Elise Holt (1847-1873),
English burlesque actress
'STRAND. - The programme has been slightly varied this week, the clever drama of One Tree Hill having been preceded by the old farce of Deaf as a Post, and followed by a revival of the popular burlesque of Aladdin, in which Miss Elise Holt, an importation from the trans-pontine [i.e. the Surrey side of the River Thames] region, has made her first appearance here as ''the Wonderful Scamp.'' Miss Elise Holt has a lively style, and abundant confidence in her own powers, the result of the combination being apparently quite satisfactory to the audience. Her lines are smartly given, and her dancing is so good that encores follow every specimen of her Terpsichorean powers.'
The Death of Miss Elise Holt.
‘The above-named lady, known in private life as Mrs Horace Wall, died of typhoid pneumonia, at Pittsburgh, Pa., at nine o’clock on Sunday evening, December 28th . She was born in London, July 11th, 1847, and was in the twenty-seventh year of her age. She made her first appearance in public in 1863, singing a comic song at the Surrey Gardens, in her native city, under the direction of Mdlle Louise, a dancer, whose pupil Miss Holt afterwards became. Later she appeared as the principal dancer at the Victoria. Subsequently she married Mr Palmer. On December 7th, 1868, she came to America as the chief feature of a burlesque company which had been engaged in England by Mr Horace Wall. She made her American debut at the Olympic Theatre, Boston, Mass., December 21st, 1868, in the burlesque of Lucretia Borgia, M.D. [i.e. H.J. Byron’s Lucrezia Borgia, M.D.; or, La Grande Doctresse, first produced at the Holborn Theatre, London, 28 October 1868], and became a great favourite with the public there. The troupe subsequently came to New York , and acted for a brief season at the Waverley [sic] Theatre, afterwards Kelly and Leon’s Minstrel Hall. They then performed in Philadelphia, and then went to California, where Miss Holt procured a divorce from Mr Palmer, and some time thereafter was married to Mr Horace Wall. Shortly they returned to England, and, after an absence of some three years, Mr Wall arrived in America in the Fall of 1872, as the business Manager of Dion Boucicault. In the summer of 1873 Miss Holt returned from England, and in September commenced a Fall and Winter starring tour at Wood’s Museum, New York, going thence to Boston, Mass., Cincinnati, Louisville, and New Orleans, commencing an engagement at the Academy of Music in the latter city on the 17th of November. During that engagement she was attacked with the ''break-bone'' fever, then epidemic, and, after the evening of November 20th, was unable to appear in public. She acted on the 20th in the burlesque of Lucretia Borgia, M.D., in which she made her first appearance in America. On December 3d, having been pronounced sufficiently convalescent by her physician, she, in company with her husband, started for Pittsburgh, Pa., where she was to have commenced an engagement on December 8th. On her arrival in that city she was attacked with the disease which proved fatal as above stated. Miss Holt was of an amiable disposition, vivacious, and speedily made friends of those with whom she came in contact. She left a little daughter and some relatives residing in England.’
For further information about Elise Holt, see Mark’s 1800s Emphemera web site; and Kurt Gänzl’s The Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre (Schirmer/Gale Group, USA, 2001), and Lydia Thompson, Queen of Burlesque (Routledge, New York, 2002), a biography in the Forgotten Stars of the Musical Theatre series. See also the Adelphi Theatre, London, for the seasons of 1870/71 and 1872.
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© John Culme, 2009