Samantha's Special Talent is part of the Short Stories collections, focusing on Samantha Parkington.


Only in Samantha's Special Talent

Story Summary

Meet The Author

Looking Back: Great Acts in 1904

Discusses vaudeville acts in turn of the century America. Topics include:

  • What a vaudeville show was, and the different variety acts that would perform.
  • How theater managers made sure anyone could enjoy their shows, from lowering ticket prices to banning certain words.
  • Why Bert Williams had to wear blackface makeup on stage, and instead of mocking his own race he chose to show situations that everyone could relate to.
  • How Lillian Russell's shows were considered very different from Eva Tanguay's, even though both women were considered as very successful vaudeville singers.
  • The different magicians that performed on vaudeville, and the many dangerous things that Harry Houdini would do on stage, many of them being escape tricks.
  • The amateur night performances that allowed children to test their talents onstage, and what would have happened if it was either a good night or a bad night.
  • How Fanny Brice entered vaudeville when she was fourteen years old, and the other young acts, like Buster Leaton, who were actually born into vaudeville and the talents that they could do.
  • The rising popularity of movies in New York, which eventually brought the end of vaudville.

Activity: Learn to Juggle

Learn how to juggle scarves.

Items associated with Samantha's Special Talent


  • While the story states that the meeting is on Saturday May 5th, 1905 was a non-leap year starting on Sunday; thus, May 5th was actually on a Friday. 1906 had May 5th on a Saturday, but this story could not have taken place then as Grandmary is not married to Admiral Beemis yet.
  • In American Girl Magazine, Samantha is illustrated in a unique red and lace dress. This was changed in the illustrations when the story was republished as a short story volume and tied to Samantha's Talent Show Dress.


  1. The poster states that the meeting is May 5th; Mr. Hardy later tells Samantha the meeting is four days away.
  2. The book is set in Mount Bedford, so Samantha has not yet moved to New York. Also, Samantha is still nine, so her birthday has not yet passed.
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