darvilleThis cabinet card portrait features pretty stage star Camille D’Arville (1863-1932). The photograph was published by Newsboy and was number 38 of a series of images used as tobacco premiums. The  actress is dressed like a gypsy in this photograph. She is holding a tambourine. It is interesting to note the mug in the bottom right hand corner of this image. One wonders the purpose of it’s inclusion in the photograph. It is also evident that to make this image a bit more risque, Miss D’Arville’s legs are partially exposed in the photograph. The Illustrated American (1892) wrote that she “is not only a delightful singer but she is also a charming woman”. Miss D’Arville was born in Holland in 1863 of well to do parents. When she was young she was known in her community as “the humming bird of Holland” because of her penchant for singing and her pretty voice. At age eleven she became active in amateur theater. At age fifteen she became devoted to concert singing and entered the Academy of Music in Amsterdam. Her professional career began at age twenty-two when she became a light opera actress in London. She premeired in “Cymbia” at the Strand Theater. She performed in London for six years. In 1888, J. C. Duff organized a strong opera company and engaged her to appear in “The Queens Mate” on Broadway in New York City. She shared the stage with Miss Lillian Russell. Reviewers of the play reported that Miss D’Arville captured the audience. As her career developed, she became “one of the foremost artists on the comic operatic stage”. In an interesting interview that appeared in the San Francisco Call (1900), D’Arville spoke about the issue of balancing career and marriage. She was preparing to marry Capitalist E. W. Crellin and had declared that she was going to retire from the footlights. The newspaper scoffed at the notion of her retiring because so many actresses before her had made the same declaration upon their marriage, yet after turning their backs on the stage, they do a “right about face” again. The paper opined that “they flit back before the honeymoon is over”. Miss D’Arville asserted that she wouldn’t miss her salary (reported to be “something like” a thousand dollars a week). She stated that she would miss the audience “hanging on” to every note she sang. She had a theory about mixing marriage and career. She asserted that when an artist, milliner or stenographer renounces her vocation for “the highest profession-domestic life- the world nods its approval”. However, she contends that female professionals, such as actresses, lawyers, doctors, and journalists, do not receive social approval when leaving their careers for marriage. She declares that in her opinion, attempting to combine stage and home life is about as easy as mixing oil and water. As a result, she believes that “any woman who pursues a profession after her marriage makes a miserable failure of it”. Balancing work and home is seen as so stressful that professional women have to quit at least one, and they usually choose to quit matrimony. She concludes that “marriage does not handicap a woman in her profession, but a profession seriously interferes with married life.” The issue concerning women’s ability to balance career and marriage remains part of the public debate today. Perhaps we should focus more on men’s ability to balance work and family life. It clearly is not just a problem for women. It is really incredible how researching a photograph can take one in so many different directions. Researching a vintage photograph is akin to going on a journey to a mystery destination.

Published in: on September 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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This vintage photograph features a handsome young man posing for his portrait at the Hopkins studio in Holland, Michigan. The young man is well dressed and his hair is carefully brushed. He has a look of confidence. The photographer of this image is William D. Hopkins. A 1902 Holland business directory lists his studio as being located at 46 West 8th Street. Hopkins was born in 1869 in Michigan. He is listed in the 1900 US census as being widowed and living with his 5 year-old daughter Lillian, his father, and a 27 year-old housekeeper. His marital status was listed as widowed and his occupation as photographer.

Published in: on February 1, 2015 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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This Cabinet Card features two young children posing for their photograph at the studio of H. R. Koopman, in Roseland, Illinois. The photographer is Henry Ralph Koopman II and his father emigrated from Holland and was a well known minister in the community. The photographers brother, George, joined him in the photography studio business. The Chicago Historical Society’s magazine published an article about Koopman; “The Life and Times of a Neighborhood Photographer”. Roseland is a neighborhood located in the south side of Chicago.

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 12:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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This Cabinet Card presents some interesting questions. Who is this man? What is his ethnicity? What is his story? The answers are lost to history but we can hazard some guesses. Perhaps the history of Orange City, Iowa can provide a little helpful information. Orange City was originally called Holland when it was founded in 1870 by settlers from Pella, Iowa who were looking for better and cheaper land. History books refer to Orange City as being known as the “Dutch Garden” or one of the “Dutch Colonies”. The photographer of this cabinet card is J. Jelgerhuis of Orange City, Iowa. The photographer’s last name indicates Dutch ethnicity. My hypothesis is that the subject of this photograph is a Dutch man, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. This is an especially good idea since I don’t have a farm. It sure would be terrific if a visitor to this site can identify historical details concerning this gentleman’s hat. I am quite sure that such information will illuminate the issue of his ethnic origin.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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