original operetta Der Minstrel, 18 May 1892 etc). Following Amberg’s collapse, he went on to star in other German pieces at the Terrace Garten and the chunky young tenor quickly became a local star in rôles such as Vandergold in Der arme Jonathan, the hero of Zeller’s Der Vagabund, Simon in Der Bettelstudent, Georg in Der Waffenschmied, in Nanon, Der Feldprediger, Apajune der Wassermann, the title-rôle of Le Postillon de Lonjumeau, his own Die Royalisten and Der verwunschene Prinz.

A roof top ‘garden theater’ at Madison Square Garden at the turn of the 20th century.

In September 1893, he took on the management of the Germania Theater and there he embarked on a memorable career as manager, star and author, writing and appearing in the large central rôles of a series of often long-running German-Jewish comedies (‘written in a queer composite of English slang and true German’), each and all equipped with plenty of songs for their leading man. This series gained him in some quarters the nickname of `the German Harrigan’ (‘His stage productions put one in mind of a Harrigan play with the locale transferred…’) and his The Corner Grocer of Avenue A (Hein Snut, 750 performances) and A New York Brewer (Hein Lemkuhl, 856 performances) became classics of the German-American stage.

Philipp gained his first mainstream Broadway credit, when the hugely popular The Corner Grocer was anglicized, stuck full of variety acts, and ‘music selected and arranged by Alexander Haig’, and mounted by Russell’s Comedians at the Casino Theater under the title About Town. Jacques Kruger starred in the author’s rôle for the three weeks of the run. In 1896, he was again represented on the Broadway stage by an English adaptation of his Mein New York (Herald Square Theater 14 April) and won considerable praise for his ‘beautifully conceived’ piece. ‘By adroit handling of his characters the author gives us something of the same impression of largeness and reality which Harrigan’s genius used to contrive … as a study of familiar American types, Mr Philipp’s play cannot be too highly praised… there is a scene in a fast-house which the author treats with the skill and hardihood of a Zola’.

Adolf Philipp as Hein Snut in Der Corner Grocer aus der Avenue A  

In 1897 he staged a season (w Leo von Raven) at the Terrace-Garten, appearing in the title-rôle in Fra Diavolo, in a German version of Herbert’s The Wizard of the Nile (19 May 1897) and in Die Royalisten and in 1899 he built a new Arch Street Theater in Philadelphia, which eventually fell into other hands.

The ball scene from New York bei Nacht

In 1900 (23 April), having – after a barney with theatre-owner Amberg which resulted in his being arrested – purchased the Germania on the proceeds of his successes, he produced a set of original musical comedies for which acted as producer, director, overwhelming star, author, and co-composer. Geheimnisse von New York (in which he played Jochen Kluckhuhn) ran for 102 performances, Der Millionen-Schwab for 104 and the musical comedy called Der Kartoffelkönig which, half a century before The King and I, used a play-within-a-play Uncle Tom’s Cabin to make a point, equalled their records, records which – in spite of the obviously limited audience pool on which Philipp had to draw – compared well with on-Broadway’s productions. The advised press kept an appreciative eye on what was going on at the Germania, and regularly put their appreciation into print. Philipp’s comic abilities won high praise as being ‘above the usual Broadway horseplay’ and his music was noticed as ‘uncommonly good, often excellent’ but, for the moment, his original and idiosyncratic productions did not flow into the Broadway mainstream.

Max Lube as Isaak Rosenstein in Der Pawnbroker von der East Side. From: John Koegel: Music in German Immigrant Theater; New York City 1840-1940.

Scene from Der Pawnbroker von der East Side with Adolf Philipp and Eugenie Schmitz.

