PRETTY THEATER ACTRESS ANNIE LEWIS (TWO PORTRAITS BY WILLIAM McKENZIE MORRISON)

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PHOTOGRAPH 2

Celebrity photographer, William McKenzie Morrison of Chicago, Illinois, produced these photographic portraits of  actress Annie Lewis (1869-1896). Morrison’s studio was in the Haymarket  theater building. To view more photographs from the Morrison studio and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”. Lewis was a soubrette of light operas and musical comedies. She was born and raised in Washington D.C.. Her father was a clerk for the U.S. Treasury Department. Her mother was a former parlor entertainer. As a child, she showed talent for “mimicry”. By the time she was four years old, she was performing on the stage. Actually, during her early years, she often did her singing and dancing atop a piano because that vantage point, allowed her to be seen by her audience.  At the age of sixteen, Lewis was touring the country with her own performing company. She was the soubrette in production called “Little Trump”. Go figure. At seventeen years of age, she married stage actor Wilton Lackaye. He was twenty-five years old at the time and he went on to have a long successful career in both theater and film. Lewis went on to play starring roles in a number of productions. She became a popular enough actress to be mentioned in a number of articles appearing in the New York Times.  The Times (1892) called her the “bright leading lady” of the Yon Yooson company. The newspaper (1892) also reported that she she performed to “standing room only” audiences in Boston’s Bowdoin Theater. In 1893, The New York Times wrote of trouble caused by Annie Lewis at New York’s 14th Street Theater that threatened that evening’s performance of  “The Nutmeg Match”. The management had wanted to add some “specialties” to the performance and Miss Lewis threatened to quit the cast if they made the proposed changes. It was reported that the theater management had looked for an actress to replace Annie Lewis but they were unsuccessful due the extremely short time a new actress would have to prepare for the part. In 1895, she was the supporting actress to Camille D’Arville in the Broadway Theatre production of “A Daughter of the Revolution”. Not long after that appearance, illness forced her to leave the stage, and by October, 1896, Annie Lewis was dead. The cause of death was tuberculosis. She was only 27 years-old. Her obituary appeared in “The Evening Times” (Washington D.C.). The headline of the article was “Little Annie Lewis Dead”. The article reports that she had been sick for nearly a year. She was forced to cancel a number of appearances. Her friends had hoped that a trip to the Southwest and Mexico  would help restore her health. A benefit was held and enough money was raised for the trip and for her care. However, her worsening health did not allow her to travel. The obituary states that Lewis was the mascot of the “National Fencibles”. She was adopted as their “Daughter of the Regiment”. The fencibles were a Washington based militia and drill team. John Philip Sousa dedicated a march to the organization. The obituary laments that the curtain fell way too soon in the life drama of Miss Annie Lewis. This cabinet card portrait has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans).

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PRETTY LITTLE GIRL AND HER DOLL IN CHAUMONT, FRANCE

This vintage photograph features an adorable little girl holding her cherished doll as she poses for her portrait at the Lancelot studio in Chaumont, France. The town is located in the North Central part of the country. Dolls have been around for a long time. In fact, there is archaeological evidence that indicates that dolls may by the oldest known toy. Wooden dolls were found in Egyptian tombs that date back to the 21st century BC. Remarkably, dolls with movable limbs and removable clothing existed in at least 200 BC. This vintage photo is in very good condition (see scans). SOLD

Published in: on January 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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JANE IVON :PRETTY PERFORMER ASSOCIATED WITH THEATRE MARIGNY (LOOK AT THE BIRDIE)

