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Edith Kingdon

Biography: 

(1864-1921)

Her marriage to George Gould, son of plutocrat Jay Gould, has eclipsed for posterity her accomplishments as an actress in the 1880s, yet Canadian Edith Kingdon embodied in her day a kind of theatricalized refinement that epitomized patrician manners in the American mind. She debuted in 1881 in Newark, New Jersey, playing in the melodramas "East Lynne" and "The World." In January 1882 she joined the Boston Theater Company and was immediately slotted for roles in "Youth" and "The World." During the following season she toured widely with that troupe in "The White Slave."

In 1884 Augustin Daly secured Kingdon's services for his 5th Avenue Theater in New York City. She spent the summer of 1884 in Europe vacationing with her mother. It was Daly that realized that Kingdon was the perfect female foil for his leading woman, Ada Rehan, in 18th-century comedies, such as Cibber's "She Would and She Wouldn't." Legend holds that Gould first became captivated by her after witnessing a performance of Pinero's "The Magistrate" in October 1885. Rumors of the romance emerged in the press in March of 1886. They married later that year and Edith retired from the stage. David S. Shields/ALS