A teacher and her
landlord, Annie Radcliffe and Marion Gibbs, thought to enjoy an
afternoon matinee at Chicago's newest luxury playhouse, the
Iroquois Theater. On the stage was Mr. Bluebeard,
an extravagant pantomime production from Drury Lane Theater of
London that turned the grim French fairytale into comedy.
There were hundreds of dancers, singers, comedians, lights and
costumes, even aerial ballerinas.
About twenty minutes
into Act II, a fire broke out on stage that burst out into the
auditorium, killing over six hundred members of the audience,
including Annie and Marion.
Forty-three-year-old Canadian immigrant, Annie /
Anna / Mary Ann Radcliffe (b. 1860), taught at the
Parkman Elementary School on 51st and Princeton. She boarded at 4604
Calumet Avenue in Chicago.* Annie died on
the stairs in the Iroquois lobby, according to
newspapers, so they were sitting in one of the
balconies. Police officer
Albert F. Simsrott carried her body out of the
theater. Annie's brother, James H. Radcliffe,
at Sheldon's Undertaking.
In some newspaper lists,
the name "St. Mary’s" accompanied Annie’s name and
may have been a Cemetery in Perth County, Ontario.
parents may have been Samuel and Elizabeth Radcliffe.
Newspapers did not publish
anything about Annie's or Marian's theater
companions but both lived at 4604 Calumet so it is
safe to assume they went to the theater together.
Forty-eight-year-old Marion W. Gibbs (b.1864).† was a
widow who ran a boarding house of unknown size.
Either George A. Webber or twenty-five-year-old Nettie
Slowtrack, an employee of Marion's at the
boarding house, found and identified Marion's body
at Jordan's Undertaking.
Newspapers mentioned both names.
Nettie was the daughter of Alexander and