BEAUTIFUL BUT NOT SO TALENTED THEATER ACTRESS: NORA KERIN

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The top vintage real photo postcard features actress Miss Nora Kerin (1883-1970) as she appeared in the theatrical production of “The Prince and the Beggar Maid”. The actress is absolutely beautiful as is her costume. The play opened at the Lyceum in June of  1908 and ran for 82 performances. Miss Kerin played Princess Monica. The actress was born in London and her family was chock full of actresses including sister, Eileen Kerin and cousing Julia Neilson, Lily Hanbury, and Hilda Hanbury. Photographs of Miss Neilson and Mis Lily Hanbury can be found elsewhere in the Cabinet Card Gallery. Nora Kerin made her stage debut in 1899. In conducting my preliminary research about Nora Kerin, I was struck by the number of negative reviews of her acting that I encountered. One review concerned her performance as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”. The production was at the Lyceum Theater in 1908 and the review appeared in London’s “Daily Mail”.  The reviewer wrote “‘Oh, Juliet. Juliet, wherefore art thou Juliet?’ This is, of course, an inversion and a parody; but, seriously, the Juliet of Miss Nora Kerin cannot be taken so. She declaims in the conventional old-fashioned style. She somehow destroys – on the stage – her own personality, and instead of looking the pink of charm and youth (as she is when “taking a call”) she manages to conceal both. Many of her lines were badly spoken, falsely intonated and punctuated. She had moments … melodramatic outbursts … but she is not the personality … she has not the witching simplicity of the real Juliet”. Clearly, Miss Kerin was not a luminary actress of her time. However, she was quite pretty and fifteen portraits of her can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery. The photographer of this postcard image was Rita Martin, a celebrated female photographer. She is considered one of the best British photographers of her time.Her studio was in an exclusive neighborhood at  at 74 Baker Street, Marylebone. She was born Margareta Weir Martin in Ireland.  Margareta “Rita” Martin started her career in photography in 1897 by assisting her elder sister Lallie Charles in running her studio. In 1906 Rita opened her own studio. She had a style of photographing subjects in pale colors against a pure white background and she tended to avoid photographing men and older boys.  Rita had a specialty in photographing actresses including Lily Elsie and Lily Brayton. She was also well known for her child studies which often involved children of well known actresses. Lily’s sister, Lallie Charles was more known as an excellent society photographer. Many of Rita Martin’s photographs can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. A photograph of Rita Martin, by Rita Martin can be seen below. This vintage real photo postcard was produced by the Rotary Photo Company and was part of a series (no. 1796 Z).                                                                                                                                           The second postcard portrait of Miss Kerin is also a good representation of her beauty.     In addition she is wearing a beautiful lace dress and an extraordinary hat. The photographers of this terrific image, Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. This postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1796 H) and is of English origin and is postmarked 1907.

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REVERSE OF TOP POSTCARD

kerin 2REVERSE OF SECOND POSTCARD
                                                                                                                                                            by Rita Martin, sepia-toned matte postcard print, 1900s

 PORTRAIT OF RITA MARTIN BY RITA MARTIN 

 

 

 

 

FRENCH ACTRESS GISELE GRIMAUX USING WORLDS FIRST CELL PHONE IN 1927 (VINTAGE RPPC)

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This vintage real photo postcard features French actress Gisele Grimaux caught in a candid moment as she texts her boyfriend on her cell phone. Amazingly, this photograph is dated 1927, indicating that the lovely Miss Grimaux’s cell phone was certainly a prototype. Enough with the humor. It is actually a mystery as to what the costumed Gisele Grimaux is holding in her hand that draws her intense attention. Possibilities include a mirror or a photograph. The reverse of the postcard identifies the actress and the date.

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Published in: on April 29, 2016 at 9:26 am  Comments (3)  
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BEBE DANIELS: BEAUTIFUL AND MULTI TALENTED ACTRESS (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress Bebe Daniels (1901-1971). The postcard was published by Cinemagazine (Paris Edition) and is part of a series (no. 121?). Miss Daniels is absolutely beautiful. She is nicely dressed and her outfit includes furs. She is wearing a large ring and a necklace with a cross. Bebe Daniels was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer. She was born in Dallas, Texas to show business parents. Her father was a theater manager and her mother was a stage actress. She started her career in Hollywood as a silent film child actress. She became a star in musicals such as “42nd Street”. She worked opposite Harold Lloyd and was under contract with Cecil B. DeMille.  She later became a popular radio and television actress in Great Britain. In he 1920’s she was under contract with Paramount Pictures and made the transition to adult roles. In 1924 she played opposite to Rudolph Valentino in “Monsieur Bearcaire”. She also recorded songs for RCA Victor. When talkies began, she was hired by RKO. While with RKO her movies included a number of musicals such as “Dixiana” (1930) and  “Love Comes Along” (1930). Over the course of her career, she appeared in 230 films. She retired from Hollywood in 1935. After World War II she was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Truman for her service during the war. An interesting story concerning Miss Daniels is that while appearing in a Chicago hotel, several thousand dollars worth of her jewelry was stolen from her hotel room. Al Capone, the notorious gangster, was a longtime Daniels fan and put out an order that the thief had just 24 hours to return it “or else”. The jewelry was returned the following day.

