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Georgina MAY "May Irwin" Campbell

Female 1862 - 1938  (76 years)


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  • Name Georgina MAY "May Irwin" Campbell  [1, 2
    Born 27 Jun 1862  Whitby Twp., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Female 
    Occupation Actress Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 22 Oct 1938  New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I1782  Don Worth's Ancestry
    Last Modified 30 May 2019 

    Father Robert E. Campbell,   b. Abt 1823, Cataraqui, Kingston Twp, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Whitby?, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Sophronia JANE Draper,   b. Springwater, NY? Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 17 Jun 1851  Whitby Twp, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Family ID F743  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Fredrick W. Keller 
    Married Abt 1880  St. Louis, Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Children 
     1. Harry Irwin
    +2. Walter Irwin
    Last Modified 30 May 2019 
    Family ID F507  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Kurt Eisfeldt,   b. Vienna, Austria Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 26 May 1907  [2
    Last Modified 30 May 2019 
    Family ID F508  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Actress with the stage name of May Irwin. Growing up, May and her sister Addie sang in the church choir. Their mother took them to Buffalo in February of 1876 where they sang duets in the Adelphi Theator for $6.00 per week. It was then that they assumed the name of Irwin. They were quite popular and traveled extensively about the Eastern and Southern United States on the vaudeville stage. Her songs and comedy sketches were very popular - especially "After the Ball", which she introduced.

      In 1883 she went "legit" and toured for a time with a theater group in New York, London, France, Germany and Italy. "When the Gay Nineties started this broad-bosomed, ragtime singer-comedienne from Whitby, Ontario was 'undeniably the greatest farce artist in America.' She was 25 and was earning $2,500 a week." She purchased extensive property in New York city during this period, which she was later able to sell in the late 1920's for millions. She also purchased an island on the St. Lawrence River on which she built a three-story red granite mansion. It was here that she frequently entertained her Broadway friends and that Irving Berlin wrote "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911.

      In 1896 she was the first to consumate an on-screen kiss. Thomas Edison filmed it - a total of 50 feet of film. She was well known to three U. S. Presidents, and Woodrow Wilson called her his "Secretary of Laughter."

      By 1922 she had retired from the stage to a luxurious existance in New York City. She traveled extensively during her later years died at the age of 76 in 1938.

  • Sources 
    1. [S30] Genealogical records of Ralph Hix concerning Woods, Hoover, Campbells, Anshutz, and other related families. (EF#58, SN#66, 26 Mar 1977).

    2. [S1] The Corporal Hugh Campbell Family History, W. Colin Crozier, 1993. (EF#404, SN#604, Jun 1993).