a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » Biographies » Cushman, Charlotte (1816-1876)

Cushman, Charlotte (1816-1876)

Charlotte Cushman

Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-55591)

Charlotte Cushman’s father was a descendant of Robert Cushman, one of the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth in 1620.

She was a celebrated actress who triumphed in both the United States and Great Britain—the first native-born woman so honored. Though school ended for her at age 13, she learned much through her uncle’s taking her to the Tremont Theatre in Boston where both English and American actors performed. Friends advised Charlotte, “You are a born actress; go on the stage.”

Charlotte Cushman was electrifying in playing both male and female roles—including both Lady Macbeth and Hamlet! Ralph Waldo Emerson was her minister when she joined the Second Church (Unitarian) in Boston, where she sang in the choir.

Among her admirers were Thomas Carlyle, Henry Longfellow, Julia Ward Howe, and Fanny Kemble. In 1915 she was elected to the New York University Hall of Fame.



Notable in UU History
John Fiske

Fiske, John (1842-1901)

Although at eighteen years of age he declared himself an infidel in opposition to his family’s ... Read More
Susan B. Anthony

Anthony, Susan B. (1820-1906)

After her father lost his management position when the town's cotton mill collapsed in the panic ... Read More
Walter Donald Kring

Kring, Walter Donald (1917-1999)

Biographical Introduction The Reverend Walter Donald Kring died suddenly on January 15, 1999 at his home ... Read More
Ron Engel

Ron Engel

Ron Engel is Professor Emeritus at Meadville Lombard and Senior Research Consultant at the Center for ... Read More