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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VIOLET LLOYD: ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS AND A PIQUANT SOUBRETTE

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LLOYD FRONTPHOTO 2

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 Photograph 1 features stage actress Violet Lloyd posing for celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk at his New York City studio. Ms. Lloyd is adorned with flowers in her hair and looks quite beautiful as she poses with her rather large fan. Violet Lloyd was an English actress and singing comedienne. The New York Times (1896) published a favorable review of  “The Geisha”, a play appearing at Daly’s Theater. The critic wrote that  “The greatest individual hit last night was made by Violet Lloyd, an English Soubrette (female stock character in opera and theater)……….She is a piquant (engagingly provocative)  little person, with a droll (amusing in an odd way) but pretty face, sufficient voice, a sense of humor, and plenty of agility”.  It is clear that turn of the century newspaper writers were either better writers than today’s journalists, or else, their editors were more likely to  encourage and expect higher quality writing.  As a result, newspaper articles had a more literary style and used advanced vocabulary. Please forgive me for providing the definitions of some of the words in the quotation; I couldn’t stop myself. A stamp on the reverse of this cabinet card indicates that it was once part of the collection of Charles L. Ritzmann. Other photographs from Ritzmann can be viewed by clicking on the category “Charles Ritzmann Collection”.

The second photograph (PHOTO 2) was also done by a well known New York City celebrity photographer. Aime Dupont was of Belgian origin and he captured Miss. Lloyd wearing clothing that was likely costume from a play. Note the fan she holds above her head. Her pose, with her hand on her hip, likely reflects feigned shock or dismay. This cabinet card is also part of the Ritzmann collection. To view more photographs by Dupont and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”.                                                                                                                                                                     Photo 3  is a vintage real photo portrait of Violet Lloyd. It is interesting to note that the squiggly lines on Miss Lloyd’s dress are textured with sparkles. The postcard was published by Philco (no.3026F). The Philco publishing company was located in London, England. This vintage postcard is in good condition (see scans).

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PRETTY PRIMA DONNA: MINNIE ASHLEY

BJ FALK PORTRAIT VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH 1  (SOLD)

BJ FALK PORTRAIT 1 VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH 1   (CLOSE UP)  (SOLD)

 POSTCARD 2   (SOLD)

 POSTCARD 3   (SOLD)

This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Minnie Ashley (1878-1946). She was one of the great “stage beauties” of the end of the 19th century. She was a talented singer and dancer and she was featured in the madcap musical “1492” (1892). In Boston she performed with the Museum Company and in New York she was a member of the Augustin Daly Company. She had many successes including her performance in “A Country Girl”, “Wang”, and “San Troy”. Her acting resulted in a medical problem. The prolonged exposure to theatrical arc lights caused vision problems. In 1902 she left her acting career and married politician William Astor Chanler who was an affluent grandson of John Jacob Astor. Medical treatment did not help her vision problems and Miss Ashley than put her efforts into sculpting. Chanler and Ashley separated in 1909. She made an attempt at returning to the stage in 1911 but soon opted to pursue her sculpting. During her artistic career she worked under the name of Beatrice Ashley Chanler. In addition to the sculpting, she was active in philanthropy. The book “Famous Prima Donnas” (1900) by Lewis Clinton Strang, devotes a chapter to Minnie Ashley. He describes her as having “artless girlishness, remarkable personal charm, and skill as an imaginative dancer scarcely equalled on the American stage”. He adds that these talents explain her “sudden success” in musical comedy. He describes her dancing as “artistic in every sense” but asserts she was not exceptionally talented in the realm of acting and singing. However, Strang is very complimentary of Ashley’s appearance. He states “nature was indeed good to her when it endowed her with a most fascinating personality, a pretty piquant face, and a slim graceful figure.                                                         Vintage Photograph 1 features a young Minnie Ashley. She is a beautiful. Her facial expression is very engaging. The photographer, B. J. Falk was a very well known for his penchant for photographing theatrical stars. He was also recognized for his talent as a celebrity photographer. The image was copyrighted in 1896. this photo measures about 4″  x 5 3/4″. It appears upon very close examination that this image may have been trimmed. Note the imperfection in the top right hand corner. This vintage photograph is in overall good condition (see scans).   (SOLD)                                                                                               Postcard 2 was published by the Rotograph Company (New York) and was part of a series (no. B 174).   (SOLD)                                                                                                                    Postcard 3 has the same portrait of Miss Ashley except the image is color tinted. It became common practice around 1902 to hand color photo postcards. Rising labor costs led to the decreasing use of this practice after the 1930’s.  This postcard, like the one above it, was produced by the Rotograph Company (New York) and was part of a series (H.B. 14/30). The postcard was mailed and has a 1910 postmark from Warren, Ohio.  (SOLD)                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

