|Harry ( Henry James) Montague as Captain Molyneux (I have seen him billed as Captain Molineauex) in the
internationally popular play The Saughraun. I have seen copies of this image of Montague being mistakingly sold
as a portrait of a real British officer on more than one occasion!
Henry James Montague is often thought of as an American actor although he was born in Cheshire, England in
1843 under the name of Henry James Mann. His father, a clergyman, had wanted his son to follow in his calling but
Henry found employment in a London banking house. He was discovered by one Dion Boucicault who has observed
him in the amature theatricals so popular at the time. It was not long before the twenty year old Mann - now known
by his adopted stage name - had made his mark at Drury Lane. He toured England to ever greater accolades
eventually returning to London and taking up management of the Globe Theater. In 1874 he moved to New York
and almost immediately began to enjoy the accolades of both audiences and critics alike.
George Odell wrote of him:
"Montague became at once the accepted matinée idol; he was handsome, gentle and gentlemanly, a perfect
specimen of refined English manhood. New York had seen nothing like him before; he had the faculty of making
most other leading men seem boorish, ill‐dressed, and possibly a bit vulgar. ... His photographs by Mora and Sarony
were soon on every dressing‐table."
Montague died of consumption at San Francisco, California at the early age of 34, two days before the close of his
performance as Captain Molyneux. His popularity was such that at the time he was being paid the astronomical fee of
$1000.00 a month. His funeral was mentioned New York Times of 22 August 1878:
"The mortal remains of Henry J. Montague were laid to rest yesterday within the quiet precincts of Green-Wood
Cemetery. No elaborate ceremonies were performed over the coffin, but a thousand mourners, many of them
weeping attend the services in "The Little Church Around the Corner," and as many more followed the hearse to
the cemetery. The funeral services were carried out in accordance with the programme previously arranged."
Carte de Visite (trimmed)
Sarony - Photographer
37 Union Square, New York, New York, U.S.A.