Ada Rehan (Delia Crehan)

Ada Rehan

Ada Rehan (April 22, 1859 – January 8, 1916) was an Irish born American actress. Ada Rehan was born as Delia Crehan in County Limerick, Ireland, and brought to the United States at about the age of six years. Her date of birth was later disputed by a critic who wrote in the Boston Globe on November 24, 1888, when she should have been 29, “Ada Rehan is forty years old and over. She makes up fairly for girlish roles … but at close sight in the cold light of day she shows her age.” She was misbilled as Ada C. Rehan by the Arch Street theater of Philadelphia and the name stuck. She had an older sister named Kate, who preceded her onto the stage, and Kate’s son, Arthur Byron, also became an actor. Her second sister, Harriet, also had a long (but inconspicuous) career on the stage as Hattie Russell. Her two brothers William and Arthur were involved with the business side of theatre. Her acting career began early with some minor parts as a child, then her activities increased in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Mrs. John Drew’s theatre from 1873 to 1875. Ada then went to Louisville to join the stock company of Macauley’s Theatre, where she remained one season (1875–6). Subsequently, she appeared in Baltimore, Albany, and other cities with John W. Albaugh’s company. When Augustin Daly opened his New York theatre in 1879, she joined his company, and continued to work with Daly until his death twenty years later. Ada Rehan was widely admired in Europe, having acted in Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Stratford-on-Avon.

Ada Rehan was the model for a solid silver statue of Justice that was presented as part of the State of Montana’s mining exhibition at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. She retired from the stage in 1906, and made New York City her home until her death there in 1916. Rehan’s nephew was actor Arthur Byron, son of her sister Kate and Oliver Doud Byron. More than 25 years after Ada Rehan died a WWII Liberty ship was named after her, USS Ada Rehan.

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  • April, 22, 1859
  • County Limerick, Ireland


  • January, 09, 1916
  • USA
  • New York, New York


  • Green-Wood Cemetery
  • Brooklyn, New York
  • USA

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