 

Published in: on April 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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ADELINA PATTI SINGS THE PRAISES OF THE CHICAGO CORSET COMPANY (TRADE CARD)

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Perhaps this entry into the Cabinet Card Gallery is a mistake on my part. I began this blog in 2008 and for many years all the photographs that the gallery displayed were Cabinet Cards. Having difficuly putting reins on my vintage photography interests, I added cdv’s, real photo postcards, and vintage post cabinet card photographs to the collection. I must have trouble setting limits because today I am entering a “non photograph” into the blog. I feel a need to provide you with a rationalization. The entry today is a vintage trade card advertising corsets for the Chicago Corset Company. The card dates back to the 1880’s. The question remains, what is this “non photograph” trade card doing in the gallery? Here is my explanation. There are many entries in the cabinet card gallery that discuss the use of corsets. The wasp waisted women seen in a number of the gallery’s photographs didn’t get that way from going to Jenny Craig and the gym. Their secret weapon was wearing a corset. Therefore, it seems a brief discussion of corsets is appropriate content for the Cabinet Card Gallery. This trade card utilizes a “celebrity spokesperson”.  Adelina Patti, a famous opera singer, sings the praise of Ball’s Corsets which were manufactured by the Chicago Corset Company of Aurora, Illinois. She ordered eight corsets and testified that she wished that she had known about them sooner. The company advertising on the card brags that “they need no breaking in” and that they provide “health and comfort”. This particular trade card is advertising for T. J. Elcock & Company which was a Dry Goods, Carpets, and Notions store in Mechanicsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here is a little information about the Chicago Corset Company, The business is cited in Robin Shepard’s “The Best Breweries and Brewpubs of Illinois (2003), I’m not kidding about the reference. The author writes that in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Aurora was considered the corset capitol of the world. There were at least three corset companies operating their factories there and one of the largest was the Chicago Corset Company. In fact, I read elsewhere, that the company was the second largest corset company in the world. At one point, the business employed 600 people and produced 2 million corsets a year. The word “corset” began to be used in the English language in about 1828. “The Ladies Magazine” described it as a “quilted waistcoat”. The primary reason for using corsets was to slim the body and help it conform to a fashionable silhouette. Generally speaking, the corset reduces the wist and exaggerates the bust and hips. Apparently there were “overbust corsets” and “underbust corsets”. Sometimes, corsets were used for medical or for fetish purposes. I’ll refrain from elaborating about the medical and fetish purposes and leave detailed explanation to your imagination. The corset company’s spokesperson on this trade card is Adelina Patti (1843-1919). She was a celebrated 19th century opera singer who earned a great deal of money for her performances at the height of her career. She sang in both Europe and America and is probably one of the most famous sopranos in history. She was born in Madrid. Her father was tenor Salvatore Pattie and her mother was soprano Caterina Barilli. Her parents were Italian and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. She sang professionally from childhood. At sixteen years of age, she made her operatic debut at the Academy of Music in New York City. At age eighteen she began performing in Europe. She later performed “Home Sweet Home” for President Lincoln and his wife shortly after the death of their son, Willie. The bereaved parents requested an encore. She was associated with the song for her entire career. In her prime, Adelina Patti demanded to be paid five thousand dollars a night. She asked to be paid in gold, prior to each performance. She demanded top billing and that her name be in bigger font than others in the company. She also demanded that she not be obligated to attend rehearsals. Did someone say, DIVA? It was reported that she trained her parrot to say “Cash, Cash”. Be sure to look below to see some interesting images pertaining to corsets as well as an image of Miss Patti.

