MISS FANNY FIELDS : JEWISH AMERICAN SINGER, DANCER, AND COMEDIENNE (TWO PHOTO POSTCARDS FROM 1906)

POSTCARD 1
POSTCARD 2

This vintage real photo postcard features American singer, dancer, and comic performer, Fanny Fields (1880-1961), who was a successful performer in British music halls and pantomimes in the early 1900s. During her career she was frequently billed as “Happy” Fanny Fields. She was born, Fanny Furman, in New York City, to a Jewish family. She first appeared in variety shows in NYC sometime around 1899. In her act, she sang and told stories. In 1902, she performed in London and had a very positive reception. One reviewer described her as “one big bubble of mirth and merriment”. She toured with Welsh harpist, Nansi Richards. She also performed “The Suffragette”. In an accompanying monologue, she encouraged woman to make a stand for their rights. In 1912, she performed in front of King George V. She also starred in a silent film short entitled “Happy Fanny Fields and the Four Little Dutchmen” (1913). She retired from the entertainment business in 1913. She returned to the United States and married Dr Abraham Rongy (1878-1949). He was a gynecologist and set up maternity hospitals. In 1933, he published one of the first books proposing the legalization of abortion. Fanny became an active fundraiser for Jewish medical organizations.

Postcard 1 features a close-up portrait of Fanny Fields. She looks pretty in this color tinted photo postcard. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.4007 C). The message on this postcard indicates that the sender sent the postcard for someone to add to their collection. This postcard has a postmark from 1906.

Postcard 2 is a vintage real photo postcard portrait of Miss Fields. The photograph is color tinted. The performer is just beaming for the photographer. Her hat is quite an extravaganza. This postcard was published by Philco (London) as part of a series (no.3213 D). The photographer was Lewis R. Protheroe. He operated a studio in Bristol, England. He was working as a photographer, at least between 1901 and 1917. His father, Thomas Protheroe founded the studio between approximately 1876 and 1900. The postcard has a 1906 postmark. The card is in very good condition (see scans).

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SUSY VINING : BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS AND FASHIONISTA (EXTRAORDINARY CABINET CARD BY BENJAMIN FALK); AND A RPPC : MISS VINING AND HER YORKIE

PHOTO 1

PHOTO 1 (CLOSE-UP)

PHOTO 2

I am not prone to hyperbole. Without exaggeration, I find this cabinet card portrait (photo 1) quite extraordinary. The pretty woman in this photograph is beautifully dressed. She deserves the moniker of “fashionista”. If she walked into a noisy crowded room, I’m quite sure all activity would cease, and she would become the center of attention. I wish I knew the identity of this fabulous lady. She is probably an actress, which I assume by her appearance, and by the fact that she was photographed by celebrity photographer, Benjamin Falk. An inscription on the reverse of this photograph identifies her as “E Vinning”. I could not find any information about any performer with that name. However, my research did discover an actress named “Susy Vining”. Photographs of Susy Vining show a person who looks similar to the woman in this cabinet card photo. Note the real photo postcard image of Susy Vining below. Do you think “E Vinning” and “Susy Vining” are one and the same person? Just a few more words about this cabinet card. The subject is holding a fur stole and umbrella in one hand, and a top hat in the other. Considering that she is already wearing a head covering, I would love to know the story behind the top hat. This cabinet card image is not on regular cabinet card stock paper. This photograph is printed on thinner than usual stock paper. The card is gold beveled. There is a bar code sticker on the reverse of the photograph. It is very possible that this image is a REPRODUCTION, rather than an original photograph. The photograph is in very good condition and has excellent clarity (see scans).

Photograph 2 is a vintage real photo postcard of actress Susie Vining. Her bare shoulder dress makes this photograph a bit risque. The actress is holding a cute small dog. The dog looks like a Yorkshire Terrier. This photograph was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield studio as part of a series (no.1946 A). Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio from the 1900’s through the 1920’s. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is in very good condition (see scans).

