PORTRAIT OF “LITTLE OLLIE”: A GIRL AND HER MANDOLIN

LITTLE OLLIE_0002This cabinet card portrait features “Little Ollie” and her mandolin. At least I think her instrument is a mandolin. Confirmation from a cabinet card gallery visitor would be appreciated. This little girl performer is adorable. She is wearing a cute hat and her jewelry includes a necklace and bracelet. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription stating “From Little Ollie Herself”. Benjamin J. Falk (1853-1925), a noted celebrity photographer, produced this photograph. His studio was located on Broadway in New York City. The image is numbered on the bottom right hand corner.To view more photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”. Research revealed not further information about “Little Ollie”. However, a different photograph of her, also by Falk, is in the collection of the Library of Congress.

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Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That would be a 6 string lute.

    PL

  2. The New York Public Library has also 6 photos of the child actor Little Ollie in its digitalized collection. On two of them she is in the same costume with the instrument, photographed by Falk. On one I can make out the serial number 9.
    http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/search/index?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=little+ollie

    And there has been a sell on ebay of a CdV with its imprint being: ‘Little Ollie, as “Jim,” the Octoroon’. No photographer named. The resemblance is apparent.
    http://www.terapeak.com/product-value/collectibles/rare-cdv-photograph-civil-war-era-child-actor-little-ollie-as-jim-the-octoroon/261207356603/

    After researching a bit I do not think it refers to the play ‘The Octoroon’ by the playwriter Dion Bouilcault first staged on Broadway in 1859 and then played at different theatres. Following this trace I did not come up with any info on Little Ollie because, to my knowledge, there is no character named ‘Jim’ in the play.

    What I found though, and I take the freedom to go on, is an interesting site with early photographs referring to race and octoroons (I did not know what that was before). Here is this link:

    http://www.common-place.org/vol-02/no-02/fried/fried-4.shtml

  3. I was curious about “Little Ollie” and did a little research. From the Internet Archive it was noted that there was a Miss Edith Birdkatie who was the youngest of the fold in Little Ollie The Play, 1873. The Internet Archive. from “The Theatre, Vol.2″ Perhaps this is a photo of little Edith Birdkatie?


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