A DUSKY BEAUTY : MISS AIDA OVERTON WALKER

The subject of this vintage real photo postcard is Miss Aida Overton Walker. The caption above her name refers to her as “A Dusky Beauty”. Seems like a racist title to me. I don’t recall ever seeing its equivalent, “A Pasty Beauty”, on a portrait of a white female performer. Aida Overton Walker (1880-1914) was known as “The Queen of the Cakewalk”. She was African-American and an American vaudeville performer, singer, actress, and choreographer. She has been called the most famous African American female performer of the early twentieth century. She was married in 1899 to vaudeville performer, George Walker. Aida and her husband performed with the highly successful Bert Williams. They were the major black vaudeville and musical comedy act of the era. She was also a solo dancer and choreographer for a number of other vaudeville shows. Aida was well known for her 1912 performance of the ”’salome” dance. Aida was born in Richmond, Virginia and moved to New York City when she was young. She was educated there and received a great deal of musical training. When she was fifteen years old she joined the “Octoroons”, a black touring group. In 1900 she gained national notice with her performance of  “Miss Hannah from Savannah” in the play, “Sons of Ham”.  The song became a major hit. Overton Walker had significant theatrical success with her performances in Dahomey (1902), Abyssinia (1906), and Bandana Land (1908). Overall, Aida was praised by critics and fellow performers. She was financially successful. In 1908 she retired to care for her ill husband. In 1910 she returned to the stage as a solo act. In 1911, her husband died. By 1912, she was on tour again. That same year, she performed on Broadway as Salome. In 1914, Walker died suddenly from kidney failure. Two years before her death, she was performing in white variety theaters. She and Bert Williams were the only Black performers “permitted” to do so. At that time, African Americans were expected to confine themselves to “lower” entertainment such as comedy and ragtime. “High” art, like dramatic theater and classical dance were reserved for whites. Aida helped break that racist tradition. During her career, Aida addressed the issue of racial relations. She stated in an article in “The Colored American Magazine (1905), her view that that the performing arts could have a beneficial effect on race relations. Walker asserted “I venture to think and dare to state that our profession does more toward the alleviation of color prejudice than any other profession among colored people.” She also worked to improve working conditions, and to expand roles for black women on the stage. During the period Walker was performing, female actresses, especially black actresses, were seen as “immoral and oversexed”. Aida wrote “a woman does not lose her dignity…when she enters stage life”. Walker also worked to develop the talents of younger black performers within the framework of refinement and elegance. In 1908, she began organizing benefits to assist such causes as the Industrial Home for Colored Working Girls. This vintage postcard was published by Raphael Tuck, of Paris, France. The photographer of Miss Walker was Cavendish Morton (1874-1939). The National Portrait Gallery possesses 104 of Morton’s portraits. Morton had several careers including electrical engineering, architecture, acting, illustrating, and in the 1890’s he took up photography. He is known for his theatrical photo portraits. His son was a well known watercolor artist. This postcard was postmarked in 1908, The postcard is in good condition. See the youtube video below. It is a tribute to Aida Overton Walker. 

 

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YVONNE ARNAUD: BEAUTIFUL FRENCH PIANIST, SINGER, AND ACTRESS

arnaud 2POSTCARD 1  (SOLD)

arnaud 2POSTCARD 2  (SOLD)

arnaud 2 1POSTCARD 2 (CLOSE-UP)   (SOLD)