The Germania was closed and knocked down in April 1902, to allow for the extension of the underground railway and the building of Wanamaker’s department store, and Philipp – having bankrupted himself attempting to tour – then returned temporarily to Germany. There, with his brother Paul Philipp (d New York, 21 May 1923) as administrator, himself as artistic director and Oberregisseur and one Ludwig Stein providing the necessary, he opened the 1,000-seater Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater in Berlin (29 August 1903). There, between 1903-7, he staged and starred in a variety of pieces depicting the lives of German immigrants in America, nearly all with more (usually) or less music involved, and including his own New York in Wort und Bild, Im wilden Westen (in which he appeared as a Crocodile-Dundeeish cowboy ventureing to Berlin), Der Teufel ist los (as Heinrich Dabelstein), Im Lande der Freiheit, Aber, Herr Herzog! (Lied des schwarzen Katze) and Er und ich

His recipe was ‘a pot pourri of fun with touches of pathos sandwiched in’, not to forget the inevitable healthy ration of songs. In February 1906, with some small fanfare, he fêted his 25 years on the stage. In mid-1907, however, after a rather iffy season with their troupe at the Carl-Schultze Theater in Hamburg, the brothers threw in their hand and returned to America where they again attempted a Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater, this time in collaboration with the finances of a certain Herr Adolf Geller, manager of the ‘Zum schwarzen Adler’ music hall on East 86th and 3rd Avenue.

Philipp mounted an English-langauge production of his New York in Wort und Bild, already played not only in Berlin, where it topped four hundred nights, but also in a Viennese version as Über’n grossen Teich (Theater an der Wien 2 September 1906, mus: Ziegler), under the title From Across the Big Pond (w Mortimer Theise, Circle Theater 7 September 1907, and in a revised version Two Islands 14 October) with himself starred as Louis Strumkohl alongside Anna Boyd, and without luck, but he scored a genuine hit at Geller’s ‘zum schwarzen Adler’ (now converted into a 900-seater and dubbed the ‘Wintergarten’) when, after a long-running revival of Der Corner Grocer, he wrote produced the slightly scandalous musical comedy Alma, wo wohnst du? (1909, credited ‘w Paul Hervé and Jean Briquet’).

This piece gave him a long run as author and star, got him hauled up on a delightfully publicity-worthy morals charge, and was subsequently translated into English and produced with further success on the regular Broadway stage (Weber’s Theater, New York, 26 September 1910, 232 performances).

However, if he got away with his ‘naughtinesses’ this time, when he subsequently produced Hetty macht alles, the guardians of New York’s morality decided he had gone too far, the proprietor and star were hauled off to the police courts and the merry musical farce was closed down.

They got him for selling drink in the auditorium, too. Hetty was anglicised by Leon da Costa in 1915 as That’s the Limit, and apparently she was the limit, for I can find no record of her having found her saucy way back to the New York stage. Still, she got to the Grand, Pennsylvania, to the Lyceum, Rochester, and elsewhere (April 1911) where limits and drinking rules were apparently different.

New York bei Nacht: Bernhard Rank as Thusnelda Mohrrübchen (= Miss Carrot). 

The success of Alma, however, widened Philipp’s horizons, and his new piece Therese sei nicht bös (daintily translated as Therese, Be Mine) was actually put into rehearsal shortly before Alma’s Broadway opening, in both German and English versions. The ubiquitous Adolf, of course, directed both companies, and starred in the German one. And, while Therese opened up at New York’s Wintergarten, Theresa set out from Toledo, Ohio, to install herself at the Chicago Opera House (27 September 1910). She didn’t prove as successful as Alma had, but Philipp persisted, and whilst Alma still ran on on Broadway he brought out Hetty. Her fate didn’t deter him either and, in 1912, Philipp established himself as The Adolf Philipp Company, headquartered at the newly built 500-seater 57th Street Theater (later to be better known as the Bandbox), and carried on turning out more musical plays in the Alma vein, both in German and for the more competitive English field. His first production at his new house, the musical Auction Pinochle, with its author starring as Harry Schlesinger, played for 150 nights before being sent out west in an anglicised version (Burbank Theater, Los Angeles 5 April 1914), and it was followed by Das Mitternachtsmädel, another piece which was written, like the first, in collaboration with composer ‘Jean Briquet’ and original author ‘Paul Hervé’. Both these gentlemen may have existed – perhaps minor figures on the Paris and Berlin theatre scene – but their names served here only to mask the fact that the producer-author-star had written and composed his shows single-handed. He kept his triple identity secret for some five years before being discovered, and going confessionally into print, at the end of 1915.

