Historic Photo Gallery: Beginnings to 1849
Fanny Kemble, member of a prestigious British acting family, arrived in America in 1832.
She captured the hearts of the American public and instantly became a major star.
She was courted by the rich Philadelphia slave owner Pierce Butler, whom she subsequently
married at Christ Church. Shortly thereafter she retired from the stage. Their eventual
divorce trial became one of the first major celebrity tabloid stories in America. This
painting of Kemble as "Julia" in Sheridan Knowles' The Hunchback
by the renowned
Philadelphia artist Thomas Sully was painted in 1833. (Image courtesy of the Rosenbach
Museum & Library, Philadelphia.)