HOPE BOOTH: “FETCHING BUT HOPELESS THEATRE ACTRESS”

HPOEBOOTH_0002This Cabinet Card is a portrait of theatre actress, Hope Booth. This actress seems to have had a propensity for trouble. The New York Times (1896) reported that at age 23, after appearing at the “Casino Roof Gardens” in a sketch entitled “Ten Minutes in the Latin Quartier; or A Study in the Nude”, she was arrested along with the manager of the theatre. She was charged with violating public decency because of her scant costume and daring poses. Five years later, her husband, actor, James E. B. Earll was arrested after his opening appearance in a vaudeville act at Koster and Bials. Before her arrest, she appeared in George Bernard Shaw’s first play, “Widowers Houses” in 1892. A review described her as a “fetching but hopeless” actress. Shaw had seen her in an earlier show and had described her as a “young lady who can not sing, dance, or speak, but whose appearance suggests that she might profitably spend 3 or 4 years in learning the arts which are useful on stage”. Other news stories and books report that she was born in Canada, was once married to a Canadian member of Parliament, she was a distant relative of the theatrical Booth family, and that she went bankrupt bringing a play to England. She clearly led an interesting life. The Cabinet Card is part of the Newsboy Series and was used as a premium for the sale of Newsboy Plug Tobacco.

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