Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 31 May 2008

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

a page from Genevieve Ward's
memoirs, 1883

Genevieve Ward

Genevieve Ward (1837-1922), American actress

(photo: unknown, probably London, 1880s)

'An Interesting Page From the Life’s History of "Forget-Me-Not" - Genevieve Ward.
'In a recent letter to the Philadelphia Times, Gath gives the following interesting chapter from the life history of Genevieve Ward the eminent actress who appeared at the Academy last season I her great character of Stephanie in Forget-Me-Not:
'I wonder than an actress like Genevieve Ward does not find stable employment in this country. A few weeks ago I found at an old book stand a pamphlet published twenty years ago, called Memoir of Ginevra Guerrabelle, which is the life of Genevieve Ward. She went to Europe at three years of age with her banker father, became a musical protégé of Madame Sontag and studied music hear Rossini in Florence, who she called her "my consolation." She refused to be engaged to a rich New Yorker who was aboard and whom her parents favored, but struck for a title, and a Russian, the Count de G., as she calls him, applied for her hand. Her mother started to Paris with the romantic girl, but was taken sick at Genoa, and at Nice they were married at the American Consolate. The count endeavoured to stave off a Greek church ceremony at Turin, but Genevieve and her mother found from the Prussian Minister that the marriage would not be binding upon a Russian subject. So, without the consummation of the nuptials, the bride set off for Paris, and the Count following them endeavored, without success, to seduce her. He then became alarmed at a threat to appeal to the Emperor and proceded to abuse his wife's reputation and used the American Legation to assist him. The bride intimates that the secretary of the Legation himself endeavoured to seduce her also. Suddenly General Dix arrived in Paris (1854). He took to Miss Ward's case, wrote to Governor Seymour, of Connecticut, oar Minister at St. Petersburg, and the lady and her brother and mother started thither in dead of winter, before any railroads were open.
'The young girl meantime set to work to study Russian; she was, at law, neither American nor Russian under the peculiar circumstances of her case. They travelled from Konigsberg to Riga on sledges. In six days more they reached St. Petersburg, having been attacked on the road by Russian boors. Minister Seymour introduced Genevieve into the court society, his object being to produce an interest in her behalf that would offset the official rank of her husband's family. A Russian Prince wished to marry her, but she remained true to her purpose of an honourable vindication, and her brother-in-law himself took the case to Alexander II. When we reflect upon the terrible death of this Emperor we can do him the justice of commending his behaviour in the case. He sent his chief of police, Prince Dologoruki, to see the maiden bride and ask her to name General de G.'s punishment.
'"To marry me forthwith." '"Nothing but that?" asked the astonished Tartar.
'"Immediate divorce after marriage," said Genevieve Ward.
'The minister said that would be impossible under the church and the laws; she would be compelled to live with the Count for a few weeks. To this hard condition she assented, and the recreant bridegroom was ordered back to Russia. He meantime had engaged himself at Naples to the Russian Minister's daughter and was giving splendid parties, borrowing money, etc. The news of his marriage to Genevieve Ward astonished Naples and brought out the additional fact that he was at the same time engaged to two other Neapolitan ladies. He narrowly escaped a public horse-whipping for showing the letters of one of these women, and sailed out of the harbour in his yacht only to run upon Colonel Ward, the father of Genevieve, at Paris. Together, father and son-in-law proceeded to Warsaw. The Count had now concluded to marry his wife and get rid of her, if he so desire, by [? person] or violence. The Viceroy of Poland, Prince Gortchakoff, informed the Count that it was to be instant married or Siberia for life and the confiscation of all his property to his American wife. He then called on the lady in the presence of all her family.
'''Nothing, sir,'' she said, ''could induce me to live with you one hour.''
'''What is your motive, Genevieve?''
'''Your infamy.''
'Said he, in a few minutes: ''Why do you put me in chains?''
'''Thus far,'' said she, ''I have been a wife without a husband. Henceforth you shall be a husband without a wife.''
'The Russian scoundrel now took to oaths and rage, but Gortchakoff cooly pointed to Siberia.
'Warsaw Cathedral at eleven o'clock the next day was crowded with the elite of Russia and Poland. Genevieve was attended by her father, mother and brothers. She was dressed in deep black and carried a lighted taper in the ceremony. At the conclusion she walked out of the church, drove to the railroad depot and left the country, refusing to claim any of her husband's property. She went to Milan and came out in opera at the Carcano opera house there in 1857. At Paris the scoundrel of a husband intrued [sic] into her apartments and notified her that he would live with her at all hazards. His various swindles and indiscretions in Paris, however, rendered it easy for the police to handle him. She never heard of him again. About 1853 she appeared in opera in Paris and continued to sing till she exchanged the lyric for the dramatic stage. She is, I think a near relative of Sam Ward and of Julia Ward Howe.'
(Fort Wayne Sunday Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sunday, 16 December 1883, p.3e/f)

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Claudia Lasell tries boxing,
London, 1913

Claudia Lasell

'An actress who was entered to drive a 90 horse-power
Mercédès at the Brighton Race-Meeting : Miss Claudia Lasell on her car.'

Claudia Lasell (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), American actress and singer

(main photo: Baker & Dixon, London, 1905)

'The Fad Among the "400" Has Started in Paris and London
'(By Tom Andrews.)
'Do not be surprised if boxing bouts are introduced as part of select parlor games for the "400" in various cities about the country. The fad has started in London and now Paris has taken it up, so why not the United States. It has been the custom for several years past to stage short round bouts at stages and entrainments at where men were the only participants, but now the women threaten to enter the field. Only a short time ago Miss Claudia Lassel surprised all her friends in London by giving them a genuine boxing match as an after dinner entertainment instead of the usual vaudeville performance with Salome dancers. She had the ring arranged in one of the larger rooms and the bottle holders and towel swingers were there in their glory. The young women acted as master of ceremonies and she did very nicely indeed. She appeared to enjoy the sensation of being in the ring and the ladies present certainly enjoyed the contrast as much as the men, judging from the way they applauded. It was a sure enough scrap between two well known welter weights and there was a real knockout. Things brings to mind a request I had some months ago from a Millwarkee lady who thought she would like to give her friends a treat of the same kind, but I talked her out of it at the time, stating that it would hardly be taken in the right spirit by many of the people. However, if the society people of Europe can stand for it why surely the liberal minded Americans can. And while talking about women enjoying the many sport it might be well to remark that when Sam McVey and San Langford fought in Paris nearly two years ago I attended at the Cirque de Paris and saw fully 500 women present, occupying the boxes and best seats in the house, many of them in evening dress. The women in Paris have been regular attendants at some of the boxing shows and they see nothing wrong in it. Probably it was this fact that prompted the London lady to get up the boxing show for the entertainment of her guests. With the ladies interested there is hope for the boxing game in the future. They patronize baseball, football and auto races, so why not boxing?'
(Olean Times, Olean, New York, Friday, 21 February 1913, p.7c)

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© John Culme, 2008