Sunday, April 5, 2015

page 134 -- Elliott Barnes, "Only a Farmer's Daughter"

updated 22 January 2016
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Elliott Barnes was a playwright and actor. According to some critics, his principal accomplishment, "Only a Farmer's Daughter," wasn't very good. One critic in the Brooklyn Eagle via Google (24 April 1887 p.15 ) found it to be an "unoriginal, inartistic smear of irrational balderdash."

Writing for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (1886) a few days after Elliott Barnes passed away, the editors found Mr. Barnes to be "genial." His only writing talent, however, appeared to be that he coined popular titles that sold his otherwise completely undistinguished works. "Only a Farmer's Daughter," the Chronicle critic wrote, was "a combination of lurid sensationalism and mawkish seutiment" that had "neither literary nor dramatic excellence."

Here's the post referenced above from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (1886):




Google Street View spots a residence in Carlisle NY,
possibly near where Elliott Barnes died.

More favorable reviews of "Only a Farmer's Daughter" were reprinted under the column "City News"
on its front page by the Crawfordsville Star:






Fulton history presents the ad below for the play from the New York Mirror:


Well-known comedian Ezra Freemont Kendall made his professional stage debut playing the role of a butler in "Only a Farmer's Daughter," according to Wikipedia.

[ULPA 1980.20.0187], Macauley's Theatre Collection, 1980.20, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.


I have not been able to find a copy of  "Only a Farmer's Daughter" to read for myself, but understand from the commentary about it that it was a melodrama with comedic intervals that went on for five acts. The public was not swayed by the negativity of some of the play's critics. The play was a great financial success.




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