Sweet-spoken comedienne Isabelle Coe [Mrs. Frank McKee] came to prominence in the title role of "Niobe" in the early 1890s. She began her career in 1884 supporting Denman Thompson in "The Old Homestead." Thompson indicated that Coe had the speed and energy to do farce, so in her next engagements she tried out antic comedy roles, Virginia Bridge in "The Tin Soldier" and the schoolmistress in "The Midnight Bell" for the Charles H. Hoyt Company. She next worked as the leading lady for Nat Goodwin's touring company. In 1891 she hit pay dirt as Niobe when she bleached her wavy brown hair blonde. When Hoyt wrote another hit in "The Milk White Flag," (1894) he secured Coe's services to be the female lead.
In 1896 Coe became very ill, suspending her performances of "His Absent Boy" and finally leaving the United States with her husband in June to recuperate in a European sanitarium. She recovered, and enjoyed some success in London in the later 1890s in Hoyt's "A Stranger in New York." David S. Shields/ALS