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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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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MISS DOROTHY FROSTICK : POPULAR CHILD ACTRESS, DANCER, AND SINGER

This vintage real photo postcard features English actress, dancer, and singer; Miss Dorothy Frostick. In 1901, Frostick made her debut in the successful musical dream play, “Bluebell in Fairyland”. The play appeared at London’s Vaudeville Theatre. The stars of the show were Seymour Hicks and Ellaline Teriss, a theatrical married couple. Frostick appeared again with the couple in “The Cherry Girl” (1903) and in a revival of Bluebell in 1905. There is a void of information about Miss Frostick until 1912 at which time she joined a pierrot group, “The Quaints”. She appeared with the group until at least 1914. Her final documented London appearance was in a musical and dance production, “The Latest Craze” (1919). The show bombed and closed after twenty-five performances. A portrait of Dorothy Frostick appears in England’s National Portrait Gallery. The photo on this postcard was produced by the International Art Company, which was based in Ipswich, England. This postcard was published by Rotary Photo (active 1897-1916) as part of their Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1617D). This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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DOROTHY MINTO : PRETTY, COY AND TALENTED ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS

This vintage real  photo postcard features a pretty and coy looking English actress named Dorothy Minto (1886-1957). She was born in Scotland. She was an actress known for “Once Upon a Time” (1918), and  “A Little Bit of Fluff (1919), and “Raise the Roof” (1930). She was a popular actress on the London stage between 1905 and the mid 1930’s. Her early stage career was focused on classical plays and serious new theater but from 1912 and beyond, she concentrated more on musicals and comedies. It is notable that se appeared in the first runs of several of George Bernard Shaw’s plays. She also performed in plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Barrie, and Tolstoy, Minto’s career included appearances in ten films between 1916 and 1936. Interestingly, Minto appeared “Votes for Women” (1907) which was the first suffragist play performed on the London stage. She later became of member of the Actress Franchise League, part of the suffragist movement. She had two marriages and one child. Her infidelity led, or at least contributed to the end of both of her marriages. The National Portrait Gallery has 33 portraits of Miss Minto in their collection. Most of the images are by Alexander Bassano and Rita Martin.This postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.4072 B). Minto’s portrait was done by Foulsham & Banfield. 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 is in very good condition. (see scans)

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MISS MILDRED CLAIRE : PRETTY BROADWAY STAGE ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features actress Miss Mildred Claire. She is quite pretty and is dressed for cold weather (pre global warming). A fur muff protects her hands and a fur stole (pre PETA) wrapped around her shoulders. I could find very little information on this pretty actress. I learned from the Internet Broadway Data Base (IBDb) that Mildred Claire had acted in three Broadway shows between 1900 and 1905. I discovered little else. An actress named “Mildred Clair” appeared in a film titled “Treason” (1918).  Perhaps this film actress was our Mildred Claire. There was also an actress named Mildred Claire who changed her name to Claire Rochelle and than had a successful film career. I do not believe the two “Mildred Claire’s” are one and the same person because Claire Rochelle was born in 1908, too late to be an adult when this postcard was issued. This portrait postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no.4373 C). It was part of the Rotary Photographic series. The postcard is in very good condition (see scans). (SOLD)       

Published in: on October 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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LYDIA FLOPP : BRITISH ACTRESS AND ONE OF THE FIVE “RUDGE SISTERS”

This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Miss Lydia Flopp (1877-1963). “Flopp” is an unfortunate name for a stage performer. However, it did not get in the way of her success on the stage.  Lydia was one of the five “Rudge Sisters”. The women were British actresses and dancers. Some of them were quite successful. The sisters performed as Letty Lind, Millie Hylton, Adelaide Astor, Fanny Dango, and the aforementioned Lydia Flopp. The sisters were primarily dancers but over time developed their singing ability. They performed in pantomime, variety, music hall, and Victorian burlesque realms of theater. Their venues included the Gaiety and Daly theaters in London. Letty Lind was a popular skirt dancer and star of musical comedies. Hylton worked in music halls and theatre and had much success appearing in varieties as a male impersonator. Miss Astor was a West End actress and Fanny Dango worked in London and then launched a successful career performing in Australia. Lydia Flopp’s specialty was pantomime. She was a sitter for two photo portraits in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. The photographer of Miss Flopp’s portrait is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913).  Bassano) was a leading royal and high society photographer in Victorian London. This postcard was published in England by the Davidson Brothers. Davidson Brothers was located in both London and New York City. The firm operated between 1901 and 1911. This postcard is published by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no.1594 B). This vintage postcard portrait has excellent clarity and is in excellent condition (see scans).  (SOLD)

NINA WOOD : STAGE ACTRESS AND MUSIC HALL PERFORMER (1905)

This vintage real photo postcard features pretty stage actress Miss Nina Wood. The message on the reverse tells the recipient that this postcard “will be a nice addition to your collection”. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no.1787A). The photographer that took this photo is the John Story & Hoffmann studio. The postcard is postmarked 1905.  (SOLD)

Published in: on September 22, 2019 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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MISS JOAN KEDDIE : PRETTY ACTRESS WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR

