The majority of the public has at least once in their life experienced a stage performance, be it a Broadway performance or a local theatrical. Audiences see what is presented to them superficially – the lines, lights, props, costumes, entrances and exits. What most viewers rarely see are the bonds of friendship that are formed between the actors and crew while working on a stage production. My daughter Megan and I have had the good fortune of working on theatricals regularly and experiencing what we refer to as “the camaraderie of the stage.” Two men at rest in Philadelphia’s Mount Moriah Cemetery, both with stellar theatrical careers, experienced this camaraderie of the stage. They shared a bond of friendship in life which was formed in playhouses across the country and in death they share an unbreakable bond etched in stone.
|Front of John McCullough's monument depicting sculpted masks of Tragedy and Comedy|
American born actor Edwin “Ned” Adams began his theatrical career in the early 1850’s. By the mid 1860’s he was a member of the famed Edwin Booth’s theatrical company. Gifted at comedic performances, Adams was also quite successful with Shakespearian roles as well.
|McCullough family crypt cover|
|"Manliness and meekness in him were so allied that they who judged him by his strength or weakness saw but a single side." (The quote is from the John Greenleaf Whittier poem, In Remembrance of Joseph Sturge.)|
|John McCullough (ref.)|
|"The Eminent Tragedian, John McCullough"|
In the mid 1870’s Edwin Adams' health declined due to consumption. Unable to perform or travel, this left Adams without an income. A number of benefit performances were held to raise funds to aid the ailing actor. On October 12, 1877, benefit performances were held at the Academy of Music in New York. John McCullough participated in support of his dear friend and colleague. Less than two weeks later, Edwin Adams was dead.
|Edwin Adams' grave, Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia|
|McCullough monument, 1888, Mt. Moriah Cemetery|
[Photo from the book, In Memory of John McCullough ... by William Winter, 1889.]
Two men, not only players on stages across the United States, but also on the stage of life are linked together – etched in stone in Death’s playhouse in Philadelphia’s Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
References and Further Reading:
(Ref. 1) “Amusements,” Daily Alta California, June 22, 1871, p.4.
(Ref. 2) “Amusements,” The Sunday Morning Appeal, July 30, 1871, p.4.
(Ref. 3) In Memory of John McCullough, The DeVinne Press, New York, 1889, p. 21
In Memory of John McCullough ... by William Winter, 1889
John McCullough as Man, Actor and Spirit by Susie Champney Clark, 1905
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