Thursday, April 8, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - A Playbill

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to open the vault and show one of the priceless treasures that make for an interesting family history.

By far the most interesting treasure found in the Smith and Carringer papers and artifacts was Della (Smith) Carringer's scrapbook. This scrapbook had many pages with several newspaper articles pasted on each page. I scanned some of the pages, and then captured individual articles into separate image files.

Here is one of the image files:

This is a playbill from Wano, Kansas (in Cherokee County, the most northwest county in Kansas), probably in 1887. The "Watson Dramatic Company" performed these popular plays of the time in a small playhouse in the booming prairie town of Wano (now a ghost town? located west of present-day St. Francis).

What makes this especially interesting to me is the presence of my great-grandparents, Austin Carringer and Miss Della Smith, in the cast of Lady Audley's Secret. Was this the spark that led to their marriage in Wano on 11 September 1887?

There are two other cast members in my Smith family here - Miss Matie Smith is Della Smith's sister, both are daughters of Devier J. and Abigail (Vaux) Smith. Charles F. Woodward is also in the play - he married Nellie Redfield, daughter of Celia (Vaux) (Redfield) Munger, sister of Abigail (Vaux) Smith.

Click on the image above and read the "synopsis of scenery and incidents." It sounds like a fascinating melodrama, doesn't it? Now I want to know who gets Alecia Audley... is it George Talboys?


Patti Hobbs said...

Very neat, Randy. I have newspaper items (from my week-by-week searches, NOT from family memorabilia) telling about a play occurring and my ancestor wrote a letter to the editor singing its praises. Then there was another item about his daughter having lost a hat while attending and would anyone who finds it please return it. Not nearly as exciting as your possessions, but an interesting slice of their lives as they attended the theater and lost hats and all that.

N. LaRue said...

Oh wow! What a cool thing to find, and to see your ancestors in the cast! I have to tell you that Lady Audley's Secret is a great book. It's by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and is considered her masterpiece. She was known as one of the great sensationalists, right up there with Wilkie Collins. Read it, you should be able to find it at most big libraries and/or bookstores.

I'm a genealogists 90% of the day but a closet Braddon collector by night so your playbill was doubly fun for me to see. Thanks for sharing!