Isabel Irving: American Stage Actress

isabel-irving

  irving3_0001

 

isabel irving two

Isabel Irving (1871-1944) was an American actress born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her stage career began in 1886. She performed in many performances of Shakespeare. She was also in more than 30 Broadway plays between 1894 and 1936.  These plays included “Merry Wives of Windsor” (1917) and “Uncle Vanya” (1930). The first cabinet photo was done at the studio of Napoleon Sarony in New York.  Sarony was a very famous photographer of his time and known for his photos of theatrical performers and other celebrities. The second photograph comes from the studio of William McKenzie Morrison who was located in the Haymarket Theatre building in Chicago, Illinois. The third cabinet card portrait features Miss Irving photographed by celebrated New York photographer Benjamin Falk. The fourth cabinet card was produced by Pach Brothers studio in New York City. To view a photograph of Isabel Irving’s sister, write “Evangeline Irving” in the search box and press search. To view other photographs by any of the four cited photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Falk, Photographer: Sarony, Photographer: Morrison, or Photographer: Pach Brothers.

MLLE. RHEA: INTERNATIONAL STAGE ACTRESS

rhea

 

RHEA

The top Cabinet card, by Jose Mora of New York, features actress Mlle. Rhea (1843-1899). Mlle Rhea was her stage name. She was actually Mlle Hortense-Berbe Loret and was born in Belgium to French parents. She began studying acting at age 20 upon the suggestion of an actor that she had met at a party. Her decision was also prompted by the death of her mother and financial reversals experienced by her father. She studied acting in Paris and in 1876 spent five years playing roles in Continental Europe. In 1881 she vacationed in England and  decided to appear in British theater. She quickly learned English and in one months time, performed in Much Ado About Nothing in London. Shortly after, she travelled to America where she spent the majority of her remaining life. Her obituary in the New York Times indicates that her english was “somewhat incomplete” and he always performed with a pronounced french accent. She appeared frequently on the New York stage but was a fan favorite in the “provinces”. This very popular actress died in Montmorency, France in 1899. The second cabinet card is a portrait of Mlle. Rhea that was probably taken some years after the first cabinet card. The actress appears somewhat older than in the first image. The second cabinet card was also produced by Mora.

Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 11:35 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,

LILLIAN GRUBB: STAGE ACTRESS DUPED BY BIGAMIST HUSBAND

 

GRUBB ACTRESS_0017

This cabinet card features pretty actress/singer, Lillian Grubb. The New York Times (1884) reported that the young Baltimore actress had applied to a local court to have her marriage annulled from George Steitmatter, alias, George Deberhard. She wanted her marriage declared null and void due to her husband’s misrepresentation about his marital and financial status. He claimed to be single and wealthy. While still Grubb’s fiance, Mr. Steitmatter claimed that the couple needed to marry quickly because he was about to embark on a trip to Germany. When Ms. Grubb agreed to tie the knot (sometime in 1883) , Steitmatter supposedly left for Germany. In reality, he had gone to New York, the home of his lawful wife. When Ms. Grubb learned that her new husband was already married and was actually in New York; she took the reported legal action. The top cabinet card was published by Newsboy as part of a series of actress photographs (#87). These photographs were used by the company as premiums for their tobacco products. The second cabinet card is a portrait produced by celebrity photographer Jose Mora. She is quite beautiful and appears very coy in this somewhat provocative photograph. Below is an example of one of the many cigarette cards that featured Miss Grubb. This premium was produced by Duke (#N140) as part of their “Yacht Club Colors Series” and was published in 1890.

mnE4MuGc-ZJ2PtrsvGnDUag

Published in: on July 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

PORTRAIT OF AN UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS BY OTTO SARONY

otto_0001

This close-up cabinet card portrait features a pretty woman wearing a lace dress. She is posing at the Otto Sarony Company studio and it a good guess that she was an actress considering Sarony’s history of photographing stage personalities. Perhaps the cabinet card gallery’s vast unpaid research department (it’s amazingly informed and helpful visitors) will be able to identify the subject of this photograph. To view other photographs by the Sarony studio, click on the category (Photographer: Sarony). Otto Sarony was the son of celebrated photographer Napoleon Sarony.

