PORTRAIT OF AN UNIDENTIFIED BEAUTIFUL FASHIONISTA (ADDENDUM: IDENTIFIED AS ACTRESS MAY FORTESCUE)

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This cabinet card portrait features a pretty fashionista photographed by an unknown studio. Perhaps this young lady is a theater actress. This image is consistent with the work of Napoleon Sarony, Jose Mora, and other New York City celebrity photographers. The photograph presents a profile view of this attractive woman. ADDENDUM: Someone has identified the woman in this photograph as actress May Fortescue. See the images below of Miss Fortescue and see if you agree with the identification. I definitely agree. May Fortescue (1859-1950) was an actress, singer and actor/manager during the Victorian era. She was a protegee of playwright W. S. Gilbert. At age 22 she was a member of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company for two years. She left the stage after becoming engaged to an English “Lord”. Friends talked her fiancee out of marrying the actress and he broke off the engagement. Fortescue sued him for “breach of promise” and was awarded ten thousand pounds. After her break-up, she returned to the stage and appeared in many leading roles. She acted until 1926.

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Published in: on May 9, 2017 at 8:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF A WELL DRESSED MAN TAKEN IN A RAILROAD PHOTO CAR BY A CIVIL WAR VETERAN KNOWN TO BE “ECCENTRIC IN HIS HABITS”

A well dressed man poses for this cabinet card portrait taken by photographer J. B. Shane in a railroad photo car. The gentleman is dressed in his fancy clothes. He is wearing a suit with a vest and a pocket watch. He is also wearing a wide brim hat and is holding an umbrella.The photographer of this image is Captain James Boucher Shane (1840-1913). He earned the rank of captain in the Civil War where he served with distinction in the 16th Kentucky Infantry (Company D). He entered the Union Army as a Sergeant and mustered out as a First Lieutenant. After the war, he was promoted to Captain. It is my hypotheses that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his experiences in the war. My reasons for diagnosing him 104 years after his death will become apparent later in this story. After the war Capt. Shane moved his family to Abilene, Kansas. He tried his hand at a number of businesses including farming, In 1878, he moved to Lawrence, Kansas and operated a photo studio from a railroad car as well as studios in the town of Lawrence. In 1902 he was convicted of murder and was sent to the state penitentiary until his parole in 1912. Shane’s daughter, Juno Belle Shane, operated the studio after Shane went to prison. Her husband, Herbert Thompson eventually took over the business and renamed it to the Thompson studio.  The gallery continued to do business until 1953. A collection of Shane’s and Thompson’s papers and photographs are kept by the University of Kansas libraries. I was curious about the details of Shane’s crime and further research found details about his offense. The Journal of the Annual Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (1911) has a brief article about J. B. Shane. The journal explains that the Kansas Department of the GAR had proposed and passed a resolution to appeal to the Kansas Governor (W. R. Stubbs) to get Shane out of jail. The appeal was based on the fact that Shane was not allowed to testify on his own behalf during his trial. The appeal states that if he had been allowed to testify, charges would have been lowered to manslaughter, which had a shorter prison term than murder. He would have had to serve a maximum term of ten years for the lower charge. The appeal also explained the details of Shane’s crime. The article states that after the war, Shane had bad fortune in his photography business and became “eccentric in his habits”. It seems that the young boys in the town made sport of harassing Capt. Shane. They would annoy him by putting graffiti on his building and throwing sticks into his studio. The appeal declares that Shane was “a man of irritable temper” and reports that one day the boys threw sticks into his studio and Shane reacted by fatally shooting one of them. This occurred before the invention of the term “PTSD”, but rest assured that such a condition existed among the veterans of the civil war. It is likely that Capt. Shane was a victim of this disorder.

A WOMAN AND TWO COWS POSE FOR THEIR PORTRAIT IN A PASTURE

This vintage real photo postcard features a stout woman posing with two cows. The woman is wearing a wide smile. One might say that she is in a state of udder delight. This bovine aficionado seems a bit young to have gone to pasture. A postcard like this one would likely fall in the “rare” category. Over the many years I have collected real photo postcards, I have yet to see one like it.

Published in: on May 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (8)  
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PORTRAIT OF AN ATTRACTIVE FAMILY WEARING WINTER CLOTHING

This vintage real photo postcard captures a mother and her two young children posing for their portrait at an unidentified photo studio. The whole family appears quite apprehensive about having their photograph taken. The trio are dressed for winter. All three are wearing winter coats and hats. The older child is wearing gloves and the youngest child is wearing a muff. This image features a  truly attractive family.