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 Adelina Patti

004                              Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The                                                 Metropolitan Museum of Art

PORTRAIT OF PRETTY ACTRESS TAMARA DESNI AND A LIFELIKE DOLL (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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The pretty subject of this vintage real photo postcard is actress Tamara Desni (1910-2008). She has an exotic appearance. She was a German born daughter of a Ukrainian born silent film actress named Xenia Desni (1894-1962). Tamara begin her stage and film career as a child in Berlin, Germany. She also appeared in several British made films in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  She also starred in German films. In 1931 she had a major role in the operetta “White Horse Inn” which appeared in London. It was a spectacular hit at the Coliseum Theater. She next appeared in another leading role at the Coliseum in “Casanova”. She then had success in the British films “Falling For You (1933)”, “Forbidden Territory (1934)”, “Jack Ahoy (1935)”, and “Dark World (1935). Desni also played a supporting role in “Fire over England (1937)” which starred Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. She continued her film career through 1950. Tamara Desni’s social life must have been quite interesting. She was married five times. She must have learned from her four mistakes because her fifth marriage lasted half a century and only ended with her husband’s death. Tamara Desni appears in this postcard holding a life-like doll. Desni is flashing a beautiful smile. The photograph was taken by Becker & Maass of Berlin, Germany. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag and was part of a series (No. 6346/1). The company printed real photo postcards of excellent quality. Some consider their portrait photos the finest movie/theater star postcard portraits ever published.

WHO IS VERA LYDIA? PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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Who is Vera Lydia? My best guess is that she is a performer of some type. Popular enough to merit her own postcard portrait but not popular enough for me to find information about in an internet search. Miss Lydia was a pretty woman and she had wonderful big smiling eyes. The reverse of the postcard has a French stamp and print that indicates that the postcard was published by a combined printing group in Nancy, France. Hopefully, a Cabinet Card Gallery visitor will be able to enlighten the rest of us about the identity of this intriguing mystery woman.

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Published in: on April 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF ACTRESS REGINA BADET: “THE WOMAN AND THE PUPPET” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features French actress and dancer, Anne Regina Badet (1876-1949). She was a major star of the Opera-Comique in Paris. She made her debut at the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux where she became a principal dancer  She received much acclaim for her portrayal of Conchita Perez in “The Woman and the Puppet (1910)”. This postcard portrait shows her in this role. Her stage acting led her to a brief film career (eleven movies between 1908 and 1922). The Los Angeles Herald (1906) described Badet as the “new Paris pet” and that her dances in the Opera “Aphrodite” had “caused a furor among theater goers. A critic wrote that he went to see the performance because the opera was a “masterpiece” and because he wanted to see the star soprano, Mary Garden, interpretation of her role. Instead, he reports he was most drawn to the performance by Regina Badet.  Miss Badet  retired from stage and screen in the early 1920’s.The photographer of this image is listed on the postcard as “Bert”. I believe that this is the same photographer who partnered with celebrated photographer Paul Boyer who is known for his celebrity and theater images. This postcard was published by F. C. & C..

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HERITO: A PORTRAIT OF MLLE HERO (THEATER ACTRESS)

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This vintage real photo postcard features French glamour star Herito (Mlle Hero). She was a celebrated actress and dancer of her era. Although she was a popular subject of photo postcards, this particular postcard is not very common. The postcard was published by Rotophot Berlin (RPH). Rotophot made it’s debut in Berlin, Germany around the turn of the century (1900). The company had other European offices including London and Budapest. They published many different postcard topics including stage stars. Many of their early postcards were tinted. Eventually Rotophot morphed into “Ross Verlag” a postcard company that collectors know for the many postcards they produced featuring actors and actresses.

 

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Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF GERMAN ACTRESS VILMA VON MAYBURG (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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A costumed Vilma Von Mayburg poses for her portrait in this vintage real photo postcard. The beautiful German stage and silent film actress is known for “Die Erbin des Grafen von Monte Christo (1919)”, Der siebente kub (1918)”, and  “Menschen in Ketten (1919)”. Her film career began in 1916.  This postcard was published by “EPA” which is the Albert Phototype Establishment. The company was located in Algers, Algeria.

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PORTRAIT OF GRACE BOWMAN, PERFORMER AT THEATRE DU CHATELET IN PARIS, FRANCE (BY PAUL BOYER)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a costumed stage actress named Violet Bowman. Her clownish costume’s pattern includes men in tuxedos and blackface. Preliminary research yielded little information about Miss Bowman but it appears from the postcard that she performed at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris France. The theatre was designed by Gabriel Davioud after it was requested by Baron Haussmann between 1860 and 1862. Although it has been remodeled, the theatre is still in operation and currently seats 2,500 people. Violet Bowman is quite pretty in this portrait by celebrated Paris photographer, Paul Boyer (1861-1908). He photographed many famous people during his career. This postcard is published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 1264). The postmark of this French stamped postcard is from Castelnaudary, France and is dated 1905. It is addressed to Mazamet, France.

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