PORTRAIT OF “WILD NELL” (CAROLINE MAY BLANEY) IN BUFFALO BILL STYLE WILD WEST SHOW

blaney This vintage real photo postcard features actress Caroline May Blaney. Biographical information about Miss Blaney is elusive. However, some information was uncovered. Miss Blaney acted in Western shows. At the time,  “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” was quite popular. The show toured the US, Canada, and Europe. The success of this show spawned a number of other wild west shows. Miss Blaney performed in such shows. She is known for her performances with Young Buffalo, an American actor and entertainer. A photograph of the pair can be seen below. A review in the Brighton and Hove Society (1911) describes one of these performance. The show took place in the United Kingdom, at the Alhambra Theatre. The review mentions Caroline May Blaney. She received billing just below Young Buffalo. The show was called “King of the Wild West”. The reviewer wrote that Blaney deserved praise for her rendition of “My Pony Boy”. The writer adds that she received “hearty applause”. A sad and  interesting aside reported in the article is that in order to bring the Native Americans actors to England, a five thousand dollar bond had to be deposited with the United States to “procure” the right to take them on the foreign tour. The Native Americans were from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The portrait of Miss Blaney appearing on this postcard shows her in costume as “Wild Nell” in the “King of the Wild West Show”. “The New York Dramatic Mirror” (1910) published an article which included news about Miss Blaney. It reported that she was managed by her brother, Charles E. Blaney (1866-1944). He was a well known theatrical producer, director, and writer. The article tell the story of Blaney’s learning that her mother was in a serious car accident. She received the telegram in between the second and third acts of a play in which she was a performing. The show must go on, so Blaney wore street clothes during the third act enabling her to immediately dash to the local train station (Buffalo, New York) to catch a train to her mother’s home (Columbus, Ohio). The portrait was photographed by Foulsham & Banfield.  Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s.This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this original Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #2706

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$16.00

Buy this original Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) #2706

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A MAN AND HIS CHOPS IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

SIDEBURNS BALTIMORE_0001Meet Philip August Albrecht. His name is written in pencil on the reverse of this photograph. Mr Albrecht has chops. This image may be faded but it certainly does justice to his mutton chops. See more great facial hair in the categories “Beards (Only the Best)” and “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. Philip Albrecht appears in the 1870 US census. The document reveals that he was born in Prussia around 1843. He was employed as a bookkeeper and married to Anna Albrecht. The couple had two children, Emma (age 3) and John (age 10 months). Baltimore City Directories disclose that Philip Albrecht worked as a bookkeeper between at least 1868 and 1882. He worked as a cashier at least between 1888 and 1898. Albrecht died in 1909. This photograph was produced by William Foss Shorey (1833-1911) whose studio was located in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a well known photographer in Baltimore and operated there for more than forty years. He was born in Maine and the son of a furrier (Nehemiah Shorey). William graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art and Design and became a drawing instructor there at twenty-five years of age. He learned photography under the tutelage of H. E. Woodward who was associated with the Institute but also owned the Monumental Art Studio. Shorey’s obituary states that he was the official photographer of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody for the first ten years of his show business career. It was also reported that Shorey was the official photographer of the Maryland Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is buried in the Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore.

MAUDE BRANSCOMBE: CELEBRATED BEAUTY AND ACTRESS

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Maude Branscombe was a very popular stage beauty and light opera singer. She was reported to be the most photographed woman of her day. Biographical information about her is sparse and more will be added at a later date. Her first appearance on the New York stage was in 1876 as Cupid in a revival of Ixion at the Eagle Theatre. The portrait at the top was photographed by renowned W & D Downey of London, England.

The second portrait  was cropped so the photographer is unknown.

The third portrait (Branscombe is wearing a necklace) is by L. Levin & Son of San Francisco, California.

The fourth cabinet card image was photographed by Sarony. Sarony was a well known celebrity photographer and more of his portraits can be viewed by clicking on the category of “Photographer: Sarony”. Sarony does an excellent job of capturing Branscombe’s beauty and her alluring eyes.

The fifth and sixth, and seventh cabinet card were photographed by another celebrity photographer, Jose Mora, of New York City. Interestingly, the fifth and seventh cabinet card captures Branscombe in the same costume as the second cabinet card. It is likely that the photographer of cabinet card number two, is also Jose Mora. To view other photographs by Mora, click on the category of “Photographer: Mora”.

The eighth cabinet card portrait of Branscombe was photographed by Howell, another New York City photographer with a studio on Broadway. Howell’s close-up photograph captures the actress’s beauty and her wonderful eyes. She is wide eyed and her hair is a bit mussed. These qualities add to the allure of Miss Branscombe.William Roe Howell was born in 1846 in Goshen, New York. He had a passion for drawing and painting and he directed his creative interest into the field of photography as a young adult. He opened a photographic studio in Goshen. In 1863 he moved to New York City where he joined Robert and Henry Johnston at Johnston Brothers Studio at 867 Broadway. In 1866 the firm became Johnston & Howell. In 1867, he became the sole proprietor of the gallery. By 1870, he was gaining much recognition in the field of photography. His great location in New York City gave him access to many fashionable upper class men and women as well as many celebrities. Among his photographic subjects were P. T. Barnum, Buffalo Bill, and Robert E. Lee. He opened a branch studio in Brooklyn. In 1873 he came one of five Americans to be awarded a special grand prized at the Vienna World Fair. He frequently received mention in the photographic journals. He published a book of cabinet cards that received much praise. He became a photographer for West Point, Princeton, and other notable institutions. He won many medals at photography exhibitions. In 1878 he moved his business from 867 to 889 Broadway and opened another studio with a partner (Meyer) at 26 West 14th Street. In 1880 he retired from photography due to health reasons.  In 1886 he moved with his family to Washington D.C. intent on opening a photography business there. He then disappeared. He vanished just two weeks before the grand opening of his new studio. He left his wife of 16 years (Fannie Scott) and his five children penniless. His wife stated that Howell was an eccentric man and that he must have got tired of business and family problems “and cut loose from us”.  He apparently returned home after a short duration of absence and his business appeared in the 1888 Washington D. C. business directory but not in the 1889 directory. He died of tuberculosis in New York City in 1890. He had been residing at the home of a colleague who ran a photography studio in Harlem. It is believed by some biographers that he had divorced his wife and returned to New York without his family.

The ninth cabinet card is another portrait photographed by Jose Mora. The actress’s costuming detracts from the overall appeal of the photograph. She seems lost in the swirl of her head covering. However, the photographer does an excellent job of highlighting Miss Branscombe’s seductive eyes. The phrase  “Maude Branscombe eyes” certainly rivals the phrase “Bette Davis eyes”.

Cabinet card number ten also comes from the studio of Jose Mora. She is well dressed in this portrait. It is not clear if she is dressed for a stage role or if she is attired for a jaunt around town.