Major Edward Newell (General Grant Jr)
Today is the birthday of Edmund Newell (1857-1919), usually billed as either Major Edward Newell [sic] or General Grant Jr. One of many little people in the employ of P.T. Barnum, he is best known today for having married Lavinia Warren’s sister Minnie in 1877. She died in childbirth a year later, whereupon Newell moved to London and married a woman of conventional height named Mary Ann Drake.
To find out more about the variety arts 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.