The History of Theater - In One Amazing City

Back to the 19th Century

Back to the 19th Century

Above, John McCullough in costume as Virginius from Sheridan Knowles' play. It was a role he had inherited from Edwin Forrest.

Below, Alexander Reinagle, in a miniature dated "1804" by the painter Robert Field in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.

Above, the sheet music for Reinagle's "Federal March", written and performed in Philadelphia shortly after his arrival there, on July 4, 1788.

Above, the Jefferson family house on Locust Street in Philadelphia, where they lived in the early decades of the 19th Century, as it appears today. A small plaque on the wall commemorates the former presence of the Jeffersons:

Below, Joseph Jefferson, painted as Young Rip Van Winkle:

And in a photo, as Old Rip:

Below, actor and elocutionist James E. Murdoch, in an image that was much reproduced in the newspaper after his death:

Above, James Murdoch in costume as Hamlet and Petruchio, in images pasted in Charles Durang's A History of the Philadelphia Stage.

Below, Matilda Heron as Julia in Henry Hart Mllman's Fazio, the role that began her career at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Below, Heron in New York photography studio portraits, in costume as Camille:

Below, an illustration from the front page of the National Police Gazette, October 25th, 1884, showing John McCullough 'breaking down' again during an onstage rehearsal following his disastrous evening at the end of September at McVicker's Theatre in Chicago. After this episode, the actor agreed he was too ill to continue, and never appeared onstage again.

Above, actor John McCullough in better days, flanked by the house in Northern Liberties where he was 'brought home' to die, and his monument built above his resting place in Mount Moriah Cemetery in West Philadelphia.

Below, an engraving of John McCullough in his later years, from Harpers Magazine, December 1897. 

For the life of me, I can not find a photo or image of "Pop" Reed, anywhere in the archives, despite all the newspaper stories about him. All I can say is that judging from pictures I can easily find of his son, the comedian Roland Reed, and his granddaughter, the actress Florence Reed, old Pop Reed likely had a prominent nose. We wrote about Florence and Roland in a post on our Facebook page in May 2022:

However, when Mary Jane Reed passed away, their son Roland made sure her engraving was published in the papers. I append it below, along with a photo of the couple's grave in Mt. Vernon Cemetery.

Above, the skull of Yorick, currently in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania that is NOT Pop Reed. I've inverted the photo so you can easily read the signatures on it.

Below, Charlie Hoffner, from a photo published in the New York Tribune in 1910:

Selected Bibliography:

Alexander Reinagle:

Corry, Mary Jane, 'Reinagle, Alexander' in American National Biography. (Published in print: 1999. Published online: February 2000)

Dunlap, A History of the American Theatre, J. & J. Harper, New York, 1832.

Kraus, Anne McClenny, "Alexander Reinagle, His Family Background and Early Professional Career" in
American Music, Vol. 4, No. 4, (Winter 1986), pp. 425-456. Published By: University of Illinois Press

Joseph Jefferson

Bloom, Arthur, Joseph Jefferson, Dean of American Theatre, Frederic C. Bell, Savannah GA, 2000.

Jefferson, Joseph, The Autobiography of Joseph Jefferson, The Century Company, New York, 1889. (Accessed via Internet Archive.)

James E. Murdoch

Duchlan, Judy, "James Rush, 1786-1869" in A History of Speech - Language Pathology, Nineteenth Century, website.

Murdoch, James E., Orthophony; or the Cultivation of the Human Voice in Elocution, William B. Ticknor and Company, Boston, 1847. (Accessed online via the Internet Archive)

Murdoch, James E., The Stage: or, Recollections of Actors and Acting from an Experience of Fifty Years, Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati, 1884. (Accessed via Internet Archive)

Matilda Heron

"Matilda Heron's Funeral", New York Times, March 12, 1877, p. 8.

Turney, Wayne S., "Matilda Heron (1830-77), America's Definitive Camille", A Glimpse of Theatre History, accessed via Wayback Machine:

Winter, William, "Matilda Heron", in Vagrant Memories: Being Further Recollections of Other Days, George Dolan Co. 1915,  p.59-72

John McCullough:
Hutton, Laurence, "A Group of Players" in Harpers Magazine, December 31, 1897, pp. 196-210.

Leuger, Mike, "An Episode of Syphilis-Shaming Shows How Cruel Early-20th-Century Celebrity Gossip Could Be" in Slate, website, January 8, 2016. 

Winter, William, In Memory of John McCullough, New York, 1887. (Accessed via Internet Archive)

Pop Reed and Charlie Hoffner:

Davis, Andrew, America's Longest Run: A History of the Walnut Street Theatre, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010, pp. 138, 175-176.

Gibson, James M., "Horace Howard Furness: Book Collector and Library Builder", taken from Shakespeare Study Today: The Horace Howard Furness Memorial Lectures. (New York: AMS Press, 1986). Accessed at:

Harry, Lou, "Alas, Poor Pop" in Strange Philadelphia: Stories from the City of Brotherly Love, Temple University Press, 1995, pp. 90-91.

Hart, Eric, "The Old Proproom at the Walnut Street Theatre," blog entry in Prop Agenda, website.

"John Roland Reed Dead", The Philadelphia Times, July 29, 1891, p. 4.

" 'Pop' Reed Passes Away: The Veteran Theatrical Gas Man Succumbs," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 29, 1891, p. 8.

"Passed Four Score Before Her Death: Mary Jane Reed, the Mother of the Comedian, Passes Away," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 28, 1895, p. 3. 

"'Pop' Reed's Benefit", Philadelphia Inquirer, May 1, 1885, p. 3.

"'Pop' Reed's Big Funeral", Philadelphia Inquirer, August 1, 1891, p. 2.

"The Old Proproom" by Charles Bloomingdale Jr., in the New York Tribune, July 3, 1910.