A SOUBRETTE OF MAJOR PROMISE: STAGE ACTRESS EDITH MURILLO

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This cabinet card portrait by New York City celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk, features stage actress Edith Murillo. Judging by the sparsity of easily accessible information pertaining to Miss Murillo, it appears that she was not a major theatrical player. However, The New York Times  (1884) “Notes of the Stage” section announces her appearance in a musical comedy. In addition, the Topeka State Journal (1889) describes Miss Murillo as “a soubrette of uncommon promise”. Wikipedia defines a soubrette as “a comedy character who is vain and girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish and gossipy”. The description adds that soubrettes “often display a flirtatious or even sexually aggressive nature”. This image of Edith Murillo certainly captures the pretty actress in a flirtatious pose.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm  Comments (2)  
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PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN AND AN OPEN BOOK

pretty young girl

A pretty young woman poses for her portrait at the Rabineau Studio in Albany, New York. The young lady appears to be a teenager. She is well dressed and her wardrobe includes a lace scarf and lace cuffs on her sleeves. She is also wearing a collar pin. She is posed next to an open book and uses her fingers to hold her page. To learn more about the photographer (Charles S. Rabineau)  and to view more of his images, click on the category “Photographer: Rabineau”.

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Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF A LITTLE GIRL AND HER DOLL IN VINELAND, NEW JERSEY

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A cute little girl sits on a bench at the Victory Studio in Vineland, New Jersey. The child has her arm around her beloved doll and could not sit any closer to this prized possession. Residue on the reverse side of this photograph indicates that it once resided in her family’s photo album. This vintage photograph measures about  5″ x 8″.

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL IN EUREKA, SOUTH DAKOTA AND HER CONNECTION TO THE MAN FROM PLANET X

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This vintage photograph features a well dressed cute little girl. She is displaying a serious expression as photographer Harry Fallman (1853-1917)  tries to capture the moment. Fallman’s studio was located in Eureka, South Dakota. The 1900 US census indicates that Fallman was born in New York but living in Eureka with his wife Nina A. Fallman (born 1864) and son Gilbert (born 1897). At the time of the census, Fallman was working as a photographer. The 1910 US census finds the 58 year-old Fallman living in North Newberg, Oregon. Apparently he experienced a mid life crisis because he had acquired a new wife (Emily Fallman) and she was just 27 years old. Fallman is listed in Portland, Oregon city directories (1913-1916) as working as a photographer. However, in the 1917 directory it is apparent that he switched careers and had become a grocer. An interesting side note concerns Fallman’s son. Gilbert Fallman (1897-1984) became an actor. Among his best known roles were appearances in “One Too Many (1950)” and “The Man from Planet X (1951)”.

Published in: on July 26, 2015 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF AN AUSTRIAN ACTRESS: ROSA ALBACH RETTY

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This cabinet card portrait features German born Austrian actress Rosa Albach Retty (1874-1980). Retty appeared on the stage and in movies. She was daughter of actor Rudolf Retty. She began her theatrical career in 1890 at the Deutsches Theater and the Lessing Theater. In 1895 she appeared at the Volkstheater in Vienna and in 1903 became a member of the Burgtheater ensemble. She made her film debut in 1930 in Georg Jacoby’s “Money on the Street”. Her last film credit was for a role in “Congress Dances” (1956). She was married to Karl Albach, an Austro-Hungarian Army officer. Albach-Retty’s son, Wolf Albach-Retty was an actor as was her granddaughter (Romy Schneider {1938-1962}). Albach-Retty clearly had the “theatrical gene” as well as the gene for longevity. She died at the age of 105. She is buried in Zentralfriedhof in Vienna. The photographer of this image is Hans Makart and his studio was located in Vienna, Austria. The photographer Hans Makart is not the same individual as Austrian Hans Makart (1840-1884), the celebrated artist. It is an interesting coincidence however, that Makart the artist utilized photography in his work. Another portrait of Albach- Petty as well as an image of her gravestone can be seen below. The third photograph is a portrait of Romy Schneider.

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AMELIA GLOVER: FAMOUS SKIRT DANCER (CABINET CARD PORTRAIT BY SARONY)

