This cabinet card features a portrait of actress Christine Blessing. The cabinet card was produced by Newsboy (#124 of a series) as a tobacco product premium. For some unknown reason, a previous owner of the photograph apparently attempted to erase the Newsboy logo from the photograph. Miss Blessing is captured in this image playing the role of cupid. She is holding a bow and arrow. This cabinet card is risque for its era. The actress is wearing a dress so short that it looks like the dressmaker ran out of material just after beginning her work. Miss Blessing is known for her theater work but also for her role in an early film titled “Dope” (1914). Her theatrical performances are the subject of a number of New York Times articles. These productions include “The Merry World” (1895), “The Maid in the Moon” (1899), “The County Chairman” (1904), and “The Bachelor” (1909), The New York Times (1893) was critical of her performance at Koster & Bials Music Hall. The newspaper stated that she had performed ballads and that Christine Blessing was “undoubtedly a blessing in disguise”. She was clearly part of a vaudeville performance that night as one of the other acts was a boxing kangaroo. The reviewer bemoaned that vaudeville performances had adverse effects on legitimate theater.
The actress pictured in these cabinet cards is Corrine. Corrine, like Elvis or Selena, was a performer that received national recognition and was known by just her first name. In the top portrait by celebrity photographer B. J. Falk, Corrine looks to be teenager or young adult. She is dressed in theatrical costume. Corinne was the daughter of actress Jennie Kimball. Kimball acted in the theater between 1865 and 1873. The year of her retirement, she became the mother of Corinne, who the New York Times (1896) labelled “the most famous of all the child actresses of this country”. It is not clear how Kimball and her husband came to raise Corinne, but is was speculated that she was adopted as an orphan. Kimball trained her young daughter for the stage. Corrine debuted in the theater at age two and a half. At five years of age she played the part of ”Little Buttercup” in the Boston production of “Pinafore”. She played the role more than one hundred times. At fifteen years of age she was traveling as head of her own theater company. Jennie Kimball doubled as Corinne’s mother and manager. The New York Times (1896) reported that Corinne “was a goldmine” during her early days for Mrs. Kimball and remained a major money producer through the time the article was written. At the time the article appeared, Corinne was twenty-two years old. Jennie Kimball’s successful management of her daughter’s career wasn’t appreciated by all observers. The New York Times (1881) asserted that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children objected to the way Corinne was being raised and successfully pursued custody of the child. During the custody hearing, eight year-old Corinne was put on the stand and interrogated by the society’s lawyer. He asked her how many times she was photographed and she didn’t know but said “she was never photographed in tights nor with her limbs and breast exposed”. The lawyer’s questioning revealed that the child had never attended school. However, Jennie Kimball did give her “lessons” each morning. The lawyer then gave Corinne an impromptu writing/spelling test during her testimony. The attorney also prompted the child to say she had never attended sunday school and didn’t know what a bible was nor had she ever been taught anything about Jesus Christ. The society lawyer was initially able to convince the judge to remove the child from the custody of Mrs Kimball because she was “unlawfully exhibited and employed” in dancing, singing and acting on the theatrical stage. Mrs. Kimball was allowed to take her daughter for a brief period to change her clothing but was assigned an escort to insure that the child would be brought to the society. Mrs Kimball was advised by George Hackett, the manager of a Providence opera house that if she took her daughter from New York to Jersey City, New Jersey; the girl would be out of the courts jurisdiction and she could keep her daughter. Mrs. Kimball followed his suggestion, and allowed a man to spirit the child out of state. As a result, Mrs. Kimball was charged with abduction and she ended up back in court. After a short time, the judge considered all the testimony that he heard and decided to return Corinne to her parents (he called them guardians). He believed that they were loving toward the child and responsible enough to continue raising her. Interestingly, he had something to say about the religious angle pursued by the society lawyer. The judge wrote that the the US constitution protected Corinne’s parents from being punished for not providing religious education to their daughter. Corinne continued her acting career and eventually became involved in burlesque theater. The New York Times (1894) wrote “Corinne has grown up and proves a lively and entertaining performer. The article adds that “she has no large share of original talent, musical or dramatic, but she can sing and dance “well enough”. The second cabinet card picturing Miss Corinne was published by Newsboy (#20 of a series). She is wearing jewelry galore and flowers in her hair. What is that contraption that she is wearing around her waist? Is it a pouch? If so, what is it meant to carry? Hopefully some cabinet card gallery visitors with fashion expertise can explain her unusual dress.
Newsboy published this cabinet card portrait of stage performer Adele Purvis Onri. The photograph was produced to be utilized as a premium with the sale of tobacco products. It was number 110 in a series. This somewhat risque portrait captures Miss Onri in action, but what kind of action? Research reveals that she was a burlesque performer. Her name appears in a number of sources but generally articles containing her name provide little information about her. Apparently she was not a major theater personality. The New York Times (1893) announced her appearance as part of the cast of “Lovely Meteor” at the Eden Musee. Onri makes another appearance in the N Y Times (1897) and in this article the reporter describes her appearance at Koster & Bials Theater. The writer asserts that “one of the most attractive features of the long and interesting bill was the performance of a graceful young woman called Adele Purvis-Onri who did some difficult posing on the slack wire, and intricate juggling and serpentine dancing or a revolving globe”. Reading between the lines, it is clear that Onri was performing burlesque acts of a risque nature. The New York Times (1902) notes that she appeared in vaudeville at the Twenty-third Street Theater and was a “sensational dancer”. The reverse of this cabinet card is stamped indicating it was owned by “Culver Pictures” of New York City. The Culver company charged newspapers and magazines for the use of photographs owned by Culver. To view more photographs by Newsboy, click on the category “Photographer: Newsboy”. To view more images of stage actresses, click on the category “Actresses”.
