The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Rachel Sanger

Rachel Sanger

A carte-de-visite portrait of the actress Rachel Sanger (1847-1884). A pencilled inscription on the back of the mount reads Arrah-na-Pogue, the title of Dion Boucicault’s great hit of 1864, though I can find no evidence of Miss Sanger ever having appeared in a production of this play.

Born in London, her father was an actor and prompter by the name of Alfred Sanger.

The following paragraphs are taken from the website of the D’Oyle Carte Who Was Who website [hence the emphasis on her involvement with D’Oyle Carte productions]:

‘Rachel Mary Sanger made her professional debut in London at the 1865 opening of the Bijou Theatre (Highbury) in the title role of a burlesque of Ernani. She later appeared in two Covent Garden pantomimes (Aladdin and The Forty Thieves), and in succeeding years took a number of important parts at the St. James's, Princess's, Gaiety, Olympic, Globe, and Adelphi Theatres, as well as on tour.

‘Her first appearance under D'Oyly Carte management came in 1876, when from January until March of that year he appeared first as Malvina, then as Valentine in The Duke's Daughter at the Royalty, Globe, and Charing Cross Theatres. Carte was joint manager with George Dolby for Selina Dolaro's Company.

‘In 1878 she played the leading role in Diplunacy, a burlesque at the Strand, and in 1879 she was engaged at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, where she created the part of Annie in a play called Pair o' Wings. She then made her way to America, appearing first at the Corinthian Academy of Music, Rochester, New York, as Princess Zeolide in W. S. Gilbert's The Palace of Truth in September 1879. She later performed at Haverley's Brooklyn Theatre in November 1879 as Minnie Symperson in Gilbert's Engaged, before making her Manhattan debut in January 1880 at the Park Theatre in a Gilbert double-bill, as the Marchioness of Market Harborough in The Wedding March and Jenny Northcott in Sweethearts. In 1880 she appeared in San Francisco as Mabel in a Carte-sanctioned production of The Pirates of Penzance with Charles Locke's Pacific Coast Company.

‘In April and May 1881 Miss Sanger appeared as Arabella Lane in Stephens & Solomon's Billee Taylor with R. D'Oyly Carte and Edward E. Rice's Second American Billee Taylor Company, and in May she transferred to the First Company, switching assignments with Vernona Jarbeau, and playing Arabella in Boston and New York until June 1881.

‘She had a few more roles on the New York stage in 1881-82, but was forced to retire shortly thereafter. She was just 34 when she died in New York in 1884.’

Photographed by Elliott and Fry of 55, Baker Street, London.


Code: 125174
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© Paul Frecker 2018