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This cabinet card portrait features celebrated skirt dancer Amelia Glover. The photograph was taken by the well known New York theatrical photographer, Napoleon Sarony. The term “skirt dancer” is not a term we read or hear about today so an explanation is likely in order. Skirt dancing earned its name due to the voluminous skirts worn by the dancers. These skirts were often made of sheer and flimsy material. The skirts were utilized as part of the dancers act. Famous skirt dancers include Glover, Loie Fuller, Papinta, and Anna Held. Amelia Glover was not just any skirt dancer. The Illustrated American (1892) published an article called “The Skirt and the Dance”. In the article the author bemoans the trend that resulted in French and English dancer’s skirts getting shorter and shorter. Most dancers prior to the trend wore long skirts (below the knee). Kate Vaughn is credited with the reintroduction of long skirts and the”skirt dance”. Letty Lind and Sylvia Grey are asserted to be responsible for importing the dance from England to the United States. The pair are said to have created a “rage” with the skirt dance. The author complains that the dance “has mostly degenerated into a lot of high kicking and can can impropriety”. He continues with the contention that the original dance has become “vulgarized”at the hands of “ordinary women” of the variety stage.The author goes on to state that there is one American skirt dancer who has “remarkable natural gifts”. He identifies that dancer as Amelia Glover, also known as “Little Fawn”. The cabinet card image below gives a view of  Glover dancing while wearing a long skirt. Besides being an incredible dance talent, Glover has another claim to fame. Theatre Magazine (1922) reports that Miss Glover started the fad of wearing bobbed hair. Her hairstyle was imitated by other women of the stage as well as by women of society.

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PORTRAIT OF A SWEET LITTLE GIRL IN MT. PLEASANT, IOWA

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The little girl seen in this cabinet card portrait is simply adorable. Unfortunately, she seems somewhat intimidated by finding herself in front of a camera. She is wearing a simple checkered dress and a necklace. The beads on the necklace and the buttons on the chair clash and create the impression that she is chained to the chair. I wonder if the photographer did a retake? Nevertheless, the girl is a sweetheart and her expression talks for itself. This photograph was produced by the Schmitz Gallery which was located in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The 1893 Mt. Pleasant Directory lists the gallery’s location as 133 North Jefferson. The proprietors were listed as Charles, Jno, and Mathias Schmitz.

Published in: on July 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK

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This cabinet card portrait features a charming little girl wearing a long dark dress and a serious expression. The photographer of this image is William Wunsch (1846-1929). His obituary, which appeared in the Buffalo News, indicates that he was a war hero. As Wunsch requested, he was buried with three war medals (including the Gold Cross). Wunsch was a lieutenant in the Franco Prussian Wars and he was decorated for bravery. He came to the United States in 1871 and was granted citizenship in 1876. He was married to Sophia E. Steinmetz Wunsch (1878-1949). He resumed his Prussian career as a photographer after immigrating to the United States. He was very active in the German community of Buffalo, particularly with singing societies. Wunsch was still a photographer at the time of his death even though he was 83 years old. He is buried in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery. Judging by the scalloped edges of this photograph, the image was produced sometime after 1886. Wunsch’s studio was located on Military Road at least between 1878 and 1927. It is interesting to note that this war hero photographer located his studio on a street called “Military Road” and used a military figure in his business logo which can be seen on the reverse of the cabinet card (see image below).

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SKELETON POSING WITH A LARGE GROUP OF MEDICAL STUDENTS

skeletonThis vintage photograph features a large group of medical students posing with a skeleton. The skeleton is sitting on a stool and is wearing a hat. This image demonstrates that college humor has a long history. It is interesting to note that a young boy is sitting on the lap of a student in the first row. I wonder why the lad is in the photograph and what his relationship is to this medical school class. It is also notable that there is a young man sitting in a second floor window that the photographer only managed to partially fit in the image. This photograph is not a cabinet card. The photo measures 5″ x 8″. The subjects and the photographer are not identified. Neither is the skeleton.

Published in: on July 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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THE GIRLS OF SUMMER: WOMENS SOFTBALL TEAM (1934 VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH)

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This vintage photograph features a women’s softball team. Judging by their smiles, the ladies were in a happy mood at the time this photograph was taken. The image was produced in the year 1934 which the text on the photo indicates celebrates “a century of progress”. Two of the players are wearing baseball caps but no baseball equipment or team logo is visible in the photograph. At that time in softball history, many leagues required the players not to use gloves.  It is also notable that this team photo includes eleven players rather than the expected baseball nine. Women’s softball teams of that era employed ten players on the field with the tenth player occupying the position of short centerfield. Perhaps the eleventh player in the photo is the coach/manager or possibly a substitute. It is also interesting to note that “A Century of Progress” was the slogan for the 1933 World’s Fair.The exposition was held along the lakefront of Chicago, Illinois. The fair was operated from June 1-November 1, 1933, and May 26-October 31, 1934. It is a safe assumption that this image was taken at the Chicago Worlds Fair grounds. Softball was one of the few team sports available to women during the 1930’s, 1940’s,and 1950’s. During the 1930’s, softball was a very popular sport around the United States. In 1933 the newly established Amateur Softball Association sponsored the first national fast pitch softball tournament for women. The association tied the tournament to the Chicago Worlds Fair. In the initial competition, eight women’s teams competed against each other. It is worth mentioning that some sources report that the games were actually sponsored by a duo comprised of a sports writer and a sporting goods salesman. This wonderful memento of softball history measures 3″ x 4 3/4″ and based on the black paper residue on it’s reverse, once found it’s home in someone’s photo album.

Published in: on July 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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