Confusions and Minor Mysteries

There is a line from "The King and I" which I find appropriate here; "Is a puzzlement."

Reconstructing the past is not easy. If I had unlimited time and money and access to every file everywhere on Maude Adams I might be able to clear a few of these up, but unless the nearly impossible happens, these will remain confusions and minor mysteries, at least for me.

This article, from the April 10, 1896 iossue of the New York Times, says that Maude Adams and John Drew performed in a play called "A Pair of Lunatics," at least once. As with various other things, this is the only reference I've found to such a play.

The above, taken from the New York Times of November 28, 1897, indicates that John Drew and Maude Adams are scheduled to appear in a play called Mrs. Hillary Regrets." Unfortunately, I haven't found anything else on such a play. Was it a one-off performance, or a planned play that, for some reason or another, never ended up actually being peformed?

This article, from the North Adams Transcript of Feb. 13, 1900, indicates yet another play that was supposed to be done with Maude Adams in it, and that was "Peg Woffington." Yet again, this is a rare bit of information. It seems she accepted the role then decided not to do it. The following telegram was most kindly passed on to me by Sean Furniss showing she was ready to sign the contract.

1900, in Grace Livingston Furniss' scrapbook, ca 1900–1903; Furniss, Grace Livingston. 8-MWEZ+ n.c. 10,514. Scrapbook of clippings. (Ruth M. Furniss gift). BillyRose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York. Digital file exists online, available by request. An annotation in the scrapbook makes reference to the special version of Peg Woffington done for Miss Adams.

This article, from The Mansfield News, May 12, 1900, refers to Maude Adams being in a production of Ben Hur , and that it ran in New York for an entire season. I have found absolutely nothing else that indicates she was ever in such a play.

If the above plays were not enough, this article, from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette of June 25, 1911, refers to three plays that she was scheduled for, one of them being "A Little Play," the second called "Judy", and the third play not yet named. Again, as with the other two, I don't know if these were done as one-off performances or never actually done.

To add still another piece to the list of confusion, there's the movie called "Kim" which is referred to in this article from The Zanesville Signal of June 23, 1927, noting that Maude Adams would be going to India to do the film. This is the only reference I've found to such a thing being planned.

Then there are the articles that, even in their headlines, indicate some kind of sorrow or mystery for Maude Adams. These are three such articles, one of them even speculating that Maude Adams was planning to become a nun.

Reno Evening Gazette, May 9, 1915

Syracuse Herald, February 26, 1922

The Syracuse Herald, June 1, 1925

In addition to these, there are a number of plays that I've found a single reference to that Maude Adams supposedly performed in, but other than that one single reference I have been unable to find anything else. These plays include Charades (date unknown), Harbour Lights (1885), Hearts of Oak (date unknown), Little Susie (1879), Monte Cristo (date unknown), Oliver Twist (date unknown), She (date unknown), Too Happy By Half (date unknown), and The Wages of Sin (date unknown.) As with all the other plays listed above, I don't know if they are the product of carelessness on the part of the writer, listing something that never actually occurred, or a writer listing a play that, for some reason or other, no one else has bothered to write about.