While Southworth’s relationship to popular nineteenth-century theater has not been explored in any depth by American literary historians (dissertation topic, anyone), many of her works were adapted to the stage beginning in the late 1850s and throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. Among the earliest to adapt her work was Harry Watkins, who staged Bride of an Evening (the New York Ledger serial that would be published in book form as Gipsy’s Prophecy) at Barnum’s Museum in New York City in 1858.

Watkins recorded his experience of adapting and staging Bride in his journal, selections of which were published in Maud and Otis Skinner’s One Man in his Time: The Adventures of H. Watkins, Strolling Player, 1845-1863 (Philadelphia, U of Pennsylvania P, 1938). Among this experience was a meeting with Southworth, who traveled to New York to attend a benefit performance of the play. The Skinners include two passages where Watkins discusses his contact with Southworth: Read the rest of this entry »