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Edna Hopper Seated in her berth on a train. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95412).


Hopper, Edna Wallace (17 January 1864?–14 December 1959), actress, entrepreneur, and financier, was born and raised in San Francisco, California, the daughter of Walter Wallace. (Her mother’s identity is unknown.) Little is verifiable about her early years, except that she was educated at the Van Ness Seminary, as public records were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. She began her stage career on a whim when, at a reception, she met and charmed comedian Roland Reed into issuing her an invitation to join his company. In August 1891 she made her debut as Mabel Douglas in the musical comedy ...


Hummert, Anne (19 January 1905–05 July 1996), radio producer and advertising executive, was born Anna Mary Schumacher and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest of four children of Frederick Schumacher, whom census records list as a steamfitter and a contractor, and Anna Lance Schumacher. At some point in her youth, she began using the name Anne rather than Anna. She loved to write and was attracted to journalism while still in high school, writing an advice column for the ...


Thompson, Lydia (19 February 1836–17 November 1908), entertainer and leader of a British burlesque troupe, was born in London, England, the daughter of a Quaker father, Philip Milburn Thompson, who died when she was three. Her mother, whose name is unknown, remarried a well-to-do businessman who financed Lydia’s dancing lessons when she was a young child....