PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS MAUDE WHITE OR POSSIBLY A PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS MAUD WHITE

 

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This is an unusual cabinet card portrait for two reasons. First, the pretty young woman who is the subject of this photograph is a New York city actress and certainly does not look the part. She is well dressed, but she is wearing conservative and “boring” attire. Overall, she looks more like the “woman next door” than a Broadway actress. She exudes a sweet and innocent disposition and she has a twinkle in her eyes. She doesn’t  give the appearance of a professional actress of that time. Where’s the histrionic flamboyance? Where’s the drama? Secondly, what’s wrong with the photographer, Napoleon Sarony. The fantastic celebrity photographer was not showing his usual bombastic flair when he posed and shot this photograph. Unlike many of his theatrical portraits, there is no fancy clothing or abundance of props in this portrait. The young lady in this image is named Maude White. Her name is written on the reverse of the photograph. However, there is a caveat worth mentioning. I encountered a problem while I was researching Maude White. I discovered that there was also an actress named Maud White who was performing during the same era. This became an issue because, despite the inscription on the back of the cabinet card, I could not be sure if the woman photographed was Maude White or Maud White. I attempted to find other photographs of both actresses but met no success. Due to the fogginess of the identification issue, I decided to research both Maude and Maud. The Internet Broadway Data Base reveals that Maude White appeared in one Broadway production, “The Ruling Power” (1904). However, Maud White made three appearances on Broadway (“Lost-24 Hours”(1895), “A Stranger in a Strange Land” (1899), and “There and Back” (1903). First, I will present some information gleaned from researching Maude. The New York Times (NYT) (1888) published an article about a soon to open play entitled “A Parisian Romance”. The star of the show was Mr Richard Mansfield and the supporting cast included Miss Maude White. The NYT (1888) later reviewed the play and made special mention of Maude. The review described her as “the danceuse (female ballet dancer) of the Opera” and reported that she played her role in a charming, pert, and clever manner. The NYT (1898) announced the soon to open comedy, “A Stranger in a Strange Land”, and that it would include both Mansfield and Maude. An article in the NYT (1900) stated that Maude would appear in Stuart Robson’s company that year. The NYT (1903) heralded the opening of a farcical comedy called “There and Back” and added that Maude would be a principal in the cast. An interesting story about Maude appeared in the NYT in 1905. The issue at hand was plagiarism. Maude had written a playlet called “Locked Out At Three AM” and she complained to the United States circuit court that the author of another play used some of her material. Maude had asked for an injunction and sued for damages. The NYT (1906) stated that Maude would be starring in the play “Nobody’s Fault”.  Now lets focus on Maud, rather than Maude.  In 1890, Maud was involved in some controversy and it was reported in the NYT. The title of the article was “Fritz Emmet Sobering Up”. Emmet was an established comedian who had a relationship with “John Barleycorn” that had produced many newspaper articles focussing on his drunken behavior. The article stated that there was  “a stormy sea” on the stage of the Hammerstein’s Harlem Opera House. Emmet had been drinking heavily for two weeks and creating much drama. His professional and personal life had become badly damaged. In his previous engagement in Philadelphia, Emmet had reached the point that he could no longer perform. The theater had to close the show, and fortunately for the theater, Emmet compensated them for their losses. Next stop was Harlem, but Emmet kept drinking excessively until the dramatic incident occurred on stage. At a Saturday night performance he “murdered his play”. While onstage he made many “Bacchanalian references” and exhibited other inappropriate words and actions.. Emmet’s adult son decided to put an end to his father’s out-of-control behavior. Just as the curtain went down on the last act of the play, Fritz’s son went on the stage where his father and Maud were standing. The son informed Maud that she would have to leave the theater company. Maud objected in a “vigorous manner” spurring the young Mr. Emmet to have her forcibly removed from the theater. Worse yet, he had her confined to a little storm house over the stage door. Basically, she was temporarily kidnapped. Maud cried and screamed “various better words” and even though Fritz tried to intervene, she was imprisoned until the police arrived. The police were called by the younger Mr Emmet and they promptly took Fritz to Manhattan Hospital where he was confined overnight. Maud was released and put in a carriage to go wherever she wanted to go. The story got worse for Fritz. Directly after this incident, his wife of 27 years, sued him for divorce on grounds of infidelity. They ultimately divorced and the settlement was costly for Fritz. Maud continued to perform and the NYT (1891) announced that Maud would be appearing in a play directed by Charles Frohman called “Mr. Wilkinson’s Widows”. That same year, she appeared in a Frohman production entitled “The Solicitor”. The NYT (1892) has an article reporting that Maud appeared in another Frohman production (“The Lost Paradise”). An 1895 NYT article states that maud was appearing with the Robert Hilliard Company in “Lost- 24 Hours” at the Hoyt Theater. The NYT (1897) has an article reporting her appearance in “The Wrong Mr Wright”. Maud received a complimentary review from the  NYT (1903) concerning her performance in the role of the “seductive Marie Antoinette” in the play “There and Back”.

