PORTRAIT OF A FASHIONABLE WOMAN IN LEEDS, ENGLAND (FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

This cabinet card portrait is notable for at least two reasons. First, the woman in the photograph is beautifully dressed. Note the matching trim on the cuffs of her sleeves, across her chest, and on her high collar. The second reason that makes this image special is that the photograph was taken by a female photographer. Alice Josephine Swithenbank operated the Elm Street Studio in Hunslet, Leeds, England. Hunslet is an inner-city area in south Leeds.

Published in: on August 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SWEET BABY GIRL SITTING ON A PILLOW

This vintage real photo postcard features a very cute baby sitting on a pillow. The little princess is bright eyed and is smiling for the photographer. Note the loose necklace worn by this sweet little girl. The photographer of this image is unknown. His name and address are printed on the reverse of the postcard but time has made the print illegible.

Published in: on August 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

PORTRAIT OF A HANDSOME YOUNG MAN IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

This vintage photograph features a well dressed handsome young man. He is wearing a three piece suit with all the accoutrements needed to make him very fashionable. He has a flower on his lapel, a tie tac on the knot of his tie, and a handkerchief in his jacket pocket. This photograph was taken at the Dorge studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Elias G. E. Dorge (1863-1915) worked as a photographer from 1891 until 1941. He worked most of his career in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Bulletin of Photography (1912) reports his purchase of a studio in Fargo, North Dakota. He worked in Fargo from 1911 until 1914. Before he went to work independently in Fargo, he had a partner who helped him operate the Dorge & Jansrud studio. Dorge was born in Norway and immigrated to America in 1881. He lived in Brooklyn, New York for about two years and then moved to Minneapolis where he worked as a photographer for 28 years. He was married to another Norwegian immigrant, Dorthea Batne. Dorge died suddenly of alcohol poisoning in 1915. Another source states he died of heart failure. This photograph measures about 4 1/8″ x 5 7/8″.

Published in: on August 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF GERMAN ACTRESS LISSI ARNA (PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE CELEBRATED MANASSE STUDIO)

This vintage real photo postcard features German actress Lissi Arna (1900-1964). She is known for the films “Harbor Drift” (1929, The Squeeker (1931), and Under the Lantern (1928). She appeared in German silent films and entered US films in 1930. She was an exotic femme fatale in German silents She was married to a doctor in 1939 and the couple lived in Venezuela until his death. She appeared in Hollywood in German language versions of American films. She was in the US for only one year and failed to get significant offers from any of the major studios. In the sound era she gradually lost her popularity and was confined to supporting roles through the 1930’s. The IMDb credits her with 62 films between 1915 and 1962. View the YouTube video below to see Lissi Arne appearing in “Under the Lantern” (1928).This postcard was published by Ross Verlag as part of a series (no. 4199/2). Miss Arna’s portrait was taken by the Manasse studio which was located in Vienna, Austria. There also was a branch of the studio in Berlin. The Manasse studio was in existence between about 1922 and 1938. The studio was run by Olga Solarics (1896-1969) and her husband Adorja’n von Wlassics (1893-1946). Olga was known for her interest in photographing nudes. The studio flourished in Vienna during the 1930’s. Many of the portraits taken by the studio had an erotic flavor. The studio attracted some of the leading ladies of film and theater. The studio was also involved in producing photographs for advertising. This husband and wife team of photographers were very talented and very successful in their profession.

PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY YOUNG GIRL IN COATESVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA (THE GREAT MEMORIAL CARD DEBATE)

