ROSALBA BEECHER: PRETTY OPERA SINGER

The celebrated Sarony studio of New York City, famed theatrical photographer, published this cabinet card portrait of Rosalba Beecher. Ms Beecher is wearing a very  ornate and dramatic dress. Note the design of an owl sitting on a crescent moon. She is wearing a great deal of jewelry. Her clothing is likely a costume from an opera that she was appearing in. Beecher’s magnificent ig eyes are evident in this portrait. During her stage career, Beecher appeared in one Broadway play, “Prince Methusalem” (1884). Miss Beecher is mentioned in a New York Times (1900) article concerning her divorce from Clarence Lyman Collins of the dry goods commission firm of  Whitin Collins. Mr. Collins had filed for divorce because he alleged that his wife, whom he married in 1886 (She was 23 and he was 38 years-old), was causing him financial ruin with her excessive extravagant spending. It was alleged that her spending was creating a grave economic problem for Collins and she agreed to return to her pre marital profession of being an opera singer. She moved to Paris to get experience before executing her plan to return to singing on the American stage. She stayed in Europe for several years. While there, she continued her incessant spending and Collins found himself forty thousand dollars in debt. An interesting side note is that Collins’s first wife was a Vanderbilt. This particular cabinet card has been well travelled. The reverse of the cabinet card has “Property Of” stamps from Culver Service (New York), Frederic Hilton (New York), and Charles Ritzman (New York). Culver Pictures was a service that collected photographs that for a fee could be used by the media to accompany the stories appearing in their publications. Culver Service was established in 1926. Research yielded no information concerning the identity of Frederic Hilton. Charles L. Ritzmann was a well known purveyor of photographs of stage actors and actresses. To view other cards formerly owned by Culver or by Ritzmann, type Culver of Ritzmann in the search box.

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