Al G. Field (Fields)

Photo from Autobiography

Photo from the Library of Congress
 "Millionaire Minstrel"

Born:November 7, 1848, Near Leesburg, Virginia
Died:April 3, 1921, Columbus, Ohio
Buried:Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.
Performed at:209 Eustis Avenue SE - Elks Theatre


•  Fields was not a permanent resident in Huntsville. But he wintered here one year and encouraged the Elks to build a theater here. - Editor's Note

•  December 20, 1882: "A. G. Fields, advance agent of Miles Orton's Mastodon Show and Royal German Menagerie, made arrangements to keep his circus in Huntsville for the winter months. Fields rented a portion of the Fairgrounds and also the large brick building, known as the old steam mill." - Pruitt

•  "In 1904, The Morning Mercury indicated the local Elks Lodge would build a home, adding, "May we not suggest that they consider the advisability of a plan that will give a building for both a home and an opera house." At one of the earlier planning sessions, Al G. Fields, famous promoter of minstrels, encouraged this project. After many a financial woe and costs exceeding $100,000, building was completed, and on 19 November 1907, the Elks Theatre opened. Horse drawn carriages and T-models hied to this new attraction en masse." - Zielinski

•  "Al G. Field (1850-1921), one of the last of the great cork artists and managers. His real name was Alfred Griffith Hatfield, and he began as a ballad singer at the age of fifteen with Sharpley, Sheridan, Mack & Days Minstrels. In 1886 he formed his own minstrel troupe, which he operated successfully until his death in 1921 - during which time, so he claimed, he never had a losing season - and became a wealthy man, known as the 'Millionaire Minstrel," from his successful managerial activities in that line of business. He was considered a good minstrel performer, remembered for his monologues. His training in management came from working with the Sells Bros. Circus and with Duprez & Benedicts Minstrels, both outfits being noted for their advertising practices." - West Virginia

•  He was a thirty-second degree Mason, Shriner, Knights Templar, and past potentate of the Shrine. He was also active in Elkdom, having served as grand esteemed leading knight of the Grand Lodge of Elks, and as exalted ruler of Columbus Lodge. He was known to "Shriners" and "Elks" all over the United States and was very happy among this wealth of friends. He was a member of the Rotary and Alladin Country clubs, both of Columbus. - Cutter

•  Son of John and Mary Hatfield. - Cutter

Related Links:

•  Cutter - American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Volume 11 edited by William Richard Cutter, published 1922 by the American Historical Society, page 34.

•  Autobiography - His autobiography titled "Watch Yourself Go By" can be found as an ebook online at

•  Pruitt - Eden of the South: A Chronology of Huntsville, Alabama, 1805-2005 by Raneé G. Pruitt, Editor, 2005, page 77.

•  West Virginia - Fields at the Plaza Theater with his troupe

•  Zielinski - Article about the Elk Theater was submitted by James E. (Jim) Zielinski to The Heritage of Madison County, Alabama by The Madison County Heritage Book Committee, John P. Rankin, Chairman, page 48 & 49.

•  Background information on Minsetrel Shows:

•  The Minstrel Show - This website, by Jachen Scheytt, has a reference to Fields and explains the genre, a complicated and controversial task.

•  Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center - Minstrel Show Collection, 1831-1959 (Bulk 1860-1040): An Inventory of the Collection at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

•  Princeton - American Minstrel Show Collection (Originally found at

•  Library of Congress #1 - Play Bill

•  Library of Congress #2 - Playbill

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  209 Eustis Avenue SE
•  Pruitt