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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PAULINE HALL (1860-1919): BEAUTIFUL MUSICAL THEATRE STAR

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The top cabinet card features Pauline Hall (1860-1919), one of the most popular turn of the century prima donnas. She began her career as a dancer in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 15. She joined the Alice Oats Opera Company but left to tour in plays with famed actress Mary Anderson. By 1880, she worked for well known producer Edward Everett Rice in musical productions. Early in their association, he gave her a role in “Evangeline”. Her shapely figure allowed her to take male roles as she did in “Ixion” (1885). Her greatest success came in the title role of the first American production of  “Erminie” (1886). She played in more than two dozen Broadway operettas. Her final role was in the “Gold Diggers” (1919). This photograph was taken by famed celebrity photographer, Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachusetts. Other photographs by Chickering can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Chickering”. The second cabinet card, photographed by B. J. Falk, of New York City, captures Pauline Hall in stage costume. The photograph is #305 in a series from Newsboy. The tobacco company (Newsboy) gave away cabinet cards as a premium with the purchase of their products. This cabinet card shows a copyright date in the 1890’s. The exact date has become illegible over time. To view other Newsboy or Falk cabinet cards, click on the categories “Photographer: Falk” or “Photographer: Newsboy”. The third cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Falk. Ms. Hall looks quite beautiful in this image. She is wearing earrings and an interesting hat. The photograph is a bit risque. Much of her neck and shoulders are exposed. In addition, her dress accentuates and reveals significant cleavage. Is the material at the base of her scoop neckline part of her dress; or was it added in order to make the photograph less provocative? Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to provide an explanation. The fourth cabinet card image, once again photographed by B J Falk, features Miss Hall wearing a dark dress, long gloves, a lovely hat, and a purse. Pauline Hall certainly was a stage beauty as attested by this photograph.

PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA BY PROMINENT PHOTOGRAPHER JOSEF LOWY

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This cabinet card photograph features a well dressed and pretty woman displaying a beautiful smile. She also has beautiful eyes. The woman is photographed by J.Lowy who operated a studio in Vienna, Austria. A notation on the reverse of the cabinet card (see image below) indicates that the photograph was taken in 1904. The former owner of this vintage image contends that the woman in the photograph was an actress. I can not confirm that she was a stage performer but it certainly would not be surprising. The photographer of this wonderful portrait was Josef Lowy (1834-1902). Lowy was a very prominent and talented Vienna photographer who was active in the city between the 1870’s and early 1900’s. A book of Lowy’s photographs (published in 1897) can be found on “Abe Books” at a price over three thousand dollars. Lowy was an Austrian. He was trained as a lithographer and received an artistic education at the Vienna Academy. He entered the field of photography in 1861 and was a regular exhibitor in photographic salons beginning in 1864. He won medals in the 1873 Vienna World Exhibition and became an official photographer to the Austrian Court. Lowy had varied interests in photography. He did royal portraits and also photographed industrial sites. He photographed many theatre and opera stars. Upon Lowy’s death, his wife (Mathilde) took over operation of the studio until 1908. Mathilde Lowy (1854-1908) had married Josef in 1875. She was succeeded in business by Lowy’s nephew, Gustav Lowy who renamed the studio “Art Institute J. Lowy”. By now you may realize that I reported that Josef Lowy took this photograph in 1904 but died in 1902. This fact makes this particular photograph even more special. Actually, my hypotheses is that this cabinet card portrait was taken by a photographer employed by Lowy’s widow, or perhaps Mrs. Lowy herself.

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Published in: on July 10, 2015 at 8:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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ROSE ZAZEL: PRETTY AND EXPLOSIVE YOUNG WOMAN (FIRST FEMALE HUMAN CANNONBALL)

HUMAN CANON BALL_0005This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young woman who was quite a daredevil. She was the first female canonball. Her stage name was Rose Zazel. In this photograph she is wearing her namesake rose as well as a necklace, bracelet, and earrings. She is also wearing a risque costume. Miss Zazel’s act involved being shot from a spring loaded cannon invented by “The Great Farini”. Zazel’s given name was Rossa Matilda Richter and she was just 14 years of age when she was engaging in this exciting but reckless behavior. At one point, she toured with the PT Barnum Circus. Eventually she suffered a career ending injury when she missed a safety net and suffered a broken back. The information I cited about Rose Zazel comes from an interesting article on Scribol.com. The article is entitled “Seven Most Mind Blowing She-Daredevils in History” and it was written by Karl Fabricus. The article included the image below which is a poster advertising an appearance of “Zazel the Human Projectile”.  This cabinet card image was photographed by Marc Gambier, a well known photographer of celebrities. You can view more of his images and learn more about him in the category “Photographer: Gambier”.

Zazel_The_Human_Projectile_vintage_poster_on_display_at_the_Circus_World_Museum_in_Baraboo,_Wisconsin.

A RISQUE PORTRAIT OF AN ACTRESS AND HER VIOLIN IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA

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This cabinet card portrait features an actress, or possibly a musician, holding a violin and bow. She is dressed in a risque fashion. Courtesy of her short dress, she is exposing a great deal of her legs. The photograph was taken by Julius Gertinger (1834-1883) whose studio was located in Vienna, Austria. The reverse of the photo (seen below) shows some of the medals won by Gertinger in exhibitions. One of the earlier medals is from 1868. The date of this photograph (1886) is also listed on the reverse of the cabinet card. Gertinger is cited in the “British Journal of Photography (1874)”. In a review of a collection of his photos appearing in an international exhibition, the writer states that his photographs “possess great delicacy”. “The Photographic News (1875)”  in announcing the winners of awards at the Vienna Photographic Exhibition, reports that Gertinger and another winner were “by no means unknown to many of their brethren in Great Britain”. The New York Public Library’s Photography Collection includes the work of Gertinger.