The pretty woman seen in this vintage real photo postcard (Postcard 1) is Germaine Yvonne Arnaud (1890-1958). She had a noteworthy career as a pianist, singer, and actress. She was most popular in her native France, as well as Britain. Arnaud was brought up in Paris and at the age of nine, she entered the Paris Conservatory where she studied piano. In 1905 she won a major competition for her skills in playing the piano. For the next six years, she performed with many of the leading orchestras in Europe and America. In 1911, at age 21, she began acting on the stage. Her first lead role was in the musical “The Girl in the Taxi”. After an operation damaged her vocal cords, she switched to acting in plays. She began her transition in the hit farce “Tons of Money” (1922). She played a role in the hit, “A Cuckoo in the Nest” (1925). She played in two Broadway productions; “And So To Bed” (1927) and “Canaries Sometimes Sing” (1930). In the 1930’s and 1940’s, she played dramatic roles in films. The IMDb credits her with 21 film roles between 1920 and 1958, Later in her career, she still performed as a pianist. Britain’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre was named in her memory. Arnaud was married to actor Hugh McLellan in 1920. She was president of the “League Against Cruel Sports” from 1948 to 1951. Founded in 1924, the league is Britain’s leading charity that aims to stop the persecution, abuse, and killing of animals for sport. For example, the organization campaigns against Bull Fighting and Fox Hunting. Yvonne Arnaud was very popular; she was a sitter in 80 portraits in the collection of Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. The YouTube video below captures Arnaud playing piano with an orchestra conducted by John Barbirolli. The music was recorded in 1932. She is playing “Valse Caprice Op.76” which was composed by Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). The French composer was unique compared to his contemporaries in that he wrote music in many genres including chamber music, opera, symphonies, sacred choral music, concertos, and solo piano. He had many musical talents. evidenced by the fact that he was a composer, conductor, organist, and pianist. Postcard 1 highlights the beauty of Miss Arnaud. Note her romantic headdress. Her photograph was taken by Lucien Walery, a celebrated photographer who operated a studio in Paris. He was known for his portraits of actresses and cabaret dancers from the city’s music halls. He was well known for his portraits of Mata Hari and Josephine Baker. Much of his work was done in the genre of nude/erotic photography. He photographed the beautiful women of Paris between the early 1900’s and the 1920’s. This hand color tinted postcard (Postcard 1) is part of a series (no. 5111). It has a postmark of 1907.                                                                                                                     Postcard 2 is also a vintage real photo card portrait of Yvonne Arnaud. She looks beautiful in this color tinted postcard. This postcard was printed in Britain and was part of the Lilywhite Photographic Series (no. L 4, 501F). The publisher, Lilywhite Ltd, Halifax (L.L.H.), was founded by Arthur Frederick Sergeant. He also was the founder of Halifax Photographic Company which was based in Halifax, England. Lilywhite began publishing postcards in 1910; and in the 1920’s, the company took over Arrow Series Postcards. The company then published postcards under both the Arrow and Lilywhite names.  This postcard has a postmark of 1925 and is in excellent condition (see scans). 

 POSTCARD 1  (SOLD) 

arnaud 2 2 POSTCARD 2   (SOLD)

HERMINE ALBRECHT : AUSTRIAN THEATER ACTRESS, PHOTO BY CELEBRATED PHOTOGRAPHER DR SZEKELY

This carte de visite portrait features Austria-Hungarian theater actress Hermine Albrecht (1856-1929). She studied acting with German actor, Karl Wilhelm Meixner and made her debut in 1875. In that year she signed with the Vienna City Theater where she worked until 1884. In 1887 she joined the ensemble of Burgtheater ensemble and in 1890 she was appointed a court actress. She left the theater in 1893 to join private life. She was married to Count Tamas Nyary de Bedegh (1838-1902). Her sister was also an actress (Charlotte Albrecht).The photographer of this image is Dr Szekely. He  is cited multiple times in the photographic journals of his time for his photography research. Dr Szekely operated a studio in Vienna, Austria. As of this writing, the Cabinet Card Gallery has two other photos by Szekely. One of these images is of Austrian theater actress Josephine Wessely (1860-1887). To view the other photographs by Szekely, place his name in the blog’s search box.This photograph was taken during or after 1873. This is known because of the the award medallions seen on the reverse of the photograph is dated 1873,   (SOLD)

MISS JOAN KEDDIE : PRETTY ACTRESS WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty actress named Joan Keddie. Preliminary research found very little biographical information about her. An article in the “Black and White Budget” (1902) includes an interview with Miss Keddie. The article  focuses on collecting anecdotes from theatrical performers. Keddie tells an “amusing” but “annoying” story of an experience she had while on tour. She asserts that a performer’s life is not a “bed of roses” and that there are some little hardships that must be endured. She asserts that one of these annoyances is having to deal with landladies as the touring company goes place to place. She states that the landladies often look for devious ways to inflate the bill. She recounts the experience she had with one such proprietor, who, at the end of her stay, presented her with a bill that included charges for salt, pepper, and vinegar which she had used while dining. Keddie declares that she was very surprised that she wasn’t charged for the paper that the bill was written on. It appears that Joan Keddie had a good sense of humor. The “Sphere” (1902), has a review of “Merrie England” (1902), a play in which Keddie was a cast member. The article states that her acting showed “distinct promise”. This postcard was published by Rotary Photo and was part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no, 1741 A). Her photo portrait was taken by Stage Pictorial, a theater magazine. Individual portrait postcards featuring Joan Keddie are uncommon. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on August 26, 2019 at 6:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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LUCY JOUSSET : PRETTY STAGE AND FILM ACTRESS (PORTRAIT BY LEOPOLD REUTLINGER)

