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Mrs. J. H. Allen

Attribution
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Printer
Chicago Albumen Works
Sitter
Louise Allen, c. 1840 - 1911
Date
c. 1861 (printed later)
Type
Photograph
Medium
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Dimensions
Image: 9 × 6 cm (3 9/16 × 2 3/8")
Sheet: 15 × 12.4 cm (5 7/8 × 4 7/8")
Mat: 35.6 × 27.9 cm (14 × 11")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
NPG.81.M209.D1
Exhibition Label
Birthplace unknown
As the practice of casting mature actresses to play the roles of youthful heroines began to wane in the mid-1850s, the charming ingénue Mrs. J. H. Allen emerged to claim such roles. Performing exclusively under her married name (she was the wife of actor and theater manager J. H. Allen), Mrs. Allen made her New York City acting debut in 1855. Three years later, the New York Times hailed her as “the most beautiful woman on the New-York stage” and noted her rapid rise as the leading actress at the city’s prin- cipal theater. In 1859, Allen portrayed Zoe, the tragic mixed-race heroine, in Dion Boucicault’s stirring new melodrama The Octoroon. When Laura Keene staged the wildly popular extravaganza The Seven Sisters, during the 1860–61 season, Allen appeared as a flag-draped Columbia in one of “a series of tableaux bearing on the great tragedy of Secession, then rending the republic.”
Lugar de nacimiento desconocido
A mediados de la década de 1850, cuando empezó a mermar la práctica de asignar los papeles de heroína joven o “ingenua” a actrices maduras, la encantadora Mrs. J. H. Allen reclamó para sí dichos roles. Usando únicamente su apelativo de casada (su esposo era el actor y gerente teatral J. H. Allen), debutó en Nueva York en 1855. Tres años después el New York Times la elogiaba como “la mujer más hermosa en los escenarios de Nueva York”, comentando su rápido ascenso como actriz principal en el mejor teatro de la ciudad. En 1859 Allen interpretó a Zoe, la trágica heroína de raza mixta en el emotivo melodrama de Dion Boucicault, The Octoroon. Cuando Laura Keene montó el popu- larísimo espectáculo The Seven Sisters en la tempo- rada de 1860–61, Allen apareció como Columbia, envuelta en la bandera, en una escena “sobre la gran tragedia de la Secesión que entonces desga- rraba a la república”.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b
Exhibition
Storied Women of the Civil War Era
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York