Arthur C. Sidman

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Arthur C. Sidman
Arthur C. Sidman.jpg
Photograph courtesy George Musante
Born (1863-08-03)August 3, 1863
Homer, New York, U.S.A.
Died August 16, 1901(1901-08-16) (aged 38)
Higgins Beach, Maine, U.S.A.
Occupation Actor, playwright
Years active 1890–1908

Arthur C. Sidman (August 3, 1863 – 16 August 1901) was the son of a blacksmith [1] who became a popular American vaudeville performer and playwright.[2]

Early life[edit]

Sidman was born on August 3, 1863,[3] to Peter and Elvira Sidman[1] at the small town of Homer in upstate New York.[3] Sidman began at an early age working as a typesetter, handyman and eventually reporter for a small newspaper in his home town before moving to the nearby town of Tully to work on the local paper there.[4] In Tully he became involved with an amateur theater that soon found success with their production of the play Foiled which the group later performed in a number of towns across the region.[3] At this point Sidman decided to abandon his newspaper career in favor of the theater.


In 1891 Sidman entered vaudeville with his character sketch A Bit of True Life.[3] In time he would gain fame as a vaudeville comedian and character actor for his dead-on portrayals of the stereotypical Yankee farmer.[5] Of the plays and skits he wrote, Summer Showers (ca. 1895)[6] and York State Folks (ca. 1900)[5] were his most successful. The latter, one of several comedies he wrote about pastoral life in upstate New York, would go on after his untimely death to be produced on Broadway and have successful runs across the country. A film version of York State Folks starring veteran actor James Lackaye was released in 1915.[7][5][8]


In 1887 Sidman married Bertha Gardner, the daughter of a Tully area farmer. She died some months before her twentieth birthday on May 31, 1888,[9] ten days after giving birth to their son Ralph.[10] On April 20, 1891, he married actress Ella (Eleanor) M. Brooks [11] at Hornellsville, New York. After his death, both Ella and later their daughter, Marjorie, would tour for a number of years in productions of “York State Folks”.[12][13]


Arthur Sidman died suddenly on August 12, 1901, at Higgins Beach, Maine, a small community 100 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. He had gone there with his family to rest and to put final touches on York State Folks before the fall touring season began.[3]


  1. ^ a b US Census Records 1870, 1880
  2. ^ Appleton’s Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events, 1902
  3. ^ a b c d e Appleton’s Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events, 1902
  4. ^ Tully Independent, January 13, 1972
  5. ^ a b c The Wellsboro Agitator, August 16, 1901
  6. ^ The Wellsboro Agitator, October 2, 1895
  7. ^ The Wellsboro Agitator, July 13, 1938
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cortland County Death Notices & Obituaries – 1888
  10. ^ Ralf Sidman's WWI Draft Registration Card
  11. ^ The Wellsboro Agitator, April 22, 1891
  12. ^ The Wellsboro Agitator, July 13, 1938
  13. ^ The Wellsboro Gazette February 21, 1907