MRS JAMES BROWN POTTER (SOCIALITE AND THEATRE ACTRESS)

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In writing about Mrs James Brown Potter, an author stated “She was singularly beautiful with her pale delicate chiseled face, long dark eyes, and hair like burnished bronze with copper lights”. Mrs Brown Potter (1859-1936) was born Mary Cora Urquhart,  the daughter of a wealthy  New Orleans Colonel. She was one of the first American society women to join the stage. In 1877 she married a very wealth New York socialite, James Brown Potter. That same year she made her stage debut at Theatre Royal in Brighton, England. Soon thereafter, she partnered with actor Kyrle Bellew and they frequently performed together over a ten year period. She performed in the United States and in Europe. She retired from the stage in 1912. She was active in raising money for war charities during the Second Boer War. Mrs Brown Potter was considered a competent actress, but not an outstanding performer. In this photograph, Mrs. Potter looks very beautiful as she peers through a curtained doorway. Her gown was likely made by the best dress makers of the time and was assuredly very expensive. Falk, the photographer of this cabinet card, was a famous celebrity photographer in New York City. To see other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

The second photograph of Cora Potter was photographed by Kuebler of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She appears to be in costume and is clearly a beautiful woman with fetching eyes. To view other photographs by and to learn more about Kuebler, click on the category “Photographer: Kuebler”.

The third photograph of Mrs Potter was produced by Jose Maria Mora, a celebrity photographer based in New York City. The image was part of a series (#7). To view other photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Mora”. Mrs Potter looks quite elegant in this cabinet card portrait. Her hat can best be described as “floral”. The photograph is stamped on the reverse with the name of the gallery that originally sold it (“John Hoch Art Store, 118 Court Street, Boston”). Hoch’s obituary appears in the Bulletin of Photography and the article reports that he was the first among Boston’s photographers to sell photographs of celebrities. He had been engaged in the photography and picture frame business in Boston for more than fifty years. The obituary mentions that he was of German heritage and was 84 years old at the time of his death. His cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage.

EMMA LORAINE: STAGE ACTRESS POSES ON BROADWAY IN NEW YORK CITY

Emma Loraine appears to have been a minor stage star. The New York Times (1879) reported that Wallack’s Theatre production of “Our Girls” included Ms. Loraine in the cast. Also in the cast was Maurice Barrymore. The New York Times (1881) has a story about the Wallach company going on tour because their new theatre was under construction. The company was planning to perform “She Stoops to Conquer” and “The School for Scandal” while on tour. Performing as part of the touring company was Osmond Tearle, Rose Coghlan, and Emma Lorraine. The cabinet card gallery has images of both Tearle and Coghlan that can be viewed by typing each of their names in the search box. Their names must be searched separately. Both cabinet card portraits of Loraine were photographed by celebrity photographer, D. H. Anderson of New York City. To view other images by Anderson, click on the category “Photographer: Anderson (New York)”. An article in the Photographic Times and American Photographer (1883) describes Anderson’s studio at 785 Broadway in New York City. The location was formerly the studio operated by famed photographer, Mathew Brady. Anderson is considered a pioneer in early photography. He made his first pictures (daguerreotypes) in Paducah, Kentucky in 1855. He later worked in Cincinnati (Ohio), Dayton (Ohio), New Orleans (Louisiana), Louisville (Kentucky), and various other cities. He finally settled for awhile in Richmond, Virginia in 1865. In 1881, he sold his studio and moved to New York City. The previously cited article described a “composition group” portrait that Anderson was working on during the magazine writers visit to his studio. The photograph was described as measuring eleven feet by fourteen feet and picturing the 7th Regiment posing in their new armory. The image included over a thousand soldiers.

NOTABLE MUSTACHE IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (THE PHOTOGRAPHER WAS A SCOUNDREL)

This cabinet card features a gentleman with a very notable mustache and bushy sideburns. He looks like a very intense man as he stares at the camera. The man behind the camera was Arthur B. Rugg (1853-?). Rugg’s life story is likely similar to many men who pursued the occupation of photographer. Such a life requires much change; first, working for various photographers in various locations, and finally, making enough money to finance ones own gallery. Rugg, at age 17, was an apprentice to J. C. Moulten of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Moulton took ill just three weeks after Rugg began his apprenticeship and Rugg was forced to be a quick learner. He operated the gallery by himself and at night consulted with Moulten in his sick chamber , receiving criticisms and instructions. Rugg operated the business on his own for three weeks and the business did not suffer with him at its helm. In 1873, Rugg opened his own gallery but it did not do well, so he moved to Boston and worked for a photographer there for the next two years. He then went to Florida to become an orange grower but he lost everything when the business failed. His next stop was New Orleans where he worked for W. W. Washburn in one of the city’s leading galleries. However, after contacting malaria, he was forced to move North and ended up in LaCrosse, Wisconsin where he worked for a year and a half for a leading studio there. In 1879, he moved to Minneapolis and purchased the studio of William Brown and soon Rugg became one of the leading photographers of Minneapolis. Rugg was also noted for being involved in a major lawsuit that had impact on the profession of photography. The American Journal of Photography (1890) reported that the Supreme Court of Minnesota handed down a decision against Rugg for selling a copy of Mrs. Ida E. Moore’s  photograph “which was put on exhibition in improper places, much to the discredit of the lady”. He was ruled to have had no right to the picture which legally belonged to the sitter (Ms. Moore). She won her suit for damages of five thousand dollars although it is not clear if that was the actual amount awarded. Another photography journal of that time reported more specifics of the case. It seems that Rugg had given one of Ms. Moore’s pictures to a police detective named Clark, who showed the photos in a number of houses of ill repute in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. The court ruled that although the negatives of the photograph belonged to Rugg, he could not print photographs from those negatives without permission from Ms Moore. Mr Rugg seems to have lacked some ethics in this instance.  Now, back to that great mustache. To view other photographs of unusual mustaches, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Mustaches (Only the Best)”.

PORTRAIT OF A SOUTHERN BELLE IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

A pretty woman poses for her portrait at the Schleier studio in Nashville, Tennessee.  The brooch on her lace collar indicates that her name is “Mattie”. She is also wearing a triangular brooch that appears to have a rose motif. Theodore M Schleier was a photographer is New Orleans between 1850 and 1860. He operated in Nashville beginning 1860. In New Orleans, he had a photographic gallery on Chartres Street, in 1857. At the beginning of that year, he was assaulted and badly injured when another New Orleans photographer, James Andrews, kicked in the gallery door, and attacked him with a poker. Andrews also destroyed much of Schleier’s equipment. Schleier’s name appears in a number of photography journals, including Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin (1886), where there is an announcement that his Nashville studio was for sale.

PRETTY WOMAN PHOTOGRAPHED IN HOUSTON, TEXAS

Lizzie Davant is photographed by Samuel Anderson in his studio located in Houston, Texas. The beautiful Ms Davant gave the photograph to her Uncle Jim and inscribed the back of the card. Samuel Anderson was truly a pioneer photographer. He worked as a photographer for many years in New Orleans and then had studios first in Galveston, and then in Houston. He wrote that he selected Houston because he believed in would become the “metropolis” of Texas. He worked in Houston in 1853-1854 and 1884-c 1901. In 1856, Anderson had a wood engraved portrait published by Frank Leslie. To see other photographs by Samuel Anderson, click on this site’s category of “Photographer: Anderson”.

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