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

PHOTOGRAPH 1
PHOTOGRAPH 1 (CLOSE-UP)

 

annie lewis two
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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).

Buy this Vintage Cabinet Card (includes shipping within the US) #3385

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$51.50

Buy this Cabinet Card Photograph (includes International shipping outside the US) 3385

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$60.50

PHOTOGRAPH 1

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