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PHOTO 1
PHOTO 2

MISS EDITH FINK : PLAYED CINDERELLA ON THE LONDON STAGE (1906)

This vintage real photo postcard features actress, singer, and comedienne, Miss Edith Fink. Information about Miss Fink is sparse. The website “Find A Grave” provides a bit of information about her life and death. She was born in Nottingham, England, in 1884. She died in Poole, England in 1957. At the time of her passing, her full name was Edith Kate Fink Lashwood. She had been married to George Lashwood (1863-1942). Their marriage took place in 1917. George Lashwood has been described as a “handsome and distinguished” well-dressed singer of popular and patriotic songs. He also appeared in pantomimes and made recordings of many of his songs. Note the purple typed message on the reverse of this postcard. The writer, Louise, tells the reader that Miss Fink is playing Cinderella at the “Prince of Wales Theatre” in London. A faded postmark reveals that this postcard was written and mailed in 1906. This card was published by E. C. Osborne & Son. The firm was located in Birmingham, England. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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MISS ELIZABETH FIRTH : SINGER, ACTRESS, AND PHILANTHROPIST (1908)

This vintage real photo postcard features soprano, actress, and philanthropist, Elizabeth Firth (1880-1960). Although she was born in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, she became an accomplished singer and actress on the English stage. When she lived in Phillipsburg, she was known as “Jimmy” Firth. The nickname, Jimmy, came courtesy of her beloved father. She went by this moniker with her most intimate friends as well as among those in her theatre world. “Jimmy” graduated from high school in New Jersey and sang as a soprano soloist in the choir of her church. She then entered the New York Conservatory of Music. At a concert at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria, she came to the attention of a leading London musical directress. Miss Firth then appeared in a few theatrical productions, including a small part in a play starring Viola Allen. In 1903 she accepted an offer to do an English concert tour. Before she could return to the United States, she was signed to a three year contract to act and sing on the English stage. She experienced a great deal of success in Gaiety theatre productions. Among her major roles was her appearance as Natalie, in the “Merry Widow”. The production was in 1907 at the Daly Theatre. Other actors in the play included Lily Elsie and Gabrielle Ray. Five portraits of the actress can be found in England’s National Portrait Gallery. She was known as a beautiful woman. One writer described her as “tall and slender” and that she had a “clear blond complexion along with blue eyes”. She was also considered one of the best dressed women in London. While in England, the actress visited her parents in the US annually and also engaged in theatrical tours there. “Jimmy” was a charitable woman and she established the “Elizabeth Firth Wade Foundation Endowment Fund”. Among the groups work was the building a a Youth Center in Phillipsburg. The foundation is still operating. Firth was married to a widower from Cleveland, Ohio. They wed in New York City in 1931. Miss Firth’s photo portrait was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield studio. Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio from the 1900’s through the 1920’s.. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.4829 B). This postcard was postmarked in 1908 and is in very good condition (see scans).

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CARRIE PERKINS : RISQUE PHOTO : WORE THE TIGHTEST DRESSES IN VAUDEVILLE

