FANNY DAVENPORT - AUTOGRAPHED SIGNED CHECK 05/07/1894 CO-SIGNED BY: ELISABETH MARBURY - HFSID 317618
Sale Price $722.50
FANNY DAVENPORT and ELISABETH MARBURY
Famed actress Davenport writes a $5,000 check to the equally famous Marbury, a pioneering theatrical agent. In 2013 dollars, this check would be worth roughly $135,000.00! This money was transferred in connection to the drama Gismonda, produced in America by Davenport that same year.
Check signed: "Fanny Davenport", 6¾x2¾. New York, N. Y., 1894 May 7. Check #23, drawn on the Chemical National Bank of New York, payable to Elisabeth Marbury for Five Thousand Dollars. Endorsed on verso: "For deposit/Elisabeth Marbury". London-born American actress FANNY DAVENPORT (1850-1898), educated in Boston, made her youthful New York stage debut in Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady (1862). Davenport, who later had her own theatre company, was especially known for the plays of Victorien Sardou, including Fedora (1883) and Cleopatra (1890), playing roles originated in Europe by Sarah Bernhardt. She was the daughter of famed actor Edward Loomis Davenport, and the mother of D. W. Griffith actress Dorothy Davenport. All six of her siblings and both of her husbands performed on the stage, as did her niece, May Davenport Seymour, the mother of stage, film and TV actress Anne Seymour. Davenport's second marriage was to Willet Melbourne MacDowell in 1889; MacDowell would later act in silent films. ELISABETH MARBURY (1856-1933) was a pioneering theatrical agent. At a time when men dominated the business end of the entertainment industry, Marbury boasted clients who included Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and the dance team of Vernon and Irene Castle. She represented most French playwrights of the era in their dealings with the English-speaking world. She worked closely with New York's powerful theatre managers, including the Shubert brothers and Charles Frohman. In 1914, she co-founded the American Theatre Company, producing successful productions featuring the music of Jerome Kern and Cole Porter. While using her family connections to advantage - she was descended from Anne Hutchinson - she also lived openly with socialite Elsie DeWolfe, America's first interior designer of note, in what was widely assumed to be a lesbian relationship. Marbury Manners: a Handbook of Social Custom in 1898, and an autobiography, My Crystal Ball, in 1923. Five thousand dollars in 1894 is a sum roughly equivalent to $135,000 today! It almost certainly relates to the production of Gismonda, a drama by French playwright Victorien Sardou which had premiered in France in 1894, starring Sarah Bernhardt. Davenport produced the first US version if Gismonda, with herself in the Bernhardt role. Marbury was Sardou's agent in business dealings in the US. The Harvard University library collection of Davenport's papers includes an extensive correspondence between Davenport and Marbury in 1894 concerning this very play. Fold in center. Corners slightly worn. Small holes along check. Ink stamps on verso. Small splotch on signature. Otherwise, fine condition.
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