American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Cushman on Stage

Charlotte Cushman in Hamlet!
Washington Theater
Charlotte Cushman in Hamlet!

Broadside on silk, February 16, 1861

Chalotte Cushman Photograph
Charlotte Cushman (1819-1876)
Henry VIII
Annotated prompt book and holograph page
Page 1 - Page 2 - Photograph

Charlotte Cushman (1816-1876) may have been one of this nation's most compelling performers. She made her stage debut as an opera singer in 1835. Improper use of her voice led her to change her career to the dramatic stage. After much success, she retired in 1852 but made a good many reappearances under the guise of "farewell tours," such as this one in the Washington Theater in the title role of Hamlet. Cushman's prompt book for Hamlet would have aided in orchestrating entrances, exits, props, technical cues, and line cues.

Cushman's prompt book and holograph page, for a production of Henry VIII would have aided in orchestrating stage movement, props, and technical and line cues. Publications such as The Prompter served as a voice for the theater community and provided publicity for actors and theatrical companies.

Additional Views:
"Charlotte Cushman as
Queen Katherine in King Henry VIII."

The Prompter
, Vol. 2, No. 3
Saturday, September 30, 1871, New York

Manuscript Division
Gifts of Victor & Louise Cushman, 1925
(166.5b, 166.7a-d)
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