Published in: on April 30, 2017 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

THREE BRITISH SOLDIERS IN CAWNPORE, INDIA (SITE OF HORRIFIC MASSACRES IN THE INDIAN REBELLION)

This cabinet card portrait captures three British soldier posing for their portrait at a photo gallery in Cawnpore, India. The three men are in uniform and the standing soldier is wearing a medal on his chest. The two seated soldiers are holding batons. Note the sun helmets on the floor in front of the trio of soldiers. The photograph was taken at “The Portraiture Coy” located in Cawnpore (now Kanpur), a historic city in the relationship between India and Britain. An important battle in the Indian Rebellion (First War of Independence) of 1857 was the Siege of Cawnpore. Cawnpore was the site of a major garrison of the East India Company forces. There were 900 British (including civilians) in Cawnpore as well as a large number of Sepoy troops (Indian infantry). Tensions mounted between the British and the Sepoy troopers until the Sepoys joined the war against the East India Company. The British came under siege for three weeks until the British surrendered in return for safe passage to safety. The evacuation was fraught with problems and in the end, the Sepoys fired upon the departing British. The result was a massacre which included the killing of 120 captured British women and children. East India Company forces from Allahabad marched to Cawnpore and recaptured the city. Company troops retaliated for the massacre by massacring captured local civilians and Sepoys. The soldiers in this photograph arrived in India more than twenty years after the massacres occurred in Cawnpore. However, they were likely very aware of the historic events that happened in Cawnpore.

Published in: on April 27, 2017 at 6:25 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF LILY ELSIE: BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED STAGE ACTRESS (VINTAGE RPPC)

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This vintage real photo postcard features celebrated stage actress Miss Lily Elsie (1886-1962). At the time of her portrait sitting for this image, Miss Elsie was also known as “Mrs. Ian Bullugh”. More about that later. Lily Elsie was a very popular English actress and singer. She was most known for her starring role in the London production of “The Merry Widow (1907)”. The show ran for 778 performances. A critic for The Pelican (1907) wrote that “the youthfulness, the dainty charm and grace, the prettiness and the exquisite dancing with which Miss Elsie invests the part…. I share the opinion of most of the first-nighters, who considered it could not have been in better hands, and could not have been better handled…. The night was a genuine triumph for Miss Elsie, and she well deserved all the calls she received”. She began as a child actress and before her big break had appeared in a number of Edwardian musical comedies. She was charming and beautiful and became one of the most photographed actresses of her time. Lily Elsie’s dad was a theater worker and her aunt was well known actress Ada Reeve. Shortly after the turn of the century she joined George Edwardes’ company at the Daly Theater. Some of her early appearances included “A Chinese Honeymoon”, “Lady Madcap”, “The Little Michus (1905)”. In the years between 1900 and 1906 she appeared in 14 shows. After the “Merry Widow” she appeared in  26 more shows including “The Dollar Princess” (1909) and “A Waltz Dream” (1911). She clearly was an actress who was in demand. Men paid her much attention but apparently she did not enjoy the attention. Lucile, her costume designer for “The Merry Widow” stated that Elsie was “absolutely indifferent to men and had once said that she disliked “the male character”. She added that men would only behave well if a woman “treated them coldly”. Now, some words about her marriage. In 1911 she he left the cast of a play in which she was performing to marry Major John Ian Bullough (1885–1936). Major Bullough was the son of a wealthy textile manufacturer. He was formerly married to actress Maude Darrell who only survived one year after their 1909 marriage. The marriage between Elsie and Bullough was reported to be very unhappy. Elsie’s health began to deteriorate and her husband pressured her to quit the stage and she was ready to do so. She returned to the stage during the war years (World War I) and was active in fund raising for the war effort. She next took a ten year break from the stage only to return once again. Her final performance took place in the Daly Theater in the play “The Truth Game” (1929). In addition to her theater career, Elsie made recordings, and appeared in two films, including D. W. Griffith’s “The Great Love” (1918). Also appearing in that film was Lillian Gish. In 1930 Elsie’s marriage ended in divorce. Her health began to deteriorate more and she developed hypochondriasis causing her to spend much time in nursing homes and sanitariums. Due to her psychological problems she had brain surgery. Her final years were spent at St. Andrews hospital in London. This postcard is part of a series (Arcadian no. A 26). The photographer of this image of this beautiful actress is the well known celebrity photographer, Rita Martin. She was considered one of the best British photographers of her time. She opened her studio in 1906. Martin’s sister, Lallie Charles was an esteemed society photographer. Many of Rita’s photographs can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. To view more photographs by Rita Martin in the cabinet card gallery, click on the category “Photographer: Martin”.