Published in: on June 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

A PRETTY WASP WAISTED ACTRESS NAMED HATTIE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (HATTIE HARVEY: A MYSTERY AND A STORY OF INFATUATION)

 

hattie harvey_0002

A pretty corseted actress poses for this cabinet card portrait by theatrical photographer, J. B. Scholl, in Chicago, Illinois. The wasp waisted actress is posed a bit provocatively by the photographer. She has her hands on her hips and her head is slightly tilted. She is also exhibiting a mischievous grin.The reverse of the image is inscribed and dated. The cabinet card is signed “For ever yours, Hattie”. There is a possibility that her name is “Nattie” because the first letter of the name is not very legible. The back of the card is dated 1892. In addition to the State Street address, during his career, Scholl also had studios at two locations on South Halsted in Chicago. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can identify this actress. It is my opinion that this actress is Miss Hattie Harvey. The opinion is formulated by viewing other images of Miss Harvey and by her connection to Chicago. An article about Hattie Harvey appeared in the New York Times (1892). The article was entitled “Hattie Harvey’s Infatuation”. It seems the young Chicago actress had developed an infatuation for an Englishman in her company named Brooks (now we know why she has such a mischievous grin in this photograph). Her parents were not pleased and when the company’s production closed, her father promised to arrange more engagements for the company if his daughter would give up Mr Brooks. She refused his manipulative offer and there were some “exciting scenes” that occurred in the Grand Hotel concerning this family conflict. In addition, Hattie’s mother had two fainting spells “over the affair”. The newspaper article described Harvey as a “very pretty girl of nineteen” and reported that she declared she would marry the fifty year-old Brooks. However, public speculation was that Brooks, who was recently divorced, still had another wife back in England. Hattie Harvey’s parents threatened to “cast her off” if she continued the relationship with the”adventurer”.

The second photograph produced by Newsboy (#379) as part of a series of tobacco premiums, is a portrait of  “Miss Infatuation”, Hattie Harvey. Compare the photograph with the one above and decide whether the two women are one and the same. It is my view that the portraits both feature Miss Harvey. Please leave a comment if you have an opinion about this matter. In the second photograph, Miss Harvey appears to be in wardrobe for one of her stage appearances. She certainly was an attractive woman.

PRETTY YOUNG STAGE ACTRESS GLADYS WALLIS (PHOTOGRAPH BY B J FALK)

gladys wallis_0003Gladys Wallis, theater star, is the subject of this portrait by celebrity photographer B. J. Falk. Miss Wallis appears to be very young when she posed for this cabinet card photograph. The image is numbered 16 in a series and has a copyright date of 1893. In fact, she was just eighteen years old when she sat for this portrait. Glady Wallis (1875-1953) lived an interesting life. The Florence Times (1932) tells some of her story in an article that is predominately about her husband Samuel Insull (1858-1938). The article was quite disparaging of  Insull and in the lead of the story the reporter writes “The keen brain of Samuel Insull built a 4,000,000,000 public utilities empire but he failed when he attempted to bring about his wife’s come-back as an actress after her 26 year absence from the stage”. The attempt cost him 200,00 dollars. Gladys Wallis’s was originally named Mary Bird. She was of Irish descent and upon becoming an actress was determined to be viewed as a respectable woman. She was anti alcohol and reportedly, anti sex. Insull had originally seen her as a “starry eyed and raven-haired young ingenue in an 1898 theater production in Chicago. She was just a teenager and he was 36 years-old starstruck admirer. They later met at a dinner party and two years later, they married. Gladys quickly retired from the stage and became a society lady. She had a number of estates and servants, was active in fund raising for charities, went to high society affairs and functions, and wore expensive clothing and jewelry. It is reported that she wasn’t an easy person to get along with and was not very well liked among the ladies of society. She and Insull reportedly had a tempestuous relationship and among their issues was her disinterest in sex. Insull supported her temperance beliefs. The couple had a son who eventually attended Yale University. In 1925,Wallis revealed her desire to return to the stage because of her desire for “self expression”. Her husband funded the theatrical endeavor and its proceeds were to be directed toward charity. Society turned out in mass for the opening night of what was to be a two week engagement where Mrs. Insull played the “coquettish role”of Lady Teazle. Attendees included Marshall Fields, the Armours, the Drakes, and the Pullmans. The success of this limited engagement spurred Wallis to return to Broadway. Wallis may have felt ready for Broadway but apparently Brodway wasn’t ready for Wallis and she returned to Chicago in 1927. She was not yet done with acting so she took a five year lease on a Chicago theater and established a performing company. This project failed and before long he company was operating at a loss of more than a thousand dollars a day. Things also did not go well for Mr. Insull. The depression severely impacted his business and eventually there were even charges filed against him. He fled to Europe with his wife where they entered “voluntary exile”. He was eventually deported from Europe but was well defended in a Chicago trial and found innocent of all charges. However, the Insulls had lost their fortune and at the time of his death, his estate was quite meager. There are a number of books available about Mr. Insull and they probably make quite interesting reading. This photograph was taken by B. J. Falk, New York City celebrity photographer. To learn more about this photographer and to see more of his images, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

