Charlotte Cushman
1816 - 1876
In 1836, Charlotte Cushman made her stage debut as Lady Macbeth in New Orleans. That year she also played Romeo, beginning a career-long tradition of playing both male and female roles. Cushman appeared in London in 1845 opposite Edwin Forrest and was immediately hailed as the greatest actress of her time. She continued to play conventional tragic heroines, as well as Hamlet, and Romeo to her sister Susan's Juliet. Having settled permanently in Europe, Cushman returned in 1857, 1860, and again in 1874, to bid farewell to her American fans. Like her contemporary Edwin Forrest, Cushman's performances were marked by melodramatic force. One critic compared her style to a "stream of fire," and another admired her androgynous ability to convey "all the power and energy of manhood." Brady photographed Cushman in New York during her first farewell tour.

See Harriet Hosmer

Mathew Brady Studio Imperial salted-paper print, 1857.
46 x 34.6 cm (18 1/8 x 13 5/8 inches); 49.5 x 38.7 cm (19 1/2 x 15 1/4 inches) mounted.
The Harvard Theatre Collection, The Houghton Library,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.