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Helen Dauvray

Biography: 

Helen Dauvray emerged as a star in 1880s New York. Her abilities on the stage were matched by her instinct for publicity. The newspapers from 1885-1893 were filled with tales of triumph and disaster. Illness, train wreck, fire, bankruptcy, arrests. She married the most dashing and articulate baseball player of the era, New York Giants short-stop, Johnnie Ward. Later she went through one of the most lurid public divorces of the era. Her fortune was made playing Bronson Howard’s 1885 hit, "One of Our Girls," which she took on the road, played in London, revived periodically, and made a staple of a Broadway theater she secured in 1892. A spirited performer, she was successful in most roles that didn’t require singing. Yet her conviction that she was a songster would get her into trouble.

In 1896 Dauvray married Albert Winterhalter, a military officer stationed in San Francisco, and announced her retirement. The itch to appear before the public did not entirely leavel. Her final appearance on Broadway took place in 1901; she appeared in a vaudeville skit at Proctor's. Its lukewarm reception drove her back into housewifery. Winterhalter soon made admiral's rank, so she enjoyed a comfortable life in elite society until her death in 1926. David S. Shields/ALS