MADAME BUTTERFLY_0008 This image features an attractive actress playing Madame Butterfly in a 1909 production. The preceding information comes from an inscription on the reverse of the photograph. The photographer is Hans Wanderer and his studio was located in Klagenfurt, Austria. Madam Butterfly is an opera by Giacomo Puccini. The story was originally written by James Long (1898). David Belasco dramatized the story for theater. The operatic version of Madame Butterfly premiered in Milan, Italy in 1904.



This cabinet card portrait features famed opera singer Helene Hastreiter (1858-1922). She is holding a stringed instrument that I can not identify with certainty but I believe it is a lyre. Hastreiter was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She made her opera debut in Milan, Italy. She was a mezzo soprano. The photographer of this image is Reichmann & Company. To view other photographs by this studio, click on the category “Photographer: Reichmann”.

Published in: on October 15, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card features Amalia Mignon Hauck (1851-1929). She was best known as Minnie Hauk and she was a celebrated American opera soprano. Minnie Hauk was born in New York City and as a child also lived in Rhode Island and Kansas. She studied voice with Achille Errani and had her debut in Brooklyn at age 14. Her New York City debut occurred when she was fifteen years of age. She sang Juliette in the American premiere of “Romeo et Juliette” in 1867. She performed in London in 1868 and in Paris the following year. She was the first American “Carmen” (1878). Unfortunately her fame and success did not last throughout her life. By 1918 she was in poverty and nearly blind. To see other photographs by Alfred S. Campbell and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Campbell”.


This cabinet card features the lovely Conchita Gelabert, soprano and operetta actress. Marie “Conchita” Gelabert was born in Madrid in 1857 and died in Paris in 1922. She was educated in the Paris Conservatory of Music. An article in the New York Times (1922) announced her death. She was described as a “Spanish Comic Opera singer. who for many years was one of the most celebrated of Paris stars”. The article states that Gelabert “died today alone and forgotten”. Apparently, she had left the stage in 1890 and went into seclusion for the rest of her life. The cause of her abandoning her career and becoming an isolate, was an unhappy love affair. The article credits Gelabert with creating many roles, including “The Beautiful Person”and “The Grand Mogul”. This portrait was photographed by Chalot and Company of Paris, France. Ms. Gelabert is a stage beauty with eyes and an expression that can best be described as playful. She is wearing an interesting hat and well adorned with jewelry. Her dress is a bit risque but by Paris standards, this is a tame photograph.  The photographer of this image, Isadore Alphonse Chalot was one of the subjects of an article appearing in the American Journal of Photography (1890). The article was entitled “Photographers in Paris- Their Studios and Workshops”.  SOLD


This cabinet card features an attractive young woman posed holding a book. The woman is nicely dressed and has a lovely figure. Her great figure is, no doubt, assisted by her tight corset. The book she is holding is entitled “Grifting“. The definition of grifting is “engaging in petty swindling”. What is a nice girl like the girl in this image doing with such a sensational book? The most likely reason she has possession of that particular title is that; it was there in the studio. The book likely belonged to the photographer. The studio that produced this photograph was the Aime Dupont gallery. Dupont (1842-1900) founded his photography business in 1886 in New York City, New York. He was formerly a sculptor and he was of Belgian origin. His American wife, Etta Greer, was also a photographer. She was well respected for he work as a portraitist of opera singers in Paris, France. She was educated in Paris and spent much of her childhood there. She also met and married Dupont in Paris. The couple was very talented and they became very popular as portrait photographers in New York. Among their society and celebrity clients were many singers who were appearing in New York. After Dupont’s death, his wife, and later his son (Albert), operated the studio. His wife kept the name of the studio the same, after the death of her husband. In 1906, the Metropolitan Opera hired its own official  photographer, resulting in diminished portrait work in that sector. The studio went bankrupt in 1920.  A couple of interesting questions about this photograph remain unanswered. Is the subject of this photograph someone famous in society or the performing arts? Who was the photographer, was it Aimee Dupont, or his wife, Etta?


