Lotta leaves town


 Lotta Crabtree could make a persuasive case.   The benefit was not hers, but she was the first author writing on behalf of the players.  In a few days she was sailing for New York.  Within a few years she was a celebrated stage performer, her star established by a role in an adaptation of Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop."  The photograph was taken in Matthew Brady's studio.

Constance Rourke's biography of Lotta (Troupers of the Gold Coast, 1928) is a rare instance of a focus on a female minstrel.  This, in turn, may explain why Lotta's biography is an equally rare instance of an extended treatment of a single figure in the blackface orbit. She had a full compliment of minstrel specialities, including jig dancing and banjo playing.