Fanny Kemble's Civil WarsBook - 2000
Irrepressible in word and deed, Kemble captured the imaginations of many famous Americans of the antebellum era. Walt Whitman was held spellbound at one of her early New York City stage performances, rhapsodizing: "Fanny Kemble! Name to conjure up great mimic scenes withal -- perhaps the greatest! Nothing finer did ever stage exhibit." Henry James predicted that Fanny Kemble's literary gifts would "make her what I call historic," and abolitionist Catharine Sedgwick enthused: "She is a most captivating creature, steeped to the very lips in genius."
By the mid-1830s, American society was firmly in the grip of Kemble's celebrity. A tulip was named in her honor. Young ladies adopted "Fanny Kemble curls" and donned "Fanny Kemble caps." Harvard undergraduates smeared themselves with molasses to fend off rivals for scarce tickets to her performances, and lecture attendance fell off so sharply on the afternoons of Kem