Edith Taliaferro

Edith Taliaferro

Edith Taliaferro (21 December 1894 - 2 March 1958) was a popular Broadway actress of the late 1800s and early 1900s. A skilled and engaging comedian, she was active on the stage until 1935 and she had roles in three silent films. She is best known for her 1913 performance in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm". The younger sister of Mabel Taliaferro, she was from Richmond, Virginia.

Child actress

Henry Arthur Jones once said of Taliaferro that "she was the greatest child actress." She made her acting debut at the age of two in "Shore Acres" with James A. Herne. It was rumored that she obtained the part because her sister Mabel was too big to depict the character. Her New York City debut came in 1896 at Miner's Theatre on Fifth Avenue, in the same play. The Harlem Opera House presented "Shore Acres" in October 1897. The play was beginning a sixth consecutive year with leading man Herne portraying "Nathaniel Berry".

At the age of ten, in 1904, Taliaferro was paid $100 per week by George Tyler of Liebler & Company. She signed a contract for the following season to appear with Ezra Kendall. She was the youngest Shakesperean actress on the stage. She portrayed Puck in a Ben Greet production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" before an audience at Princeton University in May 1904. She was lauded by professors there and they sent her a Princeton flag and pin.

By then she had performed in six to eight juvenile roles after her professional debut. When she returned to New York, Taliaferro appeared with Clara Bloodgood in "The Girl With The Green Eyes". Early in her career she toured with such stars as Olga Nethersole and E.H. Sothern.

Taliaferro played a youthful ciecus rider in "Polly of the Circus" 1907. The setting is a small midwestern town. Like her mother before her, the character depicted by Taliaferro knows no other life than as an entertainer beneath the round top. The play, written by Frederic Thompson, was performed for more than a year at the Liberty Theater, 242 West 42nd Street. The production moved to the Wieting Theater in Syracuse, New York in November 1908.

Mature roles

She is most noted for her 1913 performance in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm". It was staged at the Republic Theater (New Victory Theatre), 209 West 42nd Street. Her other successful theatrical performances include roles in "The Evangelist", "Young Wisdom", "Tipping The Winner", "A Breath of Old Virginia", "Mother Carey's Chickens", "The Bestsellers", "Please Get Married", "Kissing Time", "A Love Scandal", "Tarnished", and "Private Lives".

Taliaferro performed in London, England and in Australia with the Toronto Theatre Guild. In vaudeville she appeared at the Palace Theater, New York, 1564 Broadway.

Most of her later work was with summer theaters and on radio.

Film actress

She made motion pictures for a short time beginning with "Young Romance" in 1915. Taliaferro starred as Esther Field in "Who's Your Brother?" (1919). The genre is drama, with much suspense, surrounding a theme about immigration. It is also a love story. The film was adapted from the writing of Robert Bronson Stockbridge.

Her other movie role was "The Conquest of Canaan" (1916). Taken from a Booth Tarkington novel, the film was shot on location in Asheville, North Carolina.


Edith Taliaferro died after a long illness in Newtown, Connecticut in 1958. She was 64. Her husband, House B. Jameson, was an actor.


*cite news| publisher=Mansfield News |title=Theater Talk |date=April 16, 1909 |page=7
*cite news| publisher=New York Times |title=Theatres |date=October 10, 1897 |page=5
*cite news| publisher=New York Times |title=Ten Years Old; $100 A Week |date=May 24, 1904 |page=9
*cite news| publisher=New York Times |title=Edith Taliaferro Of Stage, Was 64 |date=March 3, 1958 |page=27
*cite news| publisher=Syracuse Herald |title=Wieting-Polly of the Circus |date=November 15, 1908 |page=30


*Who's Your Brother? (1919)
*The Conquest of Canaan (1916)
*Young Romance (1915)


*The Hook-up [Comedy]
*A Love Scandal [Play]
*Fashions of 1924 [Musical]
*Kissing Time [Musical, Comedy]
*Please Get Married [Play]
*Muggins [Play]
*Mother Carey's Chickens [Play]
*Captain Kidd, Jr. [Play]
*Tipping the Winner [Play]
*Young Wisdom [Comedy]
*Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm [Comedy]
*The Evangelist [Play]
*Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch [Comedy]
*The Girl with the Green Eyes [Drama]
*The Bonnie Brier Bush [Drama]
*The Sunken Bell [Drama]

External links

*imdb name|0848064|name=Edith Taliaferro
*Find A Grave|id=8715771

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