Wareham Historical Society to explore life of Onset vaudeville star

Apr 25, 2017
Courtesy of: Wareham Historical Society The life of Onset's Jeanette Hopkins, a star in the vaudeville era, will be discussed on May 15 during a Wareham Historical Society program.

An Onset celebrity from the vaudeville era will be the subject of the Wareham Historical Society’s next program, set for May 15 starting at 7 p.m. in the Methodist Meeting House at 495 Main St.

Admission is free for Wareham Historical Society members and $2 for the public.

The program, led by Claire Smith, will focus on the life of Jeanette Hopkins. As a child, Hopkins and her sister played the mandolin and sang on stage, performing in New York City. Eventually, as vaudeville began to evolve, she formed an all-girl production which traveled the vaudeville route and she also starred with other celebrities in various acts. At one point, she hired a young banjo player to  join her show and  they eventually  married.

At age 16, Jeanette purchased a cottage for her mother, so that during the summer when shows were on hiatus, she and her mother could enjoy the summer season in Onset just as many other vaudeville stars did. After her marriage, she and her husband would come and stay for a few weeks during the summer as well and she kept that cottage until she was in her 90s and ended up in a nursing home.

When motion pictures came along and vaudeville began to become less popular, her husband, Franklyn, stayed on the vaudeville circuit while Jeannette returned to Wareham and began working at the former Cornwell’s Department Store on Main Street, as the department head of the houswares /gift department. Hopkins lived to be 104 years old.

For more information, call Angela Dunham at 508-295-8578.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 26, 2017 07:15

Not much changes, still lots of people in Onset that play banjo.

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