Virginia Harned (aka Cora B. Hicks)

Virginia Harned, a famous stage actress of the late 1800's and early 1900's, was actually born Cora Hicks. When asked about her stage name, she responded that Virginia was her father's home state, and she took Harned from her mother's family name. We have yet to connect her mother to the Harned family.

1. Nehemiah Hicks - b: 1797 at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; d: 17 Dec 1874 at Alexandria, Fairfax, VA; m: 23 Sep 1819 at Alexandria, Fairfax Co, VA, Mary Elizabeth Bayne, she b: 1803, d: 17 Dec 1880 at Alexandria.
- 2. James J. Hicks - - b: April 1829 at Alexandria, Fairfax Co, VA; d: 6 Dec 1902 at Baltimore, Baltimore Co, MD; m: 26 Jan 1858, at Boston, Suffolk Co, MA, Armanella “Nellie” Roach, b: ca. 1834 at Nova Scotia, CAN, d: 1901?, dau of James and Phebe (Foster) Roach (see notes below). He was a master of ships, a sea captain, a diver and a sub-marine engineer. In 1870 they were at Boston, MA. In 1900 James was at Baltimore, MD, and died there of heart failure.
- - 3. George A. Hicks - b: ca. 1860 at VA.
- - 3. Laura Gertrude Hicks - b: 1862 at Boston, Suffolk Co, MA; m: Carl Bingham. They lived at NYC, NY.
- - 3. Nellie Elizabeth Hicks - b: 20 Mar 1869 at Boston, Suffolk Co, MA.

- - 3. Cora B. Hicks (Virginia Harned) - b: 29 May 1867 at Boston, Suffolk Co, MA *see Note 1; d: 29 Apr 1946 at NYC, NY; m1: ??? (div ca. 1896) *see Note 2; m2: 3 Dec 1896 at Philadelphia, PA, Edward Hugh Sothern (div 1910), b: 6 Dec 1859 at New Orleans, Orleans, LA, d: 28 Oct 1933 at NYC, NY, son of Edward Askew and Frances "Fannie" (Stewart) Sothern; m3: 1913, William Courtenay, b: 19 Jun 1875 (as William Hancock Kelly), at Worcester, MA, d: 20 Apr 1933, at Rye, NY. Although born in Boston, she was raised in the South. At fifteen she went abroad to study in England. An amateur actress in Boston, she made her acting debut in 1883 in "Our Boarding House". By 1887 she was with George Clark's Company in Boston. Her New York debut was on 31 Mar 1890 in "A Long Lane", with Daniel Frohman's Company. Shortly after, she was engaged with A.M. Palmer's Stock Company. She was best known for creating the role of "Trilby" in the play "Svengali" in 1895, and playing many leading roles opposite her actor husband E. H. Sothern.

*Note 1 - Virginia's birthdate was long in question, as various secondary sources from earlier in her career give her birth year as 1868, while some from later gave the year as 1872. Her recently located death certificate gives her birth date as 29 May 1867, which, based on the Boston Birth Register and 1870 census records, matches that of Cora B., daughter of James J. Hicks.

*Note 2 - Several sources indicate she was married twice, first to EH Sothern and then to William Courtenay. However, the 1896 NY Times article announcing her marriage to Sothern states "She has been married before, and recently received a divorce from her first husband".

While married to E. H. Sothern, they lived at NYC, NY. She removed to Las Vegas, NV in 1909 to establish residency and obtain her divorce from Mr. Sothern, who later married actress Julia Marlowe, his new leading lady. After her marriage to William Courtenay, an actor with whom she had done several plays, she lived at their home in Rye, NY. In addition to acting, she was a vaudeville playwright.

In 1918 she suddenly came out of retirement to do a revival of "Josephine". A reporter asked why she returned to New York City, assuming some serious artistic reason. She replied, "It was the Kaiser's fault. He did it. You see, it takes 60 tons of coal a winter to run our house, and this year, because of the war - therefore because of the Kaiser - we couldn't get the coal. So we came to town - and I became so bored that I went back on the stage for excitement."

See more photos below.

Virginia Harned's Drama and Comedy
(with known theatres, openings, and roles)

Adventure of Lady Ursula - as Lady Ursula, 1897 at Broad Street Theatre, Philadelphia; 1 Sep 1898 at Lyceum Theatre, NYC
Alice of Old Vincennes - As Alice, 2 Dec 1901 at Garden Theatre, NYC; 1903 at Detroit Opera House, Detroit
Anna Karenina - As Anna Karenina, 2 Sep 1907 at Herald Square Theatre, NYC; 30 Sep 1907 at Majestic Theatre, NYC
Camille - 18 Apr 1904 at Harlem Opera House, NYC; 9 May 1904 at Garrick Theatre, NYC
Captain Lettarblair - as Fanny Hadden, 1891
Change Alley -
Chumley - 1888
Colonial Girl, A (Shillings Worth, A) - as Mollie Heddin, 31 Oct 1898 at Lyceum Theatre, NYC
Corsican Brothers - as Lady Despar, 1897
Dancing Girl, The - as Drusilla Ives, 1891
Editor, The - As Florence Fetherly, 1801 at Palmer's Theatre, NYC
Enemy to the King, An - As Julie de Varion, 1896 at Criterion Theatre, NYC; 1 Sep 1896 at Lyceum Theatre, NYC
False Shame - 1897
Josephine -28 Jan 1918 at Knickerbocker Theatre, NYC
Hamlet - as Ophelia, 17 Sep 1900 at Garden Theatre, NYC; 11 Mar 1901 at New National Theatre, Washington, DC
Idol of the Hour, The - written for vaudeville by Virginia Harned
Iris - 23 Sep 1902 at Criterion Theatre, NYC
King's Musketeers, The - 1899
La Belle Marseillaise -27 Nov 1905 Knickerbocker Theatre, NYC
Lady of Lyons, The - 1897
Lady Shore, The - As Jane Shore, 27 Mar 1905 at Hudson Theatre, NYC
Lady Windermere's Fan - as Mrs. Erlynne
Lara - as Madge Ravenscroft, 1891
Light That Lies in Woman's Eyes, The - 25 Jan 1904 at Criterion Theatre, NYC
Lord Chumley -
Long Lane, A (Green Meadows) - 31 Mar 1890 at Fourteenth Street Theatre, NYC Debut
Love Letter, The - as Florence Revillon, 4 Oct 1906 at Lyric Theatre, NYC; 5 Nov 1906 at Belasco Theatre, Washington, DC
Maister of Woodbarrow, The - as Clara Dexter, 1891 at Lyceum Theatre, NYC
New Woman, The - as Mrs. Sylvester
Night Off, A - as Liobe, 1888
Our Boarding House - 1883 Boston debut at age 16
Saints and Sinners - as Letty Fletcher
Song of the Sword, The - 24 Oct 1899 at Daly's Theatre, NYC; 3 Dec 1899 at National Theatre, Washington, DC
Spiritism - 22 Feb 1897 at Knickerbocker Theatre, NYC
Still Alarm, A - 1889
Sunken Bell, The - as Rautendelein, 26 Mar 1900 at Knickerbocker Theatre, NYC
Trilby - as Trilby O'Ferral, 15 Apr 1895 at Garden Theatre, NYC; 1895 at Boston; 8 May 1905 at New Amsterdam Theatre, NYC


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