This vintage real  photo postcard features stage and film actress Lucy Jousset (1884-1914). She is beautifully dressed. Note her beaded necklace and large hat. She also has a feathered wrap partially around her shoulders. Jousset’s IMDb filmography includes three films, all produced in 1914. Unfortunately, she lived a short life, dying at the young age of thirty years old. The cause of her death and additional biographical details were not determined in my preliminary research. Miss Jousset’s portrait was taken by celebrated theatrical photographer, Leopold Reutlinger of Paris, France. This postcard was published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France, as part of a series (no 14-65). The postcard is postmarked in Arlon, Belgium (1907.) The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).   SOLD

 

MISS ELSIE COOK – PRETTY PERFORMER

Meet Elsie Cook. I wish there was something I could tell you about her. I assume that she is a performer of some kind. Most likely she is an actress that did not receive much acclaim as my initial research into her background found nothing. Perhaps a visitor to the Cabinet Card Gallery can provide us with some information about this pretty young woman. This vintage real photo postcard was published by Stewart & Woolf. The firm was located in London, England. The postcard is part of a series (115, no. 42). The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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MARY PHILBIN – BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN FILM ACTRESS

mary philbin

mary philbin 1 This vintage real photo postcard portrait features American actress Mary Philbin (1902-1993). She was active in film between 1918 and 1930. One of her most noted film roles was in “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925). She co-starred with Lon Chaney. A number of her roles involved playing the “beauty” in “Beauty and the Beast” type stories . Mary was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents were middle-class and of Irish descent. Her mother was convivial but controlling and domineering. She pushed her strong religious beliefs onto Mary. She adored her father who was “quiet, shy, and reserved”. She was very similar, personality-wise, to her dad. She would accompany him to the theater and there she developed a passion for the stage. She pursued dance and played the pipe organ and piano. She lacked a singing  voice, and surprisingly, never received training in acting. Mary’s acting career was launched after she won a beauty contest sponsored by Universal Pictures. The motion picture company promptly signed her to a contract. Her screen debut was in 1921 and during the following year she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star. This prestigious annual award, given by an association of film advertisers, was awarded to thirteen young women each year. These women were predicted to be on the verge of becoming major movie stars. During the 1920’s, Mary’s film career blossomed and she starred in a number of successful films, including “Drums of Love (1920), directed by D. W. Griffith. When “talkies” arrived, she played in a few films and even dubbed her own voice for the sound version of “Phantom of the Opera”. Unfortunately, her voice was considered too “girlish” to be suitable for talking pictures. She retired from the screen in the early 1930’s in order to become a caretaker for her elderly parents. She lived the rest of her life as a recluse. She never married and seldom made public appearances. An exception occurred when she attended the Los Angeles opening of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of “Phantom of the Opera”. She died of pneumonia at the age of ninety and is buried in Los Angeles, California. The IMDb reports that Mary appeared in 34 film between 1921 and 1929. She never married.  In 1926 she became engaged to Universal producer, Paul Kohner. When her family learned of the engagement, they were infuriated. They demanded a meeting with Kohner and all went reasonably well until the subject of religion arose. Kohner was Jewish and Mary’s family was Catholic. Mary’s mother was adamant in her belief that Kohner would attempt to convert Mary to Judaism. Paul and Mary informed her parents that no such thing  would happen. An argument developed between Paul and Mary’s parents. She was told by her parents that she would be disowned if she proceeded with her wedding plans. Mary was ambivalent but, in the end, despite still loving Paul, she returned her engagement ring to him. A biographer contends that this traumatic experience is the reason Mary never married.   The youtube video seen below offers a terrific tribute to Mary Philbin. The video was created by Diana Calado (2014). This vintage postcard was published by Ross Verlag, of Berlin, Germany. It is part of a series (no. 968/1). The name of the film distribution company (Filmhaus Bruckmann) can be seen on the bottom right corner of the image. A stamp on the reverse of the postcard indicates that it once was part of a collection belonging to Herman Overeem, of Utrecht, the Netherlands. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

 

