Ohio History Journal

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Assistant Professor of English, Oberlin College

A Clevelander in search of amusement during the week of

February 12, 1882, could rejoice at the number and variety, if

not the excellence, of his opportunities. At the Euclid Avenue

Opera House, Mr. John McCullough, the eminent tragedian, fresh

from a brilliant season in London, was presenting a repertoire

that included Othello and Richard III. At the Academy of Music,

Buffalo Bill and his "mammoth combination," including a beauti-

ful Sioux Princess, a Boy Chief of the Pawnees, and a Genuine

Band of Noted Winnebago Indian Chiefs, were playing in a new

drama called The Prairie Waif. On Wednesday evening, at the

Forest City Gymnasium, there would be a reception in honor of

Mr. John L. Sullivan, who had just won the heavyweight cham-

pionship of the world by his victory over Paddy Ryan in New


Saturday night would be, appropriately, the climax of the

week's round of pleasures; a gentleman of catholic tastes might

find it difficult to choose among several promising diversions.

Should he go to the Academy of Music to laugh at Mr. Gus

Williams in Our German Senator, billed as "the most excru-

ciatingly funny comedy ever written"? Could he afford to miss a

last chance to see Mr. McCullough in Richard Montgomery Bird's

The Gladiator? Or might it not be more instructive to hear the

Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage, the only rival of Henry Ward Bee-

cher, at the Cleveland Tabernacle on the subject of "Big

Blunders"? This lecture, described as the "sixth entertainment in

the Bureau of Education Course," would explain, so the notices

said, "how people failed of success in life because of big blun-

ders," and the explanation would be full of "telling truths, wit,

and eloquence." Still the list would not be exhausted. Lacking

* This article was originally delivered as a paper at the annual meeting of the

Ohio College Association at Columbus, April 8-9, 1949.