MRS JAMES BROWN POTTER (SOCIALITE AND THEATRE ACTRESS)

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In writing about Mrs James Brown Potter, an author stated “She was singularly beautiful with her pale delicate chiseled face, long dark eyes, and hair like burnished bronze with copper lights”. Mrs Brown Potter (1859-1936) was born Mary Cora Urquhart,  the daughter of a wealthy  New Orleans Colonel. She was one of the first American society women to join the stage. In 1877 she married a very wealth New York socialite, James Brown Potter. That same year she made her stage debut at Theatre Royal in Brighton, England. Soon thereafter, she partnered with actor Kyrle Bellew and they frequently performed together over a ten year period. She performed in the United States and in Europe. She retired from the stage in 1912. She was active in raising money for war charities during the Second Boer War. Mrs Brown Potter was considered a competent actress, but not an outstanding performer. In this photograph, Mrs. Potter looks very beautiful as she peers through a curtained doorway. Her gown was likely made by the best dress makers of the time and was assuredly very expensive. Falk, the photographer of this cabinet card, was a famous celebrity photographer in New York City. To see other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

The second photograph of Cora Potter was photographed by Kuebler of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She appears to be in costume and is clearly a beautiful woman with fetching eyes. To view other photographs by and to learn more about Kuebler, click on the category “Photographer: Kuebler”.

The third photograph of Mrs Potter was produced by Jose Maria Mora, a celebrity photographer based in New York City. The image was part of a series (#7). To view other photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Mora”. Mrs Potter looks quite elegant in this cabinet card portrait. Her hat can best be described as “floral”. The photograph is stamped on the reverse with the name of the gallery that originally sold it (“John Hoch Art Store, 118 Court Street, Boston”). Hoch’s obituary appears in the Bulletin of Photography and the article reports that he was the first among Boston’s photographers to sell photographs of celebrities. He had been engaged in the photography and picture frame business in Boston for more than fifty years. The obituary mentions that he was of German heritage and was 84 years old at the time of his death. His cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage.

INTERESTING COUPLE IN A SALVATION ARMY TYPE UNIFORM

This photograph presents a bit of a mystery. What organization does this couple represent? Their uniforms appear to be salvation army garb. However, many salvation army workers wore the letter “S” on their collar while this couple has the letter “F”  on their collars. Many salvation army members wore a collar badge with “Salvation Army” written on it. The gentleman in this image doesn’t appear to be wearing such a badge, but the woman may have one,  but it is unreadable. The individuals each have a bar on their shoulders which may indicate a higher than basic rank. Note the wire rim glasses that the gentleman is wearing and the magazine that he is holding. The reverse of the photograph has the name Swanson written on it.  The photographer who produced this image is James E. Purdy.The reverse of the photograph indicates that Purdy was the successor to Hastings, the former operator of the studio.  Purdy’s studio was located at 146 Tremont Street, in Boston, Massachusetts. He operated his studio in Boston between 1896 and 1930. He was a popular photographer in Boston. He was considered to be in the same caliber as the celebrated photographer, Chickering (to view photographs by Chickering, click on cabinet card gallery’s category “Photographer: Chickering”). One of the many famous people he photographed was Winston Churchill, who was in Boston (1900) lecturing about the Boer War. This is not the same Winston Churchill who so ably led Great Britain.