1920s movie version of The Midnight Girl.

As Alma had done, The Midnight Girl shifted to Broadway and there, under the management of the Shubert brothers and with George Macfarlane starred, it notched up a splendid run of 104 performances (44th Street Theater, 23 February 1914) before going on to the rest of the country.

Philipp mounted and starred in a German-language revival of Alma (17 April 1913), followed up with another local-comic musical, Two Lots in the Bronx, which proved good for 100 nights in German and more in English, and which served the author-producer for his debut in the English-speaking and singing theatre, and then — without a previous German production – brought out what he again tried to fool public and press was ‘a French operetta’ (again Adolf-made with the English aid of the usefully hacking Edward Paulton), called Adele, at the Longacre. Adele set Broadway aghast – it had no girlie chorus! But the girls clearly weren’t missed, for Adele, praised thoroughly for its ‘beautiful music’, not only ran 196 performances on Broadway before going to the country for a good number of tours, it even crossed the Atlantic and was given a brief production at London’s famed Gaiety Theatre. London, however, hadn’t yet learned to cope with the small-scale book-based musical, especially without chorus girls. Especially at the Gaiety. Adele was a short-lived West End failure.


At home, however, Philipp’s style of show, genuine small-theatre musical comedies in the German ‘Posse’ vein, without spectacle or (mostly) chorus girls, and the attention firmly fixed on the action, the comedy and the songs, had proven itself undeniably popular, and it was no coincidence that it was soon after followed by a locally brewed attempt in a similar vein (but with chorus girls) in a popular handful of shows at Broadway’s little Princess Theater.

Philipp subsequently joined Saul Rechmann in running the Yorkville Theater as a home for German-language plays and musicals (Wie einst im Mai, Die Schöne vom Strande etc) and, with the coming of the First World War, authored (under an umpteenth pseudonym, ‘F Schumacher’) and mounted a typically outspoken play called Zabern, which provoked the German ambassador in New York to demand its closure as being insulting to the Kaiser. He also authored, produced and starred in a patriotic American comedy-drama called Tell it to the Marines, whilst continuing with his run of allegedly adapted musicals. The Girl Who Smiles topped the 100-performance mark, but Two Is Company was a 29-performance failure. 

Mimi, yet another piece built on the lines of Alma, and produced at Washington with the equally fake-French Chapine (real name: Helen Benedeck) starred, failed to make it to town in its original production, but Philipp’s play was adapted and remusicked by another specialist of the book-based comedy musical, composer Ivan Caryll, and George Hobart, and the result was later produced in New York as Kissing Time (Lyric Theater, 11 October 1920).

Although he thereafter went quiet on the musical front, Philipp did not remain inactive.

The intriguingly titled play Tin Pajamas (w Paulton) closed on the road but, having insulted the Kaiser in the First World War, in 1933, this up-front Jewish author turned out as his last Broadway effort, a very early anti-Hitler play, Kultur. Then he finally went into retirement. He died in New York at the age of 72.


An accurate list of Philipp’s early German credits is hard to establish, as a second, older Adolf Philipp was operating as a dramaturg out of Hamburg around the same time as the semi-American one was authoring his earliest Operetten. However, his claim of ‘hundreds of performances’ in Germany make it likely – even allowing for his penchant for fibbing about his identity and fictionalising his curriculum vitae – that he was the author of the musical shows listed below, in their various versions. As opposed to ‘Kleopatra by Adolf A Philipp’ et al.

