Actress and dancer M’lle Marie Zoe was born in Havana, Cuba, where she first performed in 1854. She debuted in the U.S. in 1855 and was billed as “The Cuban Sylph.” She specialized in breeches parts. Marie bought a house in Hempstead, Long Island, and moved there with her husband, dance master Ben Yates. In 1885 Yates claimed his wife’s mind had been “affected” and had Marie Zoe committed to the Mineola Insane Asylum. He remained undeterred by the complaints of abuse and neglect filed against it. Mrs. Yates died within a few months. Her two sisters from Philadelphia arrived and told Yates that Marie had promised them the house; they tried to evict him. Just then a will suddenly appeared among the papers of a deceased judge, stating that Mrs. Yates had left her entire estate to her husband. In this photo the young Marie Zoe poses in a military costume, complete with a mustache.


  • Title: M'lle Marie Zoe (1840-1885
  • Physical Dimensions: Carte-de-visite (albumen), 4" x 2 1/2"
  • Provenance: The Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation
  • Subject Keywords: Performer
  • Type: Photograph
  • Publisher: C.D. Fredricks & Co.
  • Date: ca. 1865

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