The Sappho, 2159 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60616
121 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Virginia Hotel, 66 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
Parkway Hotel, 2100 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614
Amy Leslie (October 11, 1855 – July 3, 1939) was an American actress, opera singer, and drama critic who was the first wife of Frank Buck. The legendary performer Sophie Tucker was married briefly but after separating from her third husband, never remarried. Instead, she had several relationships with women, including Amy Leslie, royal Lady Edwina Mountbatten, her “traveling maid” Molly Elkins, and, most notably, Dr. Margaret “Mom” Chung.
She was born as Lillian West in West Burlington, Iowa. She studied at the Conservatory of Vocal Music, St Mary's Academy, Notre Dame, Indiana, graduating in 1874. After more study in Europe and at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, billed as "Lillie West" she became a singer in operettas.
In 1890, she began contributing to The Chicago Daily News, signing her stories as Amy Leslie, and became the drama critic for the paper. She was one of the few women drama critics of her time, the only one in Chicago, and came to know and write of the stars of the day. Amy Leslie retired in 1930.
In the early 1900s, a bar called The Sappho, run by Amy Leslie at 2159 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, may have been a lesbian establishment or may only have furnished "shows" for brothel customers.
While playing Fiametta in La Mascotte she was married to Harry Brown, an opera singer, who abandoned her. Their son, Francis Albert, died of diphtheria in 1889. After obtaining a divorce from Harry Brown, Leslie was the mistress of Stephen Crane and lived with him in New York in a house at 121 West 27th Street. In 1901, the 46-year-old Amy Leslie was married to 17-year-old Frank Buck, who was at the time a captain of bellboys at the Virginia Hotel in Chicago, where she was living. Buck described her as "a small woman, plump, with keenly intelligent eyes, the most beautifully white teeth I have ever seen and a red, laughing mouth," adding that she was "always good-natured."  In 1913 Amy Leslie and Frank Buck divorced.
Suffering from diffuse arteriosclerosis and a brain tumor, Amy Leslie died in her home in Chicago's Parkway Hotel. Her remains were cremated.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGEE