PAULINE HALL (1860-1919): BEAUTIFUL MUSICAL THEATRE STAR

pauline hall

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.

LULU GLASER: ROCKET ASCENT FROM UNDERSTUDY TO STAGE STAR

glaser3_0001

These cabinet cards features Lulu Glaser (1874-1958), a Pennsylvania born actress and singer. She came to Broadway with no previous professional experience when she was hired to play in the chorus of  “The Lion Tamer (1891)”. She was also given the role of understudy to the Prima Donna. After the star fell ill, Lulu Glaser took over the role and began a meteoric rise to stardom.  For the next twenty plus years, Glaser played many roles in such productions as “The Merry Monarch” (1892), “Erminie” (1893), “The Little Corporal” (1898), and “Miss Dolly Dollars” (1895). She achieved her greatest success in “Dolly Varden” (1902). Lulu Glaser was a beautiful woman and this portrait confirms that assessment.

In the top photograph she is holding a fan and her expression could be described as coy.  She is adorned with a great deal of  jewelry including multiple rings, a hair pin and a pin on the midsection of her dress. The photographer of this image, as well as the next four images,  is Morrison, of Chicago, Illinois. The photographs have a copyright date of 1894. Morrison was a well known celebrity photographer and his studio was housed in the Haymarket Theatre. To view other photographs by Morrison, click on this site’s category “Photographer: Morrison”.

The sixth photograph of Glaser is by celebrity photographer, Falk, of New York City, New York. This photograph is copyrighted 1893. The seventh photograph, also by Falk, captures Glaser in costume for an unknown titled play. She is holding a whip and not looking particularly friendly. The image looks like it would be appropriate accompanying an ad on one of the controversial sections of Craig’s List. The photograph is dated 1892. To see other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

Photograph number eight captures Lu Lu Glaser in the same costume she is wearing in photograph number five. The eighth photo was published by Newsboy as a premium used to accompany the sale of their tobacco products. The image is number 118 of a series of celebrity photographs. To view other Newsboy photographs, click on the cabinet card gallery category “Photographer: Newsboy”.

“A BRILLIANT FUTURE SACRIFICED FOR A LIFE OF EXCITEMENT” (1894): STAGE STAR MARION MANOLA

Marion Manola (1865-1914) is the subject of this cabinet card photograph by celebrity photographer, Benjamin Falk. Manola was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a popular comic opera star during the late 1880’s and 1890’s. The New York Times (1894) featured a headline stating “A Brilliant Future Sacrificed for a Life of Excitement” referring to Ms. Manola. The newspaper reported that the theatrical community was upset by the actress’s “insanity”. She was described as one of the more popular singer/actresses on American stage. She was known to be a bit eccentric but she was “heartily liked by everybody”. She was described as light hearted, having a joyous nature, and as vivacious. She was discovered by Colonel John A. McCaull, who cast her in a comic opera company. She aggressively pursued her career and had “late suppers”, “early rehearsals”, and worked hard. The stress of her theatrical life caused her to become irritable, fretful and difficult to manage. When her theatre company dissolved, she joined De Wolff Hopper’s company where she became the prima donna. After about a year she lost her job because of difficulty with a manager. She then went to Europe where she played the role of Maid Marion in “Robin Hood”. While in Europe she met her soon to be second husband, John Mason. Mason had his own personal problems including a great deal of debt. They joined a comic opera company in Boston but they quickly lost their jobs due to problems getting along with management. They organized their own company but it went bust. Manola’s mind began to fail and it became known that she had a opium habit. The press had a field day covering Ms. Manola’s psychiatric and substance abuse difficulties, as well as her entry into a rehab facility. Does any of this sound familiar? Think about the press coverage of Lindsay Lohan or a number of other celebrities of today who experience emotional or addiction problems.  Manola also made her mark in the courts. In fact, Judge Louis Brandeis, one of America’s great Justices,  was involved in an interesting and important case Manola brought to the legal system. The actress brought suit against a theatre manager and a photographer because she was photographed on the stage, without permission, while wearing an outfit (tights) she felt were too immodest to be photographed in. After being photographed, she ran off the stage in distress. The court supported Ms Manola’s suit and forbid the photographs from being distributed. The court took the position of there being a need for morality in the press. Some skeptics felt that the actresses real issue with the photographs had more to do with her not getting financially compensated for the photographs, rather than her claims that her privacy was violated. To view other photographs by Benjamin Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

Jessie Bartlett Davis: American Actress and Opera Singer

davis_0003

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.