Author Topic: Maude Adams -- Barrie's Broadway Lady  (Read 1545 times)


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Maude Adams -- Barrie's Broadway Lady
« on: April 26, 2020, 05:40:31 PM »
Hi everyone,

This is my first topic and I'm really excited to be a part of this community! In 2017, I was sick of studying law in my tiny apartment outside of Washington D.C. and picked up Andrew Birkin's book. I read it, cover to cover, in one night. I couldn't get enough. I think I actually cried over it. I have been researching Barrie and his circle ever since. And I did eventually get back to my law studies and pass the bar haha

Last winter I obtained a blueprint of Barrie's Adelphi flat, for his renovation plans. I am happy to try to share it. I have also requested various material from the Beinecke Library and encourage anyone who wishes to also do so --- they are very helpful.

This morning I was reading something totally off-topic and I stumbled across posts on Maude Adams being one of the first modern lesbian actresses (!) I had no idea. Barrie saw Adams in a production of Rosemary --- is there any record of exactly how many times Barrie crossed the Atlantic, and where he stayed when he was in New York, Hollywood, etc.?  Maude Adams, the girl from Utah had been acting since she was 16. After watching her performance, Barrie chose her to play Lady Babby in The Little Minister and then, Peter Pan on Broadway in 1905. This led to Adams' immense success and an income of $20,000 / month. Adams supposedly also helped design the Peter Pan costume, and took an early interest in stage lighting which some thought would transfer to the Hollywood production of Peter Pan. Adams worked with General Electric on their stage lighting in the 1920s. She may be named on some U.S. patents, I found her name on U.S. patent # 1,884,957 but cannot find the exact image. If there is interest, I will find more about it. Adams continued acting up until her death, and taught drama in Missouri, giving her an income of up to $1 million a month.

Sexually, Adams has been linked to: Mercedes de Acosta, Katharine Cornell, Spring Byington, Eva la Gallienne and Alla Nazimova . Missing from these famous names is Adams' secretary, Louise Boynton, who Adams is buried next to. Any relation to current actress Lucy Boynton, I wonder? Adams never married. Frohman, her producer and Barrie's frequent collaborator, used the absence of relationships with men to create a public image of her being virtuous and innocent. It is now believed that Adams was a lesbian.

She may have enjoyed long-term relationships with two woman over the course of her lifetime. The first being with stage actress Lillie Florence until Florence’s death in 1901. The second being an over 45-year relationship beginning in 1905 with Louise Boynton. Did Adams need a secretary due to her success in Peter Pan? Can this lesbian relationship be traced to her working relationship with Barrie? Boynton died in 1951. When Adams passed away in 1953 in New York, four months shy of 80, she was buried next to Boynton where they share a headstone.

Adams continues to captivate modern audiences. Paintings of her appear around The United States, and often inspire more questions than answers (

If anyone has any letters or further information about Adams and her relationship to Barrie, I'd love to know more!