Rose Eytinge

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Rose Eytinge
Rose Eytinge 001.jpg
Born November 21, 1835
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died December 20, 1911
Amityville, New York
Occupation Stage actress
Spouse(s) David Barnes (1855-1862?) divorced
George H. Butler (1869-1872) divorced
Cyril Searle (1880-1884) separated

Rose Eytinge (November 21, 1835 – December 20, 1911) was a Jewish American actress and author. She is thought to be the first American actor to earn a three figure salary.[1][2]


Eytinge was born November 21, 1835[3] in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1][4]

She began on the amateur stage at 17 and soon was invited to join a professional touring company.[4]

In 1855, she married the newspaperman and author David M. Barnes (1820-1900),[5] but was divorced in 1862.[1] They had one daughter, Rose Courtney, an actress who married actor John T. Raymond.[6]

Her professional debut was on stage at the Olympic Theatre. She performed with Edwin Booth in "The Fool's Revenge".[3] With Booth and others, she toured Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.. President Abraham Lincoln attended her performances and she was invited to the White House.[1]

In 1869, she married Col. George H. Butler, U. S. Consul General to Egypt.[7] They lived abroad for two years and Eytinge took a break from performing. They had two children: a daughter, Florence (b. 1875) married Dr. Walsh, and a son, Benjamin Franklin Butler (1871-1904),[7] a newspaper artist, who was the roommate of young John Barrymore and married to actress Alice Johnson. Due to Butler's abusive behavior and infidelities, Eytinge sued for divorce in 1882.[8][Note 1]

Eytinge returned to New York to resume her career with the Union Square Theatre Company. It was at this time that she played one of her most famous roles, Shakespeare's "Cleopatra" for which she drew on her Egyptian experiences.[1]

In 1880, she married the actor Cyril Searle, but they were separated four years later. She gave her last performance in 1907.[1]

Among her principal later parts were Nancy Sykes in Oliver Twist, Gervaise in Drink, Ophelia to the Hamlet of E. L. Davenport, and Desdemona with James W. Wallack as Othello and Davenport as Iago.

Her literary works include adaptations of Dickens' Oliver Twist and Dombey and Son, and Browning's Colombe's Birthday. Her personal Recollections were published in 1905.[9]

Eytinge died of a stroke on December 20, 1911 at the Brunswick Home of Amityville, New York where she was supported by the Actors Fund of America. Her body was sent to Washington for burial.[3]


In addition to her children, Rose Eytinge had a niece, Pearl Eytinge (1860-1914) involved in the theatre.[10][11]


  1. ^ The 1882 divorce from Butler was a "degree of absolute divorce" in the Supreme Court, Special Term. She and Butler must have divorced earlier because she remarried to Cyril Searle in 1880. Also Butler remarried secretly in 1880 to Josephine Chesney confirming the status of an earlier divorce date.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hyman, Paula (1997). Jewish Women in America: A-L. New York: Taylor & Francis. pp. 387–388. ISBN 0415919347. 
  2. ^ Rose Eytinge: North American Theatre Online
  3. ^ a b c "Rose Eytinge is Dead at 76". The New York Sun. December 21, 1911. 
  4. ^ a b Clapp, John B. (1899). Players of the Present. New York: B.Franklin. pp. 387–388. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ "David M Barnes". The New York Times. 21 June 1900. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Reddall, Henry Frederic (1892). Fact, Fancy, and Fable. A. C. McClurg. p. 445. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Young, William C. (1975). Famous Actors and Actresses on the American Stage, Vol.1. New York: R. R. Bowker. pp. 346–348. ISBN 0835208214. 
  8. ^ "Rose Eytinge's Divorce". New York Times. March 26, 1882. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). The New International Encyclopedia. Vol. VII (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead and Co. p. 403. 
  10. ^ Pearl Eytinge:North American Theatre Online
  11. ^ Pearl Eytinge: Broadway Photographs (Univ. of South Carolina)

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