- Robert B. Winans
(b Ballina, Ireland, April 13, 1822; d Chicago, IL, Sept 8, 1893). Minstrel performer and manager of Irish birth. He came to the United States in 1844 and began performing with Christy’s Minstrels in Buffalo, New York in 1845, remaining with the company two years. He continued to perform, but made his reputation chiefly as a manager, owner, and promoter. He first organized a company of his own in 1851 and took it on a tour of Europe, then during much of the 1850s he managed Maguire’s Minstrels, the foremost troupe in San Francisco. He organized Hooley and Campbell’s Minstrels in 1860, and after it disbanded in 1861 he opened his own minstrel hall in Brooklyn. He remained in Brooklyn for much of the remainder of his career, though he spent periods in Chicago in the early 1870s, and again in the early 1880s; he built minstrel theaters in both Brooklyn and Chicago, where not only his own troupes but all the important touring companies of the day performed. He followed the trend for larger companies with the formation of his Megatherian Minstrels in the 1880s....