The second postcard of Miss Elsie provides a terrific close-up photograph of the beautiful Miss Elsie. She is wearing a dark jacket, a frilly high collared blouse and a ribbon bow tie. Her accessories include a long necklace, a pin low on her blouse, and a corsage. The postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4159 J) published by Rotary Photo. The photograph was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield Studio. Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s.

The third postcard features Lily Elsie clutching a bouquet of flowers and glancing sideways at the photographer. She looks absolutely beautiful. She is wearing a fancy beaded dress and a bracelet. She stands in front of a window. This photograph, like the second postcard’s photo, was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield studio. The portrait postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is part of a series (11840 F). The postcard was printed in Britain.

                                              

                                                       Wedding Photo (1911)

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STUDIO PHOTOGRAPH OF A VERY HAPPY BABY (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

This image is special because it features a baby with a wonderful smile and happy demeanor. It is a rare occurrence to find a portrait of a baby with such a great smile. The photograph was taken at a studio and was used to produce this vintage real photo postcard. The baby is dressed in white and looks so adorable wearing a white sweater and little booties. The baby is sitting on a chair that is covered by a lace light blanket. I am unsure how the baby is safely held in the chair. There is no evidence of a hidden mother’s hands or a device to hold the baby safely in place. A studio backdrop can be seen in the background. The AZO stamp box on the reverse of the image indicates that the postcard was produced sometime between 1924 and 1949

Published in: on April 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY LITTLE GIRL WEARING A CONFIRMATION GOWN IN DIJON, FRANCE

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This cartes de visite portrait features a pretty young girl wearing her confirmation gown and holding a cross on a chain and bible. She is wearing white gloves and a necklace with a pendant. It appears that she has a small purse hanging from the front of her dress. This cdv photograph was taken by L. Bertrand at his studio in Dijon, France. Dijon is the capital city of the Burgundy region in eastern France. This area is one of the leading wine producing regions in France.

Published in: on April 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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MISS VIOLET ESSEX: A FORGOTTEN OPERA STAR

 The pretty subject of this vintage real photo postcard is actress and opera singer, Violet Essex (1893-1941). The English born Miss Essex appears in a web site entitled “Forgotten Opera Singers” which is written by Ashot Arakelyan. Essex sang during World War I when there was a demand for “lighter music”. Essex, a soprano, fulfilled that need. She recorded under her own name as well as under “Vera Desmond”. Miss Essex was known for her performances in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas. She starred in the comic opera “Chu Chin Chow” during its five and a half year run in London. She was married to Charles Tucker, an English theatrical producer. She died just six months after moving with her family to Beverly Hills, California. This postcard portrait shows Miss Essex as Emmeline in the Edwardian musical comedy “The Sunshine Girl”. The show was first produced by George Edwardes at London’s Gaiety Theatre. The musical opened in 1912 and ran for 336 performances. The show introduced the tango to British audiences. Violet  Essex was in the original cast. The play also had a Broadway run in 1913 at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The photographer who took this photograph of Miss Essex is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913). He was a leading royal and high society London photographer and more of his images can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer: Bassano”. This postcard was produced around 1912 and is part of a series (41243 8). To hear a recorded performance (Dear Heart) by Violet Essex, click on the link below. 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 14, 2017 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN IN THE BLACK (MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE)

This cabinet card portrait features a bust portrait of an attractive woman taken at the Langley studio in Manchester, New Hampshire. The photographer used a dark background effectively to produce a beautiful image. The subject is wearing a pretty dress and a collar pin. The photographer of this image is Josiah T. Langley (1856-1916). Langley was married to Kate Langley (1869-?) in 1891 and the couple had two female children. The girls are listed in the 1910 census as being twelve years old. The siblings, Florence and Grace, were probably twins. A published interview with his daughter reveals that Langley was a pioneer in photographing snowflakes. Langley’s daughter also asserts that her father died due to his long term exposure to photographic chemicals. To view other images by Langley, click on the category “Photographer: Langley”.

Published in: on April 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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