CLARA JECKS : PRETTY AND TALENTED ENGLISH MUSICAL COMEDY ACTRESS

The pretty woman seen in this vintage photograph is English musical comedy actress, Clara Jecks (1854-1951). She was born in London, England. Her father was an actor and theatrical manager (Adelphi Theatre). Her mother was a popular actress. It is unsurprising that Clara began her stage career when she was a baby. She first appeared on the stage as a toddler. Growing up, she received the music, dance, and voice training needed to prepare her for a performing career. Her London stage debut was in 1873, at about the age of nineteen. Clara’s specialty was playing soubrettes (lively flirtatious roles) and boy roles. In fact, she once said, “I am never so really happy as when acting as a lad”. Clara was mentored by talented actress, Miss Nellie Farren. There is a portrait of Clara in Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. In fact, the portrait is identical to the photograph seen above. The NPG reports that this image appeared in “The Theatre” magazine in 1892. She was photographed, for this image, playing her role in “Richard II”, written by William Shakespeare. The photographer of the photo was Alfred Ellis (1854-1930). Ellis was an active photographer between 1884 and 1899. He operated a studio on Upper Baker Street in London. He specialized in theatrical photography and sometimes photographed whole scenes inside his studio. He later went to theaters to photograph performers and play scenes. Now, back to Clara’s career. In 1878, she and her mother toured together with the Comedy Opera Company. A few of Clara’s notable performances were in “Formosa” (1877), “The Black Domino” (1893), Cinderella (1893), and “A Merry Madcap” (1896). Her final London performance was in “The Critic” (1911). In an interview appearing in “The Sketch” (1893), Clara was asked the reason why she never toured America. She answered that she received many good offers to appear there, but preferred to perform in London, “Where I am at home with my audiences”. She then added, as if to change the subject, the following observation. She asserted, “You should see what funny letters I sometimes get from little boys in front, who can hardly believe I’m not one of themselves”. During her career, she appeared in over two hundred opera, drama, and pantomime roles. This image features Clara holding a wine pitcher in one hand, and a wine cup in the other. This photograph measures about 4″ x 5″, has excellent clarity, and is in excellent condition.

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PORTRAIT OF STAGE PERFORMER ALESSANDRO ALEXANDER SALVINI BY NAPOLEON SARONY.

This cabinet card portrait features stage performer, Alessandro Alexander Salvini (1861-1896). The photographer of this image is the famed celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony. The eccentric and talented Mr Sarony, operated a studio in New York City. Sarony photographed a large number of actors and actresses appearing in New York theater. Alexander Salvini, as he was known in America, was born in Italy. His father, Tomasso Salvini was an esteemed tragedian actor. His grandfather also appeared on the stage. Alexander wanted to become an actor too, but his father steered him toward a different career. Alexander decided to become a sailor and after several voyages decided to switch careers. He enrolled in school to become a civil engineer. After receiving his degree in 1881, he came to America with an actor friend. Alexander’s intent was to find a job with a railroad, but instead, he spent a year traveling with his friend, assisting him, learning fencing and English. In 1882, he went to New York City to begin an acting career. He made his debut that same year, appearing in a play with actress Clara Morris. When Salvini’s father heard about his son’s success, he responded with an unsupportive cable stating “How dare you, sir, go on the stage without my permission”. Remember, the younger Salvini was 21 years old at the time of his debut. He replied to his father that he didn’t ask his father’s permission, because he knew his request would be denied. After his debut, Salvini hit the road with a traveling theater company and remained touring for two years. In 1885, Tomasso Salvini arrived in America for a tour. He hired Alexander as the stage manager and part-time actor. After traveling with his father’s company, Alexander started his own theater company. In 1886 he appeared in a series of plays at the Union Square Theater. His father returned to America in 1889 and Alexander joined his tour. When the tour ended, he went with is father to Italy. After a brief vacation, Alexander returned to America with a large amount of his father’s wardrobe which had been accumulated over many years. He also brought swords and armor from hid dad’s collection. Alexander and his company launched a new American tour and Salvini played a number of roles including Shakespearian parts. In the early 1890’s he married Maude Dixon, the leading lady in his company. Alexander had roles in two Broadway plays, “Partners” (1888) and “A Child of Naples” (1890). He is very well known for his role in “The Three Musketeers”. In 1896, he became ill with “organic trouble” and after four months of being bed bound, he died. A Sarony cabinet card portrait of Alexander Salvini can be found in the Museum of the City of New York. This cabinet card portrait comes from the collection of Brown Brothers. The firm was the first stock photo agency. It was established in 1904. It built an archive of over one million photographs and negatives. This cabinet card is in good condition (see scans)

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Published in: on October 18, 2020 at 12:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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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.    (SOLD)

MISS WINIFRED EMERY : AN ENGLISH “STAGE FAVOURITE”

