CUSHMAN, kasli'mA n, Cita erorzr SA UNDERS ( 1 6-76 ) • A celebrated American actress, best remembered perhaps for her acting of Meg Mer rilies in Scott's Guy Hanneriny. She was born in Boston, July 23, IRK of Puritan deseent, and was the eldest of five children left poor with their mother by the early death of their father.
She had, however, a line contralto voice, which she cultivated, and in 1833 she made her ap pearance as an opera singer in the _liarriage of Figaro. Her prospects were bright, when short ly afterwards in New Orleans her voice suddenly failed. She was greatly disheartened, but at the request of a tragedian (Mr. Barton). she undertook her first dramatic part, Lady Macbeth, which became one of her greatest rules. Long afterwards Lawrence Barrett said of her: "To the last she was the greatest Lady Macbeth of her age." She played for a. time in Albany and elsewhere, and then began at the Park Theatre, New York, an engagement which lasted for sev eral years. She took a great variety of parts, both comedy and tragedy, among them Bianca, Helen McGregor, Queen Gertrude, Goneril, Nancy Sikes, her wonderful Meg Merrilies, and later, Queen Katharine, Cardinal Wolsey, Ophelia, Lady Teazle, and many others. In 1844, after a period of successful management in Philadel phia and a tour with Macready, whom she had supported before, she went to England. She met with great success; while there she and her sister Susan made their first appearance in Romeo and Juliet, which had, for that period, an exceptionally long run in London. She returned
to America in 1849, but revisited Europe several times. In 1856 she went to Rome, where she had a home for some years. She was honored in the most cultiva ted society of Europe and America, not only as a great artist. but as a good woman. During the Civil War she showed her patriotic spirit by giving performances for the benefit of the Sani tary Commission, contributing in this way over $8000. In her later years she was known as a reader, with singular interpretative powers. Her last appearance on the New York stage, Novem ber 7, 1874, was a memorable occasion. She played Lady Macbeth. NVhen the curtain fell, a body of eminent citizens, with William Cullen Bryant as spokesman, came upon the stage and presented the actress with a laurel crown, in scribed C. C'.—Palmum qui meruit fcret. Char lotte Cushman never married. She died in Bos ton, February 18, 1876. In 1880 her grave in Mount Auburn was marked by an obelisk which in form is a copy of Cleopatra's Needle as it stood in Heliopolis. Consult: Stebbins, Char lotte Cushman: Her Letters and Memories of Her Life (13oston, 1878) ; Clement. Charlotte Cushman (Boston. 1882) and Cook, Hours with the Players (London, 1881).