STAGE AND SILENT FILM ACTRESS MABEL TRUNELLE IN FORT WAYNE, INDIANA

MABEL TRUNELLE_0004

This cabinet card features stage and film actress Mabel Trunnell (1879-1981). The reverse of the photograph is inscribed “Yours Truly, Mabel Trunnell 1898″. Therefore, this image captures Miss Trunnell at about age nineteen. Mabel Trunnell was born in Dwight, Illinois. She began her career as an actress of the stage but at age thirty-two she began to appear in films. In 1911 she appeared in “A Modern Cinderella, In the Days of Chivalry” and in “The Star Spangled Banner”. Her last film was in 1923 when she was in the movie “The Love Trap”. Her filmography on IMDb indicates that she acted in 199 different films. At the age of forty-four she returned to the stage. She was married to Herbert Prior, an early British film star. Trunnell was one of Hollywood’s first movie stars as was identified with Edison Studios. A magazine article in “The Moving Picture World” (1915) reviews one of her performance. The reviewer wrote “Mabel Trunnell becomes more attractive as the course of time silvers her hair”. An interesting sociological comment was also made by the reviewer which was in regard to the admirable strength portrayed by Trunnell’s character. The reviewer notes “most of us are tired of seeing women pictured as incurable weaklings”. The reviewer was certainly a man who was ahead of his time. This cabinet card was produced by the Barrows studio in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It appears that Miss Trunnell was photographed in a costume from one of her performances. She is dressed very much like a maid and seems a bit troubled in her pose. The photographer, Frank Rufus Barrows operated a studio in Fort Wayne between 1880 and 1900. He is considered one of the city’s most prolific photographers and had several locations while in business there. He was born in Sturgis, Michigan in 1854. He came to Fort Wayne in 1880 and partnered with Frank H. Clayton in operating a photographic studio. In about a years time he became the sole proprietor of the studio. He had many photos appear in Fort Wayne Illustrated (1897). He left Indiana for Medford, Massachusetts and operated a studio there until 1910 when he moved to Eugene, Oregon where he died in 1920.

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