Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Anna Fitzhugh

While exploring the New York Public Library's archive of digital images the other day, I pulled up a group of vintage studio portraits from Babes in Toyland, the Broadway extravaganza that followed The Wizard of Oz in 1903. I was pleasantly surprised to find several photos from The Wizard erroneously filed with the later show.

Most of the misfiled photos feature Anna Fitzhugh, who was a member of the Wizard chorus. According to my February 1903 program from the show, she portrayed a Munchkin Youth, a Snow Boy, a Pierrot Boy, and a Cook . She may well have played other parts in other performances, as I've also seen a photo of her in a Poppy costume - of course, she couldn't be a Poppy and a Snow Boy at the same time! The photos I'm showing include her as a Snow Boy, a Pierrot Boy, and possibly a Munchkin Youth. With the exception of the Snow Boy picture, the photos were all taken in Chicago so they may date from the 1902 version of the show.

After leaving the show, Anna Fitzhugh starred with her own company in Baroness Fiddlesticks, which was not a success. This was followed by a role in Sergeant Brue which was moderately successful . By 1906 she had tried vaudeville, travelled to Europe (where she studied music), and married in Ontario. After returning to the USA she pursued a career in opera, using the name Anna Fitziu, and made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1916. She returned to Chicago and worked with the Chicago Opera, and took up teaching. She died in 1967.

It's amazing how much you can find out about a relatively obscure chorus girl on the internet!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful images, thanks for finding these!

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Thanks for the pics!

Bill Campbell said...

You're welcome - these are all available online at the New York Public Library site, along with many more vintage theatrical photos. The Billy Rose Theatre collection has a lot of fun material. It's a great resource!

Anonymous said...

Ha! This is my gr. grandfather´s sister-in-law. My gr. grandfather, Homer Clay Smith, married her sister, Gertrude, and they had a child named Edna. Edna would later become opera singer Edna Kellogg. My grandfather Smith was Edna´s 1/2 brother. Actually have some old letters of his where he mentions this Powell family. Anna Fitziu´s real name was Anna Powell. One letter states: In a letter from Kimball Clay Smith to his relatives, dated 24 Dec. 1961, he claims that Anna had just sold out in Chicago and on the way to the west coast. Sounded like they were all on their way to California to relocate and were buying property. My Aunt Page Hartley told me that Anna was living next to Groucho Marx, and that she went up to him and introduced herself to him as his new neighbor. He is said to have replied, "Lucky for you".

Bill Campbell said...

That's fascinating - and a great Groucho Marx story! From the little I know, Anna strikes me as an intriguing personality. You may want to check my blog entry from Feb 26th, 2011 - there are a couple photos from the dinner Anna gave in honor of Montgomery & Stone!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I had seen the Oz dinner pics. A fellow genealogist stumbled over you pics/blog and sent the info to me.
This is the only recording that I can find of Edna Kellogg. She was supposedly a real doozy herself. Walked around with frilly parasols and the likes.
Regards, Amy K. Stoddard/Denmark

vincent quinn said...

Mme Fitzhugh was my landlady at 1640 N. Clark St. in Chicago. She had heard me singing and invited me to read to her in exchange for vocal training. She was virtually blind at that time. She lived above me in an elaborate two-story apartment that was highly reminiscent of Old World glory. One summer she had traveled to Europe and sublet her apartment, which subsequently became a house of ill repute that was raided and put out of business.

Bill Campbell said...

That's another fun story - it sounds like she ha quite a life!