JULIA MARLOWE: ESTEEMED AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS

MARLOW8

 

MARLOWE IN INGAMAR_0003SPIN MARLOWE_0002

 

BRANSCOMBE

Julia Marlowe (1865-1950) was born in England and as a young child moved to the United States with her family. In her early teens she began her theatrical career with a juvenile opera company. She began playing Shakespeare in her home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. She made her Broadway debut in 1895 and by the end of her career, had appeared in more than 70 Broadway productions. Her first husband was actor, Robert Tabor. Their marriage lasted six years. In 1904 she appeared in “When Knighthood was in Flower”. Great success in this play brought her financial independence. Earlier, in 1903, she appeared in ‘The Cavalier” and “Ingomar”. The New York Sun wrote about her performance in “Ingomar”; “There is not a woman player in America or in England that is – attractively considered- fit to unlace her shoe”. In 1904 she began a partnership with actor E. H. Sothern. They toured the United States performing various plays of Shakespeare. They were managed by Charles Frohman and later, the Shubert brothers. They were considered to be among the major Shakespearian actors of the day. In 1906, Marlowe played in “Jeanne d’Arc” and also as Salome in “John the Baptist”. Later, Sothern and Marlowe played in London but were not terrific box office successes there. In 1911 Marlowe and Sothern married each other. In 1920 and 1921, they made eleven phonograph recordings for the Victor Company. The top Cabinet Card was produced by Newsboy as a premium for their tobacco products. The photographer was Falk and the image is from 1892.

The second portrait of Julia Marlowe has a notation on the reverse of the card stating “Julia Marlowe Tabor”. Therefore, this photograph was likely taken during the time of her marriage to Tabor (1894-1900). The photographic studio that produced this portrait is  Klein & Guttenstein of 164 Wisconsin Street, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.  Klein and Guttenstein were leading photographers of their time. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1902) reveals that the two men  were very active in the Photographers Association of Wisconsin and other photography organizations. The photographers were considered part of a network of photographers skilled at producing publicity images of theatrical and vaudeville stars to be used in national magazines and other publications. The New York Public Library has a collection of portraits of actress Blanche Bates; produced by Klein & Guttenstein. The University of Pennsylvania Library has one of Klein & Guttenstein’s portraits of Julia Marlowe.

The third portrait of Julia Marlowe in the cabinet card gallery collection is photographed by Sarony, the famed celebrity photographer located in New York City.  This cabinet card is signed by the actress and dated 1890. Additonal photographs by Sarony can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographers: Sarony”.

The fourth portrait of Miss Marlow features her in role in the production of “Countess Veleska”. The play was adapted for a German work, “The Tall Prussian”, by Rudolph Stratz. The play opened in New York in 1898 at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The review in the New York Times (1898) stated that the “drama was made wholly interesting by the personal charm and sincerity of Miss Marlowe”. In a sarcastic tone, the reviewer comments about Marlowe’s co star, Bassett Roe. The reviewer states that Roe has only two qualities of the man he was playing, “height and good looks”. The reviewer continues his scathing description of Roe; “The only time he actually warmed up was when he accidentally set his hair on fire. Even then he would have let it burn if Miss Marlowe had not gone to his rescue.” The photographic studio that produced the “Countess Veleska” cabinet card was Pach Brothers of New York City. Pach Brothers were photographers known for their photographs of celebrities of their era. To see additional photographs by the Pach Brothers, click on this site’s category of “Photographers: Pach Brothers”.

The fifth portrait of Julia Marlowe appears to be a photograph of the actress in costume for an unknown stage production. The image was photographed by Ye Rose Studio of Providence, Rhode Island. The reverse of the card indicated that the studio was opened in 1886. The studio was located in the Conrad building in downtown Providence. The building still exists. Other photographs by the Ye Rose Studio can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographer: Ye Rose”.

Portrait number six is an excellent example of the beauty of Julia Marlowe. This image, from 1888, captures Ms. Marlowe at the young age of twenty-three. The photographer of this portrait was B. J. Falk, a celebrity photographer located in New York City, New York. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

The seventh portrait is another example of a B. J. Falk image. The photograph features a costumed Julia Marlowe in the production of “Cymbeline“. Cymbeline is a play by William Shakespeare that was based on legends about the early Celtic British King,  Cunobelinus. The play deals with themes that include innocence and jealousy. Ms. Marlowe plays Imogen, the King’s daughter. Her expression in the photograph shows fear and concern as she looks at someone or something in the distance. Her left hand shades her eyes while her right hand clutches her belted dagger. A stamp on the reverse of  this cabinet card reveals that it was formerly owned by Culver Pictures of New York City, New York. Culver Pictures has been collecting photographs and illustrations from the 19th and first half of the 20th century, since 1926. These pictures are used in books, films, and other forms of media. At the time that this cabinet card was stamped by the company, Culver Pictures was located in New York City.

Portrait number eight is a close-up photograph of Miss Marlowe. The photographer of this cabinet card is the studio of Rose & Sands whose gallery was located in Providence, Rhode Island. Note that photograph number five also came from the Rose studio, but at that time, the gallery was called, the Ye Rose studio. The Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1899) reports that Rose and Sands were the proprietors of Ye Rose. A humorous headline in a photography magazine stated “Providence Provides for All, And Rose Provides for Providence”.  Print on the reverse of this cabinet card reveals that the Rose & Sands studio was opened in 1886 and that it specialized in “High Class Portraits from Cabinet to Life Size”. Also of interest, like photograph number seven, there is a stamp on the reverse of the photograph with the name “Culver Pictures Inc”.

Photograph number nine features the beautiful Miss Marlowe displaying a mischievous smile. Note her engaging large eyes. She is wearing a somewhat revealing dress (for the cabinet card era) and has a wonderful hat atop her head. This cabinet card photograph was published in 1888 by Benjamin Falk of New York City.  The image is marked with the number sixty-nine.

Portrait number ten is a closeup of Julia Marlowe with her head covered, but with her pretty face very visible. She is likely in costume for this photograph. The photograph is taken by B. J. Falk of New York City and has a copyright date of 1888. The cabinet card is marked number “86”.

The eleventh photograph captures Miss Marlowe staring hypnotically at a flower. Someone, has written below her name that the image features her in the role of Parthenia in the production of “Ingomar”.  The New York Times (1904) reviews the play and Miss Marlowe’s performance on opening night at the Empire Theater in New York City. The newspaper reports that Frederick Halm’s play was “impossibly romantic and deliciously sentimental piece of old-fashioned theatrics. Tyrone Power played Ingomar and he was described as “vigourous and picturesque” but the article added that his voice was “not at its best”. The review pointed out that Marlowe’s appearance in this play was to be her last appearance as an independent star before joining E. H. Sothern’s Shakespearean repertory. In regard to Marlowe’s acting in this play, it was written that she played a “dear little prig – adorably dear” (prig can be defined as smug or arrogant) and she presented “a masterpiece of harmonious, modulated, and sustained acting”. The 1904 performance of Julia Marlowe in “Ingomar” marked a return performance for this accomplished actress. The New York Times (1888) wrote a very positive review of the opening night performance in Washington D.C.. The appreciative audience included three Supreme Court Justices and a number of members of the Chinese Embassy. This cabinet card was produced by the previously mentioned Ye Rose Studio of Providence, Rhode Island and it likely dates back to her 1888 performance in the role.

The twelfth cabinet card was produced by Benjamin Falk of New York City. He posed Miss Marlowe next to a spinning wheel. Her low cut dress makes this image a bit risque for the cabinet card era. If Falk or Miss Marlowe thought that looking up at the camera would create a “fetching appearance”, I would contend that their efforts failed. Rather than “fetching”, she appears dazed. The actress was a beautiful woman and provocativeness was not necessary to enhance her image. This photograph was produced in 1888 and was part of a series (#23).

Cabinet Card number thirteen is part of a series that includes Cabinet Card number ten. Both cards were photographed by B. J. Falk and have a copyright date of 1888. Both portraits are close-ups but this one is captures Marlowe looking at the camera while number ten offers a profile view. Falk really captured the actresses eyes. Her eyes are beautiful and they are haunting at the same time. This photograph is marked number number 83 of the series.

MISS FLORENCE ST. JOHN: ENGLISH ACTRESS AND SINGER POSES FOR HER PORTRAIT IN LONDON, ENGLAND

florence front

Miss Florence St. John (1855-1912) is the subject of this portrait by the London Stereoscopic Company. She was a very well known English singer and actress. She was famous for her roles in operetta, musical burlesque, music hall, opera and comic plays. She began her career in her teenage years and received much acclaim for her 1879 role in “Madame Favart”. Her light opera soprano roles included Ollivette (1880), Nel Gwynne (1884) and Erminie (1885). She joined the Gaiety Theater company in 1888. She toured a number of times in America. In 1900 she appeared in her last musical and thereafter appeared in straight theater. Florence St. John was a very busy actress, appearing in a large number of productions. Perhaps it was her busyness that interfered with her marriages. By the time she was 42 years of age, she was entering her fourth marriage. This portrait shows Miss St. John’s beauty and captures her lovely smile. The London Stereoscopic Company was located, not surprisingly, in London, England. The gallery billed itself as “Photographers’ to the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family”. The company won many prizes and international exhibitions. To view other photographs by this gallery (including photographs of other actresses), click on the cabinet card gallery’s category “Photographer: London Stereographic Company”.

JENNIE COSTELLO: FIRST STAGE ACTRESS IN THE FEDERAL WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM


HARTLEY FRONT_0006

I couldn’t find any details about the life of actress, Jennie Costello. I was able to locate another cabinet card image of Miss Costello but nothing else. I guess she was in the witness protection program and all information pertaining to her life has been erased. The actual explanation is probably that she was not a major stage star and my search for information lacked enough depth to shed light on her career. This portrait was produced by the Hartley studio in Chicago, Illinois. Edward Hartley printed a drawing of his studio’s storefront on the reverse of this cabinet card (see the image below). He was a rabid self promoter which will be evident after you examine more of his photographs and read their descriptions. You can accomplish this feat by clicking the category “Photographer: Hartley”.

better_0009

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

VIOLET LLOYD: ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS AND A PIQUANT SOUBRETTE

 

LLOYD FRONT

The top photograph features stage actress Violet Lloyd posing for celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk at his New York City studio. Ms. Lloyd is adorned with flowers in her hair and looks quite beautiful as she poses with her rather large fan. Violet Lloyd was an English actress and singing comedienne. The New York Times (1896) published a favorable review of  “The Geisha”, a play appearing at Daly’s Theater. The critic wrote that  “The greatest individual hit last night was made by Violet Lloyd, an English Soubrette (female stock character in opera and theater)……….She is a piquant (engagingly provocative)  little person, with a droll (amusing in an odd way) but pretty face, sufficient voice, a sense of humor, and plenty of agility”.  It is clear that turn of the century newspaper writers were either better writers than today’s journalists, or else, their editors were more likely to  encourage and expect higher quality writing.  As a result, newspaper articles had a more literary style and used advanced vocabulary. Please forgive me for providing the definitions of some of the words in the quotation; I couldn’t stop myself. A stamp on the reverse of this cabinet card indicates that it was once part of the collection of Charles L. Ritzmann. Other photographs from Ritzmann can be viewed by clicking on the category “Charles Ritzmann Collection”. The second photograph was also done by a well known New York City celebrity photographer. Aime Dupont was of Belgian origin and he captured Miss. Lloyd wearing clothing that was likely costume from a play. Note the fan she holds above her head. Her pose, with her hand on her hip, likely reflects feigned shock or dismay. This cabinet card is also part of the Ritzmann collection. To view more photographs by Dupont and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”.

store

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 530 other followers