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Celebrity photographer, William McKenzie Morrison of Chicago, Illinois, produced these photographic portraits of  actress Annie Lewis (1869-1896). Morrison’s studio was in the Haymarket  theater building. To view more photographs from the Morrison studio and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”. Lewis was a soubrette of light operas and musical comedies. She was born and raised in Washington D.C.. Her father was a clerk for the U.S. Treasury Department. Her mother was a former parlor entertainer. As a child, she showed talent for “mimicry”. By the time she was four years old, she was performing on the stage. Actually, during her early years, she often did her singing and dancing atop a piano because that vantage point, allowed her to be seen by her audience.  At the age of sixteen, Lewis was touring the country with her own performing company. She was the soubrette in production called “Little Trump”. Go figure. At seventeen years of age, she married stage actor Wilton Lackaye. He was twenty-five years old at the time and he went on to have a long successful career in both theater and film. Lewis went on to play starring roles in a number of productions. She became a popular enough actress to be mentioned in a number of articles appearing in the New York Times.  The Times (1892) called her the “bright leading lady” of the Yon Yooson company. The newspaper (1892) also reported that she she performed to “standing room only” audiences in Boston’s Bowdoin Theater. In 1893, The New York Times wrote of trouble caused by Annie Lewis at New York’s 14th Street Theater that threatened that evening’s performance of  “The Nutmeg Match”. The management had wanted to add some “specialties” to the performance and Miss Lewis threatened to quit the cast if they made the proposed changes. It was reported that the theater management had looked for an actress to replace Annie Lewis but they were unsuccessful due the extremely short time a new actress would have to prepare for the part. In 1895, she was the supporting actress to Camille D’Arville in the Broadway Theatre production of “A Daughter of the Revolution”. Not long after that appearance, illness forced her to leave the stage, and by October, 1896, Annie Lewis was dead. The cause of death was tuberculosis. She was only 27 years-old. Her obituary appeared in “The Evening Times” (Washington D.C.). The headline of the article was “Little Annie Lewis Dead”. The article reports that she had been sick for nearly a year. She was forced to cancel a number of appearances. Her friends had hoped that a trip to the Southwest and Mexico  would help restore her health. A benefit was held and enough money was raised for the trip and for her care. However, her worsening health did not allow her to travel. The obituary states that Lewis was the mascot of the “National Fencibles”. She was adopted as their “Daughter of the Regiment”. The fencibles were a Washington based militia and drill team. John Philip Sousa dedicated a march to the organization. The obituary laments that the curtain fell way too soon in the life drama of Miss Annie Lewis. This cabinet card portrait has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans).

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cc hattieCABINET CARD 1   (SOLD)

cc hattie 1CABINET CARD 1  (SOLD)

                 cc hattie 4                  CABINET CARD 1


hattie harvey_0002CABINET CARD 2

A pretty corseted actress poses for this cabinet card portrait by theatrical photographer, J. B. Scholl, in Chicago, Illinois. The wasp waisted actress is posed a bit provocatively by the photographer. She has her hands on her hips and her head is slightly tilted. She is also exhibiting a mischievous grin.The reverse of the image is inscribed and dated. The cabinet card is signed “As ever yours, Hattie”. There is a possibility that her name is “Nattie” because the first letter of the name is not very legible. The back of the card is dated 1892. In addition to the State Street address, during his career, Scholl also had studios at two locations on South Halsted in Chicago. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can identify this actress. It is my opinion that this actress is Miss Hattie Harvey. The opinion is formulated by viewing other images of Miss Harvey and by her connection to Chicago. An article about Hattie Harvey appeared in the New York Times (1892). The article was entitled “Hattie Harvey’s Infatuation”. It seems the young Chicago actress had developed an infatuation for an Englishman in her company named Brooks (now we know why she has such a mischievous grin in this photograph). Her parents were not pleased and when the company’s production closed, her father promised to arrange more engagements for the company if his daughter would give up Mr Brooks. She refused his manipulative offer and there were some “exciting scenes” that occurred in the Grand Hotel concerning this family conflict. In addition, Hattie’s mother had two fainting spells “over the affair”. The newspaper article described Harvey as a “very pretty girl of nineteen” and reported that she declared she would marry the fifty year-old Brooks. However, public speculation was that Brooks, who was recently divorced, still had another wife back in England. Hattie Harvey’s parents threatened to “cast her off” if she continued the relationship with the”adventurer”.  (SOLD)

