Ada Rehan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ada Rehan
Ada Rehan 1897.jpg
Ada Rehan in 1897
Born Delia Crehan
(1859-04-22)April 22, 1859
County Limerick, Ireland
Died January 9, 1916(1916-01-09) (aged 56)
New York City
Nationality American
Occupation Actress

Ada Rehan (April 22, 1859 - January 8, 1916) was an Irish born American actress.


She was born as Delia Crehan in County Limerick, Ireland, and brought to the United States at about the age of six years. Her date of birth was later disputed by a critic who wrote in the Boston Globe on November 24, 1888, when she should have been 29, "Ada Rehan is forty years old and over. She makes up fairly for girlish roles ... but at close sight in the cold light of day she shows her age."[1] She was misbilled as Ada C. Rehan by the Arch Street theater of Philadelphia and the name stuck. She had an older sister named Kate, who preceded her onto the stage, and Kate's son, Arthur Byron, also became an actor. Her second sister, Harriet, also had a long (but inconspicuous) career on the stage as Hattie Russell. Her two brothers William and Arthur were involved with the business side of theatre.[1]

Her acting career began early with some minor parts as a child, then her activities increased in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Mrs. John Drew's theatre from 1873 to 1875.[1]

Rehan's autograph on a theatre poster

Ada then went to Louisville to join the stock company of Macauley's Theatre, where she remained one season (1875–6).[1] Subsequently, she appeared in Baltimore, Albany, and other cities with John W. Albaugh's company. When Augustin Daly opened his New York theatre in 1879, she joined his company, and continued to work with Daly until his death twenty years later. Ada Rehan was widely admired in Europe, having acted in Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Stratford-on-Avon.[2]

Miss Rehan was the model for a solid silver statue of Justice that was presented as part of the State of Montana's mining exhibition at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.[3]

She retired from the stage in 1906, and made New York City her home until her death there in 1916.


Rehan's nephew was actor Arthur Byron, son of her sister Kate and Oliver Doud Byron. More than 25 years after Ada Rehan died a WWII Liberty ship was named after her, USS Ada Rehan.

Ada Rehan


She also played the principal female characters in:[4]

  • Cinderella at School
  • Needles and Pins
  • A Wooden Spoon
  • After Business Hours
  • Our English Friend


  1. ^ a b c d Forrest Izard (1915) Heroines of the Modern Stage, Sturgis & Walton Company, New York
  2. ^ Eaton, Walter Prichard (1910). The American Stage of Today. New York, NY: P.F. Collier & Son. 
  3. ^ Appelbaum, Stanley (1980). The Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Rehan, Ada". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 


  • William Winter, Ada Rehan: A Study (limited edition, New York, 1891)
  • William Winter, Shadows of the Stage (New York, 1892)
  • L. C. Strang, Famous Actresses of the Day in America (Boston, 1899)
  • Norman Hapgood, The Stage in America, 1897-1900 (New York, 1901)
  • William Winter, The Wallet of Time, volume ii (New York, 1913)

External links[edit]