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Rose Massey

Biography: 

(1851-1883)

One of Lydia Thompson's original British Blondes, Rose Massey was "an exquisitely formed woman and not averse to exposing her charms." While she pleased many a metropolitan audience with her marching, dancing, and skit acting, her greatest hold on the popular imagination of the 19th century came from her part in a passionately affectionate exchange of letters with her fiancee, the dashing actor Henry J. Montague. This private correspondence appeared in court in a breach of promise suit that Massey directed at Montague in 1875. Transcripts filled the Sunday Mercury, and young Americans received new lessons on how to conduct epistolary romance.

Some of her memorable stage performances include "The Invisible Prince" (1875), "The Two Orphans," and "The White Cat." Throughout the 1870s she conducted a transatlantic career. David S. Shields/ALS