The second photograph produced by Newsboy (#379) as part of a series of tobacco premiums, is a portrait of  “Miss Infatuation”, Hattie Harvey. Compare the photograph with the one above and decide whether the two women are one and the same. It is my view that the portraits both feature Miss Harvey. Please leave a comment if you have an opinion about this matter. In the second photograph, Miss Harvey appears to be in wardrobe for one of her stage appearances. She certainly was an attractive woman.

cc hattie 3




boyd 1

Florence Boyd posed for this cabinet card portrait in Chicago, Illinois. She is identified, in pencil, on the reverse of the photograph. The photographer is listed simply as “Boyd”. Perhaps, Florence, is married to the photographer. It is also possible that the pair may be related in some other fashion. A Samuel Boyd was a photographer in Chicago between 1887 and 1893. Earlier, he operated a studio in Cleveland, Ohio (1897 and 1900). All attempts to find further information about Samuel and Florence Boyd have been fruitless. Therefore, there is no confirmation that Florence Boyd actually slept with the photographer after the portrait. This cabinet card photograph is in very good condition.

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boyd 2

Published in: on September 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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whitney 2

This vintage real photo postcard advertises the Whitney Opera House, which was located in Chicago, Illinois. It was located on East Van Buren Street. Also advertised on the postcard is the show that was playing there at the time of the postcard’s publishing. The production was named, “My Cinderella Girl” and the advertisement asserts that it was “Chicago’s Best Musical Show”. The advertisement credits “William Norris” (1871-1929) as the show’s producer. Research reveals that the play ran in Chicago in 1910. “The Theatre” magazine reported that the play was a popular success. “The Advocate” (1910), a Jewish newspaper, asserted that audience members thought it was the funniest play ever written. The newspaper adds that the show was close to becoming the longest running show in the history of the Whitney. It was not mentioned that the Whitney had been open for less than one year. The writer also stated that the show included some of the prettiest girls ever to appear on a Chicago stage. The “Dramatic Mirror” (1910) reveals that Norris was a big hit among female theatergoers. I wonder how the ladies felt, when in 1910, Norris married one of his co-stars in the “My Cinderella Girl” cast (Mabel Blanche Mordaunt). The show was a farce about a character named Tom Harrington. Harrington was a college student and captain of the schools baseball team. The play focuses on his romantic life and the pranks and stunts he pulled as he attends college. William Norris played Harrington. The Whitney Opera House has an interesting history. It has had many names.The theater was originally located in the Chicago Musical College Building which was designed in 1895. The theater had 850 seats and was known as Steinway Hall, since the piano company had built the building. By 1900, the theater was known as Ziegfeld Hall. A short time later, the theater became the Kelly and Leon Opera House and in 1910, it’s name was changed to the Whitney Opera House. By 1915, the hall was renamed, and even more names followed. It became a movie theater in 1930. Sadly, the theater finished its life as an adult film theater. The theater was closed in the late 1960s and was demolished in 1970. This photo postcard was published in Chicago by the Fine Arts Journal. The journal was published between 1899 and 1919.   SOLD

Published in: on August 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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hartleysThis cabinet card portrait of a young child was produced by Hartley’s Studios. Hartley operated his studio in Chicago, Illinois (309 Madison Street). The studio was the” largest and finest equipped photographic gallery in the world”, and was “alive with the best photographic talent possible to procure”. These accolades are attributable to Hartley. The self promoting statements were printed on the reverse of the photograph. The child in this photograph is not identified, nor is it clear whether the subject is a boy or girl. Most likely the subject is female, based on her clothing, necklace, and hair bow. The child is very cute and has an interesting expression. She looks pensive, possibly even suspicious or anxious. It is interesting to note that she  appears to be wearing a dark belt. It is possible that the belt is part of her dress, but one wonders if the belt is actually a device to hold her in the seat. To view other photographs by Hartley, and to learn more about him, click on cabinet card gallery’s category “Photographer: Hartley”.    SOLD

