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Belle Archer

Section: N; # 213

Born: September 5, 1858

Died: September 19, 1900

Known for her beauty, style, grace and acting excellence, Belle Mingle Archer was one of the most photographed women in America in the 1890s. She was one of seven daughters born to James L. and Mary Elizabeth Mingle of Easton, PA. Her acting career began when she was in her mid-teens, after the family had moved to Philadelphia. She performed first under the name of Belle MacKenzie, but used her married name of Archer even after her divorce from a fellow actor of that name.

Her big chance came in 1898 when the star of the play “A Contented Woman” died and Belle assumed her role. Three years later while she was performing throughout the country, tragedy struck. On Sunday September 16, 1900, while waiting to change trains at a station in New York state, Belle tripped on a broken board on the platform and sustained a serious head injury. Seemingly all right she continued on her journey but sadly, died three days later.

Easton mourned her passing; the town considered her a native daughter. She was transported back to Easton by the Lehigh Valley Railroad where her coffin was personally met by the Easton mayor, B. Rush Field, along with countless other local admirers.

Her funeral was held in the Chapel of Easton Cemetery. She was buried, although not on the day of her funeral as planned. The gravediggers unexpectedly hit rock and were unable to finish the grave in time for the services. In 1901, a granite marker, including a distinctive medallion with her likeness on it and an epitaph, was placed at her grave.