Ann Gilbert

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Mrs. Gilbert

Ann Gilbert (October 21, 1821 – December 2, 1904) professionally billed as Mrs. G. H. Gilbert was a British actress.

She was born Anne Jane Hartley at Rochdale, Lancashire, England. At fifteen she was a pupil at the ballet school connected with Her Majesty's Theatre, in the Haymarket, conducted by Paul Taglioni, and became a dancer. Her first conspicuous appearance on stage was made as a dancer, in the Norwich theatrical circuit, England, in 1845. In 1846 she married George H. Gilbert (d. 1866), a performer in the theatre company of which she was a member. Together they filled many engagements in English theatres, moving to America in 1849.[1]

Her first 15 years in America were spent in inland cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.[citation needed] Mrs Gilbert's first success in a speaking part was in 1857 as Wichavenda in John Brougham's Po-ca-hon-tas.[1]

One of the most brilliant and decisive successes of her professional life was gained at the Broadway Theatre[2] where, on 5 August 1867, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Florence presented Thomas William Robertson's comedy Caste, for the first time in America.[3] On leaving the Broadway she went to Daly's Fifth Avenue Theatre on Twenty-fourth Street[4] with Robertson's comedy of Play. The cast included E. L. Davenport, George Holland, William Davidge, J. L. Polk, Agnes Ethel, and George Clarke. Mrs. Gilbert played Mrs. Kinpeck.[5] For many years she played opposite James Lewis as his "wife", or playing old women's parts, in which she had no equal.[1]

After Mr. Daly's death in 1899 she came under Charles Frohman's management and later became a member of Annie Russell's company. On October 24, 1904, at the New Lyceum Theatre, Mrs. Gilbert made her first appearance as a star, being then in the eighty-second year of her age, in a play, by Clyde Fitch, called Granny with a young Marie Doro in one of her earliest roles. Granny was announced as her farewell role and she read a special poem composed by Fitch at the end of each performance. Her final New York appearance occurred at the Lyceum on November 12, 1904. She acted for fifty-four years (after five years as a dancer), and she remained in active employment to the last. Mrs Gilbert was uniquely respected and popular, both with audiences and behind the footlights. She performed last on December 1 three days after Granny opened in Chicago,[6] and died there on the following day from a brain hemorrhage.


  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gilbert, Ann". Encyclopædia Britannica. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 7.
  2. ^ The Broadway Theatre, located on Broadway near Broome St., operated under that name from 1864 until it was torn down in 1869. Brown, v.I, p. 523.
  3. ^ Brown, v.I, p. 518.
  4. ^ On the site of the subsequent Madison Square Theatre.
  5. ^ Brown, v.II, pp. 404-405.
  6. ^ Mantle and Sherwood, p. 471.


  • [1] Brown, Thomas Allston, A History of the New York Stage from the Earliest Performances in 1732 to 1901, Vol. I, New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1903.
  • [2] Brown, Thomas Allston, A History of the New York Stage from the Earliest Performances in 1732 to 1901, Vol. II, New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1903.
  • [3] Gilbert, Anne Hartley, ed. by Charlotte M. Martin, The Stage Reminiscences of Mrs. Gilbert, New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1901.
  • Mantle, Burns, and Garrison P. Sherwood, eds., The Best Plays of 1899-1909, Philadelphia: The Blakiston Company, 1944.
  • [4] Winter, William, The Wallet of Time, New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1913, pp. 198–214.

External links[edit]

Gallery of Players vol.1-9