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PORTRAIT OF ACTRESS GERDA MAURUS AND HER AIREDALE

cuban milkman 4

cuban milkman 5 The lovely actress seen in this vintage real photo postcard is named Gerda Maurus (1903-1968). She is posed next to a beautiful Airedale terrier. This unusual profile photograph was taken by celebrity photographer Alex Binder. His studio was located in Berlin, Germany. Maurus was active in film and television between 1928 and 1968. She was an Austrian actress of Croatian descent. Maurus was the daughter of an engineer/inventor. She grew up in Vienna and received training as a singer and dancer. She hit the stage at age fifteen. The IMDb biography of Maurus describes her as ” a strikingly beautiful blonde with high cheekbones an expressive blue eyes”. She began her career on the stages of Vienna. She was “discovered” by director Fritz Lang and he cast her in the female lead in the silent film “Spione” (1928). Lang was smitten by maurus and his marriage was destroyed. She then appeared in a number of German films during the Weimar and Nazi eras. Maurus married director Robert A. Stemmie in 1937. He directed her in  “Daphne and the Diplomat” (1937). Like many actresses of her time, her acting career was hurt by the introduction of “talkies”. Further complicating matters was her nebulous association with Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. This relationship had negative impact on her career after World War II. Due to lack of film offers, Maurus retreated to the German stage. The IMDb filmography of Gerda Maurus lists 33 credits. Here is a side note about Airedales. The first World War increased the popularity of Airedales because they became famous for their bravery on the battlefield. In the US, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding all owned Airedales. In the 1920’s, Airedales became the most popular dog in the US. This postcard was published by Ross Verlag and is part of a series (no. A1320/1). This photo postcard portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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CAMILLA VON HOLLAY: PRETTY HUNGARIAN SILENT FILM ACTRESS

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water buffalo 3 This vintage real photo postcard features Hungarian actress Camilla von Hollay (1899-1967). She was born in Budapest. Her father was a factory director and as she entered young adulthood her parents tried to steer her into going to medical school. Instead, Camilla pursued acting. She was active in film during the silent film era. IMDb credits her with sixty-eight film credits between 1916 and 1930. Early in her movie career she appeared in films with Bela Lugosi. Later, he became known in the US for his portrayal of Dracula. Camilla was blonde and attractive. Many of her films in the 1920’s were filmed in Germany. Her first acclaimed role was in “The Lightship” (1922). Camilla is quoted as stating that film “offers me the opportunity to live my life, to walk in many different forms, and to see myself in a hundred mirrors of just as many human figures”. It is believed that Camilla’s acting career disappeared with the advent of sound film. It is likely her Hungarian accent was seen by film companies as unsuitable for significant roles. She was married to a journalist. Nothing is known about her post acting life. This portrait postcard was published by Iris Verlag/Amag. Iris Verlag was a popular Austrian postcard producer. Amag (Albrecht & Meister) was a publisher located in Berlin. The company took over Aristophot in 1909. Amag ceased production in 1920. This photo portrait postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

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water buffalo 4

PINA MENICHELLI – ITALIAN SILENT FILM STAR RADIATING “DECADENT EROTICISM”

menchelli This vintage real photo postcard is another member of the Cabinet Card Gallery’s collection of international silent film stars. The beautiful actress featured on this postcard is Italian silent film star Pina Menichelli (1890-1984). She began her career in theater and in a number of small film roles. When she appeared in the lead role of “The Fire” (1916), she became elevated to stardom. For the next nine years, Menichelli appeared in many films and became a global star. She frequently appeared in roles where she played the role of a diva. She also showcased her, what wikipedia calls, her “decadent eroticism”. She retired in 1924 at the ripe old age of 34. Menichelli was born in Sicily to parents who were both touring theater actors. Her three siblings also became actors. She began acting as a child. Her theater travels took her to Argentina in 1908 and she married and relocated there. She returned to Italy in 1912 and acted in 35 films between 1913 and 1915. In 1918, one of her films was banned from theaters by Italian censors because Menichelli was “too fascinating” in the film. The IMDb website credits her with 62 film appearances between 1913 and 1925. A YouTube video biography of Miss Menichelli can be seen below. This postcard was published by Alberto Traldi of Milan, Italy. He was a publisher there beginning 1902, and according to one source, he ended his Milan business in 1918. This postcard was part of a series (no. 408). After World War II he returned to publishing postcards, including pin-up and cinema postcards. This vintage postcard portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on February 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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