American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 57

Annie Yeamans

1835 — 1912


Mrs. Yeamans was a middle-aged woman when she became a stalwart starring member of the Harrigan & Hart company. Yeamans spent the second half of her career as Cordelia Mulligan, stage wife to Ned Harrigan’s character, and stage mother to Tony Hart’s role as their son.

The first half of her life was a great adventure. As a young girl, she left the British Isles with her father and mother who had accepted stage work in Australia. Annie was apprenticed to a circus in her teens and became an “Equestrienne-Extraordinaire.” Still in her teens she traveled to China, Java, Japan and the Philippines. She married a fellow performer and, with their three infant daughters, immigrated to San Francisco. Her husband died shortly after they landed and Annie Yeamans, without a single contact in America, was left to fend for herself and daughters. She eventually reached New York where she became a reliable and admired character actor specializing in comedy. When Harrigan & Hart established their company, Annie was asked to join and she spent much of the next thirty years in Harrigan’s employ.