This vintage real photo postcard features pretty opera star, Madmoiselle Lilian Grenville. The caption on the postcard indicates that she was appearing at the Opera de Nice when this photo card was published. Miss Grenville is wearing a pink dress, and a pink flower in her hair. She is also wearing a fur draped over her right shoulder. Hearst International (1909) reported that there were a number of Americans in Europe trying to “make a name” for themselves in opera. One of these Americans was Lilian Grenville (1888-?). She was born in New York. Her family name was Goertner. She was educated at the convent of the Sacred Heart in Montreal. Her mother took her to Paris and Milan to study singing. She started singing with Algier and Aramis in Paris between 1903 and 1905.  She made her debut in Nice, France playing “Juliet” (1906). She was then chosen by Puccini to create the title role in his “Manon Lescout”. In 1909 she sang in Nice, Naples, and Rome. Grenville made her American debut in “La Boheme” (1910) in Chicago. She was a lyric soprano with extensive range. This postcard was published by E. Le Deley (E. L. D.). The firm was active in Paris between the 1890’s and 1930. The company published, printed, and created postcards. E. L. D. was founded by photographer Ernest Louis Desire le Deley (1859-1917). Le Deley’s sons operated the business after their father’s death, and in 1930, the company went bankrupt. This postcard is part of a series (no. 4057). The card has a Swiss stamp.  SOLD


Published in: on March 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ILBERT_0002This Cabinet Card presents a bit of a mystery.  The photograph is by famed French photographer, P. Nadar of Paris. The subject of the photograph is a mystery. The reverse of the card has the name “Ilbert”  written in two places. In addition the word “Chanteuse” also appears. Is she an opera singer? Is she a nightclub singer? The woman is very stylish and is wearing a fur and interesting hair clip. Hopefully, a viewer will leave a comment with some identifying information.                                                    ADDENDUM: This photograph entered into the cabinet card gallery in 2009. Since then there have been a number of cabinet card gallery visitors that have left comments concerning the identity of the subject of this  image. There has been some disagreement, but at least two visitors have identified this performer as being Yvette Guilbert (1867-1944). To follow the discussion about identification, check out the comment section below. Now back to Mlle Guilbert. Born as Emma Laure Esther Guilbert, she began singing as a child but worked at a Paris department store model when she turned sixteen. She also took acting and voice lesson and in 1886 she began working as an actress. She debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She was soon singing at a number of popular clubs before starring in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890. Over time she began to sing a lot of  monologue “patter songs”. Often the lyrics were risque, even raunchy. Her song frequently featured tragedy and poverty. Guilbert was audacious and audiences ate it up. She was celebrated in France, England and the United States. She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert. Later in her career, she appeared in silent movies, talkies and made recordings. She also wrote books about the Belle Epoque. It is interesting to note that Nadar, the photographer of the mystery chanteuse also photographed Yvette Guilbert. A Nadar photograph of Mlle Guilbert is part of the collection at the National Library of France. A copy of that image can be found below.




Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (7)  
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pauline hallCABINET CARD 4   (SOLD)

The top cabinet card features Pauline Hall (1860-1919), one of the most popular turn of the century prima donnas. She began her career as a dancer in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 15. She joined the Alice Oats Opera Company but left to tour in plays with famed actress Mary Anderson. By 1880, she worked for well known producer Edward Everett Rice in musical productions. Early in their association, he gave her a role in “Evangeline”. Her shapely figure allowed her to take male roles as she did in “Ixion” (1885). Her greatest success came in the title role of the first American production of  “Erminie” (1886). She played in more than two dozen Broadway operettas. Her final role was in the “Gold Diggers” (1919). This photograph was taken by famed celebrity photographer, Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachusetts. Other photographs by Chickering can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Chickering, E.”. The second cabinet card, photographed by B. J. Falk, of New York City, captures Pauline Hall in stage costume. The photograph is #305 in a series from Newsboy. The tobacco company (Newsboy) gave away cabinet cards as a premium with the purchase of their products. This cabinet card shows a copyright date in the 1890’s. The exact date has become illegible over time. To view other Newsboy or Falk cabinet cards, click on the categories “Photographer: Falk” or “Photographer: Newsboy”. The third cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Falk. Ms. Hall looks quite beautiful in this image. She is wearing earrings and an interesting hat. The photograph is a bit risque. Much of her neck and shoulders are exposed. In addition, her dress accentuates and reveals significant cleavage. Is the material at the base of her scoop neckline part of her dress; or was it added in order to make the photograph less provocative? Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to provide an explanation. The fourth cabinet card image, once again photographed by B J Falk, features Miss Hall wearing a dark dress, long gloves, a lovely hat, and a purse. Pauline Hall certainly was a stage beauty as attested by this photograph.