Miss Winifred Emery (1861-1924) is the subject of this vintage real photo postcard. She was an English actress and actor-manager during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was married to actor Cyril Maude (m. 1888). It is not hard to imagine that the fact that she was born into a family of actors, played a role in her career choice. She began as a child actress and during the 1880’s and 1890’s her career blossomed as she played many leading roles in London’s West End theatres. Interestingly, her first London appearance was in 1874 in the pantomime,”Beauty and the Beast”. She later joined Marie Litton’s company, Herbert Beerbohm Tree’s theatre company, Henry Irving’s theatre company, and Wilson Barrett’s company. She eventually started her own touring theatre company with her husband. In 1896, her husband became actor-manager of the Haymarket Theatre and Emery became his leading lady. Among the plays that Emery appeared in are number of productions of Shakespeare. Emery had a successful stage career that spanned over forty years. This postcard was published circa 1910 by Raphael Tuck & Sons’ as part of the “Stage Favourites” Series (No. 5062). The photographer of this portrait of Miss Emery was Alexander Bassano, a very respected celebrity photographer. (SOLD)

FAY COMPTON : ENGLISH STAGE & FILM ACTRESS – SHE ADVOCATES “TAKING OFF A LITTLE BIT” TO ATTRACT A MAN

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Fay Compton (1894-1978) is the subject of this vintage real photo postcard. Miss Compton looks absolutely beautiful . She is wearing a pretty dress and a beaded necklace (pearls?) Compton was an English actress who appeared in many films, but was best known for her stage performances. She was a versatile actress who appeared in Shakespeare, Modern Drama, Comedy, and Classics (ie Ibsen and Chekhov. She appeared on  stage in Britain, and toured the United States and Australia. Compton was born in London. Her father, mother, brother, and grandfather were all actors. She was the younger sister of actress Viola Comton. Compton’s stage debut was in 1911 with Pelissier’s Follies which was produced by H. G. Pelissier. Though still a teenager, she married Mr. Pelissier who died soon thereafter, leaving her with a child. She quickly married singer Lauri de Frece. Compton’s first American appearance was in 1914 and occurred at the Shubert Theatre in New York. In 1917, she played the title role in the London performances of Peter Pan. In the 1920’s and 1930’s she performed in many of Shakespeare’s plays. She also played in a number of plays written by J. M. Barrie. Barrie wrote the play, “Mary Rose” especially for her. Her second husband died in 1921 and in 1923, she married actor Leon Quartermaine. During the 1930’s she played in both West End plays and Shakespeare. The 1940’s and 1950’s found Compton continuing to play in Shakespeare productions, and other roles including Noel Cowards “Blithe Spirit”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Uncle Vanya”, and “What Every Woman Knows”. In 1942, her third marriage failed and she married actor Ralph Michael. Their marriage dissolved after four years. Compton also appeared in films. Her IMDb filmography reveals that she appeared in 82 films between 1914 and 1970. The IBDb indicates that she performed in three Broadway shows between 1915 and 1959. At one point, Compton had her own drama school. One of her students was actor Alec Guinness. The You Tube video below features Fay Compton singing Irving Berlin’s “Take Off a Little Bit (1916)” which offers a formula about how to attract a man. Not exactly a strategy that many people would advocate today. This postcard was printed in Britain and was part of the Lilywhite Photographic Series (no. L 4). The publisher, Lilywhite Ltd, Halifax (L.L.H.), was founded by Arthur Frederick Sergeant. He also was the founder of Halifax Photographic Company which was based in Halifax, England. Lilywhite began publishing postcards in 1910; and in the 1920’s, the company took over Arrow Series Postcards. The company then published postcards under both the Arrow and Lilywhite names.This photo portrait postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

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MISS PHILLIDA TERSON – THE PAST AND THE FUTURE MISS PHYLLIS NEILSON- TERRY

