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Lot 388: Little Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin
29 October 2016
Wells, ME, USA
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Description: [THEATRE] Cordelia Howard MacDonald (1848-1941 or 1942?) American child actress, played Little Eva in first theatrical production of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Harriet Beecher Stowe's book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. The impact attributed to the book is great, reinforced by a story that when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe at the start of the Civil War, Lincoln declared, "So this is the little lady who started this great war." George C. Howard (1818–1887) was a Nova Scotian-born American actor and showman who is credited with staging the first theatrical production of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. In 1852 Howard hired Caroline's (Cordelia's mother) cousin George L. Aiken to adapt for the stage Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The play debuted on September 27, 1852 at Peale’s Museum in Troy, New York with a cast largely made up of family and friends of Howard's that included his four-year-old daughter, Cordelia. The play was a great success and ran for over three months. Quite an achievement for a small town theater. Cordelia was 4 years & 7 months old, when she first performed in the role of Eva, almost the same age (5 or 6) of Stowe's Eva. Cordelia was around 13 when she retired from the stage. Her final performance as Eva was on October 8, 1861 at the Howard Atheneum in Boston. In her "Memoirs of the Original Little Eva," Cordelia Howard MacDonald justified the early end of her career, claiming that she simply outgrew children's parts and, rather than attempt adult roles, she opted for marriage and education instead. Offered here is a rare, and recently discovered autograph letter signed by Cordelia Howard MacDonald, 1935, 1-1/2 pages, with envelope. Written to Sarah Newhauer of Hyde Park, Mass., thanking her for the handerchief and interesting letter. She then speaks of the losses of family members. VG. Years later Mary Pickford and Virginia Grey were to play the role of Eva.
Condition Report: VG