DAPPER & HANDSOME : SAMUEL E. LEIBOWITZ : PLAID SUIT & BOWLER HAT : JEWISH AMERICAN HISTORY

This vintage real photo postcard features a handsome young man named Samuel E. Leibowitz. He is certainly a dandy. Note his bowler hat, wide shirt collar, and his plaid suit. Samuel must have been happy about his appearance in this photograph. He was proud enough to send it to his friend, Louis Schwartz. This postcard brings up a lot of questions. What was Samuel Leibowitz’s story? Who was he and where was he ? What was his relationship to Louis Schwartz? Were Leibowitz and Schwartz recent immigrants to the United States? This postcard offers a glimpse into (presumably) Jewish American history. The Velox stamp box on the reverse of this photo postcard indicates that this postcard dates back to sometime between 1907 and 1914. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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

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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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S.S. PRESIDENT HARDING SAILS PAST THE STATUE OF LIBERTY IN NEW YORK HARBOR

This vintage postcard features the S.S. President Harding passing the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. The SS President Harding was the sister ship of the SS President Roosevelt and both were “Harris Class Transports” built for trooping and cargo duties during World War I by the US Shipping Board. Neither saw service in the war. The President Harding was sold to Belgian interests and was ultimately sunk in 1940 by an attack from German aircraft. The ship was built in 1921 as a passenger ship. It was launched in 1923. Originally, the ship was owned by the United States Lines, a shipping company that operated cargo services (1921-1989) and ocean liner service (until 1969). Kermit Roosevelt, son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was one of the founders of the company. The ship was in the news a number of times. In 1939, the SS President Harding answered an SOS from a French tanker (W. Emile Miguet) and rescued the crew. It was presumed that the tanker was sunk by a German U-Boat. A second newsworthy event occurred in 1939. The liner got caught in a hurricane and suffered 73 injured (23 seriously). Immediately prior to the second World War, the the SS President Harding was involved in the rescue of fifty Viennese Jewish children from the future grasp of Nazi Germany. The ship transported the children to the United States. The plan was for the parents to eventually follow them but few actually made it out of the country in time. The oilette painting reproduced on the front of this postcard was painted by the famous German marine artist, Willy Stower (1864-1931). The painting is dated some time in the 1920’s. A logo for the United States Lines can be seen on the reverse of the postcard. This postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

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JEWESS : MIDDLE EASTERN OR NORTH AFRICA : ETHNOGRAPHY

This ethnographic postcard features a portrait of a half smiling pretty young woman. Printed beneath the image is the word “Juive”. The English translation of the word is “Jewess”. Judging by her clothing, she is likely from the Middle East or North Africa. The postcard is of French origin and published by JND Hot. It is part of a series (no.190 T). The card is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on February 13, 2021 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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RABBI : MIDDLE EASTERN OR NORTH AFRICAN : ETHNOGRAPHY

This ethnographic postcard features a portrait of a smiling rabbi. Judging by his garb, he is likely from the Middle East or North Africa. The postcard is of French origin and published by JND Hot. The card is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on February 12, 2021 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FELIX BRAMI : BANTAM WEIGHT BOXER : STAR OF DAVID ON HIS BOXING SHORTS

This vintage photograph features French bantam-weight boxer, Felix Said Brami (1940-2018). He was born in Tunis, Tunisia and was of Jewish descent. His boxing career spanned from 1961 through 1975. The website BoxRec states that he was in the super fly-weight division. Brami had an impressive record of 44 wins, 10 losses, and 3 draws. Twenty-two of his victories were by knockout. Brami won his first 20 fights. He was ranked as high as #6 bantamweight in the world by The Ring magazine in 1964, He was ranked in the top ten bantamweights in the world between 1963 and 1966. He held the French junior lightweight title from 1971 through 1975. Note the Star of David on Brami’s boxing shorts. I imagine that the star represents Brami’s heritage. Note the Star of David embroidered on his boxing trunks. Brami may have developed the idea in imitation of Max Baer. Baer was Jewish and a national hero after he won a bout against German boxer, Max Schmeling, in 1933. This photo indicates that Brami’s manager was G. Charles Raymond. The card’s portrait was photographed by the Belonie studio. This photograph measures about 3 3/8″ x 5 3/8″and is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on March 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF AN ATTRACTIVE JEWISH FAMILY IN 1930’S RUSSIA

This vintage photograph features an attractive Jewish family in 1930’s Russia. The previous owner of this photo reports that this is the Robert Edelstein family. The parents in this image are well dressed and their son is wearing a sailor style outfit. The photograph measures about  3 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ and is in fair condition.

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Published in: on February 27, 2020 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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RISQUE PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN PARTIALLY DRESSED

This vintage photograph features a pretty young woman in a risque pose and wearing risque clothing. She is wearing a hat, gloves, and is holding a purse. She seems to be going somewhere but she forgot to finish getting dressed. The previous owner of this photograph thought the photographer of the image may have been the Biederer studio. I have no supporting evidence confirming his hypotheses. The Biederer brothers were major figures in photography so their story is worth telling. The studio was operated by Jacpues Biederer (1887-1942) and his brother Charles Biederer (1892-1942) during the Art deco era. Their studio was in Paris, France. Their photographs of the 1920’s and 1930’s included artistic nudes and sexual fetish studies. Their topics included erotic corporal punishment, costumed role play and images of bondage. Their postcards were signed as “JB” “B” ,”Ostra”, or a question mark in a triangle.  When Germany occupied France during World War ll, the Nazis sent the brothers to a concentration camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau). Their crime was their Judaism. Their punishment was death. This vintage photo measures about 3 3/8″ x 5 3/8″ and is in very good condition.

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Published in: on July 31, 2019 at 6:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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MARY PHILBIN – BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN FILM ACTRESS

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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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GITTA ALPAR: RISQUE PORTRAIT OF GERMAN ACTRESS

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alger2 This vintage real photo postcard features Hungarian actress Gitta Alpar (1903-1991). She starred in operas and operettas. This photograph is risque relative to the time it was taken. Miss Alpar is wearing a tight bathing suit. Note that the swim suit has a nice design on it’s front. She is posing in front of a large rattan chair. Gitta was born in Budapest, Hungary. She was the daughter of a Jewish cantor. From an early age, she studied singing and piano at the Academy of Music. In 1923, she made her debut at the Budapest State Opera House. She had a long career and she performed at the great opera houses of Vienna, Berlin, an many other international venues. Alpar’s first films were made in Germany. In 1931 she married an actor, Gustav Frohlich. Their marriage ended in 1935 because Alpar was Jewish and the marriage was against the law in Nazi Germany. A related fact is that both of her brothers, a pianist, and a violinist, were concentration camp survivors. Alpar appeared on Hitler’s anti semitic “hit list”. She left Germany in 1933, and then did some globe hopping. She first went to Austria, followed by Hungry, England, and the United States. She continued her singing and film career in the US. The IMDb credits Alpar with nine acting credits from 1932 through 1941. Alpar’s accent ruined her chance to be a successful Hollywood actress. After the war, she primarily worked as a singing teacher. For a sample of Miss Alpar’s singing voice and acting, click on the YouTube segment below. This postcard was published by Ross Verlag and is part of a series (no.6683/2). Alpar’s photo was taken by FFG  (Froehlich-Flm GmbH). This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

 

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Published in: on December 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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