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Figure Katharine Ridgeway Redpath KATHARINE RIDGEWAY One of America's Greatest Entertainers The following description of Katharine Ridgeway was written for Lyceumite and Talent by Mr. Grilley of the famous Rogers & Grilley Company: One of the most popular readers on the lyceum platform. Who? Katharine Ridgeway. And if anyone disputes this assertion you can put him down as a rival bureau agent, or one who never had an opportunity to know the real opinion of the lyceum-going public. How has she attained this pre-eminent position? I should say first and foremost by perseverance, aided by rare tact and a strict attention to every detail connected with her work. Perseverance seems to be the key-note of her character, and her whole career has been dominated by this most excellent trait. She is a remarkable person and remarkable people are generally hard to analyze. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, fate decreed that she should begin traveling at an early age. Her father had been a colonel in the Confederate Army and at the conclusion of the war found himself practically penniless. Possessed of the same ambition, which afterward became the inheritance of his talented daughter, he decided to begin life again in another part of the world. With his wife and five children he made his way to a farm near Colfax, Washington, which was then but a fort, and consisted of only a few houses. Here, as a child, she was surrounded by the stirring scenes that go to make up life on a ranch and here she laid the foundation of health and character that would prove of such good service to her in the years to come. At fifteen, she was teaching school in one of the mountain districts. She remained there a year and a recital of her experiences during this period would in itself prove a most entertaining and delightful volume. Out of one family of sixteen children, eleven were members of her school. Most of the families were engaged in the lumbering industry and when the mills closed down, during part of the season, many of the loggers, men grown, would take this time to attend school. At recess she entered into the sports with the pupils, and her friends of today, knowing her enthusiasm and ardent love for outdoor life, will not be surprised to learn that many times during an extremely close and interesting game of base ball, books and studies were forgotten and recess developed into a half-holiday. Her experiences at boarding around with the different families, would make an interesting supplement to a comic weekly. In one home, nine boys of the family were housed in the loft, while she shared a bed with four girls of varying size and age. Is it any wonder, with such early environments, that the one-night stands of the present day have no terrors for her? During this time she saved sufficient funds to enter college at Spokane, and in various ways while there she earned enough to complete the four years' course. While at Spokane, her call to the platform received its first real impetus, for among those who gave entertainments at the college were Mrs. Nella Brown Pond and Mrs. Scott Siddons. The former in particular appealed to her and little did she think that in a few years she herself would be holding a place of equal popularity in the hearts of the lyceum public. She was so impressed by Mrs. Pond's art that then and there no career would appeal to her but that of a public reader. The seed sown by Mrs. Pond soon bore fruit, and learning that Boston possessed superior advantages, in the way of instruction, everything now was shaped with this end in view. Distance had no perils for her. It would have been the same had it been Kamchatka. She had all the enthusiasm of youth and she needed it all; for there were now nine children in the household and she could look for little help from the family exchequer. About this time Bishop Vincent spoke in the college chapel and in his discourse dwelt on the possibilities of the future and what lay in store for the pupil who would go forth and bravely battle with the world's difficulties. Those who have listened to Bishop Vincent can imagine how his eloquence would appeal to a young girl of her temperament. It needed but a word to convince her which way her path lay. After graduating she taught school that summer and when Fall came she had saved nearly all her salary. Mr. Harry C. Haywood, then manager of a Spokane theater, had been watching her career with considerable interest and had discovered the talent that only needed an opportunity to assert itself. He was able to secure a pass on the railroad for her as far as Chicago, and armed with this and her summer savings she started for Boston. On her arrival her sole capital consisted of eighty dollars, and she at once entered the Boston School of Oratory, then conducted by Moses True Brown. After paying her tuition, she was face to face with the problem of a healthy girl's appetite and a lodging house mistress who needed something more than promises to meet the weekly room rent, so she at once set about to find some employment that would tide her over her difficulties. Her first opportunity came in a position to accompany a blind man about the city on his daily walks. This furnished board money until the end of the school year, and if he parted with her services, as do some of her latter day audiences, it doubtless was an affecting farewell. During the following summer she obtained a position in a store and in the fall, finding she had insufficient funds to continue at the college, she took private work, and meeting Miss Emma Greeley, of the Greeley School of Dramatic Art, she became her pupil, and to Miss Greeley she owes much of her success. About this time the Temple Quartette was seeking a reader to accompany them on their road tour and in the contest for the position she outdistanced all competitors and remained with them two years. She was such a success with the Temples that the following season she was placed at the head of the Katharine Ridgeway Company, and for years now, it has been one of the standard attractions of the lyceum. No better proof could be had of her popularity than the fact that in more than fifty towns she has appeared every year since she commenced her career. Certainly a remarkable record. She has read in every state in the Union and in Europe. * * * An accomplished pianist will accompany Katharine Ridgeway on all her tours. Figure Figure A BARITONE SOLOIST will also appear on this Program thus making a company of three in all. RLB REDPATH-SL~AYTON LYCEUM BUREAU REDPATH-BROCKWAY Pittsburg. Pa. BOSTON·NEW YORK·PITTSBURG COLUMBUS. OHIO·CHATHAM. ONT. COLUMBUS, MISS.·CHICAGO·CEDAR RAPIDS·KANSAS CITY·DENVER SEATTLE·SAN FRANCISCO!!!! REDPATH-PRIEST Seattle. Wash.
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Ridgeway, Katharine|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||4|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|