This vintage real photo postcard features pretty performer, Jane Ivon. Take a close look at her hat. Yes, that is a real deceased bird decorating her hat.  The bird looks as if it is staring into Miss Ivon’s eyes. There was a time when whole birds were considered desirable decorations on lady hats. This was to the detriment of many bird species that were nearly wiped out by hunters looking to make a quick buck from the millinery industry. One of the venues that Ivon performed at was the Theatre Marigny. The Marigny was, and remains located, near the corner of Champs-Elysees and the Avenue Marigny. The theatre was opened in 1894 and was the home to operetta and other musical theatre. It was a popular venue for musical productions until the 1930’s. There have been many changes in the venue overtime, including a major rehabilitation and restoration in 2018. The theatre still operates today. This portrait postcard was photographed by Lucien Walery. He was a celebrated Paris photographer known for his portraits of artists and cabaret dancers from the city’s music halls. He is very well known for his portraits of Mata Hari and Josephine Baker. Walery did a lot of work in the genre of nude/erotic photography. He photographed the beautiful women of Paris between the early 1900’s and the 1920’s. The postcard is part of a series (n542). This vintage portrait postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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A WELL DRESSED GENTLEMAN IN AMIENS, FRANCE (CDV)

This carte de visite features a well dressed man posing for his portrait at the L & F Caron studio in Amiens, France. Note the gentleman’s bushy mustache and his bowler hat. In addition, check out the box on which the fellow is resting his right hand. I wonder if the box served a purpose or if it was purely decorative. The gentleman seems very poised in front of the camera. The Caron studio was located in Amiens, a city in northern France. Leon Jean-Baptiste Victor Caron was born in 1841 in Amiens. His father, Alfred, was a printer and bookseller. Upon his father’s death,, Leon’s mother managed the bookstore. At the end of the 1860’s his mother opened a photography studio which she named “Veuve Alfred Caron”. Interestingly, the translation of “veuve” is “widow”. Leon’s mother chose to name the studio under her late husband’s name, rather than her own. This was likely the result of best business practices in a misogynist society. At an unknown date, Leon took over the studio from his mother. For a time, he had a partner named F. Caron, who was likely, Leon’s brother. Leon won many medals for his photographs, including a gold medal in Paris in 1892. He was still an active photographer in 1901. Remarkably, the Caron studio remained in business until the 1960’s.

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Published in: on January 22, 2021 at 6:34 pm  Comments (3)  
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SUZY MABEL : PRETTY YOUNG ACTRESS : PERFORMED AT THE MUSIC HALLS OF PARIS

The subject of this vintage real photo postcard is theatre actress, Suzy Mabel. I was unable to find much biographical information about this pretty young woman with an enticing smile. The magazine, “Navy and Army” (1905) published a full page spread of Miss Mabel. The article included four photographs of Miss Mabel. One of those photographs was identical to the photo above. A caption beneath the images reads “One of the most popular of the young actresses now appearing at La Scala, Paris”. Le Concert de La Scala was built in 1873 and was one of the most famous cafe-concert halls of the Belle Epoque. The portrait of Suzy Mabel seen on this postcard was photographed by Lucien Walery. He was a celebrated Paris photographer known for his portraits of artists and cabaret dancers from the city’s music halls. He is noted for his portraits of Mata Hari and Josephine Baker. Walery did a lot of work in the genre of nude/erotic photography. He photographed the beautiful women of Paris between the early 1900’s and the 1920’s. This postcard was postmarked in 1907. The card was published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France, as part of a series (no. 5087). This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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PORTRAIT OF TWO PRETTY FASHIONABLE YOUNG LADIES (TINTYPE)

This tintype features two lovely fashionable young ladies. The photo is highly detailed. You can see the wrinkles on their beautiful dresses. The tintype also has excellent clarity, which can be noted by how easy it is to read the expressions on the young women’s faces.Tintypes were popular in the 1860’s and 1870’s. Over time, they were replaced by Carte de Visites and Cabinet Cards This tintype image measures about 2 1/2″ x 3 7/8″ and is in excellent condition (see scans).