hartleys 1

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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This vintage photograph features a women’s softball team. Judging by their smiles, the ladies were in a happy mood at the time this photograph was taken. The image was produced in the year 1934 which the text on the photo indicates celebrates “a century of progress”. Two of the players are wearing baseball caps but no baseball equipment or team logo is visible in the photograph. At that time in softball history, many leagues required the players not to use gloves.  It is also notable that this team photo includes eleven players rather than the expected baseball nine. Women’s softball teams of that era employed ten players on the field with the tenth player occupying the position of short centerfield. Perhaps the eleventh player in the photo is the coach/manager or possibly a substitute. It is also interesting to note that “A Century of Progress” was the slogan for the 1933 World’s Fair.The exposition was held along the lakefront of Chicago, Illinois. The fair was operated from June 1-November 1, 1933, and May 26-October 31, 1934. It is a safe assumption that this image was taken at the Chicago Worlds Fair grounds. Softball was one of the few team sports available to women during the 1930’s, 1940’s,and 1950’s. During the 1930’s, softball was a very popular sport around the United States. In 1933 the newly established Amateur Softball Association sponsored the first national fast pitch softball tournament for women. The association tied the tournament to the Chicago Worlds Fair. In the initial competition, eight women’s teams competed against each other. It is worth mentioning that some sources report that the games were actually sponsored by a duo comprised of a sports writer and a sporting goods salesman. This wonderful memento of softball history measures 3″ x 4 3/4″ and based on the black paper residue on it’s reverse, once found it’s home in someone’s photo album. This vintage photo is in very good condition.

softball 1

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Published in: on November 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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This cabinet card portrait features two pretty teenagers in an awkward pose. Don’t blame them, blame the photographer. The girls are likely sisters, and they are well dressed, well coiffed, and wearing flowers and necklaces. What exactly was the photographer’s goal in assigning this pose. If the was trying to portray the warmth and love between two sisters; he failed. The girls were likely frozen with “photo studio anxiety” as they posed for this image. The photographer of this photograph is Louis A. Kraft (1855-1938). He operated a photography studio in Chicago, Illinois. There were times in his career that he was a solo practitioner and at other times he partnered with other photographers (Kraft & Harris, Abbot & Kraft). This cabinet card is in good condition (see scans).   (SOLD)

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Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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This cabinet card photograph features a portrait of a very pretty young nurse, or maid. She clearly is clearly is wearing a uniform. She seems very serious as she poses for her photograph at the Louis H. Rudolph studio in Chicago, Illinois. She has a wide-eyed expression and seems very attentive to the photographer. A drawing of the photographer’s studio (street view) can be seen on the reverse of the photograph. A sign in the window of the drawn building indicates that, at the time, cabinet cards sold for two dollar per dozen photographs. A listing of Chicago’s early photographers reports that Rudolph operated a studio between 1892 and 1900. He was born in 1871 and married Henrietta S. C. Ziehn in 1895. This cabinet card photograph has great clarity and is in excellent condition (see scans).

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Published in: on July 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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chicago teeen

This cabinet card portrait of a pretty teenage girl is by esteemed Chicago photographer John Kimball Stevens. A number of photographs by Stevens can be viewed in the cabinet card gallery by clicking on the category “Photographer: Stevens”. Stevens operated his gallery out of the McVicker’s Theatre building. The young woman in this photograph is bright eyed and has a terrific pleasant expression. She is clearly holding back a smile. She apparently liked jewelry as evidenced by her interesting necklace, collar pin, and earrings.

A visitor to the Cabinet Card Gallery, named Jon, left a comment indicating that he had found a cabinet card image at a flea market that appeared to be the same woman as the one pictured above.He was kind enough to send a copy of the image that he found (see the image below). I definitely see the similarity in appearance that Jon is referring to. However, the woman in the top cabinet card has a rounded face and springy curls while the woman below has an oval face with thick tight curly hair. In addition, their eyes and smiles are vastly different. Both photographs were taken by the Stevens Gallery which was quite prolific. It is no surprise that they likely had many instances of photographing people that had similar appearance. Thank you Jon for sharing the photograph and your observations.
Reader photo sent Stevens

Published in: on March 26, 2017 at 7:15 am  Comments (7)  
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This vintage photograph features a portrait of a pretty young woman wearing a lace collar and lace bib. Note her collar pin and her lovely eyes. This photograph comes from the studio of George F. Riel of Chicago, Illinois. He was a talented photographer. You can make your own judgement about his talent by clicking on the category “Photographer: Riel”. You will be able to view more of his images and learn more about him.

Published in: on January 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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