His theatre songs and scores were published in Germany and in America (I once owned a caseful, bought from an elderly Jewish music dealer in a New York hotel), and recorded by many artists ... I see one German list of 77 sides on the internet, and around 20 American ones ... but he seems to have been forgotten in recent decades, and his key place in the history of the American musical comedy given instead to those who followed him and way.

1885 Die Brieftaube (Karl Stix) Klagenfurt 21 January
1888 Die Royalisten (Josef Manas) Braunschweig 19 July, Terrace-Garten, New York 8 June 1893
1889 Der Abenteuerer (Stix/w Emil Sondermann) Carl-Schultze Theater, Hamburg 14 September
1892 Der arme Edelmann (Aurel Donndorf/w Sondermann) Carl-Schultze Theater, Hamburg 29 November
1893 Der Corner Grocer von [aus der] Avenue A (Karl von Wegern) Germania Theater 19 October
1893 About Town Chicago Opera House 25 December; Casino Theater 26 February 1894
1894 Der Pawnbroker von der East Side (von Wegern) Germania Theater 1 March
1894 Doktor Darkhorst Germania Theater 30 April
1895 Der New Yorker Brauer und seine Familie Germania Theater 15 September
1896 Der Butcher aus der erste Avenue Germania Theater 17 April
1896 [Greater] New York bei Nacht Germania Theater
1897 Klein Deutschland Germania Theater 10 February
1897 The Gypsy Bride (von Wegern) Terrace Garten ?June
1897 Dollars and Cents Germania Theater 29 September
1897 Die Reise nach Amerika
1898 A Day in Manila Germania Theater (von Wegern) 6 October
1900 Geheimnisse von New York Germania Theater 15 September
1900 Der Millionen-Schwab Germania Theater 25 December
1901 Der Kartoffelkönig (w Edward A Weber) Germania Theater 19 April
1901 Im Lande der Freiheit Germania Theater 21 September
1901 Der Teufel ist los (w Edward A Weber) Germania Theater 31 December
1902 New York in Wort und Bild (Mein New York) Germania Theater
1903 U[e]ber’n grossen Teich (Der New York Brauer) Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater, Berlin 29 August
1904 New York Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater, Berlin 22 November
1905 Aber, Herr Herzog! Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater, Berlin 2 September
1906 Im wilden Westen Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater, Berlin 23 October
1906 Der Sorgenbrecher Deutsch-Amerikanische Theater, Berlin 22 December
1909 Alma, wo wohnst du? Wintergarten 'zum schwarzen Adler’ 25 October
1910 Therese, sei nicht böse Wintergarten ‘zum schwarzen Adler’ 1 September
1911 Hetty macht alles Wintergarten ‘zum schwarzen Adler’ 14 January
1912 Auction Pinochle Adolf Philipp’s 57th Street Theater 12 November
1912 Das Mitternachtsmädel Adolf Philipp’s 57th Street Theater 1 September
1913 Adele (Edward Paulton/w Paulton) Longacre Theater 28 August
1913 Two Lots in the Bronx (Paulton/w Paulton) Adolf Philipp’s 57th Street Theater 27 November
1914 The Midnight Girl English version w Paulton 44th Street Theater 23 February
1915 The Girl Who Smiles (Paulton/w Paulton) Lyric Theatre 9 August
1915 Two is Company (Paulton/w Paulton) Lyric Theater 22 September
1917 The Landlady Yorkville Theater 12 September
1918 Oh Emilie! Yorkville Theater 9 March
1920 Mimi (w Frank E Tours/Paulton/w Paulton) Shubert Belasco Theater, Washington 13 March

PS What's the betting that my photos turn up on the thieveing Alamy and Getty and so forth sites, as so many have done before ... fishermen of the internet .. scoop up what the likes of me would share gratis, and make people pay. Disgrace, anyway, to the name of Getty.