                                                                    POSTCARD 1                                                                                                                                          
ashley 2    POSTCARD 2

KATHARINE GREY (1873-1950): THEATRE ACTRESS

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Katherine Grey (1873-1950) was an American theatre actress who appeared in more than 25 Broadway shows between 1895 and 1940. In the top cabinet card, she is photographed by Sarony, of New York City, the famed theatrical portrait photographer. Note the daisies on her hat. In the bottom cabinet card, Grey is photographed by famed celebrity photographer B. J. Falk, also of New York City. In this image she is holding the bottom of her dress in her right hand. The photograph is dated 1893 and in good condition (see scans).

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PORTRAIT OF A STRIKING YOUNG WOMAN BY B. J. FALK (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a very beautiful young woman. She has long hair and is wearing a spanish style scarf. The photograph was taken by the great American celebrity photographer B. J. Falk. His name is in very small print slightly to the left and above the bottom right corner of the postcard.  The publisher was A. G. Steglitz  (NPG) in Berlin, Germany.  The postcard is used and is postmarked 1905.  (SOLD)

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A SOUBRETTE OF MAJOR PROMISE: STAGE ACTRESS EDITH MURILLO

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This cabinet card portrait by New York City celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk, features stage actress Edith Murillo. Judging by the sparsity of easily accessible information pertaining to Miss Murillo, it appears that she was not a major theatrical player. However, The New York Times  (1884) “Notes of the Stage” section announces her appearance in a musical comedy. In addition, the Topeka State Journal (1889) describes Miss Murillo as “a soubrette of uncommon promise”. Wikipedia defines a soubrette as “a comedy character who is vain and girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish and gossipy”. The description adds that soubrettes “often display a flirtatious or even sexually aggressive nature”. This image of Edith Murillo certainly captures the pretty actress in a flirtatious pose.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm  Comments (3)  
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PAULINE HALL (1860-1919): BEAUTIFUL MUSICAL THEATRE STAR

CABINET CARD 1

CABINET CARD 2

CABINET CARD 3   (SOLD)

pauline hallCABINET CARD 4   (SOLD)

The top cabinet card features Pauline Hall (1860-1919), one of the most popular turn of the century prima donnas. She began her career as a dancer in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 15. She joined the Alice Oats Opera Company but left to tour in plays with famed actress Mary Anderson. By 1880, she worked for well known producer Edward Everett Rice in musical productions. Early in their association, he gave her a role in “Evangeline”. Her shapely figure allowed her to take male roles as she did in “Ixion” (1885). Her greatest success came in the title role of the first American production of  “Erminie” (1886). She played in more than two dozen Broadway operettas. Her final role was in the “Gold Diggers” (1919). This photograph was taken by famed celebrity photographer, Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachusetts. Other photographs by Chickering can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Chickering, E.”. The second cabinet card, photographed by B. J. Falk, of New York City, captures Pauline Hall in stage costume. The photograph is #305 in a series from Newsboy. The tobacco company (Newsboy) gave away cabinet cards as a premium with the purchase of their products. This cabinet card shows a copyright date in the 1890’s. The exact date has become illegible over time. To view other Newsboy or Falk cabinet cards, click on the categories “Photographer: Falk” or “Photographer: Newsboy”. The third cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Falk. Ms. Hall looks quite beautiful in this image. She is wearing earrings and an interesting hat. The photograph is a bit risque. Much of her neck and shoulders are exposed. In addition, her dress accentuates and reveals significant cleavage. Is the material at the base of her scoop neckline part of her dress; or was it added in order to make the photograph less provocative? Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to provide an explanation. The fourth cabinet card image, once again photographed by B J Falk, features Miss Hall wearing a dark dress, long gloves, a lovely hat, and a purse. Pauline Hall certainly was a stage beauty as attested by this photograph.

