Sep 19, 2011

Introducing Miss Gertie Millar

This is one of my favorite vintage postcards. I just love the bright red color and I think she is very cute! Before I bought this postcard, I didn't know who Gertie Millar even was!

Gertrude "Gertie" Millar (later Countess of Dudley) (21 February 1879 – 25 April 1952) was one of the most famous English singer-actresses of the early 20th century, known for her performances in Edwardian musical comedies.

Gertrude Millar was born in Manningham, Bradford, where her father, John Millar, was a mill worker, and her mother, Elizabeth (née Miller), was a worsted-stuff worker and dressmaker.
As a child, Millar performed in London pantomimes, beginning with Babes in the Wood at the St. James Theatre in Manchester, at the age of 13. She started out as a singer and dancer in the music halls of Yorkshire. Later, she moved to London where she was soon earning good notices and better pay appearing in variety show bills. By 1897, she was playing the role of Phyllis Crosby in A Game of Cards at Shodfriars Hall, Boston, England. Next she toured in The New Barmaid in the role of Dora; in The Silver Lining; and as Sadie Pinkhose, the "other woman", in The Lady Detective. In 1899, she played Dandini in Cinderella at the Grand Theatre, Fulham.
Millar and husband Lionel Monckton
In the new century, she starred in a series of hit musical comedies produced by George Edwardes. In 1900, she played Isabel Blythe in the touring production of The Messenger Boy. Edwardes's next show was The Toreador in 1901 at the Gaiety Theatre in London. Lionel Monckton, one of the show's composers, had seen Millar in The Messenger Boy and requested that she be given the role of the bridesmaid Cora in the new musical, singing "Keep Off the Grass". She made the song popular and earned a second song, "Captivating Cora", and a third, "I'm not a simple little girl". These hits, and her featured role in A Country Girl (1902), established Millar in London. The Gaiety Theatre closed for renovations in 1902, and the last show at the old theatre was The Linkman; or, Gaiety Memories. Millar starred as Morgiana. She married Monckton in 1902, and he continued to write hit songs for her in subsequent shows.

Millar and Edmund Payne in The Spring Chicken
Millar became one of the most photographed women of the Edwardian period. She had top billing as the Hon. 

After she returned to London, some of Millar's biggest successes were still in front of her. They included the title role of the hit Gaiety musical, Our Miss Gibbs (1909), with Millar introducing the songs "Moonstruck", "Yorkshire", and "Our farm", all written for her by Monckton. Monckton and Millar then moved to Edwardes' newest theatre, the Adelphi, where she played the title role, Prudence Pym, in another international hit, The Quaker Girl (1910). In this, she popularised the songs "The Quaker Girl", "The Little Grey Bonnet", and "Tony from America". After this, she returned to continental operetta, playing Lady Babby in Edwardes's English language version of Franz Lehár's Zigeunerliebe (Gipsy Love, 1912) at Daly's Theatre. In this role, the musical demands were light and the show was a moderate success. She returned to the Adelphi to play Nancy Joyce in The Dancing Mistress (1912), and back at Daly's she played Kitty Kent in The Marriage Market (1913). This was followed by the role of Nan in a major revival of A Country Girl (1914). She also played Sallie Denbigh in The House of Bondage, a 1914 film.

World War I brought a change in the tastes of the theatregoing public. Edwardes died in 1915, and Millar's husband was in poor health. After appearing in two Monckton revues (Bric à Brac (1915; she sang "Neville was a Devil") and Airs and Graces (1917)), two unsuccessful musical comedies (Houp-La (1916) and Flora (1918)) and some productions in the provinces, Millar left the stage in 1918. Monckton died on 15 February 1924. Two months later, on 30 April 1924, Millar married the 2nd Earl of Dudley. Before the war, he had been the Governor-General of Australia. Lord Dudley died in 1932. Millar (now Lady Dudley), survived her second husband by two decades and died at her home in Chiddingfold in 1952, aged 73. She left an estate valued at £52,354. [wikipedia]

I also found this song sang by her on 1916.

This is the back of the postcard. I think the date on the stamp reads 7 March 1906.


  1. I'd never heard of her either, what a full career, and life. I love the message on the back of the card especially combined with the angled stamp over the surname which I think means "I long to see you"

  2. I didn't know that the angled stamp ment that...What a nice info! I may use it someday ;)