This cabinet card portrait features a relatively close-up view of a pretty girl dressed in dark clothing. She appears to be in her late adolescence. Her photograph is presented as if it is on a scroll. I have come across much debate as to whether the “scroll images” are memorial photographs. After reading both sides arguments, I tend to believe that they are not necessarily memorial photographs. The teen seen in this photograph is wearing a hat that reminds me of an old adage, “A bird on the hat is worth two in the bush”. Perhaps I may be confused about that proverb but the young lady seen in this cabinet card is wearing a “bird hat”. This style hat is not one of my favorite examples of millinery design. At the turn of the 19th century it became the style in the US and Europe to wear feathers and even whole taxidermied birds on their hats. This resulted in the killing of millions of birds all around the world. An article in “Sociological Images” (2014) reports on a single order of feathers by a London dealer in 1892 requiring the “harvesting” of 6,000 Birds of Paradise, 40,000 Hummingbirds, and 360,00 of various East Indian birds. Ornithologists started to speak out in resistance to this practice. One asserted that 67 types of birds were at risk for extinction. Ornithologists and their supporters began to target women who were supporting the practice of slaughtering birds. Women were receiving the blame for the barbarism being committed against birds. The writer, Virginia Woolf (1882-1942) reminded readers that it was men who were actually murdering the birds and making a profit from them. Interestingly, middle class women were major advocates in the bird preservation movement. In the US the movement sparked the development of the first Audubon societies. The Massachusetts Audubon Society organized a feather boycott, and soon the US government passed  conservation legislation that protected the birds. The photographer of this cabinet card is J. B. Gibson who operated a studio in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. John Banks Gibson is reported to have been a photographer from the 1870’s until the 1890’s. He initially worked producing ferreotypes (tintypes). In 1893 he sold his business to photographer Robert Young. Gibson was born in East Nottingham, Pennsylvania and died in 1913 in Coatesville at 75 years of age. He learned photography as a young man from Alexander McCormick of Oxford, Pennsylvania.

Published in: on August 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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BEAUTIFUL PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BROTHER AND SISTER: GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU SMILE

This terrific portrait features a young and well dressed brother and sister posing for their portrait at a photographer’s studio. However, the love and closeness that these siblings feel toward each other is very evident in this photograph. Nothing else is necessary to say about this adorable pair. This photograph is truly a “feel good” image.

Published in: on August 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

PRETTY PRIMA DONNA: MINNIE ASHLEY

This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Minnie Ashley (1878-1946). She was one of the great “stage beauties” of the end of the 19th century. She was a talented singer and dancer and she was featured in the madcap musical “1492” (1892). In Boston she performed with the Museum Company and in New York she was a member of the Augustin Daly Company. She had many successes including her performance in “A Country Girl”, “Wang”, and “San Troy”. Her acting resulted in a medical problem. The prolonged exposure to theatrical arc lights caused vision problems. In 1902 she left her acting career and married politician William Astor Chanler who was an affluent grandson of John Jacob Astor. Medical treatment did not help her vision problems and Miss Ashley than put her efforts into sculpting. Chanler and Ashley separated in 1909. She made an attempt at returning to the stage in 1911 but soon opted to pursue her sculpting. During her artistic career she worked under the name of Beatrice Ashley Chanler. In addition to the sculpting, she was active in philanthropy. The book “Famous Prima Donnas” (1900) by Lewis Clinton Strang, devotes a chapter to Minnie Ashley. He describes her as having “artless girlishness, remarkable personal charm, and skill as an imaginative dancer scarcely equalled on the American stage”. He adds that these talents explain her “sudden success” in musical comedy. He describes her dancing as “artistic in every sense” but asserts she was not exceptionally talented in the realm of acting and singing. However, Strang is very complimentary of Ashley’s appearance. He states “nature was indeed good to her when it endowed her with a most fascinating personality, a pretty piquant face, and a slim graceful figure. This postcard was published by the Rotograph Company (New York) and was part of a series (no. B 174).                                                                                                The second postcard has the same portrait of Miss Ashley except the image is color tinted. It became common practice around 1902 to hand color photo postcards. Rising labor costs led to the decreasing use of this practice after the 1930’s.  This postcard, like the one above it, was produced by the Rotograph Company (New York) and was part of a series (H.B. 14/30). The postcard was mailed and has a 1910 postmark from Warren, Ohio.

                                                                                                                                          REVERSE OF TOP POSTCARD
ashley 2                                                                                                                                      REVERSE OF BOTTOM POSTCARD

A SALVATION ARMY FAMILY PORTRAIT: INCLUDES SQUEEZE BOX, TRUMPET AND THE “WAR CRY” (BRAINERD, MINNESOTA)

This cabinet card portrait features a young couple and their baby. Mom and dad are wearing Salvation Army uniforms. Note the “S” pin on dad’s collar. Alongside the couple are instruments of their trade, a trumpet and a squeeze box. A newspaper is displayed on the floor. The newspaper is entitled the “War Cry” and was the Salvation Army’s official newspaper which they began publishing in the US in the year 1881. It is clear that this couple strongly identified themselves with their Salvation Army service. This cabinet card photograph was taken by J. G. Wagner of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Published in: on August 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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THREE PORTRAITS OF PRETTY EUROPEAN STAGE ACTRESS LIANE HAID

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These vintage real photo postcards features European film star Liane Haid (1895-2000). In the top postcard she poses holding a tennis racket and wearing a hair band to keep her hair out of her eyes. She is quite beautiful but how can we interpret her facial expression. To me, it looks like she is rolling her eyes as if she is bothered by something. Who is Liane Haid? She was born in Vienna, Austria and received training in both dance and singing. She gained the nickname of “Sweet Viennese Girl”. Haid was a prima ballerina, dancer, singer and stage actress. She worked in Budapest and Vienna as a dancer. Her stage career was mostly in Berlin and Vienna. She became a popular pin-up star through the 1920’s and 1930’s. Her first movie role was in a World War I propaganda film. She was employed by UFA and appeared in a number of comedy films  alongside other movie stars including Willi Forst, Bruno Kastner, and Georg Alexander. UFA was a major German Film producer and distributor that operated between 1917 through the end of World War II. Liane Haid refused a number of Hollywood offers but in 1942, she escaped Nazi Germany and went to Switzerland according to Wikipedia, “because of the regime, because everything was bombed, and because all the good directors had left”. Soon thereafter she got married and retired from films. She was married three times. The IMDB web site states that she has 92 film credits from 1915 through 1953. Notable films include “Lady Hamilton” (1921), “Lucrezia Borgia” (1926), and “The Song is Ended” (1930). The photographer of this terrific image was Alexander Binder (1888-1929). He had the largest photo studio in Europe during the late 1920’s and the 1930’s. Many of his entertainment star portraits appear on Ross Verlag postards. It is thought that Binder was of Swiss origin. He was of the Jewish faith. He studied engineering but did not complete his studies. From 1908 to 1910 he studied photography at a school in Munich, Germany. After the completion of his photography studies, he went to Berlin and in 1913 opened his first photography studio. Before long, he became one of the premier photographers in Berlin.  He primarily focussed on fashion and celebrity photography. Since Berlin was the capital of the European film industry, Binder photographed all the stars of the European film industry including, Lilian Harvey, Conrad Veidt, and Lya De Putti. Many of his images were used in popular film portrait postcards. His photographs could be seen in postcards published by Ross Verlag and Photochemie. Binder died in 1929 but new photo cards bearing his signature continued to be published until 1937. It is thought that the real photographer of these new postcards was Hubs Floeter (1910-1974) who was employed at the studio as an operator. The studio continued to be owned by Binder’s widow, Mrs. Binder Alleman and their two daughters. The studio was managed by the Jewish Elisabeth Baroness Vonhedlis Stengel who was later deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1938 the Nazi’s closed Binder’s studio and it was later taken over by an Aryan photographer, Karl Ludwig Haenchen . Haenchen continued to produce celebrity portraits for postcards. His publishers included Film-Foto-Verlag. After World War II the studio was taken over by the Hasse und Wiese company.                                                          The second vintage postcard portrait of Miss Haid was also the work of Alexander Binder. The actress looks beautiful in her art deco lace headdress. Her eyes can be described as spell binding. The postcard was published by Germany’s Ross Verlag and is part of a series (no. 544/4). Also credited for this photograph is “Micco Film”. Before working for Micco Film, Haid was employed by Kunstfilm. She was very successful working for the company but in 1920 she sued the company for physically exploiting her (placing her in dangerous situations) and for making her financially responsible for her own makeup and costuming. Haid’s husband, industrialist Fritz  von Haymerle, built her a studio (Micco-Film) in Vienna to further promote her career.                                                                               The third real photo postcard, seen above, was produced by publisher Ross Verlag (Berlin). Once again, Liane Haid appears beautiful in her portrait. The photograph was taken by the Ring studio in Vienna, Austria. A logo for Micco-Film appears in the lower right hand corner of the postcard. 

haid-1              REVERSE OF TOP POSTCARD

haid-1                                                                                                REVERSE OF SECOND POSTCARD

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 REVERSE OF BOTTOM POSTCARD

PORTRAIT OF AN ADORABLE BROTHER AND SISTER BY A FRENCH PHOTO STUDIO

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This real photo postcard features an adorable brother and sister. The siblings are holding hands as they pose for this studio photograph. The boy looks handsome in his sailor outfit and the little girl appears precious as she holds her doll against her body. This postcard is of French origin and dates back to the 1920’s.

Published in: on August 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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