DELLA FOX: AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS (IMAGES FROM 1893 and 1894)

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These cabinet cards feature American stage actress, Della Fox (1870-1913). In the top photograph, she is wearing a military costume  for a play that she was appearing in. The photograph is copyrighted in 1893. She began her acting career as a child and became a well known musical comedy actress. Her popularity peaked in the 1890’s when she appeared in several musical with De Wolf Hopper. She also toured with her own theatre company. Her life was plagued with personal problems including alcohol and drug abuse, and mental breakdowns requiring institutionalization. This cabinet card portrait was photographed by Morrison who is known for his portraits of theatre stars and other celebrities. Morrison operated out of the Haymarket Theatre builiding in Chicago, Illinois. Please click on the category “Photographer: Morrison” for more information about Morrison and to view other photographs by his studio.  The second photograph captures Della Fox in costume for the play “The Little Trooper”. The play was by William Furst (1852-1917) and appeared at the Empire Theatre in New York City. The photograph is the work of Napoleon Sarony, famed celebrity photographer of New York City. The reverse of the cabinet card indicates that the photograph was taken on December 25th, 1894. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Sarony”. The third photograph of Miss Fox was produced by Newsboy as a premium to be given away with their tobacco products. It is number 509 of a series. To view other Newsboy photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Newsboy”.

MAE BRANSON: PROVOCATIVELY POSES IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

A sexy, busty, and leggy, blonde Mae Branson poses for celebrity photographer, William McKenzie Morrison, in Chicago, Illinois. The photographer’s studio was located in the Haymarket Theatre Building. To learn more about this well known photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”. A stamp on the reverse of this photograph indicates that the cabinet card  was formerly owned by Culver Pictures. Culver was located in New York City, and for a fee, provided images to newspapers, films, and other forms of media. Research yielded little biographical information about stage beauty, Miss Branson. The National Police Gazette (1892) reports the bathing exploits of four actresses at Long Brauch. The article was written in poetry form and the verses included the following lines: “and in the surf she daily dips in jaunty bathing dress; That fits her like a glovelet – not an inch the more or less”. The actresses described were Minnie Seligman, Geraldine McCann, Della Fox, and Mae Branson. The site of the sexy swimming exhibition was likely Long Branch, New Jersey;  “Long Brauch” was likely a misspelling. It appears that MTV’s reality TV show, “Jersey Shore“, is a remake; because there seems to have been plenty of provocativeness at the Jersey Shore in 1892.  Mae Branson’s name also appears in an article in a Maine newspaper,  The Lewiston Daily Sun (1893). The article appeared in the Music and Drama section. A review of the play “1492” describes Miss Branson as exhibiting “agreeable singing and artistic work” which obtained “prompt and hearty recognition”.