The beautiful woman in this cabinet card portrait is opera singer Isabelle L’Huillier. She made her debut during the 1908/1909 season with the Metropolitan Opera Company as Musetta in “La Boheme”. She concluded the season with a role in “The Bartered Bride”. Miss L’Huillier is beautifully dressed in this photograph. She is wearing a fur and a pretty hat. The photographer of this cabinet card photograph is celebrity photographer Aime Dupont. To learn more about Mr Dupont and to view more of his images, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”.  (SOLD)


miss howell_0004Miss Howell is the subject of this Newsboy cabinet card. Presumably, the busty and thin waisted  Miss Howell was a stage star. This photograph is number 64 of a series of theater cabinet cards. It is unknown why someone erased the Newsboy logo from the front of the photograph. Newsboy cabinet cards were distributed as premiums accompanying tobacco products. Miss Howell is quite attractive. She is wearing long gloves and a fancy hat.  An attempt to find further information about Miss Howell was unsuccessful. There was an opera singer named “Miss Howell” but it could not be confirmed that she was the appropriate age to be the woman in this photograph. Newspaper accounts reveal that Miss Dicie Howell was an American soprano who performed in many American and International cities during the 1920’s. This cabinet card was  published significantly before 1900. To view other Newsboy cabinet cards, click on the category “Photographer: Newsboy”.

Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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Paola Marie was a well known and talented French opera star. She was the sister of opera star Irma Marie. The publication “Every Saturday” (1874) tells an interesting tale about the performer. She was appearing in Bordeaux, France when an oversight or practical joke occurred in the printing of a notice advertising that her engagement was about to come to an end. The sign said that “Mlle Paola Marie was expiring on “friday next”, and there would be only four more performances of “The Perichole”. The notice should have said that the performance of the opera was about to expire. Upon reading about the star’s impending death, her faithful fans came out in mass, carrying many bouquets of flowers, to pay their “last homage” to the popular actress.  The photographer of this cabinet card, Mora, was a celebrity photographer located on Broadway, in New York City. To see other photographs by Mora, click on the category, “Photographer: Mora”.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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A wasp waisted woman and a mustachioed man pose for their portrait at the studio of William V. Lane, in Camden, Maine.  The woman is clearly wearing a corset. The photographer, Lane (1849-1903) came to Camden and opened his gallery in 1883. He also had a branch gallery in Vinalhaven, Maine.  He stayed in Camden for 15 years; and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts. While in Camden, Lane was the Chairman of the Board of Assessors and in that capacity, he promoted a new opera house in town.  Lane also served as the President of the Business Men’s Association and had a one year stint as Road Commissioner. To view other images by William Lane, click on the category “Photographer: Lane”.

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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Beautiful Opera Star: Emma Abbott (1850-1891)

abbottEmma Abbott was an American opera star and impresario. She began performing as a child and was encouraged by Clara Louise Kellogg to pursue an operatic career. She studied in New York, Milan and Paris and later worked at the Royal Opera in London. In a different company, she had her  contract cancelled for refusing to perform in Verdi’s La Traviata on moral grounds. She had her American debut in 1877 and in 1878 founded her own opera company which received great public tribute but did not impress many opera critics. She died suddenly at around 40 years of age from pneumonia. This cabinet card was photographed by the celebrated photographer Joses Mora.

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 4:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Jessie Bartlett Davis: American Actress and Opera Singer


Jessie Bartlett Davis (1859?-1905) was an American actress and operatic singer from Illinois who was billed as “America’s Representative Contralto”.  Her father was a farmer and country school master and she was one of ten children. She was discovered when she was performing locally and was taken by traveling managers to perform on the west coast.  In 1879 she made her debut in the opera H.M.S. Pinafore. She performed with several opera companies before joining the new Boston Ideal Opera and remained with this troupe until 1901 performing as their prima donna. She is most well known for her role as Alan a-Dale in the 1890 opera Robin Hood. She also toured performing opera in Europe one season and in 1897 she opened on Broadway in The Serenade. She played Broadway again in 1903 in Jakobowski”s operetta Erminie. This versatile performer also performed vaudeville, wrote songs, stories and poems. She had a home in Chicago and summer home in Indiana where she raised horses, collies and fox terriers. In 1905 she died of Brights disease and is buried in Chicago. The photographer of this portrait is renowned theatrical photogarpher Benjamin J Falk of New York City.



Alwina Valleria (1848-1925) is seen in full costume in this cabinet photograph by Cooper of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Valleria was the first American-born singer to appear in principal roles with the Metropolitan Opera. She was a soprano.  Born in Baltimore, she attended the Royal Academy of Music in London. She made her operatic debut in St Petersburg in 1871 and sang in Europe until 1879 when she first appeared in America singing Marguerite in Faust with the James Henry Mapleson company. In 1883 she first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera and she was New York City’s first Micaela in Carmen in 1878. She retired from the stage in 1886 and died in France in 1925.

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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