|Born||(1851-11-01)November 1, 1851|
|Died||June 7, 1941(1941-06-07) (aged 89)|
Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Henry Clay Ford|
|Children||Harry Chapman Ford|
Blanche Chapman (1851-1941) was an American actress. She started in numerous Gilbert and Sullivan productions.
Chapman was raised in a theater family. Her great-great grandfather was Thomas Chapman. Her grandfather, Samuel Chapman, was an actor in Covent Garden. He father brought a three-month old Chapman on stage during his performance in "Mr. and Mrs. Peter White."
Career and life
Early in her career, she performed alongside Dion Boucicault, John T. Raymond, Edwin Booth, John McCullough, and Joseph Jefferson. In 1874, she and her sister performed as "The Beautiful Chapman Sisters" at the Metropolitan Theatre in San Francisco. It was during a performance at the theater, when David Belasco made his debut as a fill in for the sisters during a costume change.
In 1875, Chapman married Henry Clay Ford. He was the manager of the Lincoln Theatre. The couple would have three children: playwright and novelist Harry Chapman Ford, drama teacher Frank Ford, and actor manager George Ford. George's wife was comedy actress Helen Ford. They lived in Logan Circle in Washington, D.C.
Chapman performed regularly in New York. In the early 20th-century, after Henry retired from the theater, the family moved to New York City, followed by Rutherford, New Jersey.
Later life and death
In 1929, over a decade after Henry's death in 1915, Chapman requested the arm chair in which Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed, be returned to her from the Smithsonian Institution, where it was stored. Henry had purchased and installed the chair to provide Lincoln a more comfortable seat. She was returned the chair and within weeks, called Henry Ford to see if he wanted to buy the chair for his museum. He declined. In December 1929, she sold the chair at auction through the American Art Association for $2,400.
- "BLANCHE CHAPMAN, ACTRESS, DIES AT 91; Star of '60s and '70s Widow of Manager of Ford Theatre, Where Lincoln Was Shot". New York Times. 8 June 1941. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
- "A Lifetime of Theater". Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. January 1968. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
- Bogar, Thomas A. (4 November 2013). Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination: The Untold Story of the Actors and Stagehands at Ford's Theatre. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-62157-174-2. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
- Blouin, Francis Xavier; Rosenberg, William G. (2 August 2007). Archives, Documentation, and Institutions of Social Memory: Essays from the Sawyer Seminar. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-03270-9. Retrieved 30 June 2022.