Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GILFERT, Charles, theatrical manager, born in Germany in 1787; died in New York City, 30 July, 1829. He began his career in the United States as a composer and teacher of music, and became a manager of concerts and oratorios. Eventually he led the orchestra of the Park theatre in New York City, and was the conductor of the Musical-fund society. In 1815 he relinquished his musical career, and became lessee of the theatre in Charleston, South Carolina At the close of an unsuccessful season, he went to Albany, New York, with his wife, and for several years managed the theatre in that City. In 1826 when the noted New York or Bowery theatre was built, he was offered the management, and became its lessee, Here he produced in rapid succession spectacular novelties, ballets, and operatic ensembles superior to any that had been seen in this country. But he was of an over-sanguine temperament, regardless of obligation, and reckless in money matters. As a consequence, his affairs became disordered, he was continually harassed, and not seldom imprisoned for debt within the "jail liberties" of his theatre.--His wife, Agnes, actress, born in England in 1793, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19 April, 1833, first played at the Haymarket theatre in London, in 1811, in the character of Belvidera, in "Venice Preserved." In 1812 she came to this City with her father, Joseph George Holman, appeared at the New York Park theatre in the " Provoked Husband," made the tour of the large cities, a became so great a favorite as to command $200 per flight for her performances. In 1815 she was married to Mr. Gilfert. Thereafter her public career was merged in that of her husband. Sharing his many vicissitudes, at the time of his death she retired from the theatre. Her friends then persuaded her to open a young ladies' seminary in New York City. Mrs. Gilfert continued teaching for about seven years, with indifferent success, and reluctantly returned to the stage, with the hope of recovering some of her former popularity, her new opening was at the Chatham theatre. But time had wrought its changes with her personal appearance; she had lost her spirits and gayety, and fresher attractions had captivated the public. After a continued struggle with disappointment and poverty, she was last seen on the stage of the Park theatre in New York City, on 26 July, 1831, in Shakespeare's "King" John." Broken in health and professional reputation, she retired to Philadelphia, where she soon died in obscurity and neglect. As Miss Holman, in the flush of youth, beauty, and success, she had been a welcome guest in the best society. In high comedy parts, in her early days, she was rarely equalled, and probably never excelled.
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