MYSTERY ACTRESS IN SAN FRANCISCO: ETTA ?????

mystery

These two Cabinet cards present quite a mystery. The dramatically dressed and attractive young woman in the top cabinet card is simply identified as “Etta”. She appears to be an actress and my research reveals a large number of actresses named Etta who were stage performers around the turn of the century. I have been unable to determine this actresses identity, but a leading candidate might be Etta Butler (1879-1903). Etta Butler was a well-known actress and impersonator. She began her career at age 19 with the Tivoli Chorus in San Francisco. A year later she became a member of the “Around New York in Eighty Minutes” company. She was later featured in Frohman  comedies. She was last seen in “The Liberty Belles” at the Madison Square. Because of her popularity and promise, she was retained by David Belasco in a long term contract. She died of Typhoid fever in Roosevelt Hospital, in New York City at age 24. This mystery lady was photographed by Bradley and Bulofson of San Francisco, California. The bottom cabinet card has an inscription on the reverse signed by “Etta”. Are these two cabinet cards, taken by the same photographer, portraits of the same woman? One can see enough resemblance between the two images to hypothesize  that they are likely the same “Etta”. Take a look at another cabinet card by these photographers by clicking on the category “Photographer: Bradley & Rulofson”. That very same click will provide the reader with additional information about the photographers of this image.

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (10)  
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SOPHIE EYRE: STAGE ACTRESS SUFFERS AN UNFORTUNATE DEBUT

Sophie Eyre (1853?-1892) was a moderately successful stage actress. She was successful enough for the New York Times to publish a detailed obituary upon her death from heart disease while traveling in Naples, Italy. Eyre was born in Tipperary, Ireland. She married an English Army officer and went on the stage after his death. In 1884 she took the place of Rose Coghlan in the company at Wallach’s Theatre. In 1885 she appeared in New York in a  “feeble and speedily forgotten” piece called “In His Power”. The debut was unfortunate “for the part was bad and the play was worse”. The debut was further spoiled by the “extraordinary stupidity of her maid” who followed her mistress on the stage bearing the train of her gown wrapped in a sheet”. Other New York appearances included “Valerie”, “Diplomacy” (by David Belasco), “She Loved Him”, “Home”, “Central Park: or the House with Two Doors”, and “The Palace of Truth”.  During her stay in the United States, she was the subject of much gossip in the newspapers. This cabinet card was produced by Falk, a well-know celebrity  photographer in New York City. Additional Cabinet Card Gallery photographs by Falk can be seen by clicking on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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