“A BRILLIANT FUTURE SACRIFICED FOR A LIFE OF EXCITEMENT” (1894): STAGE STAR MARION MANOLA

Marion Manola (1865-1914) is the subject of this cabinet card photograph by celebrity photographer, Benjamin Falk. Manola was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a popular comic opera star during the late 1880’s and 1890’s. The New York Times (1894) featured a headline stating “A Brilliant Future Sacrificed for a Life of Excitement” referring to Ms. Manola. The newspaper reported that the theatrical community was upset by the actress’s “insanity”. She was described as one of the more popular singer/actresses on American stage. She was known to be a bit eccentric but she was “heartily liked by everybody”. She was described as light hearted, having a joyous nature, and as vivacious. She was discovered by Colonel John A. McCaull, who cast her in a comic opera company. She aggressively pursued her career and had “late suppers”, “early rehearsals”, and worked hard. The stress of her theatrical life caused her to become irritable, fretful and difficult to manage. When her theatre company dissolved, she joined De Wolff Hopper’s company where she became the prima donna. After about a year she lost her job because of difficulty with a manager. She then went to Europe where she played the role of Maid Marion in “Robin Hood”. While in Europe she met her soon to be second husband, John Mason. Mason had his own personal problems including a great deal of debt. They joined a comic opera company in Boston but they quickly lost their jobs due to problems getting along with management. They organized their own company but it went bust. Manola’s mind began to fail and it became known that she had a opium habit. The press had a field day covering Ms. Manola’s psychiatric and substance abuse difficulties, as well as her entry into a rehab facility. Does any of this sound familiar? Think about the press coverage of Lindsay Lohan or a number of other celebrities of today who experience emotional or addiction problems.  Manola also made her mark in the courts. In fact, Judge Louis Brandeis, one of America’s great Justices,  was involved in an interesting and important case Manola brought to the legal system. The actress brought suit against a theatre manager and a photographer because she was photographed on the stage, without permission, while wearing an outfit (tights) she felt were too immodest to be photographed in. After being photographed, she ran off the stage in distress. The court supported Ms Manola’s suit and forbid the photographs from being distributed. The court took the position of there being a need for morality in the press. Some skeptics felt that the actresses real issue with the photographs had more to do with her not getting financially compensated for the photographs, rather than her claims that her privacy was violated. To view other photographs by Benjamin Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

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MASTER R. DEMARST: PIANO BOY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

This Cabinet Card captures young Master R. Demarst sitting at a piano in the studio of W. J. Root, in Chicago, Illinois. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph indicates that the boy musician was six years old at the time the image was produced. He is very well dressed in his velvet suit. He is wearing a ring on his right middle finger. The photographer’s studio was located at 243-253 Wabash Avenue, in Chicago. The back stamp on the reverse of the card states that Root’s studio was located in Kimball Hall. When Root began his business, he took souvenir photographs at the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893. He is mentioned in various photographic journals from 1892 until 1897. To view other photographs by Root, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer:  Root.”   Thanks to the amazing research department of the Cabinet Gallery (see comments), additional identifying information about the young boy in this photograph has been discovered. In the book, “Musical Instruments at the World’s Columbian Exposition: A Review (1895), it is noted that Master Rubinstein Demarest, aged 5, won the love of all who met him. He appeared at the Exposition and “his piano playing was almost marvelous considering his youth”. The boy was a native of St. Paul, Minnesota where he was regarded as a protege of great promise.

FOUR UNIFORMED FIREMEN IN DUNDEE,ILLINOIS

This cabinet card features four uniformed firemen who are members of the fire department’s chemical brigade (#1). The fire fighter on the extreme right is holding a metal hose nozzle and his uniform indicates that he is a foreman of the brigade. The fireman on the far left sideis wearing a corsage and holding a cigar. A backstamp on this cabinet card indicates that the photographer is J.P.Kildahl of Dundee, Illinois. To view other photographs of firemen, click the Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Firemen and Policemen”.

 

CUTE CURLY HAIRED GIRL IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

A cute girl poses for her portrait at the studio of Latto, of Boston, Massachusetts. The youth is wearing a lot of jewelry; including a necklace, bracelets, and rings. She is also wearing a ribbon as well as an interesting belt and button sweater. She has moderately long hair and it is quite curly. The photographer, John C. Latto is listed as a photographer in the 1873 Boston Directory. At that time, he was partnered with George T. Rand. A publication of the South Boston Citizen’s Association(1900) mentions the “recent” death of Latto and the sale of his business to photographer, Lester Ayer. The publication also cites Latto as one of the leading photographers of Boston.

Published in: on January 28, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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CUTE GIRL SLEDDING WITH HER FATHER IN WINTER WONDERLAND OF JOLIET, ILLINOIS

This cabinet card captures a little girl snug in her sled. Standing beside her, is her father. Both are wearing winter clothing including gloves and a warm hat. This photograph was taken inside a studio and the setting includes fake falling snow and fake snow on the ground and sled, as well as on the man and his daughter. The photographer is Severn, of Joliet, Illinois.

Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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OLD MAN AND HIS DOG IN LUVERNE, MINNESOTA

An old man and his dog pose for their portrait at the studio of O. S. Myhre in Luverne, Wisconsin. The gentleman has “dressed up” for his portrait. Interestingly, the subject is sitting on what appears to be an uncomfortable stool while the dog (labrador retriever?) gets to lie down on the more comfortable wicker chair.

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR IN NEW YORK (PHOTOGRAPH BY SARONY)

This cabinet card, by Sarony of New York City, presents a challenge to the research department of the Cabinet Card Gallery. The research department is composed of all the visitors to this site who bring with them a vast amount of knowledge which they generously share through their comments. So, what is the challenge? The challenge is; “Who is the subject of this photograph?”. This intense and interesting looking gentleman, is likely an actor. Although the evidence would not hold up in court, it does lean toward the hypothesis that this fur collared and mustachioed man, is a stage performer. The subject has the “look” of  a performer and the photographer is Sarony, who was a noted photographer of theatre stars. If any visitors have some ideas as to the identity of this gentleman, please leave a comment. Other photographs by Sarony may be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Sarony”.

Published in: on January 25, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (6)  
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AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

This cabinet card features an African American woman posing for her portrait at the studio of Hartley in Chicago, Illinois. The woman is nicely dressed. Her fashion statement includes an interesting hat and a cumberbund. The Cabinet Card Gallery has a large collection of images of Blacks at the turn of the century. The images can be viewed by clicking on the category of  “Black Americans”. Other photographs by Hartley, as well as some biographical information about him,  can be seen by clicking on “Photographer: Hartley”.

BOY DRUMMER FROM TRAVELING MINSTREL SHOW IN FERNDALE, CALIFORNIA

This cabinet card features a bow tied young boy posing with two drums in the studio of A. W. Gilfillian, in Ferndale, California. The reverse of the card has an inscription that identifies the subject as Arthur Robinson, who was “part of a traveling minstrel show” during the late 1800’s. The inscription also dates the photograph “before mom’s visit in 1895”.

Published in: on January 23, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF VERY ATTRACTIVE FAMILY IN HAMBURG, GERMANY

A very attractive family poses for their portrait at the photographic studio of Theodore Reimers in Hamburg, Germany. Both the parents and the children have wonderful smiles captured by the photographer.

Published in: on January 22, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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