Agnes Ethel

Agnes Ethel (May 1, 1846 – May 26, 1903)[1][2] was a Broadway actress of the late 19th century. She performed in New York City, the city of her birth, from 1868 to 1871. Her married name was Agnes Ethel Tracy.[3] She was especially talented in acting emotional roles.[4]

Theatrical career

She was a protege of Mathilde Heron[2] (1830–1877) and made her stage debut in Camille (1868),[5] at Jerome's private theatre in New York.[6] It was situated on the southeast corner of Twenty-Sixth Street.[7] She studied for a year afterward, accepting minor parts.[2]

Ethel and Fanny Davenport were among the actors in a production of a comedy,[8] Dreams,[9] by T. W. Robertson. It began playing at the Fifth Avenue Theatre on August 16, 1869.[8]

She was in the first production of Frou Frou in the United States. The Augustin Daly stock company staged it at the Fifth Avenue Theatre,[10] 24th Street, one door from Broadway,[11] on February 15, 1870. Kate Newton, Davenport, and George Clarke were other cast members.[10] Ethel appeared in Fernande, also at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, in June 1870.[12] A critic wrote that her acting was her best thus far.[13]

In September 1872 Ethel appeared in Agnes, presented by the Union Square Theatre. The play was written especially for her by Victorien Sardou. It ran for one hundred nights.[14]

She retired at the height of her career for quiet domesticity. She took part in charities and assisted struggling actors and actresses.[4] She performed only twice more on stage, appearing on both occasions in support of charity.[2]


Ethel married Francis W. Tracy,[15] a millionaire[2] from Buffalo, New York in October 1873.[15] Tracy died in 1886. His will was contested by his first wife for her daughter. The entire fortune was awarded to Ethel after it was contested in court. In October 1890 she married Clinton DeWitt Roudebush. She obtained a divorce from him in 1901.[2]


Ethel died in 1903 at 80 Irving Place in New York City. She is buried in Buffalo.[3] The cause of death was heart disease which began a year earlier. She was engaged to marry theatrical manager Francis Mahler when she died. The wedding had been postponed because of Ethel's protracted sickness.[2]


  1. Agnes Ethel Tracy - US Passport Application - July 6, 1888
  2. "Agnes Ethel Tracy Dead", The New York Times, May 27, 1903, pg. 16.
  3. Obituary 1No Title, The New York Times, May 27, 1903, pg. 9.
  4. "Mrs. Agnes Ethel Tracy Dying", Connellsville, Pennsylvania Daily Courier, May 26, 1903, pg. 2.
  5. Mathilde Heron Archived May 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Vault at Pfaff's, Retrieved 1-11-08.
  6. Agnes Ethel Archived October 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Picture History, Retrieved 1-11-08.
  7. Brown, Thomas Allston, A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732, Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1903, pg. 596.
  8. "Amusement", The New York Times, August 7, 1869, pg. 4.
  9. "Classified Ad 9No Title", The New York Times, September 15, 1869, pg. 7.
  10. "'Frou Frou' To Be Revived", The New York Times, May 3, 1902, pg. 9.
  11. "Amusements", June 8, 1870, pg. 7.
  12. "Amusements This Evening", The New York Times, June 11, 1870, pg. 4.
  13. "Music And The Drama", The New York Times, June 12, 1870, pg. 4.
  14. Brown, Thomas Allston, A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732, Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1903, pg. 147.
  15. "Personals", Newport Daily News, October 27, 1873, pg. 2.
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