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 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).
These cabinet cards feature American stage actress, Della Fox (1870-1913). In the top photograph, she is wearing a military costume for a play that she was appearing in. The photograph is copyrighted in 1893. She began her acting career as a child and became a well known musical comedy actress. Her popularity peaked in the 1890′s when she appeared in several musical with De Wolf Hopper. She also toured with her own theatre company. Her life was plagued with personal problems including alcohol and drug abuse, and mental breakdowns requiring institutionalization. This cabinet card portrait was photographed by Morrison who is known for his portraits of theatre stars and other celebrities. Morrison operated out of the Haymarket Theatre builiding in Chicago, Illinois. Please click on the category “Photographer: Morrison” for more information about Morrison and to view other photographs by his studio. The second photograph captures Della Fox in costume for the play “The Little Trooper”. The play was by William Furst (1852-1917) and appeared at the Empire Theatre in New York City. The photograph is the work of Napoleon Sarony, famed celebrity photographer of New York City. The reverse of the cabinet card indicates that the photograph was taken on December 25th, 1894. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Sarony”. The third photograph of Miss Fox was produced by Newsboy as a premium to be given away with their tobacco products. It is number 509 of a series. To view other Newsboy photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Newsboy”.
Estelle Clayton (1867-1917) is seen in the first and second Cabinet cards. She was a prominent actress as well as a librettist in the late 1800′s. In one of her roles, she starred in “Fayette” with E H Sothern. Clayton was the sister of actress Isabelle Evesson. In 1908, the two sister actresses filed suit against New York City for allegedly diverting land away from earlier generations of their family. In 1917 she died in New York City of heart failure. The photographer of both of these Cabinet cards is Sarony of New York City. The third cabinet card portrait of Clayton was produced by Newsboy as a premium for tobacco products. It is number 47 of a series. The barefoot Miss Clayton is in quite the risque pose in this image.
This Newsboy cabinet card features a portrait of actress, Frances Everett. The photograph is number 329 of a series of images published by Newsboy to distribute as a premium with their tobacco products. The photograph was taken by B. J. Falk and has a copyright of 1891. The cabinet card has a stamp from the Theatral (Theatrical?) Photo. Company of New York City. Miss Everett holds a string instrument (mandolin?) and is dressed in a rather risque costume for her era. She is also wearing a great smile. Preliminary research found no biographical information about Miss Everett or the Theatral Photo Company.
This cabinet card photograph features actress Alice Vivian and it is number 74 in a series of photographs distributed as premiums for the purchase of Newsboy tobacco products. This image is certainly risque for the era that it was produced. She is certainly displaying a lot of leg. Miss Vivian appears to be one of the pioneers of early burlesque. She is holding a stringed instrument which I believe to be a mandolin. A stamp on the reverse of this photograph indicates that it once belonged to Culver Pictures, which was located at 60 First Avenue in New York City. Culver loaned photographs to media companies to utilize in their publications. Culver charged the companies for one time usage of the images. Preliminary research uncovered no information about Alice Vivian. To view other photographs by Newsboy, click on the category “Photographer: Newsboy”.
Agnes Evans poses for this cabinet card (top) photographed by Newsboy of New York. Agnes Evans was a theatre actress who performed in the Broadway production of the Pit (1904). The actress is wearing a very revealing risque dress. Further research by myself or assistance from visitors to this site will hopefully further illuminate her life and career. Newsboy was a brand of plug tobacco and Newsboy photographs were given away as a premium by tobacconists and drug stores who sold the tobacco. The images were produced by the National Tobacco Works of New York. They were likely produced and issued in the early 1890′s. The bottom image features Miss Evans in another Newsboy cabinet card (number 8 in a series). She is wearing a risque costume that includes fingerless gloves.
These cabinet cards features Lulu Glaser (1874-1958), a Pennsylvania born actress and singer. She came to Broadway with no previous professional experience when she was hired to play in the chorus of ”The Lion Tamer (1891)”. She was also given the role of understudy to the Prima Donna. After the star fell ill, Lulu Glaser took over the role and began a meteoric rise to stardom. For the next twenty plus years, Glaser played many roles in such productions as “The Merry Monarch” (1892), “Erminie” (1893), “The Little Corporal” (1898), and “Miss Dolly Dollars” (1895). She achieved her greatest success in “Dolly Varden” (1902). Lulu Glaser was a beautiful woman and this portrait confirms that assessment.
In the top photograph she is holding a fan and her expression could be described as coy. She is adorned with a great deal of jewelry including multiple rings, a hair pin and a pin on the midsection of her dress. The photographer of this image, as well as the next four images, is Morrison, of Chicago, Illinois. The photographs have a copyright date of 1894. Morrison was a well known celebrity photographer and his studio was housed in the Haymarket Theatre. To view other photographs by Morrison, click on this site’s category “Photographer: Morrison”.
The sixth photograph of Glaser is by celebrity photographer, Falk, of New York City, New York. This photograph is copyrighted 1893. The seventh photograph, also by Falk, captures Glaser in costume for an unknown titled play. She is holding a whip and not looking particularly friendly. The image looks like it would be appropriate accompanying an ad on one of the controversial sections of Craig’s List. The photograph is dated 1892. To see other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.
Photograph number eight captures Lu Lu Glaser in the same costume she is wearing in photograph number five. The eighth photo was published by Newsboy as a premium used to accompany the sale of their tobacco products. The image is number 118 of a series of celebrity photographs. To view other Newsboy photographs, click on the cabinet card gallery category “Photographer: Newsboy”.