PRETTY ACTRESS NETTIE LYFORD GOES PRODUCE SHOPPING IN NEW YORK CITY (PORTRAIT BY BENJAMIN FALK)

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This cabinet card portrait features pretty theater actress Nettie Lyford doing her produce shopping at the Whole Foods grocery store in New York City. She was such a fan of the store that she appeared in their advertising for free. Actually, this photograph is a celebrity portrait that was probably taken by famed celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk. The image was likely produced at Falk’s studio in New York City. Miss Lyford is wearing a costume that she probably wore in a stage production. In fact, this very same image appears in Epoch (1892) as part of an article by Morris Bacheller entitled “Favorite Figures of the Stage”. The article reports that the young Miss Lyford “has established herself as one of the comic opera favorites of the Metropolis”. She had made her debut in Charles Hoyt’s farce comedy company in “Rag Baby”. While she was appearing in another Hoyt production, “Lunch Counter Girl” she was seen by Francis Wilson (1854-1935)  who hired her to appear in “Oolah” which was a comic opera appearing in New York City in 1887. This cabinet card image was taken during her tenure with Wilson’s opera company. To learn more about Francis Wilson and the play “Oolah”, search for the image of Marie Jansen which appears in the Cabinet Card Gallery. To view more celebrity photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

 

Isabel Irving: American Stage Actress

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Isabel Irving (1871-1944) was an American actress born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her stage career began in 1886. She performed in many performances of Shakespeare. She was also in more than 30 Broadway plays between 1894 and 1936.  These plays included “Merry Wives of Windsor” (1917) and “Uncle Vanya” (1930). The first cabinet photo was done at the studio of Napoleon Sarony in New York.  Sarony was a very famous photographer of his time and known for his photos of theatrical performers and other celebrities. The second photograph comes from the studio of William McKenzie Morrison who was located in the Haymarket Theatre building in Chicago, Illinois. The third cabinet card portrait features Miss Irving photographed by celebrated New York photographer Benjamin Falk. The fourth cabinet card was produced by Pach Brothers studio in New York City. To view a photograph of Isabel Irving’s sister, write “Evangeline Irving” in the search box and press search. To view other photographs by any of the four cited photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Falk, Photographer: Sarony, Photographer: Morrison, or Photographer: Pach Brothers.

PRETTY YOUNG STAGE ACTRESS GLADYS WALLIS (PHOTOGRAPH BY B J FALK)

gladys wallis_0003Gladys Wallis, theater star, is the subject of this portrait by celebrity photographer B. J. Falk. Miss Wallis appears to be very young when she posed for this cabinet card photograph. The image is numbered 16 in a series and has a copyright date of 1893. In fact, she was just eighteen years old when she sat for this portrait. Glady Wallis (1875-1953) lived an interesting life. The Florence Times (1932) tells some of her story in an article that is predominately about her husband Samuel Insull (1858-1938). The article was quite disparaging of  Insull and in the lead of the story the reporter writes “The keen brain of Samuel Insull built a 4,000,000,000 public utilities empire but he failed when he attempted to bring about his wife’s come-back as an actress after her 26 year absence from the stage”. The attempt cost him 200,00 dollars. Gladys Wallis’s was originally named Mary Bird. She was of Irish descent and upon becoming an actress was determined to be viewed as a respectable woman. She was anti alcohol and reportedly, anti sex. Insull had originally seen her as a “starry eyed and raven-haired young ingenue in an 1898 theater production in Chicago. She was just a teenager and he was 36 years-old starstruck admirer. They later met at a dinner party and two years later, they married. Gladys quickly retired from the stage and became a society lady. She had a number of estates and servants, was active in fund raising for charities, went to high society affairs and functions, and wore expensive clothing and jewelry. It is reported that she wasn’t an easy person to get along with and was not very well liked among the ladies of society. She and Insull reportedly had a tempestuous relationship and among their issues was her disinterest in sex. Insull supported her temperance beliefs. The couple had a son who eventually attended Yale University. In 1925,Wallis revealed her desire to return to the stage because of her desire for “self expression”. Her husband funded the theatrical endeavor and its proceeds were to be directed toward charity. Society turned out in mass for the opening night of what was to be a two week engagement where Mrs. Insull played the “coquettish role”of Lady Teazle. Attendees included Marshall Fields, the Armours, the Drakes, and the Pullmans. The success of this limited engagement spurred Wallis to return to Broadway. Wallis may have felt ready for Broadway but apparently Brodway wasn’t ready for Wallis and she returned to Chicago in 1927. She was not yet done with acting so she took a five year lease on a Chicago theater and established a performing company. This project failed and before long he company was operating at a loss of more than a thousand dollars a day. Things also did not go well for Mr. Insull. The depression severely impacted his business and eventually there were even charges filed against him. He fled to Europe with his wife where they entered “voluntary exile”. He was eventually deported from Europe but was well defended in a Chicago trial and found innocent of all charges. However, the Insulls had lost their fortune and at the time of his death, his estate was quite meager. There are a number of books available about Mr. Insull and they probably make quite interesting reading. This photograph was taken by B. J. Falk, New York City celebrity photographer. To learn more about this photographer and to see more of his images, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.