The beautiful woman in this cabinet card portrait is unidentified despite the existence of evidence that should facilitate identification. One possibility is that the subject of this photograph is an actress. Evidence pointing toward the acting profession include her beauty as well as the fact that she was photographed by D. H. Anderson, a renowned New York City theatre photographer. Obviously not all beautiful women are actresses and Anderson didn’t exclusively photograph theatre stars. Further evidence exists that points the search for the subjects identity in another direction. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph reveals the subjects name, “Lillie Prush”. However, life is rarely that easy; there is a complication. Due to legibility issues, the inscription might actually read “Lillie Roush” or “Lillie Raush”. I contend that the name is “Lillie Prush” and the 1880 US Census finds a Lillie Prush living in New York City. Miss Lillie was a school teacher. She was born in 1859 and lived with her parents and brother. Her father, J. E. Prush, owned a furnishing store and her brother was a civil engineer. If this photograph is an image of Miss Lillie, a New York City school teacher, than she must have certainly commanded the attention of the older boys in her classes. There must have been a lot of crushes in her classroom. Here is one final observation. Note the ivy pinned to the shoulder and back of Lillie’s dress. Do you think this small prop adds to or detracts from the photograph? To view other photographs by Anderson, click on category “Photographer: Anderson (New York)”.
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