Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208
Extent: 2.09 Linear Feet
Access to this collection is restricted; please contact the holding institution for details.
Ira Frederick Aldridge was born in New York City on July 24, 1807, to Reverend Daniel and Luranah Aldridge. He received his education at New York's African Free School and the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Although he performed in amateur productions in New York, his performance did not receive notice until he debuted as the first black actor at Royal Coburg Theatre, London on October 10, 1825 in the role of Prince Oroonoko of Africa. He toured in the British Isles and the European continent, receiving special acclaim in Poland and Russia; one of his most frequent roles was Othello. In 1825 Aldridge married Margaret Gill of England; after her death in 1864 he married Countess Amanda von Brandt of Sweden. His grown children included Ira Daniel Aldridge, teacher of languages; Ira Frederick Olaff Aldridge, musician and composer; Irene Luranah Pauline Aldridge, opera singer; and Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge, known as Amanda Ira Aldridge (1866-1956), teacher and composer under the name of Montague Ring. Aldridge became a naturalized British subject in 1863. He died August 7, 1867 while on a theatrical tour of Poland, and was buried in Lodz, Poland on August 9, 1867.
Scope and Content Note:
The Aldridge Collection consists of materials relating to 19th century African-American tragedian Ira Frederick Aldridge (1807-1967) and his children, mainly his daughter Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge, known as Amanda Ira Aldridge (1866-1956), who composed under the pseudonym Montague Ring. Materials related to Ira Aldridge include transcriptions of letters, honors and citations, copies of legal documents, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Amanda Ira Aldridge materials include correspondence, musical manuscripts and scores, and an autobiographical statement. This collection also contains articles about Ira Aldridge and his theatrical career by Edward Scobie and Owen Mortimer.