Frank Dumont, tenor singer, author of many sketches, plays, and songs, and the last of the old-time minstrels, was born January 25, 1848,(1) in Utica, New York. His career as a minstrel began early, for in the autumn of 1862 he was with Arlington and Donniker's Minstrels in New York City, and in 1866 was one of the partners in Cross, Fish and Dumont's Minstrels. The next year he joined Ned Davis' Minstrels. He was with Dashington and Kling's Minstrels early in 1869, but later in the same year joined Duprez and Benedict's Minstrels, and with them he remained nearly ten years. In 1877 he played at the Bowery Theatre, New York, in "In the Web." Later, he was with Carncross in Philadelphia. He was with Sweatman's Minstrels in 1879, with the San Francisco Minstrels, in New York, in 1880-81, and still later with Lew Dockstader. He removed to Philadelphia in 1881 and remained there until his death. In 1895 he became the proprietor of the Eleventh Street Opera House in Philadelphia, where, after January 27, 1896, Dumont's Minstrels gave negro minstrel performances exclusively. When the Opera House was sold in 1911, he became owner of the Dime Museum at Ninth and Arch Streets, in the same city. He altered it and changed its name to Dumont's Theatre. He personally acted as interlocutor with his company until his retirement from the stage, Christmas, 1918. His last skit was being played at his theater, March 17, 1919, when he died suddenly of heart failure in the box office. His wife, Nellie Winton, died May 28, 1939.
Dumont was the author of hundreds of humorous skits and a number of musical shows. Among his plays were "Pleasant Companions," "Our Torchlight Parade," "The Cannibals of Barren Island," "Dramatic Tramps," "The Western Mutual Telephone Company," "Two Fine Ducks," "Patients; or, Bunion-Salve's Bride (a take-off on Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience"), and a great many other skits. †His afterpiece 'The Book-Agent,' later expanded by Charles Hoyt into 'A Parlor Match,' was a very successful play in the 1880's.
He wrote a number of stories for Beadle between 1879 and 1881, as well as one chapter of a composite novel ("Jubilee Joe") in 1885. In the series of Nickel Libraries there are also a dozen of his tales. He wrote the play version of "In the Web" according to the by-line in Dime Library, No. 60.
REFERENCES: Edward Leroy Rice, Monarchs of Minstrelsy, New York, (1910), 198, 313, with portrait; G. C. D. Oclell, Annals of the New York Stage, New York, 1938-40, X, XI, XII, briefly mentioned in various places; Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 18, 1919, with portrait.
Dime Library. No. 60
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 120, 127, 140, 171, 185, 1090 (partim)
Beadle's Weekly. No. 128 (partim)
Pocket Library. Nos. 109, 126, 133, 146, 198
Popular Library. No. 43
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||Rice and others give this date and place; The Public Ledger, Philadelphia, March 18, 1919, gives the year 1849, and the place New York City.|