Meuse-Argonne Campaign Guest Blogger

Cypress Hills National Cemetery is a place that I’ve spent many hours visiting, researching, and giving walking tours. With the centennial of World War I coming up, I’m doing more at the landmark burial ground on the Brooklyn-Queens border. I had a lot of leftover material for my upcoming book World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War. I gave some of it to a blog devoted Continue Reading →

Charles Clair, English Dramatic Actor

Kensico Vaudeville Project #12 Name: Charles Clair Act: Actor Born: 2 February 1871, London Died: 12 Oct 1939, Brooklyn Actor Charles Frederick Clair was born 2 February 1871 in London. He emigrated to the United States when he was 21. He arrived in New York on 11 April 1892 aboard the City of Berlin from Liverpool. His name appears as both Clair and Claire in billings; Clair is on his immigration application. Clair married a Continue Reading →

A Life Lost Too Soon, Comedian Richy Craig, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #11 Name: Richy W. Craig, Jr. Act: Comedian, Dancer, Singer Born: November 17, 1902, Manhattan Died: November 28, 1933, Manhattan What could be worse for a performer: suffering through tuberculosis for seven years, or watching Milton Berle steal your act? To Richy W. Craig, Jr., both happened. When he was buried in the NVA burial ground he was only thirty-one years old. The New York Post called Craig “a vaudevillian of dry Continue Reading →

Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates

The Kensico Vaudeville Project was launched in 2015. After a break it will return with updates in 2017-2018. This project is to document the vaudeville performers who are interred in the National Vaudeville Association burial grounds in Kensico Cemetery in Westchester County. These are individuals who have biographies written so far. More will be added to this list. Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates: Nettie Kelley Adams – Singer Charles Ahearn – Cyclist Anna Bylund Anderson – Continue Reading →

99 Years Ago First Doughboys Died in WW1

Today is the Ninety-ninth anniversary of the first American soldiers to be killed in combat in World War I. The three became national heroes and their names were printed in newspapers coast-to-coast. Today they are remembered together on Governors Island, where three roads carry their names. On Nov. 3, 1917, German troops killed Private Merle David Hay, Corporal James B. Gresham, and Private Thomas F. Enright, all serving with Company F, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Continue Reading →

Veterans Day Walking Tour at Cypress Hills National Cemetery

Veterans Day is on Wednesday, Nov. 11, but I am holding a walking tour on Sunday, Nov. 8, Noon, to honor the holiday. Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills National Cemetery is the only National Cemetery in New York City. I started going there in 2010 when I was researching my Governors Island book. In 1886, the U.S. Army closed the post cemetery that served Fort Columbus (today Fort Jay), and moved all of the graves to Cypress Continue Reading →

Rudolph Carpos, the Clown of Vaudeville Days

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 10 Name: Rudolph Carpos Act: Clown Born: 9 Sept 1875, Vienna, Austria Died: 4 Nov 1935, New York City There are two different gravestones for Rudolph Carpos, a professional clown who was beloved by vaudeville audiences. He was born Rudolph Karp on 9 September 1875 in Vienna, Austria. In 1914 he toured Sydney and Newcastle, Australia, before sailing to Hawaii aboard the Ventura. During World War I he registered for the Continue Reading →

Sig Mealey: From the Follies to Babe La Tour’s Bed

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 8 Name: Sig Mealey Act: Acrobat Born: 20 June 1881, possibly Sweden Died: 1951 Sig Mealey was an accomplished acrobat who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1909, on the same bill with headliners Nora Bayes and Eva Tanguay, at the Grand Opera House. He was briefly married to burlesque and vaudeville star Babe La Tour. He’s buried in the National Vaudeville Association burial ground with his real and stage name. Continue Reading →

The Kid Acrobat James Bird

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 7 Name: James Bird Act: Acrobat Born: About 1875 Died: 21 August 1935, New York City In 1890 James Bird’s name appeared in the New York Times, and it wasn’t in the theater department. The headline says it all: “Minors in the Law’s Eyes” and tells: “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children… cited Marcus Jacobs and Robert Nelson, managers, respectively, of H. R. Jacobs’s Third Avenue Theatre and Continue Reading →