Well she acted all and every part
By turns.óLORD BYRON: Don Juan, Canto XVI, stanza 3
Olive Logan, actress, writer, and lecturer, daughter of Cornelius Logan and his wife Eliza Akeley, and a cousin of General John A. Logan, was born April 22, 1839,(1) in Elmira, New York, where her father was fulfilling a professional engagement. Cornelius was a well-known dramatist and comedian of Irish descent, and his other daughter, Eliza Logan, was a well-known actress. While Olive was yet an infant, the family removed to Cincinnati and there she later attended the Wesleyan Female Seminary. Her first experience on the stage was at the age of five, when she made her appearance as Cora's child in "Pizarro," and later as Damon's child in "Damon and Pythias." Still later she had speaking parts. After leaving school, she returned to the stage in Philadelphia, in 1854, as Mrs. Bobtail, in "Bobtail and Wagtail," and continued to act for three years. She then went abroad for a number of years, but returned to America when "the fluctuations of gold and stern fate" compelled her to do so in 1864. In 1865 she returned to the stage, first in "Eveleen," a play of her own composition, and continued to act until 1868. Later she took to the lecture platform, and is said to have earned over $15,000 a year. She contributed to numerous periodicals under her own as well as under the pen name "Chroniqueuse," and wrote several novels and dramas.
In 1857 she married Henry A. Delille, whom she divorced in 1869. †December 19, 1871 she married William Wirt Sikes, the writer, who died in 1883. Her third marriage was to James O'Neill, twenty years her junior. He was not the James O'Neill who may be remembered for his portrayal of Edmund Dantes in "Monte Cristo" and d'Artagnan in "The Three Musketeers," although they have been confused in several biographies. Of her later years Publishers' Weekly(2) said:
She was married three times; the last to James O'Neill, who had been her secretary. For years little was heard of Olive Logan. . . . Then one morning an old woman, dressed in rusty black, who carried an ear trumpet, went into the Tombs court to apply for a summons for her husband, whom she charged with drunkenness and non-support. She said her name was Olive Logan and that her husband was a watchman on Ellis Island. When the news of her destitution reached England, Lady Cook, before her marriage Tennessee Claflin, sent her funds and, later, provided for her care in London. Without Lady Cook's knowledge, Olive Logan, who had become demented, was committed to the asylum at Banstead, where she died.
She died at Banstead, England, April 27, 1909.
REFERENCES: Scribner's Dictionary American Biography, XI, 1933, 365; T. Allston Brown, History of the American Stage, New York, 1870; Olive Logan, Before the Footlights and Behind the Scenes, Philadelphia, 1870; New York Sun, May 25, 1875; Who's Who in America, 1899-1900; New York Telegram, April 11, 1906; New York Tribune, April 11, 1906; Chicago Chronicle, April 15, 1906; Publishers' Weekly, LXXV, May 1, 1909, 1572.
Adams, Victor & Co.'s publications
Get Thee Behind Me Satan, 1872
They Met by Chance, 1873
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||Her birth year is incorrectly given as April 16, 1841 in Publishers' Weekly, LXXV, May 1, 1909. The date 1839 was given by Olive Logan herself in her "Before the Footlights," and she certainly would not have made herself out to be two years older than she was.|
|2||Publishers' Weekly, LXXV, May 1, 1909, 1572.|