The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Helen Lenoir, 1852-1913

Nationality: Scottish
Date of Birth: 1852
Place of Birth: Wigton
Date of Death: 1913.05.05
Place of Death:


Helen Lenoir, née Helen Coupar Black, later Mrs D'Oyly Carte, actress, stage-manager, and business woman. She was daughter of the Procurator-Fiscal of Wigtonshire. Her first husband died in 1885. She married Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844-1901), impresario and property developer, on 12 April 1888. After Carte's death in 1901, she married, for a third time, Stanley Boulter, a barrister in 1906.


Lenoir studied mathematics, logic and moral philosophy at London University 1871-4 (at that date no degrees could be awarded to women). She also spoke several languages and taught mathematics. Her acting career was brief and she became secretary to Richard D'Oyly Carte in 1877. From then on she made fifteen visits to the United States in order to promote D'Oyly Carte's interests. In 1886, he offered her a salary of £1,000 and 10% commission on all business at his theatres. When they were married two years later, the composer Arthur Sullivan was the best man. After Carte's death in 1901, she ran the Savoy Theatre until 1909, and the D'Oyly Carte Touring Company Ltd until her death in 1913.


Wilson, Robin J., Gilbert & Sullivan: the D'Oyly Carte Years, London 1984; Sadie, Stanley (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, New York, 1992.