Meet the High Diver’s Mother, Anna B. Anderson

Anna B. Anderson gravestone in the N.V.A. Burial Grounds

Anna B. Anderson gravestone in the N.V.A. Burial Grounds

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 3
Name: Anna Bylund Anderson
Act: None
Born: 31 July 1868, Salt Lake City
Died: 26 Mar 1929, New York City

Anna Bylund Anderson

Anna Bylund Anderson

This is the final resting place of a woman whose only tie to show business was her daughter, a vaudeville swimmer and high diver.

Anna Susanna Bylund was born 31 July 1868 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to immigrants from Norway and Sweden. In 1890 she married George A. Anderson, a recent arrival from Oslo. He drove a horse and carriage in Salt Lake and Butte, Montana. The couple had two daughters, Lucile, in 1892, and Inez, in 1895. In 1900 while living in Butte, her husband was accidently run over by his team of horses, and died shortly thereafter. Anna and her two girls moved back to Salt Lake, where she ran a boarding house.

After high school Lucile became a stenographer. She took up swimming and high diving; following the path set by swimming star Annette Kellerman. She toured the nation with Lucile Anderson’s Diving Girls for Frank Melville, Lucile Anderson and her Submarine Girls and Marine Marvels, and Lucile Anderson and her Bevy of Diving Nymphs. She toured the carnival, circus, and vaudeville circuits from 1912 through World War II. Lucile was the women’s world high-dive champion, 102 feet.

When she was around 54, Anna Anderson moved to New York to live with Lucile. She died in a tenement at 74 W. 38th Street on 26 March 1929 in Manhattan, after catching pneumonia. It can be assumed that since Lucile was in vaudeville, she had her widow mother interred in the National Vaudeville Association burial plot. This is why she has a stone gravestone and not a N.V.A. marker.

Daughter Lucile retired to Florida, where she died in 1983. Her swimsuits, scrapbooks, and vaudeville photos were donated to Fort Lauderdale’s International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2008.

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  • White Family Tree, Web, accessed 18 March 2015.
  • The New York Clipper, 7 March, 1917, p. 14
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame, Web, accessed 18 March 2015.
  • Old Fulton New York Post Cards
  • Trav S.D. No Applause—Just Throw Money, The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous (Faber and Faber, 2005).
  • American Vaudeville Museum