Ishbel Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair (1857-1939). a.k.a. “Lady Aberdeen” was born on this day. In 1918, this Scottish aristocrat, philanthropist and author undertook a tour of U.S. vaudeville to help drum up support for World War I. Her act consisted of a patriotic speech called “My Lady’s War Garden Party”, climaxed by the singing of “America”. The tour seems to have gone to her head, for in May of that year she reneged on an engagement at the Palace because Evelyn Nesbit got top billing and the star dressing room. A breach of contract lawsuit resulted.
To find out more about vaudeville past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.