The daughter of a Baltimore saloonkeeper, Emma Stockman trained as a singer and ballet dancer, yet wished to become an actress. Her father opposed this desire, but she acted on her own behalf. Engaged as a utility performer by John T. Ford, manager of Ford's Opera House in Baltimore in 1876, Emma Stockman "rose rapidly on account of her winsome appearance and thorough versatility" to become in one season the most useful member of Ford's company. She left for more pay to the Richmond Stock Company and then hired on as a juvenile lead with Mary Anderson's active star company.
No stage performance she undertook had the dramatic conflict she experienced in her love life. Married to St. Louis theatrical manager John W. Norton in 1878, she found herself increasingly disaffected with the match on account of his jealousy. In 1888 she fell in love with Henry W. Moore, managing editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. When Norton discovered the affair, he attempted violence, but the couple escaped. Theatrical managers sympathizing with Norton, would not hire Emma Stockman, so she decamped to Australia. Moore soon followed.
In 1891 she returned to America and settled in Philadelphia, playing in "Hoodman Blind." The greatest hit of her career was 1882's "Romany Rye." David S. Shields/ALS