Fashionable Mowatt

In the epilogue to Anna Cora Mowatt’s comedy Fashion (1845) — modeled, as Edgar Allan Poe pointed out in an early review, on Sheridan’s plays — one character expresses her hope that Fashion will become fashionable. The play’s republican...

Paul Bunyan in Billyburg

Did I call this one in lecture the other day or what? This week’s New York Magazine contains the late-breaking news that — imagine! — plaid flannel shirts are back. (Thank God they’re fitted this time around, is all I have to say: if this...

City on Stage

There’s a famous anecdote about the first appearance of Mose the Bowery B’hoy on the New York stage. Played by neighborhood boy Frank Chanfrau, Mose, the fireman-butcher, makes his entrance in Benjamin Baker’s 1848 farce A Glance at New York by...