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phillida 4This vintage real photo postcard features Miss Phillida Terson (1892-1977). She is better known as Phyllis Neilson-Terry. Phyllis was a member of the third generation of a well know English theatrical family (the Terry family). In her early career years, she was a successful classics actress. She played leading roles in several Shakespeare productions. She then spent four years in the United States appearing in lighter theater. She returned to England in 1919 where she showed a great deal of versatility by appearing in Cabaret, Pantomime, and Variety roles. She still found time to appear in Shakespeare and other classic theater. During her career, she also appeared on Broadway. The IDBD states that she appeared in three Broadway shows between 1915 and 1957. Her last appearance on the Broadway stage was in “Separate Tables” for which she was nominated for an Emmy. Phyllis also appeared in films. The IMDb reports that she had 15 credits between 1915 and 1960. Phyllis was born in London. Her mother was famed actress Julia Neilson and her father was celebrated actor, Fred Terry. She had one brother; and he became an actor. Part of her education was in Paris and later she was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music, in London. She was training to become a singer. Her stage debut was in 1909 as part of her parent’s touring stage company. In that production she used the name Phillida Terson in order to hide her connection to the Terry family. The ploy failed and in about a year, she returned to her real name. She received enthusiastic reviews in her early career. Her later career did draw some criticism. It was thought that she took less challenging roles upon her return from the US to England. Phyllis was married twice, and both husbands were actors. This should be no surprise considering her parents were major theater stars, and her brother, niece, aunt (Ellen Terry), and cousin (John Gielgud) were all stage actors. This vintage postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic  series (no.11716). Given the name on the postcard is “Phillida Terson”, this postcard was published 1909 or 1910. An inscription on the reverse of the postcard dates the card to 1910. The inscription also has the name “His Majesty’s Theatre”. There are theaters by than name in Aberdeen, Scotland (opened 1906) and Perth, Australia (opened circa 1904). This vintage postcard portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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MISS MURIEL BEAUMONT – BEAUTIFUL ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS

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Muriel Beaumont (Lady du Maurier (1876-1957) is the featured subject of this vintage real photo postcard. She was an English stage actress and was married to actor Sir Gerald du Maurier. He was the first person to play “Captain Hook”. Two of their daughters became accomplished writers. Her stage career ended in 1910. Beaumont was born in Sutton, England. Her father was a solicitor and when Beaumont decided to pursue an acting career, her father disapproved. In 1898 she made her stage debut at the Haymarket Theatre. In 1902 she appeared in “The Admirable Crichton” and met, for the second time, fellow cast member Gerald du Maurier. Within five short months, they were married (1903). Interestingly, they never appeared on stage together again. In 1905 she appeared in “The Merchant of Venice” with Violet Vanbrugh. This photo postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is part of the “Rotary Photographic Series” (no.1763 A).The photographer of Miss Beaumont’s portrait is Reinhold Thiele and he is known for his photographical talent. Thiele (1856-1921) also used the name “Karl Anton”. Seven of his photo portraits can be found in Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery. He was born in Germany and learned about photography there. He came to London in 1878 and after a stint with photographer, William Henry Prestwich, he was hired by the London Stereoscopic Company (1880). In 1894, he established a studio known as Simmons & Thiele. Initially, Thiele specialized in photographing football teams. He is considered to be one of the early press photographers. Later, he operated a studio in London. He photographed many theatre stars. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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MARGARET HALSTON: BEAUTIFUL SHAKESPEARIAN ACTRESS AND FILM STAR

Margaret Halston, in her role as Desdemona in Othello, is the subject of this real photo postcard published by Percy Guttenberg of Manchester, England. The postcard is part of the “Revival Series” (no.122). Margaret Halston (1879-1967) was an English actress born in London, England as Clara Maud Hertz. A number of references mention that she was of Jewish descent. She was known for both theater, film, and television performances. Among her popular performances was in “Tell Your Children” (1922), “The Holly and the Ivy” 1952, and “Touch and Go” (1955). She began her acting career in amateur theatre and she made her professional stage debut at the Haymarket Theater in 1895. Her roles became larger over time until she became a leading actress appearing in plays such as  ‘Hamlet   ‘ (1896), “Antony and Cleopatra” (1897), and “The Taming of the Shrew” (1897). At the turn of the century she became part of Frank Benson’s theatre group and took numerous roles in Shakespearian theatre. It is reported that she acted in almost all of Shakespeare’s plays. She later worked in George Alexander and Herbert Beerbohm-Tree’s theater groups. She became involved in film in 1916 when she made her debut with “A Bunch of Violets”. Over the next few years she appeared in a small number of silent movies. She adapted well to sound films and appeared in a number of them. IMDB credits her with appearing in sixteen films between 1917 and 1956. The site also lists three television credits between 1938 and 1955. Miss Halstan was certainly an entertainment star. It is interesting to note that she twice played in the role of “Queen of Transylvania” in the theatrical production of “My Fair Lady” (1957-1958, 1961-1963). There are three portraits of her in the National Portrait Gallery.

STAGE ACTRESS LOUISE LEWIS IN SHAKESPEARE’S “AS YOU LIKE IT” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress Louise Lewis who played in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. Miss Lewis did not reach stardom in her career but her stage experience did merit an appearance on this theatrical picture postcard. Preliminary research found meager biographical material about this actress, but an article in the Los Angeles Herald (1898) reports that the Calhoun Opera Company at the Los Angeles Theater was presenting “La Grande Duchesse” and that Louise Lewis was a member of the ensemble. It is not certain that the Louise Lewis pictured on this postcard is the same one referenced in the Herald article. This postcard appears to have an American origin and is part of a series (no. 13). This particular postcard was distributed by the Souvenir Post Card Shop in Cleveland, Ohio.

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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.