Lillian Russell (Leonard) Moore
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Helen Louise (Leonard) Moore (1860 - 1922)

Helen Louise (Lillian Russell) Moore formerly Leonard
Born in Clinton, Clinton, Iowa, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 13 Apr 1879 (to after Jun 1880) in Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan, United Statesmap
Wife of — married May 1884 (to before 1893) [location unknown]
Wife of — married 21 Jan 1894 (to 1898) in Hoboken, NJ, USAmap
Wife of — married 1912 [location unknown]
Died at age 62 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 27 Dec 2008
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Notables Project
Lillian Russell (Leonard) Moore is Notable.


Helen Louise Leonard aka Lillian Russell was a famous beauty and singer of the Gay Nineties Musical Theater.

Helen/Lillian was born in Clinton, Iowa. There is a question of the exact birthdate. Some sources have Dec. 1861 and other sources -- such as the 1900 US Census -- have Jan. 1860. She was known for not giving her right age.

Lillian studied music in New York City.

After changing her name to "Lillian Russell" in 1879 she appeared in the Gilbert and Sullivan production H.M.S. PINAFORE. She then married the show's orchestra leader, Henry Albert Braham, on April 13, 1879 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. [1] Lillian continued to appear in the early vaudeville shows in NYC singing in opera comics.

In 1880s Russell starred in the Bijou Opera House, on Broadway, and elsewhere in Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera roles. She was known as first great prima donna of American theater. Between 1881 and 1899 she was the star in 24 musicals.

By early 1880s she divorced Harry Braham after the death of a baby son, Harry L. Braham, born June 1880 in NY. According to the story, one day the nursemaid inadvertently thrust a diaper pin into the baby's stomach and Harry Braham arrived home to find the infant dead. He blamed Lillian for not caring for the baby.

Lillian then married a composer, Edward Solomon, in May 1884. They had a daughter, Dorothy Lillian Solomon, born May 10, 1884, in England.

In 1886, Lillian learned Edward had another wife, so he was arrested for bigamy. Lillian divorced Edward by 1893 and began singing with the J.C. Duff Opera Company.

It was Lillian Russell that Alexander G. Bell requested to speak with on May 8, 1890, on the first long distance phone conversation. She sang "Sabre Song" to audiences in Boston and Washington, D.C, from New York.

In 1891, she opened at the Garden Theatre as the star of the Lillian Russell Opera Company.

Lillian then married John Haley Augustin Chatterton (stage name "Giovanni Perugini") in January 1894 but they quickly separated after six months. He had become violent and at one point tried to throw Lillian out of a hotel window. They formally divorced in 1898.

She always remained the "darling of the stage", not only for her beauty, grace but also singing ability. Audiences everywhere loved her.

In 1900 she was living in NYC with two servants. Her apartment was on E. 4th and Broadway. It was at this time Lillian became the companion of New York's Diamond Jim Brady and remained with him for years until his death in 1917.

Her signature song was "Come Down Ma Evenin' Star" and was the only one recorded.

Between 1900 and 1912, she continued in comic plays and in singing roles. After she married her fourth husband, Alexandra Pollack Moore, in 1912, she semi-retired from the stage and they lived in Pittsburgh, PA. He was publisher of the Pittsburg Leader paper.

In 1915, she was in a motion picture titled "Wildfire". Lillian still did some vaudeville performances occasionally until 1919 when she suffered from ill health and fully retired.

In retirement, she supported many causes including women's rights and the Red Cross. She wrote newspaper columns and gave speeches.

On returning from Europe in 1922 while researching for President Harding about America's isolationism and restricted immigration, she fell while on board ship during a storm and was injured. She became very ill for 10 days. Lillian died on June 6, 1922 in Pittsburgh, PA.

She was buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA


  1. "Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Henry Albert Braham and Helen Louise Leonard, 13 Apr 1879; citing Grand Rapids, Kent, Michigan, v 3 p 123 rn 309, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,342,464.
  • Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 11 October 2020), memorial page for Lillian Russell (4 Dec 1860–6 Jun 1922), Find A Grave: Memorial #917, citing Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  • "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 7 September 2017), Louise Braham in household of Synthia Leonard, New York, New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district ED 406, sheet 615C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0886; FHL microfilm 1,254,886.

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Lillian Russell by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Lillian Russell:

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

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Hi Rosalind, Please note there is a Suggestion that needs your attention. Thanks!

posted by Paula (Hawkins) Reinke
If this profile was open and had sources it could enter this weeks themed profile of the week.
posted by [Living Geleick]

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Categories: Vaudevillians | Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Recording Artists | Actors | Notables