Grace Henderson

Grace C. F. Roth Henderson (January 1860 October 30, 1944) was an American stage actress and prolific performer in silent motion pictures.

Grace Henderson
Henderson in Theatre Magazine, 1904
Grace C. F. Roth

January 1860
DiedOctober 30, 1944 (age 84)
Bronx, New York City
David Henderson
(m. 1881; div. 1896)


Henderson was born Grace C. F. Roth in Ann Arbor, Michigan in January 1860. Her father William (Wilhelm) was a justice of the peace born in Stuttgart.

She made her professional debut at McKiver's Theatre in Chicago in 1877. A decade later she began a successful run at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City. She originated the role of "Lucille Ferrand" in The Wife. In 1896, she starred in Under the Polar Star, an elaborate play complete with a facsimile of a large sailing ship and real on-stage sled dogs. Under Southern Skies followed in 1901. She played in The Marquis, and received acclaim for her performance as "Phyliss Lee" in The Charity Ball. Later, Grace Henderson supported Nance O'Neill in Peter Pan, with Maude Adams' company. This production was staged at the Empire Theatre.

In 1903, Henderson was interviewed by a reporter and came off something of a bigot embarrassing herself when she refused to act with a black player in the rehearsals of the Broadway cast of My Wife's Husband. The black player Moses Fairfax had a part that was important to the play. Having been raised in the South, she explained that blacks and whites did not socialize to the point of a black calling a white woman by her first name.[1]

She toured in Lightnin. The actress' final stage appearance came in the Theatre Guild production of Green Grow the Lilacs.

Henderson participated in more than 120 silent films, starting in 1909 with Lucky Jim. She was in His Trust (1911), which was directed by D. W. Griffith, and Trying To Fool Uncle (1912), a production of Mack Sennett. Her last film was Day Dreams, directed by Clarence G. Badger, in which she played "Grandmother Burn". divorced David Henderson, theatrical manager, Nov 6 1896 charges of infidelity with George Alexander Ballantine of NY NY

Personal life

On December 20, 1881, she married David Henderson, a Chicago newspaper man and theatre manager, who managed the Chicago Opera House. In November 1896, David Henderson obtained a divorce decree from her, charging her with infidelity. George Alexander Ballantine of New York was named as co-respondent. Henderson alleged that Grace visited Paris with Ballantine. On the trip, Ballantine created a sensation by applying in the French courts for a divorce from his wife. Henderson did not request custody of their son.[2]

Grace was Henderson's second wife; he married a third time the same month his divorce from Grace was granted. David Henderson's third wife was Frankie Raymond, formerly a burlesque performer for the Henderson Burlesque Company. During this time Grace was appearing in New York in Under the Polar Star.

George Ballantine, Grace's Parisian companion, wed Minnie Howe Parry on August 28, 1896, at the Waldorf. The announcement of their engagement caused a rift between Grace and Ballantine, in which a revolver played a significant part.[3]

Grace allegedly had an affair with actor Maurice Barrymore in the late 1880s and bore a son who was mentally unstable or deficient. The son was confined to institutions and was virtually unknown to outside sources until Grace started appearing in early movies and devoting a lot of her salary to his upkeep.[4]

Grace Henderson died in 1944 in Morrisania Hospital, Bronx, New York, aged 84. She was survived by her son, Edwin L. Henderson, of Schenectady, New York.

Partial filmography


  1. Thanhouser Players Biographies volume 3: Grace Henderson
  2. "David and Grace Henderson Divorced". The New York Times. November 7, 1896. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  3. SPECIAL DISPATCH TO, T. E. (1896, Sep 14). MISSED HER MARK. Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922) Retrieved from
  4. Great Times, Good Times: The Odyssey of Maurice Barrymore by James Kotsilibas Davis c.1977 Doubleday
  • The New York Times, "Mrs. David Henderson", October 31, 1944, Page 19.
  • The New York Times, "David Henderson Marries Again", November 24, 1896, Page 5.
  • The New York Times, "G.A. Ballantine's Debts", December 14, 1900, Page 3.
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