Today is the birthday of Ada Rehan (1859-1916). Rehan was one of the great American actresses of the late 19th and early 20th century. Born in Limerick Ireland as Delia Crehan, she was erroneously billed by a theatre early in her career as Ada C. Rehan and she stuck with the accidental name.
Her older sister Kate Byron was the first to go on the stage; subsequently Ada and their younger sister Harriet also became actresses and both their brothers went into theatre management. Starting off as a child, Rehan was a creature of the age of stock companies, first making a name for herself with John Drew’s Company in Philadelphia (1873-1875), then John W. Albaugh’s touring company (1875-1879), then found a home with Augustin Daly’s New York stock company, where she remained until his death in 1899. Rehan also toured to most of the major cities in Europe, retiring in 1906.
Roles she was closely associated with included Rosalind in As You Like It, Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew, Viola in Twelfth Night, Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal, and Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac.
Today she rests in Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where just about two weeks ago, I stumbled across this: