GEORGE ALEXANDER : ENGLISH STAGE ACTOR, MANAGER, AND PRODUCER (RPPC 1907)

This real photo postcard features George Alexander, an English stage actor, theatre producer, and theatre manager. He began his professional acting career in 1879. He became interested in theatre management and in 1890, he leased a London theatre and began producing plays. In 1891, he moved to the St. James’s Theatre where he spent the rest of his career, acting and producing. Three of his most successful plays were Oscar Wilde’s ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan” (1892), “The Second Mrs Tanqueray” (1893), and Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). Alexander was born in Reading, Berkshire, England. His father was a travelling salesman. George was educated in private schools. He left school at the age of fifteen in order to pursue amateur acting. Upon becoming a professional actor, he joined a repertory company. That was followed by a stint in a touring company. He received positive reviews and his status as an actor rose. In 1882, George married Florence Jane Theleur (1857-1946). She shared his interest and involvement in the theatre and both also had strong engagement in public affairs. During the 1880’s, Alexander expanded his acting experience. His work for actor/manager, Henry Irving, provided him with an excellent theatrical education. During his time with Irving, George toured in the United States on two occasions. George served on the London County Council from 1907 to 1913. George was also a benefactor and a participant in many organizatIions that benefitted actors and the theatre. He also worked for charities like the Red Cross and the League of Mercy. In 1911, Alexander was knighted. He died from tuberculosis and diabetes in 1918. This postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no. 4225 D). The portrait photo was taken by the celebrated studio of Ellis & Walery. The postmark on this card was stamped in 1907. 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)

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 (SOLD)

PHOTO 1 (CLOSE-UP) (SOLD)

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). (SOLD)

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

GLAMOUR PORTRAIT OF A BRITISH BEAUTY (1910’s)

This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a “British Beauty”. A caption on the reverse of the card reveals that the photo is “hand-painted”. The young lady in this photograph is wearing a wonderful hat. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.A247-5). The firm was located in London, England. This vintage postcard has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans).

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MISS GERTIE MAY : PRETTY ACTRESS : BACKGROUND INFO INACCESSIBLE (1907)

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty actress named Gertie May. She has beautiful flowing dark hair and is flashing a wonderful half smile. Miss May is nearly surrounded by flowers. Preliminary research uncovered “bubkes”. I would welcome any information about this performer. This postcard was produced by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.1976 A). The card has a 1907 postmark from Manchester, England. This wonderful portrait of Miss May, was taken by Dover Street Studios. The studio was active between circa 1906 and circa 1912. The gallery specialized in taking theatrical portraits and was located in London, England. They were the successors to the Biograph Studios as well as Adart (a studio that took advertising photos). SOLD

PEGGY RUSH : PORTRAIT OF A BRITISH AMERICAN CHIGAGOAN STAGE AND FILM ACTRESS

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This vintage real photo postcard features pretty stage and film actress Peggy Rush. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, in around 1898. Her parents relocated to England when she was just three months old. Miss Rush began her stage career playing in musical comedy choruses.  In 1915 she played such a role in New York. She was a member of the company that appeared in “Quinneys” at the Maxine Elliott theatre. The Green Book magazine (1916) reported that for for the first three seasons Rush appeared on stage, she was a chorus girl for the first year, and she was a leading lady for the final two seasons. A reviewer in “The Theatre” magazine described Rush as “fascinatingly girlish”. The New York Times (1916) reported her engagement to to the Honorable George St. John Brodrick, the eldest son of Viscount Middleton and heir to the peerage (definition – those holding title).  George St John Brodrick, 2nd Earl of Midleton (1888 –1979) was an English aristocrat, landowner and soldier. It was not unusual for actresses or chorus girls to meet and marry titled individuals. Some of these men were “stage door Johnnies”. A photograph by the Bassano studio (1923) can be found in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. I also found a notice of Rush’s divorce from her titled husband. I uncovered a 1924 press photo of Peggy Rush. The caption of the image discloses that the Viscountess Dunsford (Formerly Peggy Rush) was suing her husband, the count, for divorce. He went on to marry two more actresses. Miss Rush had a sense of humor. She once said that she never knew whether to refer to herself as American or English. She quipped that she felt safest calling herself a Chicagoan. This photo postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.A171-2).The card is “hand painted” and part of the “British Beauty” series. The postcard was written and postmarked in 1917. This real photo postcard is in very good condition.

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rush2020-05-27_183852

A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN AND HER YORKSHIRE TERRIER

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty young woman holding an adorable Yorkshire Terrier. The young lady has a terrific smile. This postcard is part of the British Beauty series (no.A 436-6) published by the London company, Rotary Photo. The postcard is hand tinted and from the 1910’s.   SOLD

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PORTRAIT OF A BRITISH BEAUTY WITH A FANTASTIC SMILE

This vintage real photo postcard is a member of the Rotary Photo  “British Beauty” series   (no. A.141-6). The Cabinet Card Gallery has a number of “British Beauty” cards in it’s collection. This postcard was printed in Britain and is hand tinted. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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ISABEL JAY : PRETTY ENGLISH OPERA SINGER AND ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features English opera singer and actress, Isabel Jay (1879-1927). She was well known for her performances in soprano roles of the Savoy Operas with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and in Edwardian musical comedies. Isabel was a very active performer during the time picture postcard collecting was at it’s peak. She was photographed for more than 400 different postcards. There was great demand for cards with her image. Isabel studied piano and voice at the Royal Academy of Music prior to joining the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1897. She immediately was given principal singing roles and by 1899, she became the company’s leading soprano.  Some of her comic opera leading roles included “The Rose of Persia”, “The Pirates of Penzance”, and the “Emerald Isle”. In 1902 she left the company after getting married. Her groom was African explorer and soldier, Henry Shepherd Cavendish and the pair were divorced by 1906. I guess Cavendish really was an explorer. Isabel was the first of his five wives. Settling down was apparently not in Mr Cavendish’s repetoire. The West End stage beckoned Jay in 1903. She starred in eleven musicals until retiring in 1911 at 31 years of age. She sang before King Edward Vll and Queen Alexandra in 1905. The Queen gave her a brooch. Isabel was born in London. Her father was an insurance officer. Her great-grandfather was a musician and composer associated with the Royal Academy of Music. She gave musical recitals by the time she was twelve years old. Isabel made a number of recordings between 1900 and 1906. Most of the songs were from her early musical comedies. Her vocal ability was considered top notch. It was thought that she could have sung Grand Opera, if that was her desire. In 1927, she died at age 47 in Monte Carlo in while on a cruise with her second husband, Frank Curzon. He was a successful actor and theatre manager. Curzon served as a mentor to Isabel. The Youtube video below captures Miss Jay performing “My Heart’s At Your Feet” (1904). This postcard was published by Rotary Photo. The card is a part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4832 A). The photo 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. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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isabel jay pc 2

MISS MARGARET LEAHY : THE SAD STORY OF THE “DAILY SKETCH” GIRL

Margaret Leahy (1902-1967) was a British actress. She was born in London. At the age of eighteen, she set up a costume shop and designed women’s clothing. She also modeled her designs for her customers. The story of how she got her start in acting is an interesting one. After winning a beauty contest, she seemed destined for stardom. Unfortunately, despite her rapid launch into filmdom, her career quickly crashed.  She made only one film in her short-lived career. The beauty competition occurred in 1922. Actresses, Constance and Norma Talmadge, Joseph Schenck (film studio executive), and Edward Jose (film director) held a beauty contest in England. It’s purpose was to find a new leading lady. The “Daily Sketch”, an English newspaper, offered a starring role in a major Hollywood film to the winner of the contest. Eighty thousand women entered the contest and three girls were chosen to the final competition. The finals were held in Hollywood and Miss Leahy was the winner.  Norma Talmadge described Leahy as “the most ravishing girl in England”. Leahy’s start in films was a disaster. She was dismissed from “Within the Law” (1923). The film’s director found her acting talent was nearly non-existent. He threatened to quit unless Leahy was terminated. The year 1923 wasn’t all bad for Miss Leahy. She was named one of thirteen WAMPAS Baby Stars. Evelyn Brent, Eleanor Boardman, and Laura La Plante were among the thirteen. All but Leahy became successful film actresses. Between 1922 and 1934, WAMPAS association supported a promotional campaign that named thirteen young actresses thought to be destined to become stars. Margaret’s next stop was an appearance in a Buster Keaton comedy, “Three Ages” (1923). Leahy received little attention for her role in the movie and her career was stopped in it’s tracks. Leahy did not return to England. Instead she got married and remained in California. She became an interior decorator and was known to despise the movie industry. In fact, she burned all her movie related scrap books. Sadly, Leahy committed suicide at the age of sixty-four in California. This vintage postcard was published by Rotary Photo and printed in England. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5.76.2).  The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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