CRABTREE, Miss Lotta
, actor, born in New York City, 7th November, 1847. Her father was a bookseller in Nassau street, New York, for many years. In 1851 he went to California, where he engaged in gold-mining. His wife and daughter followed him in 1854. They lived in a little log-house in the mining town, La Porte. Mr. Crabtree was only moderately successful in his search for gold. Lotta showed in childhood the talents which have made her famous. Her first appearance on the stage was in 1855, in an amateur performance in La Porte, in which she appeared as a singer. When she was seven years old, she took lessons in dancing, and she appeared as a singer and dancer in amateur entertainments, and she created a furore among the miners. At the end of one of the performances she was called before the curtain, and a shower of silver dollars and half-dollars greeted her. That event led her to become an actor, and shortly afterward she and her mother started on a tour of California. The bright little star everywhere won encouragement and reputation. She played the part of Gertrude, in the "Loan of a Lover," in Petaluma, in 1858. Her starring tour was made in 1860, and the troupe in which she and her mother played reaped a fortune. Lotta received countless presents, ranging from silver dollars and twenty-dollar gold-pieces up to sets of jewelry and diamond-studded watches. In her early tours she traveled in a suit of boy's clothes, for convenience in making horseback journeys among the mountains. In 1864 Lotta made her début in New York City, in a spectacular play in Niblo's Garden. She made her first great success in "Little Nell and the Marchioness." She at once took a distinct and high rank as a star in eccentric comedy, and her singing, dancing and drollery, in plays written especially for her, made her one of the leading theatrical stars for years. Her rôles include the "Marchioness," "Topsy," "Sam Willoughby," "Musette," "Bob," "Firefly," "Zip," "Nitouche" and "The Little Detective." Of the last-named play, Lotta says: "I have played it season after season and year after year, until I am really ashamed to show my face in it upon the stage again. That play has always been a great hit, and it has brought me no end of money. We paid just twenty-five cents for it, the cost of the book from which it was adapted to me, and we have made thousands upon thousands out of it." Lotta has played successful engagements in England. She has always been accompanied by her mother, who has successfully managed her financial affairs. Lotta's earnings have been large, and her investments represent about a million dollars. During 1891 and 1892 she did not play, but it is not her intention to retire from the stage yet. Besides her dramatic talent, she possesses a decided talent for art. She has been a student and hard worker, and her example has been powerful in winning public respect for the stage and for actors.