November 2, 1905: Duluthian Adelaide Thurston’s triumphant performance in her home town

On this day in Duluth in 1905, nationally renowned actress Adelaide Thurston made a triumph return to her childhood home, performing to a packed crowd at Duluth’s Lyceum Theatre. She performed the title role in the play “The Triumph of Betty,” a comedy of manners wherein Betty, a country girl, shocks (and charms) her wealthy English relatives with her unconventional ways. The Duluth News Tribune wrote of her performance that, “Thurston is more happily cast as ‘Betty’ than she ever was in any other role, for the Duluth girl is a comedienne, with plenty of scope for emotional work in the range of her abilities. Miss Thurston’s work has the quality of naturalness and her methods are graceful.” There was a good reason for that: The play’s authors, W. A. Tremayne and Irving L. Hall, said they created the role endeavoring to represent Thurston as she really is. Many Duluthians, the newspaper reported, referred to Thurston as “Our Addie.” The reporter asked about Thurston’s upcoming wedding to the show’s manager, Francis X. Hope, and the star vehemently denied even being engaged. “He is not my husband. He never was and I don’t have any reason for thinking he ever will be. Please, deny, as emphatically as you can…that I am married to him or any one else. Why, they have had me married to…a married man! They have been making matches for me and announcing my wedding to so many different men that I am a trifle bewildered. ” Indeed, Thurston was not married. She was, however, divorced, and apparently enjoyed not being married, for she would not wed again. There is much more to Thurston’a life, and you can read about it here, in a biography by David Ouse.

Adelaide Thurston photographed for Cosmopolitan magazine, July 1905. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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