1860 – 1916 A.D.
Ada Rehan, an American Actress, born in Limerick, Ireland, original name Crehan, came to America as a child, made her first appearance in Newark, NJ, when she was fourteen.
Later, for some years, she gained her experience in stock companies in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Albany. In the latter company she is said to have played some ninety characters, among them Ophelia to Booth’s Hamlet and Lady Anne to McCullough’s Richard III. But her period of great success began when Augustin Daly engaged her in 1979 for the company with which opened Daly’s Theatre in New York. With him she remained till his death, twenty years later – a period that has been called the “golden age” in American theatrical achievement. She played a wide range of parts in Shakespearian comedy in Old English comedies, her Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal being one of her most successful rôles; and in modern comedies. In London, where she appeared at intervals, she was very popular and much admired. After Mr. Daly’s death in 1899 she did relatively little acting, and made her last appearance in 1905 at the testimonial to Modjeska.
In his Vagrant Memories, the veteran dramatic critic, William Winter, says:
Daly rendered many, various, and important services to the theatre of his time, but his recognition and development of the genius of Ada Rehan was the most valuable of them all. In her stage was illumined and graced by an actress who not only preserved, but bettered, the brilliant traditions of Peg Woffington and Dora Jordon. Her rich beauty, her imposing stature, her Celtic sparkle of mischievous piquancy, her deep feeling, her round, full, clear, caressing voice, her supple freedom of movement, the expressive play of her features, the delightful vivacity of her action – who that ever appreciated could ever forget them?”
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.