MYSTERY ACTRESS AT THE HAYMARKET THEATRE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (MYSTERY SOLVED)

A pretty and nicely dressed woman poses for her portrait from celebrity photographer, William McKenzie Morrison, at the Haymarket Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. The subject of this photograph looks very much like actress, Lily Hanbury (1874-1908). An inscription on the reverse of this image states
“to my darling brother Mike, from Lily”. The card is dated “Aug   8, 1894”. There were many actresses in 1894 named Lily; Lily Langtry was likely the most famous of them all. Research failed to provide evidence that this cabinet card photograph features Ms. Hanbury. It is not certain that she ever appeared at the Haymarket, nor is there data to confirm that she had a brother named Mike. To view a confirmed photograph of Lily Hanbury, type her name in Cabinet Card Gallery’s Search Box and click the search button. To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”. ADDENDUM: I am grateful to a cabinet card gallery visitor who left a comment (click comment below) identifying the actress who is the subject of this photograph. Her name is Hattie Williams (1870-1947) and another photo of her can be seen in the form of the photograph found below. Miss Williams was an American stage actress, comedienne, and singer. She was born in Boston. She began her career in the farcical plays of Charles Hoyt. She was a popular actress in vaudeville and with the Charles Frohman Theater Company. At one point in her career she was considered an arch rival to Ethel Barrymore. A photograph of Miss Barrymore is posted in the cabinet card gallery and can be viewed by putting her name in the search box. Williams appeared in one motion picture (1915).

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BLANCH WALSH: STAGE ACTRESS IN PROVOCATIVE POSE (PUBLISHED BY NEWSBOY)

BLANCH WALSH_0008This cabinet card photograph of actress, Blanch Walsh, was published by Newsboy and was given as a premium to buyers of  the company’s tobacco products. The photograph was number 12 of a series of celebrity photographic portraits. This particular photograph is particularly provocative and risque. Miss Walsh is exhibiting a great deal of exposed skin. Her pose and expression add to the subliminal sexuality. Miss Walsh is costumed as if to portray a gypsy. Note her jewelry. She is wearing a chain around her neck and multiple bracelets on her left arm. To view other theatrical images by Newsboy, click on category “Photographer: Newsboy”. Blanch Walsh (1873-1915) was a highly regarded American stage actress. She also appeared in one film, “Resurrection” (1912). She was born in New York City and educated in the public schools. Her father was T. P. Fatty Walsh, a Tammany politician and prison warden (The Tombs). Her stage debut was in 1888. She worked in the Charles Frohman Company as well as the William Gillette Company. She looked like a younger version of stage star Fanny Davenport. When Miss Davenport was ill for some time before dying in 1898, Blanch Walsh was given a number of her emotional roles. To view photographs of Miss Davenport, write Fanny Davenport in cabinet card gallery’s search box. Walsh’s most sensational role was as Maslova in Tolstoy’s “Resurrection” (1903). She also received much acclaim for her performance in “The Woman in the Case” (1905). The New York Times printed an article about Walsh upon her post surgical death. She was viewed as a major actress who likely would have risen to greater heights in the theater world if her life had not been cut short by her unfortunate early demise.