Cigarette card for the week ending
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Lil Hawthorne (d.1926),
American vaudeville performer,
English music hall star
and pantomime principal boy

Lil Hawthorne

Lil Hawthorne

(photo: Hana, London, circa 1899)

This real photograph Ogden's Guinea Gold cigarette card of Lil Hawthorne, 886 in a numbered series, was issued in England about 1900.

Lil Hawthorne, a native of Texas, made her debut at the age of fourteen and gained considerable experience in variety in Boston and New York before transferring to England. With her sisters Lola and Nellie, she was one of the Three Sisters Hawthorne, a song and dance act, during several years in the 1890s. They made their first appearance in London at the Palace Theatre in 1896 singing Leslie Stuart's popular ditty, 'Willow Pattern Plate.'

Following her sisters' marriage and retirement, Lil Hawthorne remained in England where she soon became popular in music halls all over the United Kingdom. She made the first of many appearances in pantomime at the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh, in 1898. Lil had many songs which were favourites with audiences, including 'Lucy Loo,' 'Tessie, You are the Only, Only, Only' and 'Mamie May,' all of which she recorded, 'I'll be Your Sweetheart,' 'Rosie O'Grady,' 'Kitty Mahone' and 'Don't Cry Little Girl, Don't Cry.'

'Time flies; it seems but the other day that the charming Miss Lil Hawthorne left these shores for America to fulfil an engagement with the Orpheum circuit. Yet the other day was as far back as April of this year. Since that time Miss Hawthorne has travelled through most of the cities of America, reaching as far as California. A few days ago the good ship Britannic of the White Star line, landed her in England once again, and on Monday [21 September 1899] Miss Hawthorne commenced an engagement of eight weeks' duration at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London.
(The Era, London, Saturday, 26 August 1899, p.19a)

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London. 'Miss Lil Hawthorne's doll song goes as well as ever, and she is evidently quite popular at the Alhambra. In her second selection, "I'll be your sweetheart," she is assisted by a boy-chorister in the upper-circle, who sings the retrain in a voice of pure fresh tone.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 23 September 1899, p.18a)

'Mr C.D. Slater, of the Alhambra [London], has kindly consented to cancel two weeks of Miss Lil Hawthorne's contract in order that she may fill a four weeks' special tour of Edinburgh (the scene of her former pantomime success), Glasgow, and Manchester. Her new songs, "Sweet, Sweet Love" and "I'll be your sweetheart" are great hits.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 September 1899, p.18c)

Granville music hall, Waltham Green, London.
'Miss Lil Hawthorne (formerly of the Three Sisters Hawthorne) is very popular with the Waltham-green folk, and her capital voice and charming appearance are largely responsible for her undoubted success. She gets at the hearts of the women-folk in her first song, ''Take it home and give it to the baby,'' by a distribution of toy dolls, but takes admiration by storm in her second item, "I'll be your sweetheart," the chorus of which is chanted from the balcony by a sweet-voiced youth.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 4 November 1899, p.19b)

Empire Theatre of Varieties, Brighton.
'Lil Hawthorne, American burlesque actress, who is nightly encored for her admirably rendered songs.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 9 December 1899, p.21a)

Cinderella, pantomime, Prince of Wales's Theatre, Liverpool, Christmas 1899.
'Miss Lil Hawthorne was strongly in evidence as the illustrious Prince Elegant, playing with breeziness a part which suits her admirably and always well within the frame of a capital portrait.'
Other members of the cast included Ida René in the title role, Eugene Stratton as Wilkins, major domo to the Baron, G.P. Huntley as the Baron, Fred Emney as Semolina and W.H. Powell as Angelica, the Ugly Sisters, and Tennyson and O'Gorman as Knipp and Knapp the bailiffs.
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 December 1899, p.22c)

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© John Culme, 2009