The pretty woman seen in this cabinet card portrait is actress, Carrie Perkins. Her acting included productions on Broadway, as well as, appearances on the Burlesque and Vaudeville stage. One of Perkins’s claims to fame, is that she was considered to be the actress that wore the tightest fitting costumes in all of vaudeville. She appeared in much advertising such as premium cards for cigarette brands. The website, “Broadway Photographs” provides a biography of Miss Perkins. She is described as “a vaudevillian with a trim body and a smart tongue”. The site states that “she plied both the visual and verbal dimensions of entertainment”. Although she was known for her tight gowns, the biographer states that “it was her urban girl wit that won her a ticket to Broadway”. She became known to the theatrical world in Garrick’s burlesque “Thrilby” (1895). She wasn’t considered beautiful enough to play lead roles. Instead she played roles that showcased “feminine audacity”. She appeared in nineteen Broadway productions according to the Internet Broadway Database (IBDB). These appearances occurred between 1888 and 1911. These performances included “Jack and the Beanstalk (1898), “The Casino Girl” (1901), and “The Merry Shop Girl’s” (1905). Her final show was “The Fascinating Widow”. which was a touring production with the popular actor and female impersonator Julian Eltinge. There seems to be agreement that Perkins was long on personality and appearance, but short on talent. Perkins rarely received praise from theatre critics. She found her place on the stage as a supporting actress/dancer/singer. This cabinet card photograph was taken by the Sparks Photo-Publishing Company. The studio was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The artist/manager of the studio was Elliott Houseworth. The 1880 census lists Elliott A. Houseworth as being born in 1855, residing in San Francisco, California, and working as a photographer. Houseworth also appears in the 1900 census as living in Norwood, Pennsylvania and working as a manager. These demographics fit the photographer of this image, since Houseworth managed Sparks Photography Studio and Norwood is only about eleven miles from Philadelphia. A stamp on the reverse of the image states “Russell Brothers, 126 Tremont Street, Boston”. Perhaps the Russell Brothers were photograph collectors or a photo gallery that sold celebrity photographs. This photograph is in very good condition and has excellent clarity. Note the dark mark at the center bottom of the image. Photographs of Miss Perkins are rare and this image is beautiful remnant of turn of the century Broadway theater.

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GABRIELLE ROBINNE: BEAUTIFUL, TALENTED, AND POPULAR FRENCH ACTRESS

POSTCARD 1
POSTCARD 1

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POSTCARD 2 

POSTCARD 2

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Anyone who collects vintage theatrical/film actress postcards, is very familiar with the subject of this real photo postcard. Gabrielle Robinne (1886-1980) is an actress that was widely photographed. The reason for the production of so many postcards featuring Miss Robinne is that she was very popular during her era. Certainly, one of the reasons for her popularity, was her great beauty. Robinne was born in France and was a student at the Paris Conservatory. In 1904 she joined the company of Sarah Bernhardt and later joined the Theatre Michel in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her career soared when she began performing at the Comedie-Francaise in 1907. She remained with the company until 1938. She made her film debut in the 1906 production of “Le troubadour”. Two years later she had her first huge success in “L’assassinat du Duc de Guise” (1908). She is considered by many to be the first French star of the silent film era. She charmed her audiences with her beauty and excellent acting. Gabrielle Robinne shared her time between stage and film. The IMDb reports that she appeared in nearly fifty films between 1906 and 1973.She was known for “Conquered Hate” (1913,) “Struggle for Life” (1914), and “La reine de Saba” (1913). Robinne was married to actor Rene Alexandre from 1912 until she was widowed in 1946. Her work in the theater and film was recognized by France when she was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor, the highest French order of Merit. 

Postcard 1  was published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 1342). The photographer of Robinne’s portrait seen on this postcard was Leopold Reutlinger (1863-1937). He was a leading photographer of his time and was, and is, renowned for his photographs of celebrities and beautiful women. This vintage postcard was postmarked in 1905, It has a French stamp. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans). 

Postcard 2 was also published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 1730). Once again,  Leopold Reutlinger (1863-1937) was the photographer. This vintage photo postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

PORTRAIT OF THE BEAUTIFUL GABY DESLYS: TALENTED ACTRESS, DANCER AND SINGER

This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of the multi talented actress, dancer, and singer, Gaby Deslys (1881-1920). Miss Deslys performed at the beginning of the twentieth century in both Europe and the United States. She was extremely popular worldwide. In fact, she was able to earn four thousand dollars a week when performing in the United States. She performed several times on Broadway. She had a dance named after her, “The Gaby Glide” (1911). You can find the sheet music, with Gaby on the cover, elsewhere on ebay. Her love life was the topic of much public gossip. She probably added to the sensationalism surrounding her by posing in a number of risque postcards. She was courted by many wealthy and powerful men, including the King of Portugal. Her life was cut short by the “Spanish” influenza. This postcard is not at all common. It was published by E. A. Schwerdtfeger Company of London and printed in Berlin (no. 0291/1). The company also had an office in New York (opened in 1910). This publishing house printed many different types of real photo postcards but was known for its hand-colored real photo postcards of actresses and fashionable women in exotic costumes. The photographer was the Talbot studio. The creator of Miss Deslys’s hat is also credited (Lewis). This particular real photo postcard stands out because it offers a colorized and very clear view of this beautiful and talented performer.  SOLD