Dorothy (Agnes) Donnelly (1880-1928) was an actress, lyricist, and a librettist. She was the daughter of the manager of New York City’s Grand Opera House. She made her acting debut in the stock company of her brother, Henry V. Donnelly at the Murray Hill Theatre in New York City. She became a well known performer in 1903 when she played title roles in Yeat’s “Kathleen ni Houlihan” and Shaw’s “Candida” in their first American performances. Her most celebrated performance was in the title role of “Madame x” (1910). She acted for another decade but after the success of her book and lyrics for Sigmund Romberg’s adaptation of Schubert’s melodies in “Blossom Time” (1921), she gave up performing and concentrated on her writing. Donnelly was married to Sigmund Romberg. The photographer of this cabinet card was celebrity photographer, Schloss. The photograph captures Donnelly in costume for “Soldiers of Fortune” (1902); so the image is a portrait representing the very early part of her theatrical career. The cabinet card comes from the Oral M. Heffner Theatrical Collection and was formerly the property of the Franklin County Historical Society. To learn more about the Heffner collection, click on the Cabinet Card Gallery category of “Oral M. Heffner Theatrical Collection”.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  


Paola Marie was a well known and talented French opera star. She was the sister of opera star Irma Marie. The publication “Every Saturday” (1874) tells an interesting tale about the performer. She was appearing in Bordeaux, France when an oversight or practical joke occurred in the printing of a notice advertising that her engagement was about to come to an end. The sign said that “Mlle Paola Marie was expiring on “friday next”, and there would be only four more performances of “The Perichole”. The notice should have said that the performance of the opera was about to expire. Upon reading about the star’s impending death, her faithful fans came out in mass, carrying many bouquets of flowers, to pay their “last homage” to the popular actress.  The photographer of this cabinet card, Mora, was a celebrity photographer located on Broadway, in New York City. To see other photographs by Mora, click on the category, “Photographer: Mora”.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card was photographed by George Rockwood (1882-1911) whose studio was located at 17 Union Square West in New York City. The reverse of the card identifies the subject of this portrait as Maud Hanson. It is believed that Hanson was an actress or opera star but this information has not been verified and perhaps a visitor to this site can leave a  comment providing identification help. Over the years, the cabinet card gallery has appreciated the assistance of its vast unpaid research department, staffed entirely by visitors to the site.  The corseted Ms Hanson is attractive and wearing a hat, a flower in her hair and a cross. She is also wearing what appears to be wrist bands. The purpose of these bands beyond fashion, is unknown. This cabinet card’s photographer, George Rockwood was born in Troy, New York. He graduated from college with a PhD; reportedly either from the University of Chicago, or Columbia University. At 21 years of age, he was a newspaper reporter for the Troy Daily Times and at age 23, he was managing editor of the Troy Daily Post. He began working as a photographer in St. Louis and in 1857 opened a studio with his brother Elihu in New York City. He is credited for bringing CDV’s to America. His obituary in the Washington Post reports that Rockwood photographed more than 350,00 people.

Beautiful Opera Star: Emma Abbott (1850-1891)

abbottEmma Abbott was an American opera star and impresario. She began performing as a child and was encouraged by Clara Louise Kellogg to pursue an operatic career. She studied in New York, Milan and Paris and later worked at the Royal Opera in London. In a different company, she had her  contract cancelled for refusing to perform in Verdi’s La Traviata on moral grounds. She had her American debut in 1877 and in 1878 founded her own opera company which received great public tribute but did not impress many opera critics. She died suddenly at around 40 years of age from pneumonia. This cabinet card was photographed by the celebrated photographer Joses Mora.

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 4:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Alwina Valleria (1848-1925) is seen in full costume in this cabinet photograph by Cooper of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Valleria was the first American-born singer to appear in principal roles with the Metropolitan Opera. She was a soprano.  Born in Baltimore, she attended the Royal Academy of Music in London. She made her operatic debut in St Petersburg in 1871 and sang in Europe until 1879 when she first appeared in America singing Marguerite in Faust with the James Henry Mapleson company. In 1883 she first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera and she was New York City’s first Micaela in Carmen in 1878. She retired from the stage in 1886 and died in France in 1925.

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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