Tuesday, February 6, 2024



This is Emma Stockman.

I'd never heard of her, so felt the need to delve a little.

Born, Baltimore 1855ish. Father Johann Fridrich Wilhelm Stockmann (b 5 March 1818; d  27 January 1886) a grocer-cum-restaurater from Westphalia. Mother, his second wife, Ann Emily Fox. Frederick had 2 children by his first marriage and two by his second, and the first of these was Emma Florence.

Emma went on the stage 'trained as a singer and dancer' at about 19, as a member of John Ford's company in Washington. She was adjudged 'a sweet ingenue', 'artistic and ladylike', played at Holliday Street Theater, Baltimore, and again at Ford's, before she moved up to New York and a supporting role (Phrosine) in the Niblo's Spectacular Baba, for a three-months run. Eliza Weathersby was the star, but Emma had a 'new song by Maretzek'.

But her career was not going that way.  She joined the companies in Cincinnati and Macauely's at Louisville (alongside William Gillette and Pauline) joined Lawrence Barrett (Ophelia to his Hamlet) and as leading lady to John McCullough Desdemona, Cordelia, Katharine, Lady Anne, Virginia in Virginus, Senona in The Gladiator.  And on the way, she got married.

Her husband was John Walter Norman, a highly popular theatre manager and the couple settled in St Louis, where Norman ran the local Opera House. I have found no record of Emma's performing, just one announcing she was pregnant. I think it was a false alarm. Anyway, after a while Emma began to stray and, eventually, somone tipped Norman off. He went after the villian -- married Henry W Moore, city editor, and managing director of the St Louis Post-Dispatch once his predecessor had committed murder! -with a gun but was disarmed by a friend ... and the scandal went round the city and into the nation's newspapers.

Odd paragraphs surfaced ... they split, they came together again, they left town for Topeka and Kansas City, they left America (allegedly at her insistence) for Australia .. but Emma could not get regular work there. Henry got a job as a journalist. Back home John Norman got a divorce, and his health gave out. He was killed in a railway crash 28 January 1895. His obituaries were large and many.

Henry and Emma had already returned to America. Either together or split again. I see a squib saying that Moore died in New York soon after. Another saying it was London. Another gossip piece, in 1894, says that Emma is still as pretty as ever, but she's got something wrong with her eye .. and, unless it is she reciting in a ladies' club in Jersey City in 1899... she then vanishes from my sight.

What a waste ....

Her full sister Gertrude A Stockman became a typewriter in Baltimore ...

No comments: