MISS PHILLIDA TERSON – THE PAST AND THE FUTURE MISS PHYLLIS NEILSON- TERRY

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phillida 4This vintage real photo postcard features Miss Phillida Terson (1892-1977). She is better known as Phyllis Neilson-Terry. Phyllis was a member of the third generation of a well know English theatrical family (the Terry family). In her early career years, she was a successful classics actress. She played leading roles in several Shakespeare productions. She then spent four years in the United States appearing in lighter theater. She returned to England in 1919 where she showed a great deal of versatility by appearing in Cabaret, Pantomime, and Variety roles. She still found time to appear in Shakespeare and other classic theater. During her career, she also appeared on Broadway. The IDBD states that she appeared in three Broadway shows between 1915 and 1957. Her last appearance on the Broadway stage was in “Separate Tables” for which she was nominated for an Emmy. Phyllis also appeared in films. The IMDb reports that she had 15 credits between 1915 and 1960. Phyllis was born in London. Her mother was famed actress Julia Neilson and her father was celebrated actor, Fred Terry. She had one brother; and he became an actor. Part of her education was in Paris and later she was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music, in London. She was training to become a singer. Her stage debut was in 1909 as part of her parent’s touring stage company. In that production she used the name Phillida Terson in order to hide her connection to the Terry family. The ploy failed and in about a year, she returned to her real name. She received enthusiastic reviews in her early career. Her later career did draw some criticism. It was thought that she took less challenging roles upon her return from the US to England. Phyllis was married twice, and both husbands were actors. This should be no surprise considering her parents were major theater stars, and her brother, niece, aunt (Ellen Terry), and cousin (John Gielgud) were all stage actors. This vintage postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic  series (no.11716). Given the name on the postcard is “Phillida Terson”, this postcard was published 1909 or 1910. An inscription on the reverse of the postcard dates the card to 1910. The inscription also has the name “His Majesty’s Theatre”. There are theaters by than name in Aberdeen, Scotland (opened 1906) and Perth, Australia (opened circa 1904). This vintage postcard portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this original Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #2716

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$16.00

Buy this original Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) #2716

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$24.00

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ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS: ELLEN TERRY (THERE AIN’T NOTHIN LIKE A DAME!)

Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928) was an English stage actress. The top cabinet card is from the studio of Campbell, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Ellen Terry was the leading Shakespearian actress in Great Britain. She was born into a family that was immersed in the theatre; and future generations continued theatrical pursuits; including grand nephew, John Gielgud (actor, director, producer). Ellen Terry began playing Shakespeare roles as a child and continued to do so. In 1878 she joined Henry Irving’s company. She toured Britain and the United States with great success. In 1903 she took over management of London’s Imperial Theatre and her focus included the plays of George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen. In 1916 she began acting in films and in 1925 she was made a “Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire”. Terry’s romantic life, including marriages and love affairs, make interesting reading. Research about the photographer of this cabinet card discovered his obituary in the New York Times (1912). The Times reports that Alfred S. Campbell (1839-1912) was a pioneer in the development of art photography. Among his accomplishments was the publication of an edition of the bible that was illustrated with photographs he took in the Holy Land. He emigrated to the United States on the invitation of famed photographer, Napoleon Sarony in 1866. Among his “intimate friends” were Henry Longfellow, Thomas Nast, and William Cullen Bryant . Visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery can see photographs by Sarony under the category of “Photographer: Sarony” and can see a portrait of William Cullen Bryant under the category of “Journalist”. To view other photographs by Campbell, click on the category “Photographer: Campbell”.

The second cabinet card features Ellen Terry in the role of “Beatrice” in William Shakespeare’s play, “Much Ado About Nothing”. The Window & Grove studio of London,England, published this photograph. The studio operated in London from the 1870’s to at least 1908.