Ever heard of Maude (Maud) Granger? Maude was one of the actresses who traveled across the country in the later part of the 1800’s. In the book “New National Theater, Washington DC: A record of Fifty Years” by Alexander Hunter, published in 1885, they had this to say about Maude:
The statuesque Maude made by far the most beautiful Mlle. Gautier that the audience had ever seen, for she had a figure that Rubens would have loved to paint — a Byron describe — large, full, sensuous. On a pose in a tableau Miss Granger was a success, but as an actress in such a character as “Camille" she was an insolvent in the dramatic bank, and more people went to see her out of curiosity than with a desire to be entertained.
|Cabinet Card of Maude Granger found on EBay|
Yet, as critics go, this from the book “Performing the American Frontier, 1870-1906” by Roger A. Hall,
A review of the play “My Partner” by the Mirror of Sept 20, 1879, they say of Maude, in the part of Mary
We do not know of any actress who could bring more intelligence, labor, and the good looks to the depiction of the poignant woes and heartsore grief of this woman.
Maude, like some of the actors today, had parts of her personal life show up in the papers. From the Sunday October 21, 1877 issue of the Denver, Colorado Rocky Mountain News, the following was found:
Maude Granger, the actress, found a long lost brother the other day at Springfield, Ohio, whom she had not seen for 17 years. He had been a circus clown and various other things in his time, and at present is a whitewasher and a politician of the working man's party.
And in the December 31, 1878 issue of the Chicago, Illinois Inter Ocean they speak of her near death experience.
Miss Maude Granger, the actress who came near dying from the effects of a dose of laughing – gas on Monday last, was found Wednesday by a New York ‘Sun’ reporter. This is the story she told:
"I had a narrow escape, indeed," she said, "although it was not so much the poor dentist fault. He has given me laughing – gas frequently before; but last Monday I was out of sorts, and very nervous, and I suppose I should not have gone to him at all. I had a wisdom tooth which had troubled me greatly, and the doctor told me that I must have it out, so I went. Dr. – (you must excuse my not mentioning his name) gave the usual amount of the gas, but it had the most remarkable effect. They told me afterward that I lay for 15 minutes as though I were dead. I lost all sensation for a time, could see and hear nothing. They told me that I stopped breathing, and that my heart did not beat. When I recovered I lay as one in a dream for more than two hours, while five doctors did everything they could for me. I could see them working around me, and hear every word they uttered, but I couldn't no more move hand or foot that if I were dead. I don't know how I dressed for my part that evening, or how I looked, for that matter. I remember saying a few lines of my part, and coming on and going off the stage, and that is all. I was so weak that they had to carry me into the green – room after the last act, but the audience was very kind, though some of them must have suspected that I was intoxicated."
I do love how dramatic an actor can be.
|Overview of Colorado Springs 1882|
On April 18, 1881, Colorado Springs opened its Opera House with Maude Granger as the star of the show. Her traveling company had been performing in Denver, when she was contacted to play Colorado Springs. (For a more complete description of the Opera House, the book “High Drama: Colorado’s Historic Theatres” by Daniel & Beth R, Barrett).
Suffice it so say, it was a momentous occasion. The town that was billed as ‘Little London’, that advertised the many natural wonders and the clear air for those suffering from consumption, was out to show the world what they could do. Theater patrons received a white satin souvenir program recording the cast and management in gold lettering.
Everything was set, except Miss Granger chose for the performance, “Camille”. The papers made a bit of a to-do about the choice of a consumptive dying in front of an audience of consumptives, but they did applaud the performances. There was only one minor mishap, when the settee, that Maude was to rise into the heavens, was not properly attached and she came crashing down to the stage floor. Reports say she heaped abuse on the stage manager, while the curtain had been raised for her curtain call.
Hope you enjoyed this bit of theater history. There are more stories where that came from. Until next time.
Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet