A PRETTY WASP WAISTED ACTRESS NAMED HATTIE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (HATTIE HARVEY: A MYSTERY AND A STORY OF INFATUATION)

 

hattie harvey_0002

A pretty corseted actress poses for this cabinet card portrait by theatrical photographer, J. B. Scholl, in Chicago, Illinois. The wasp waisted actress is posed a bit provocatively by the photographer. She has her hands on her hips and her head is slightly tilted. She is also exhibiting a mischievous grin.The reverse of the image is inscribed and dated. The cabinet card is signed “For ever yours, Hattie”. There is a possibility that her name is “Nattie” because the first letter of the name is not very legible. The back of the card is dated 1892. In addition to the State Street address, during his career, Scholl also had studios at two locations on South Halsted in Chicago. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can identify this actress. It is my opinion that this actress is Miss Hattie Harvey. The opinion is formulated by viewing other images of Miss Harvey and by her connection to Chicago. An article about Hattie Harvey appeared in the New York Times (1892). The article was entitled “Hattie Harvey’s Infatuation”. It seems the young Chicago actress had developed an infatuation for an Englishman in her company named Brooks (now we know why she has such a mischievous grin in this photograph). Her parents were not pleased and when the company’s production closed, her father promised to arrange more engagements for the company if his daughter would give up Mr Brooks. She refused his manipulative offer and there were some “exciting scenes” that occurred in the Grand Hotel concerning this family conflict. In addition, Hattie’s mother had two fainting spells “over the affair”. The newspaper article described Harvey as a “very pretty girl of nineteen” and reported that she declared she would marry the fifty year-old Brooks. However, public speculation was that Brooks, who was recently divorced, still had another wife back in England. Hattie Harvey’s parents threatened to “cast her off” if she continued the relationship with the”adventurer”.

The second photograph produced by Newsboy (#379) as part of a series of tobacco premiums, is a portrait of  “Miss Infatuation”, Hattie Harvey. Compare the photograph with the one above and decide whether the two women are one and the same. It is my view that the portraits both feature Miss Harvey. Please leave a comment if you have an opinion about this matter. In the second photograph, Miss Harvey appears to be in wardrobe for one of her stage appearances. She certainly was an attractive woman.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s always so wonderful to discover the stories behind those sepia faces. And it’s also wonderful to read about people described as ‘adventurers’.

    • I believe you are right that it is the same girl, considering looks, Chicago & all… but several years older than the news article listed. Hattie would have been interesting to know … er, ah .. maybe. Also known as Hattie Patti, as a teener she attracted attention as a roller-skater .. and then as a protégé of diva Angelina Patti. Quite a gal, she was said to be adept at looking out for #1. Wouldn’t it be nice to know who “For ever yours, Hattie”was addressed to? … probably not.

  2. I got a cabinet card that is addressed 547 S. Halsted street Chicago. It’s a wedding photo done by scholl. Trying to figure out how to put it in here for you to see

    • I would love to see the image. If you scan it, you can email it to bmarshphd@gmail.com


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