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Published in: on January 20, 2021 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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CLARA JECKS : PRETTY AND TALENTED ENGLISH MUSICAL COMEDY ACTRESS

The pretty woman seen in this vintage photograph is English musical comedy actress, Clara Jecks (1854-1951). She was born in London, England. Her father was an actor and theatrical manager (Adelphi Theatre). Her mother was a popular actress. It is unsurprising that Clara began her stage career when she was a baby. She first appeared on the stage as a toddler. Growing up, she received the music, dance, and voice training needed to prepare her for a performing career. Her London stage debut was in 1873, at about the age of nineteen. Clara’s specialty was playing soubrettes (lively flirtatious roles) and boy roles. In fact, she once said, “I am never so really happy as when acting as a lad”. Clara was mentored by talented actress, Miss Nellie Farren. There is a portrait of Clara in Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. In fact, the portrait is identical to the photograph seen above. The NPG reports that this image appeared in “The Theatre” magazine in 1892. She was photographed, for this image, playing her role in “Richard II”, written by William Shakespeare. The photographer of the photo was Alfred Ellis (1854-1930). Ellis was an active photographer between 1884 and 1899. He operated a studio on Upper Baker Street in London. He specialized in theatrical photography and sometimes photographed whole scenes inside his studio. He later went to theaters to photograph performers and play scenes. Now, back to Clara’s career. In 1878, she and her mother toured together with the Comedy Opera Company. A few of Clara’s notable performances were in “Formosa” (1877), “The Black Domino” (1893), Cinderella (1893), and “A Merry Madcap” (1896). Her final London performance was in “The Critic” (1911). In an interview appearing in “The Sketch” (1893), Clara was asked the reason why she never toured America. She answered that she received many good offers to appear there, but preferred to perform in London, “Where I am at home with my audiences”. She then added, as if to change the subject, the following observation. She asserted, “You should see what funny letters I sometimes get from little boys in front, who can hardly believe I’m not one of themselves”. During her career, she appeared in over two hundred opera, drama, and pantomime roles. This image features Clara holding a wine pitcher in one hand, and a wine cup in the other. This photograph measures about 4″ x 5″, has excellent clarity, and is in excellent condition.

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ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL WEARING THE BIGGEST COLLAR IN THE WORLD

OK. It may not be the biggest collar in the world, but it’s pretty big. The smiling cute young girl seen in this vintage real photo postcard, by my estimation, is curtseying after giving a dance performance. Her shoes, stockings, short dress, and the flower in her hair are all reasons for my hypothesis. And what about the collar? It appears to be on steroids. I don’t think the collar is something she would wear in everyday life. I am wondering if she is wearing a costume designed to make her look like a flower? What do you think? I must admit, the “collar” reminds me of an “Elizabethan Collar” worn by dogs after surgery. This is a very unique image. The photo was taken by a private photographer and not mass produced to be sold by studios to the general public. This real photo postcard portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on January 17, 2021 at 12:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF THREE MILITARY MEN IN MARSEILLE, FRANCE (ONE IS HOLDING A SWORD)

This cabinet card portrait features three uniformed military men posing for their portrait at the Tully studio in Marseille, France. The soldier in the middle is holding a sword. The soldier on the right has a cigarette in his left hand. Each of the three men are wearing different style uniforms. I wonder if the men are in different branches of the military? These soldiers look squeaky clean. They certainly didn’t go directly from the trenches to the photo studio. The photographer, Marc Tully, did a fantastic job photographing these soldiers. The men are beautifully posed. The photograph has excellent clarity and is in excellent condition.

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Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY YOUNG GIRL IN HER COMMUNION DRESS IN SANTIAGO DE CUBA

This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young girl celebrating her communion by being photographed by A. Alvarez at his studio in Santiago de Cuba. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in Cuba and is located in the southeastern part of the island. The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in this area. The 1898 battle marked the defeat of Spain in the Spanish American War. This photograph was likely taken only a few years after this war ended. To view other vintage Cuban photographs, click on the cabinet card gallery category “Cuba”. This scalloped edged cabinet card is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on January 15, 2021 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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