B1510. JOSEPH JEFFERSON. The Autobiography of Joseph Jefferson. New York, Century, 1897. 509pp. Index; Photos.
“In 1859, Jefferson made a dramatic version of Washington Irving's story of RIP VAN WINKLE on the basis of older plays, and acted it with success in Washington, D.C. He arrived at Sydney in the beginning of November 1861, and played a successful season introducing to Australia RIP VAN WINKLE, OUR AMERICAN COUSIN, THE OCTOROON and other plays. Jefferson would continue acting in the former for 40 years, playing little more than the single character of Rip Van Winkle. He then returned to America in August 1866. Jefferson made it his stock play, making annual tours of the states with it, and occasionally reviving THE HEIR-AT-LAW in which he played Dr. Pangloss, THE CRICKET ON THE HEARTH (Caleb Plummer) and THE RIVALS (Bob Acres). He was one of the first to establish the traveling combinations which superseded the old system of local stock companies. Jefferson also starred in a number of films as the character starting in the 1896. Joseph Jefferson made several recordings, all of material from RIP VAN WINKLE.
With the exception of minor parts, such as the First Gravedigger in HAMLET, which he played in an all-star combination headed by Edwin Booth, Jefferson created no new character after 1865, and the success of RIP VAN WINKLE was so pronounced that he has often been called a one-part actor. If this was a fault, it was the public's, who never wearied of his one masterpiece.”
- H. P. Casavant