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ELLSLER, JOHN ADAM

ELLSLER, JOHN ADAM (26 Sept. 1821-21 Aug. 1903), actor, producer, manager, and theater builder, was born in Harrisburg, Penn., but moved to Baltimore, working in a printing shop that published programs and posters for theaters. Responsible for delivery, Ellsler stayed for performances and decided to devote himself to the theater. Returning to Philadelphia, he worked as assistant treasurer of Peale's Museum, and as a property man while acting in minor roles. In 1846 he became a member of Arch St. Theater, then moved to Chatham St. Theater in New York where he married the actress Euphemia Emma Myers. They remained at Chatham until Dec. 1849, when they began traveling.

The Ellslers first came to Cleveland in the mid-1850s for 3-months at the Cleveland Theater. Ellsler subsequently assumed management of the ACADEMY OF MUSIC and established a full-time theatrical company that began its schedule in Cleveland, moved to Columbus during legislative sessions, returned to Cleveland until the 4th of July, and ended with road trips to nearby cities such as Akron and Canton. He also attracted prominent figures from THEATER, opera, and burlesque to the academy's stage from 1855-73; and assisted new actors, including his daughter EFFIE ELLSLER, get started. Ellsler constructed the EUCLID AVE. OPERA HOUSE in 1873, but cost overruns and the financial panic of 1873 forced him to sell to MARCUS HANNA in 1879. Ellsler became manager of the Park Theater until 1886, when he moved to New York, continuing his acting career until his death. Euphemia and John Ellsler had 4 children: Effie, William C., John J., and Annie. Ellsler died in New York City and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.


The Stage Memories of John A. Ellsler (1950), WRHS.