Twenty-seven year old Rita
Wild (b. 1876*) was one of eighteen teachers at the Felsenthal public elementary school. She escaped from
the fifth row of the dress circle in the second-floor balcony at the Iroquois Theater. Her family physician said her injuries
were not life threatening. When she died, physicians attributed her
death to fright.
Inhalation injury? I've read of wild animals dying
but am not sure about humans dying from delayedfright. Shock or respiratory failure seems more likely.
was the daughter of lived with her widowed mother, Irish immigrant Annie
Collins Wild (1838-1927)
and the late Frederick J. Wild (1843-1882).
She had three siblings:
Harry C. Wild (1868-1932)
Lenore Wild Hickey (1870-1934)
Alice Wild Handschy (c1871-1944)
Included in a list of injured
theater goers, but not in lists of fatalities, was a
"Nellie Wild" that was almost certainly Rita's older
sister, Lenore. The extent of her injuries was
Rita was buried in the family
plot at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.
Nelly and Jefferson J. Hickey
and had three children. Alice and Frederick
Handschy had four children, one of whom was named
after Rita. They were the family's
tumbleweeds, moving west, first to Seattle, then
California, then back to Chicago by the 1920s.
Harry had four children.
The Felsenthal school, built in 1901 on Calumet
Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets, was designed
classrooms to accommodate 1,056 students. It
was named to honor Herman Felsenthal, an early
Chicago pioneer, influential banker and devoted school board
* On some
records, including the death certificate, Rita's
birth year was stated as 1878 but her birth
certificate stated September, 1876.
Chicago mayor Carter
Harrison Jr. among Iroquois Theater arrestees
School Teacher Dora
Mitchell Iroquois Theater Victim
Maud Nickey survived the
13 year old Linda Bolte
Iroquois Theater victim
Cemetery traffic at 1st
Iroquois builder Fuller Construction
Theater fire history and
If you have additional
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hear from you. Chaos and communication limitations of 1903
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