BLANCHE WALSH : PRETTY STAGE AND FILM ACTRESS IN NEW YORK CITY

This vintage real photo postcard features stage and film actress, Blanche Walsh (1873-1915). Walsh was born in the lower east side of New York City. Walsh’s father was a Tammany Hall (New York City) politician and prison warden. His name was Thomas Power “Fatty” Walsh. Miss Walsh was an active actress between 1888 and 1915. Blanche Walsh made her stage debut at 15 years of age in 1888. She joined Charles Frohman’s stock company. She was a supporting actress for the likes of Marie Wainwright and William Gillette. She toured Australia with actor Nat Goodwin in 1896. Walsh became popular playing “emotional” roles and succeeded Fanny Davenport when she became too ill to perform in such roles. In fact, many fans believed that Walsh closely resembled Davenport in appearance.  Walsh than began being tasked in more challenging roles such as in her performances in “The Woman in the Case” (1905) and in Tolstoy’s “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1904). Walsh appeared in ten Broadway productions between 1895 and 1907. A reviewer in “Variety” (1918) wrote that Walsh ” was not only a great actress, but an artist enough to subordinate whatever personal charms she might have had to a proper characterization of a role”. Blanche Walsh only appeared in one film. She was a well respected American actress. Her only film was Resurrection (1912). The film was based on one of Leo Tolstoy’s novels. The film helped Adolph Zukor launch his movie company, Famous Players Studio. It later became Paramount. She was one of the first stage stars to appear in a long feature film (over 50 minutes). Miss Walsh had two marriages. Her first husband, Alfred Hickman (1873-1931) was an English actor who appeared in thirty-five films. Walsh had no children. She was one of the original advocates of an American National Theater where people could see major plays at a low price. Walsh had significant health problems during her career. She had several hospitalizations. She died at 42 years of age from kidney problems. This vintage postcard was published by the Rotograph Company as part of the “Rotograph Series” (No. B 506)  The photographer was Jacob Schloss (1856-1938) and his studio was located in New York City.   Schloss received his education at the Cooper Union in New York City. He graduated in 1872 as an etcher. He joined Benjamin J. Falk’s photography studio and worked there in the mid 1870’s. He left Falk’s employ to open his own studio (54 West 23rd Street) where like Falk, he specialized in theatrical photography. He tended to favor photographing actresses in costume in front of generic studio furnishings. He produced many cabinet card photographs but also was active in the production of magazine images. By the 1890’s he was particularly known for his photographs of beautiful women, much like photographer Jose Maria Mora. Schloss also was an activist for photographers rights. He was very involved in the movement to copyright images. He sued those who used his photographs without crediting or paying him. He was very involved in national photographer associations and was an active photographer until the 1910’s.   SOLD