Justina Huff

Justina Huff (September 8, 1893 June 29, 1977) was an American actress of the silent film era.

Justina Huff
From Motion Picture Magazine, August 1914
Born(1893-09-08)September 8, 1893
DiedJune 29, 1977(1977-06-29) (aged 83)
OccupationActress
Years active19131916

Early life

Justina Huff was born in Columbus, GA in 1893. She was the oldest daughter of Thomas D. Huff and Lucinda (Salisbury) Huff.[1] She had three older brothers; Thomas Salisbury, Mercer and Robert, one younger sister Louise Huff and one younger brother, T. D. Jr. Her grandfather was William Salisbury, the owner of the local newspaper The Enquirer-Sun. He was murdered in 1878 by a local man who was called out as a troublemaker in an editorial penned by Justina’s father, the city editor of that paper at the time.[2] The family moved to New York City around 1906 after the company Thomas Huff worked for was sold. In 1908, Justina won a scholarship to attend Horace Mann Institute in Manhattan.[3] Tragedy struck in 1910 when Thomas Huff died. Lucinda had no skills and no means of support. The children found it necessary to seek work. Justina’s younger sister Louise started acting with a traveling production company appearing in Graustark in 1911 and Ben Hur in 1912. Justina decided to try her hand in the fledgling silent movie industry.

Career

In 1913, her first role in the movies was the maid in the Kate Kirby detective story The Diamond Crown for the Edison Co.[4] She was then selected by famed actress Minnie Maddern Fiske for the part of Liza Lou in Tess of the d’Urbervilles for Famous Players Co. Justina then signed with Siegmund Lubin at Lubin Studios in Philadelphia, PA where she finished out 1913 making A Son of His Father, Through Flaming Paths and Between Dances. She continued with Lubin through 1914[5] and 1915. Her sister Louise had starting working at Lubin in 1913 where she met and married Edgar Jones, one of Lubin’s stars and directors. Justina made several movies with her brother-in-law, both acting with and being directed by him. This includes her last film for Lubin, Under the Fiddler’s Elm in 1915. Lubin declared bankruptcy 1916 after a disastrous fire destroyed most of its film archive and legal and financial problems forced it out of the business. Justina, Louise and Edgar all sought work at other studios after Lubin folded. Justina made her last film, The Man Inside, for Universal in 1916.

Marriage and family

Justina met her future husband at a dance in 1914. John P. Chapman was a doctor and professor of anatomy and the University of Pennsylvania. They were married on March 19, 1915 with the condition that she still be able to continue her film career.[6] They had their first child, John W. in 1916 and Sally in 1918. Marriage and motherhood may have taken some of the luster off the movie business as Justina never made another film after giving birth to her first child. Justina settled into the role of wife and mother for her family in the suburbs of Philadelphia and occasionally visiting family in Georgia[7] and New York.[8] Justina and John were expecting one more child in 1925. Unfortunately, the baby boy arrived several months prematurely and only lived a few hours.

Later life and death

John’s medical career provided a high standard of living for them and Justina developed a love of travel, especially to Europe.[9] She traveled with husband and children several times between World Wars. After World War II, John and Justina began enjoying the culture and climate on the island of Majorca, Spain in the Mediterranean for extended periods.[10] John died in Dublin, Ireland while spending some time there in 1968.[11] Justina was living in Majorca when her sister Louise died in 1973[12] but eventually returned to Philadelphia, where she died in 1977.

Partial filmography

References

  1. Daniel Bellware, "Those Huff Girls," Muscogiana, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA, Fall 2016, p.37
  2. ”Murder – W. L. Salisbury Dies of the Wound Received From R. U. Palmer,” Columbus Enquirer-Sun, Columbus, GA April 23, 1878, p4.
  3. "Social and Personal," Columbus Enquirer, September 16, 1908, p. 4
  4. The Diamond Crown,” The Kinetogram, July 1, 1913, p. 12
  5. "Motion Picture Magazine July 1914". Onine Books Library Univ of Pennsylvania. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  6. ”Gossip of the Films, ” Idaho Statesman, May 9, 1915, p. 10
  7. "Mrs. Chapman, Lt. Chapman Arrive Today," Columbus Enquirer, February 20, 1942, p. 14
  8. "Newlyweds Will Be Feted," Philadelphia Inquirer, February 18, 1938, p. 12
  9. "Modist Suits at Bryn Mawr," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 24, 1937, p. 14
  10. Photo and caption with Mrs. and Dr. Chapman on Majorca, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 24, 1958, Society Section, p. 1
  11. "Dr. John P. Chapman Dies; Former Medical Examiner," Philadelphia Daily News, October 26, 1968, p. 15
  12. ''New York Times'', "Mrs. E.A. Stillman, Movie Actress, 77", August 23, 1973, Page 40.
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