Woman of the Century/Clara Morris
MORRIS, Miss Clara, actor, born in Cleveland, Ohio. 17th March, 1850. Her mother was a native of Ohio, and her father was born in Canada. He died while Clara was an infant. The mother broke down under the effort to sustain her family, and Clara went to live with strangers, earning her living by caring for younger children. CLARA MORRIS. She was engaged by Mr. Eusler, the theatrical manager, to do miscellaneous child work about his theater. She was then only eleven years old. In the theater she attracted attention by her intensity in every part which fell to her, and she gradually worked her way well up towards the rank of leading lady. In the winter of 186S-69 she went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she played a successful season, and at its close went to New York City, where many brilliant and popular women were holding the leading places. She accepted an offer of forty dollars a week from Augustin Daly. She made her debut as Anne Sylvester in "Man and Wife," as the result of an accident to Agnes Ethel, whose place she took at a notice of only a few hours. She was suffering with the malady that has made her life a continued agony, but she committed the part, appeared, and won one of the most notable triumphs of the American stage. She lived down the critics, who acknowledged her power and criticised her crudeness, and one emotional role after another was added to her list The public thronged the houses wherever she played. She appeared as Jezebel, Fanny, Cora, Alixe. Camille, Miss Multon, Mercy Merrick, Marguerite Gauthier, Denise, Renee and many other of the most exacting emotional characters, and in each and all she is finished, powerful, impassioned and perfect. Her own sufferings from her incurable spinal malady are thought to intensify her emotional powers. Her power over her audiences is something almost incredible, and specialists have even gone so far as to assert that she studied her maniac role, Cora, in the wards of an insane asylum. She retains her maiden name, Miss Clara Morris, although she became the wife, in 1874, of Frederick C. Harriott, of New York City. Despite her invalidism she is a woman of genial temper. She has amassed a fortune and owns a beautiful country home, "The Pines," in Riverdale, on the Hudson. She has traveled in Europe, and during a tour of Great Britain she published a description of her journey in the New York "Graphic." Her literary style is crisp, clear and telling. During the past few years she has limited her presentations to "Camille," "Miss Multon," "The New Magdalen," "Article 47" and "Renee." In person she is a delicate woman, fair-haired, white-skinned, strong-featured, with gray eyes of remarkable powers of expression. She has always been a devoted daughter to her invalid mother.