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Published in: on June 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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JENNIE WINSTON: INTERCONTINENTAL COMIC OPERA ACTRESS

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The top cabinet card features early theatre actress, Jennie Winston. Unfortunately, biographical information concerning Ms. Winston appears to be sparse, and further research is necessary. An 1881 publication reveals that Jennie Winston was a native of Scotland and moved to Australia to join W. S. Lyster’s Italian Opera company. Her tenure with this company was seven years. She next went ot America under engagement to “Mr Maguire”, for whom she worked for one season’s duration. She then formed her own traveling opera company which journeyed to the western United States and British Columbia. The “Dramatic News” described Winston as “unsurpassed as a comic-opera artist by anyone in this country”. The photographer of this portrait was the studio belonging to Gilbert & Bacon. This studio was well known for their quality work as well as their work with local and visiting celebrities. To view other photographs by this studio, click on the category of “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

The second photograph, also by Gilbert & Bacon, captures a costumed Jennie Winston playing the mandolin. Note the backdrop  used in this photograph. The backdrop was an excellent choice for the photograph as it is compatible with Ms. Winston’s costume. It was also a good choice technically; the actress does realistically appear to be standing on a winding stone road.

The third photographic portrait features a sultry looking Jennie Winston, and is by celebrated photographer, Marc Gambier (1838-1900). The fourth cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Gambier. Miss Winston is in costume for an unnamed theatrical performance. She is acting in the portrait. Note her provocative and coy appearance. Gambier was born and educated in Paris, France. At the age of 19, he came to America for a very short stint of time. He returned to France and became a student of the great painter, Le Creton. Subsequently, he became a student of another great painter, Camino. He then returned to America and for five years, studied and worked under esteemed photographer, Sarony (view Sarony’s photographs by clicking on the category “Photographer: Sarony”). He then launched his own photography business in New York City. He divided his time between his first love, painting, and his business of taking and selling photographs. Gambier was known as a great historical painter. He was a veteran of the French Army and while in the service, he sketched and painted several important battles. Research reveals that Gambier was listed in the 1880 US census. He was forty-one years old and living in New York City with his family. He is listed as living with his wife Emilie (age 28), daughters Louise (age 10) and Emilie (age 7), and son M. L. (age 2). Also in the residence was a young woman (age 25) who worked as a servant. Gambier was known for the many theatrical photographs he produced as well as for selling postage stamp sized portrait photographs, that people attached to their letters and postcards.

PORTRAIT OF ETTA MILLER ORCHARD: NOTED SOPRANO

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The pretty and well dressed woman featured in this cabinet card portrait is noted soprano, Etta Miller Orchard. Her photograph appears in “The International (1901)”. In addition, she is mentioned in “The Musical Courier (1902)” for her performance in a Good Friday service at the Marble Collegiate Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Interestingly the photographer of the image seen in “The International” is Aime Dupont, the same photographer who created the portrait seen above. Dupont is a well known New York City photographer who took many photographs of celebrities. To view more of his images and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”. The cabinet card is stamped on the reverse with the name “Charles L. Ritzmann”. Ritzmann was a well known collector and retailer of celebrity cabinet cards. To view more of Ritzmann’s photographs, click on the category “Charles Ritzmann Collection”.

MYSTERY ACTRESS AT THE HAYMARKET THEATRE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (MYSTERY SOLVED)

A pretty and nicely dressed woman poses for her portrait from celebrity photographer, William McKenzie Morrison, at the Haymarket Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. The subject of this photograph looks very much like actress, Lily Hanbury (1874-1908). An inscription on the reverse of this image states
“to my darling brother Mike, from Lily”. The card is dated “Aug   8, 1894″. There were many actresses in 1894 named Lily; Lily Langtry was likely the most famous of them all. Research failed to provide evidence that this cabinet card photograph features Ms. Hanbury. It is not certain that she ever appeared at the Haymarket, nor is there data to confirm that she had a brother named Mike. To view a confirmed photograph of Lily Hanbury, type her name in Cabinet Card Gallery’s Search Box and click the search button. To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”. ADDENDUM: I am grateful to a cabinet card gallery visitor who left a comment (click comment below) identifying the actress who is the subject of this photograph. Her name is Hattie Williams (1870-1947) and another photo of her can be seen in the form of the photograph found below. Miss Williams was an American stage actress, comedienne, and singer. She was born in Boston. She began her career in the farcical plays of Charles Hoyt. She was a popular actress in vaudeville and with the Charles Frohman Theater Company. At one point in her career she was considered an arch rival to Ethel Barrymore. A photograph of Miss Barrymore is posted in the cabinet card gallery and can be viewed by putting her name in the search box. Williams appeared in one motion picture (1915).

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PRETTY WOMAN WEARING A FEATHERED HAT IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

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A pretty well dressed young woman poses for her portrait at the Anderson studio in San Francisco, California. She is wearing a beautiful dress with a large bow and a feathered hat sits atop her head. She is also wearing what appears to be diamond earrings and a collar pin. I would guess, and it’s only a guess,  that the woman in this photograph is an actress. The woman’s beauty, attire, and poise leads me to hypothesize her theatrical background. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will recognize her and be able to provide the rest of us with her identity. The photographer of this image is Hugh S. Anderson. He was born in Scotland sometime between 1820 and 1828.  Anderson was a California photographer who operated studios in Eureka (1858-1865), Hydesville (1859-1860), San Francisco (1866-c1895), and Petaluma (1875). The Valencia Street studio that produced this photograph operated between 1879 and 1884.

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