Cigarette card for the week ending
Saturday, 10 January 2009

Cushman and Holcombe (fl. 1890s),
American vaudeville entertainers

Sadie Cushman and Herbert Holcombe

Sadie Cushman (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
English-born American soprano, actress, and vaudeville entertainer
Herbert Holcombe (1867-1908),
American baritone and vaudeville entertainer

(photo: B.J. Falk, New York, circa 1897)

This real photograph cigarette card of Sadie Cushman and Herbert Holcombe was issued about 1900 in England in one of Ogden's Guinea Gold series. Cushman and Holcombe, both of whom had already well established stage careers, teamed up during the second half of the 1890s to form a vaudeville act. They were briefly joined by another performer called Curtis.

'SADIE CUSHMAN. 'Biographical Sketch of a Favorite in Light Opera.
'Sadie Cushman, the actress, was born in Birmingham, England. Her musical ability was largely inherited from her mother, who was a professional singer. Her parents came to this country when she was 3 years of age and located in Boston, Mass., in which city the child was reared and educated. When she arrived at a suitable age she received instruction in instrumental and vocal music in the New England Conservatory of Music, in that city and at the age of 15 she made her professional debut with the Bennett & Moulton Opera company at Salem, Mass., playing minor parts. She remained with that company four seasons and her next following engagement was with Atkinson's Peck's Bad Boy company, in which she played the title role for one season. The following season she joined John Stetson's Opera company, playing small roles in The Mikado, Ruddygore, Princess Ida, and Iolanthe, and acting as an understudy for the prima donna, Helen Lamont. The next season she was with Lydia Thompson in The Dazzler, and then followed an engagement with J.C. Stewart, with whom she played leading roles in The Men's Club and The Two Johns. She was next engaged by B.F. Keith for his operatic productions, and in this capacity not only appeared at the Union Square theater, but assisted in opening all of Mr. Keith's houses excepting that in Providence, R.I. Miss Cushman claims a repertory of sixty operas.'
(Stevens Point Daily Journal, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Wednesday, 14 August 1895, 2nd Part, p. 3d)

Hyde & Behman's vaudeville theatre, Brooklyn, New York, October 1899
'. . . Cushman, Holcombe and Curtis, in a clever singing comedy entitled The New Teacher,, give a very good act, in which some of the performers sing well and also present the school room scene humorously. All their jokes are new and funny for the most, consisting of questions to the scholars, with pert answers, such as ''What are the three quickest means of communication in the world?'' The answerer is: ''Telegraph, telephone and tell-a-woman.'''
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday, 10 October 1899, p. 5f)

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© John Culme, 2009