MAUD D’ORBY : BEAUTIFUL COMIC OPERA STAR : RISQUE MODEL AND FASHION MODEL FOR THE MOST PROMINENT FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHERS

This vintage postcard features Spanish model and operetta star, Maud d’Orby (1851-1929). She performed during the Belle Epoque era. d’Orby was born in Valladolid, Spain. She began her career as a comic opera singer toward the end of the nineteenth century. It is unknown whether she performed in Spain, she only appeared in the French press from that period of time. She worked in Paris (theaters included La Cigale, Scala, Olympia, Lyric) and Brussels (Folies Bergere, Theatre du Vaudeville). She received praise for her acting talent and for her singing ability. She was described as having a “melodious cheerful voice”. She often played the role of “La Commere”. This role involved being the character who narrated the opera’s story and connected the adjacent scenes. One writer stated that she was successful in this role because of her “playful and cheerful way” and her “eye-catching appearance”. d’Orby was also a successful fashion and postcard model. She was photographed many times by Leopold Reutlinger. These photos were published in the most popular fashion magazines. She looked phenomenal in her beautiful clothes, large feathered hats, and magnificent jewelry. At the exhibition of 1900 in Brussels, her photographs were exhibited and well admired. d’Orby was also a model for Jean Agelou, a prominent photographer who specialized in taking erotic photos. The photographer of this postcard’s photo is also an esteemed lensman of his era. The photograph was taken by Henri Manuel (1874-1947). In 1900, Manuel opened a portrait studio in Paris with his brother Gaston. He quickly became well known for his portraits of politicians, artists, and athletes. His images were used by news agencies . His studio became the largest studio in Paris and it attracted many young photographers who sharpened their skills there. In 1925 the brothers expended their business to include fashion photography. They worked for such designers as Chanel, Patou, and Lanvin. The studio shut down during World War II and many of their photographic plates were destroyed. Manuel was the official photographer for the French government from 1914 through 1944. The publisher of this postcard was CCCC (Charles Collas et Cie, Cognac). CCCC was established by Charles Collas (1866-1947) in Cognac, France. It began operating at the end of the 19th century as a bookstore and printing business. He began to produce postcards in 1894. The company also produced books and maps. By 1914, the publisher employed 500 people. CCCC postcards are cherished by serious collectors today. In 1914, the firm was taken over by Fleury & Cie. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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MARAQUITA ROSTANO : A PRETTY DANCER (PHOTO BY GERLACH)

This vintage real photo postcard features dancer Maraquita Rostano. Although my research found other postcard images of Miss Rostano, I was unable to locate any biographical information. The postcard was published by Georg Gerlach & Co.. The firm was a real photo card publisher and printer based in Berlin, Germany. The postcard was part of a series (no725/3). The message on the card was written in 1910 and the card was addressed to En Ville (In Town). This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on March 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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MARIA VANONI: PRETTY STAGE ACTRESS AND SOMEBODY’S “TRUE FRIEND”

New York City celebrity photographer, Benjamin Falk, produced this photographic portrait of stage actress Maria Vanoni. The reverse of the cabinet card appears to be inscribed by the actress who wrote “Your true friend, Maria Vanoni”. Miss Vanoni received mention in Folio (1884) when she appeared in “Orpheus and Eurydice” as a member of the Miles & Bartons Opera Bouffe Company. She was described as “a graceful sprightly actress of the French school”. “Opera Bouffe”was a genre of late 19th century French operetta. This genre was known for its components of comedy, satire, parody, and farce. This cabinet card portrait is in good condition. Note the crease in the center right area of the image (see scans). 

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