This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty actress named Joan Keddie. Preliminary research found very little biographical information about her. An article in the “Black and White Budget” (1902) includes an interview with Miss Keddie. The article  focuses on collecting anecdotes from theatrical performers. Keddie tells an “amusing” but “annoying” story of an experience she had while on tour. She asserts that a performer’s life is not a “bed of roses” and that there are some little hardships that must be endured. She asserts that one of these annoyances is having to deal with landladies as the touring company goes place to place. She states that the landladies often look for devious ways to inflate the bill. She recounts the experience she had with one such proprietor, who, at the end of her stay, presented her with a bill that included charges for salt, pepper, and vinegar which she had used while dining. Keddie declares that she was very surprised that she wasn’t charged for the paper that the bill was written on. It appears that Joan Keddie had a good sense of humor. The “Sphere” (1902), has a review of “Merrie England” (1902), a play in which Keddie was a cast member. The article states that her acting showed “distinct promise”. This postcard was published by Rotary Photo and was part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no, 1741 A). Her photo portrait was taken by Stage Pictorial, a theater magazine. Individual portrait postcards featuring Joan Keddie are uncommon. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on August 26, 2019 at 6:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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TWO PORTRAITS OF STAGE ACTRESS AND JOURNALIST JULIE OPP (PHOTOS BY LIZZIE CASWALL SMITH)

opp                                                               POSTCARD 1  (SOLD)

JULIE OPP                                                                    POSTCARD 2  (SOLD)

—- These vintage real photo postcards feature stage actress Julie Opp (1871-1921).  Miss Opp was an American stage actress who was for many years popular in America as well as in Europe. She was the wife of actor William Faversham. She married him after the pair co-starred in the Broadway production of “The Royal Rival” (1902). The internet Broadway data base indicates that Miss Opp appeared in six Broadway shows from 1901 through 1911. Julie Opp was born in New York City in 1871. Her Bavarian father ran a saloon on lower Manhattan”s Bowery Street and was active in local politics.  Her mother was Irish-American. Julie began her education in public schools but her mother decided to transfer her to a local convent to receive her education. The young girl shocked  the sisters and bishop when she told them that she wanted to become a ballet dancer when she grew up. By the time she graduated, she had replaced her ambition to dance, with becoming a writer. Her first job was being a a journalist with the New York Recorder. She was a fashion writer. As part of her work as a journalist, she became involved with many people in the theatre world including Sarah Bernhardt and Emma Calve. The show business performers tried to convince her to become an actress. As a result she dabbled in acting but in 1896 she chose the stage over writing and performed in Shakespeare’s “As You Like it” at London’s St. James Theatre. A review of her performance seen in “To-Day” (1896) stated she was “charming” and “equipped for the performance of brilliant work, either on the press or stage”. In 1906 she published “The Squaw Man: A Novel”. She fell seriously ill in 1914 while traveling abroad with her husband and two sons. She appeared to recover and performed again, but soon suffered a relapse causing her to retire from acting. She then spent her remaining years at her residence in New York City and her country house on Long Island. She died after a failed operation in 1921.

—–  Postcard 1 was published by the Rotary Photo Company as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1572 B). Miss Opp was photographed by L. Caswall Smith. Lizzie Caswall Smith (1870-1958) was a British photographer who operated in the early 1900’s. She specialized in photographing members of society and celebrities. Many of her photographs were used for postcards. She was involved in the Women’s Suffrage movement and photographed many of the leading suffragettes. She also photographed many actors including Billie Burke and Maude Fealy. She operated the Gainsborough Studio from 1907 through 1920 (309 Oxford Street) and moved to a new location (90 Great Russell Street) where she remained until she retired in 1930 at the age of 60 years-old. Her most famous photograph is a portrait of Florence Nightingale taken in 1910. It was auctioned in 1908 and sold for 5500 pounds which is an equivalent today of nearly 8,000 dollars. The National Portrait Gallery has 84 portraits associated with Lizzie Caswall Smith.  (SOLD)

—- Postcard 2 offers a close-up view of Miss Opp. She is very pretty in this photograph and has large and beautiful eyes. This postcard, like the first postcard, is published by the Rotary Photo Company. The postcard (no. 1572) is part of the same series as the first postcard. Also, like the first postcard, Julie Opps photo portrait was taken by Lizzie Caswall Smith. The card was mailed from St. Ives (A seaside town in Cornwall)  to Twickenham (a London suburb). The postmark reveals that the postcard was mailed in 1902. The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).  (SOLD)

opp 2                                                              POSTCARD 1  (SOLD)   

JULIE OPP 1                                                            POSTCARD 2  (SOLD)

MISS MARJORY MOORE – PRETTY PERFORMER WITHOUT A PAST

This real photo postcard features a pretty performer named Miss Marjory Moore. She looks quite young, possibly in her teenage years. My preliminary research into the background of Miss Moore produced “bupkis”. Perhaps a visitor to this blog can provide some biographical details about this performer. Miss Moore’s portrait was taken by Lewis R. Protheroe who operated a studio in Bristol, England. He was working as a photographer, at least between 1901 and 1917. His father, Thomas Protheroe found the studio between approximately 1876 and 1900. I was unable to locate any other photographs of Marjory Moore. This rare photo postcard was published by Rotary Photo  and is in very good condition (see scans),

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