Lotta Crabtree, The Nation’s Darling

By Karen Harris
Portrait of Lotta Crabtree Smoking a Cigar. Source: (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Long before the title of America’s Sweetheart was bestowed on Mary Pickford, Shirley Temple, Debbie Reynolds, Meg Ryan, and Sandra Bullock, to name a few, one actress earned the nickname “The Nation’s Darling.” You may not know the name Lotte Crabtree, but in the last half of the 1800s, she was the best-known and highest-paid actresses in the United States. Let’s look at the life and times of Lotta Crabtree, the Nation’s Darling.