Harold Bliss and Mabel Botsford attended the Mr.
Bluebeard matinee and sat in one of the balconies.
Twenty-three-year-old Harold S.
Bliss (b. 1880) was a senior at the Chicago College
of Dental Surgery. He was from Racine,
Wisconsin. His body was identified by W. H. Raymond.
Twenty-one-year-old Mabel A. Botsford (b.1882) was also from Racine. It is not
known if she was also a student living in Chicago or
if she lived in Racine and was visiting in Chicago.
She was the only child of Wisconsin natives, Oliver Botsford (1855-) and Julia Botsford (1857-). Oliver
owned a combination books, stationery and sporting
goods store at 534 Main Street on the Monument
Square in Racine: Botsford & Wooster. The Botsford
family lived at 732 Park Avenue. Mabel's body was
identified by her father.
Harold was the son of
Massachusetts natives, Cornelia Packard Bliss (1850-1932) and the late George Bliss (1845-1896),
who had been a bookkeeper (and may have served as
the city clerk in Racine 1894-1896).
Harold had three
siblings. In the 1900 census Cornelia described
herself as a capitalist. That probably means
she was a shopkeeper. She owned her home at
724 Lake Avenue in Racine.
Family friends from Racine,
William and Sarah Kranz,
were seated five rows ahead of Harold and Mabel.
Sarah Kranz also perished. William Kranz, who owned a stationery shop, was a
fellow shop keeper in Racine with Mabel's father,
Before becoming a
dentist Harold was a clerk for the Racine gas
company. The Chicago College of
Dental Surgery was founded in 1883 as the Chicago
Dental Infirmary, the first dental school in
Chicago. It was a post-doctorate school that only
accepted students who had already achieve a Doctor
of Medicine degree. Training consisted of two
courses of lectures. The following year it was
rechartered and students were no longer required to
have a medical degree.
The Racine community lost three
of its citizens to the Iroquois Theater fire,
Harold Bliss and
Mabel Botsford. A
fourth Iroquois patron, Clara Hanson, a school
teacher, survived. A former Racine resident,
Annie Ellis, was also among the fatalities.