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Maude Adams

Broadway's First Peter Pan

Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden was born November 1st, 1872 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Annie Adams and James Kiskadden. Her mother Annie was a leading lady in the Salt Lake City stock company and her father, James, worked for a bank. Her first theatrical appearance came when she was just nine months old despite her father’s objections. After having her name shortened to Maude Adams, she traveled with her mother throughout the west with a theatrical barnstorming troupe. She debuted at age ten in Esmeralda, and at age 16 she joined E.H. Sothern’s Theatre Company in Boston. She was a beloved stage actress of the 20th century performing in many known plays such as: All the Comforts of Home, The Little Minister, Quality Street, A Kiss for Cinderella, and What Every Woman Knows. She is most famous, however, for her role as Peter Pan. Brooks Atkinson is quoted saying that, “all her most enchanting and most memorable qualities came into focus with Peter Pan.” Adams performed Peter Pan 1,500 times solidifying the title of one of the greatest stage actresses of her time.

At the height of her popularity, Adams retired from stage acting after suffering personal loss; she lost her grandmother, mother, and manager all within a short time of each other. She dabbled in light production for colored movies with both General Electric and the Eastman Company for a brief period and returned to the stage to act in a few Shakespearean plays but this was short-lived.

Adams found a love for the Catskill Mountains and purchased an estate of 150 acres adjacent to the well-known artist and writer’s retreat, Onteora Park. She loved the Catskills dearly. Her home on Caddam Hill located in Tannersville, NY is a majestic and beautiful escape emanating the feeling of seclusion. Her estate is now 31 acres and can be visited by the public. Maude Adams passed away in her Catskills home in 1953.