From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Brady, Bessie May

(born: 1882  -  died: 1912) 

Bessie M. Brady (Thomas), born in Frankfort, KY, was an actress with the[Egbert "Bert" A.] Williams and [George]  Walker Abyssinia Company in 1906. She later became a vaudeville performer in Chicago, performing with Leana Mitchell on the vaudeville circuit, appearing at the height of their careers at the Grand and Monogram Theaters in Chicago.

The Brady family had moved to Chicago after 1880, according to the U.S. Federal Census records .Bessie's mother, Johnsonia Buckner Brady, from Frankfort, KY, died in Chicago in 1899 [source: Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index].  In 1900, there were ten family members living on Wabash Ave in Chicago, including Bessie's father, Horace Brady, who was a musician who had run a saloon in Frankfort, KY, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Bessie's brother, Charles H. Brady, was also a musician.

Bessie Brady died September 13, 1912 after an operation at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York [source: "Obituary: Pretty Bessie Brady dies in New York," Freeman, 9/28/1912]. Her body was brought back to Chicago for burial. She was the wife of vaudeville performer James M. "Icky" Thomas.

For more see "Bessie Brady" in Blacks in Blackface, by H. T. Sampson.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Brady, Bessie May,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-05-06 18:46:01