This cabinet card portrait features stage actress Jennie Calef. Variety (1917) offers a brief obituary for the actress. She was described as a noted soubrette who became a melodrama star in her later years. There are many articles about Jennie Calef in the newspaper archives. Most are brief and are concerned with announcing her appearances and providing reviews. Many of the articles mention Calef’s beauty. The Cornell Daily Sun (1883) hawks her appearance in M’liss at the Wilgus Opera House in Ithaca, New York. The newspaper quotes a review from the Richmond Sentinel, “Jennie Calef secures the enthusiasm of her audience from her first appearance, and retains it to the end. She is a charming actress”.  A negative review can be found in The Daily Gazette- Fort Wayne Indiana (1885). The newspaper reports that “Jennie Calef, the actress who afflicted the people here in a bad play called Little Muffets is (now) devastating the Ohio towns.” It further reports that finances were becoming a problem for the theater company and that one of the “ham fat” actors of the company had taken legal action, attaching the shows baggage for his salary due. Another story concerning the actress is reported by Ohio’s Newark Daily Advocate (1886). The newspaper states that Jennie hurt one of her “beautiful limbs” while rushing onto a Sandusky, Ohio stage. The injury appears to have been to her knee. The article also asserts that she was confined to a Dayton, Ohio hotel room for two months in order to recover. She and a lawyer spoke to a judge about filing suit but the judge advised her not to pursue a law suit against the theater. An unconfirmed story was that the accident occurred when she slipped on some flowers that were given to her by her manager. Further articles indicate that she eventually did file a ten thousand dollar suit against the theater. The Sporting Life (1890) reports Calef’s marriage to Andrew Waldron who was her manager and an actor. Preliminary research failed to uncover details about the latter years of  Jennie Calef’s life. This cabinet card portrait was produced by the studio of Gilbert & Bacon. To read more about the Philadelphia studio and it’s history, click on the category “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.



LITTLE OLLIE_0002This cabinet card portrait features “Little Ollie” and her mandolin. At least I think her instrument is a mandolin. Confirmation from a cabinet card gallery visitor would be appreciated. This little girl performer is adorable. She is wearing a cute hat and her jewelry includes a necklace and bracelet. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription stating “From Little Ollie Herself”. Benjamin J. Falk (1853-1925), a noted celebrity photographer, produced this photograph. His studio was located on Broadway in New York City. The image is numbered on the bottom right hand corner.To view more photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”. Research revealed not further information about “Little Ollie”. However, a different photograph of her, also by Falk, is in the collection of the Library of Congress.


Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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Violet Cameron (1862-1919), was an English stage star. She was the niece of burlesque legend Lydia Thompson. Cameron  began her stage career as a child in 1871. She played several child roles at the Drury Lane Pantomime theatre. As an adult, she played many prominent roles in the most important English theatres. In 1886 she came to America and played in “The Commodore” and “Kenilworth”. In 1893 she had great success in the stage play “Morocco Bound”. She was involved in several scandalous love affairs during her stage career.  The top cabinet card was a product of Elliot & Fry, a prominent London photography studio. The second cabinet card was produced at the studio of W & D Downey in London, England. The third portrait of Violet Cameron is also by Downey. She looks lovely in her ruffly dress and her plunging neckline (relative to the cabinet card era) highlights her necklace. The reverse of the cabinet card has the stamp of Charles Ritzmann of New York City indicating that it was once owned by the esteemed purveyor of theatrical photographs. The fourth photograph of Miss Cameron once again comes from the Downey studio. She appears to be wearing a wedding dress in this cabinet card portrait. To view other photographs by these two studios, click on the category Photographer: Elliot & Fry or Photographer: Downey.



BURK_0005This cabinet card portrait, photographed by A. D. Burk and Co. presents a gender mystery. A stage performer wearing an effeminate stage costume by today’s standards, is the subject of this portrait. Note the subjects frilly shirt and jacket, and the feathered hat. Also take note of the subjects long curly hair and hanging curls. Are we looking at a handsome actor or a pretty actress? My guess is actress. The photographer, Alcynus D. Burk worked in Cleveland from 1889, when he partnered with David Bailey until 1900 or later.


Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm  Comments (2)  
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This cabinet card has a lot to say. First, the photograph features an actress named Villa Knox. She appeared in productions in the United States, England, and probably a number of other places. She acted in at least two Broadway shows. She appeared in the musical comedy “Boccaccio” (1898) and in “Apollo, or, The Oracle of Delphi” (1891). Second, the photographer of this image is the well known celebrity photographer, Jacob Schloss. At the time that this photograph was taken, the Schloss studio was located at 467 and 469 Fifth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets in New York City.. To view more of his photographs click on the category “Photographer: Schloss”. A third aspect of this photograph is that it has the pencilled name “Daisy Blossom” on the front of the card. Thanks to a little luck in my research, I learned that “Daisy Blossom” is a character in a play called “London Day by Day” (1893) which was reviewed by The Sydney Mail. This portrait likely captures Miss Knox in costume for that roleThe fourth interesting fact about this image is the stamp appearing on the front of the card that states “Vignettes All Around For Segar Label”. It appears that this photograph was used as a vignette photograph for a cigar box label. The last feature I will mention concerning this image is that it has all the signs of once residing in someones photograph album. The cabinet card truly tells a number of stories and is in good condition.


Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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thorne fThe attractive woman in this photographic portrait is named Lillie Harris Thorne. Her name is printed on the reverse of the image. There was a theater actress named “Lillie Thorne” who performed during the cabinet card era and the subject of this portrait is likely the same Lillie Thorne.  The Golder & Robinson studio was located on Broadway in New York City and was known for it’s celebrity photographs. Unfortunately, preliminary research yielded little information about Lillian Thorne.


Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card features English actress Ada Cavendish (1839-1895). She was noted for her performances in Shakespeare plays and for popularizing the plays of Wilkie Collins in America. Cavendish made her stage debut in 1863. She began her career doing musical burlesques. As she progressed professionally she played a number of heroine roles in the works of Shakespeare. There are many references to Cavendish in the theatrical literature of her era. Gentlemen’s Magazine and Historical Review (1872) provides the following description of Miss Cavendish. She looks like a lady and walks and dresses like one.Some of the clever actresses now on stage dress, walk,and talk like shop girls”. Celebrated photographer Napoleon Sarony produced this image. Cavendish may be dressed for a role in this portrait. Note her fancy clothing and “big” jewelry. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.


Published in: on February 27, 2014 at 11:53 am  Comments (1)  
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This cabinet card portrait features pretty actress Helen Standish. Famed celebrity photographer B J Falk produced this image and Miss Standish’s choice to wear a dress showing some cleavage, makes this photograph somewhat risque for it’s era. In addition, her expression can be interpreted as being enticing. Research revealed very little about Helen Standish or her career. She appears in number of cigarette card series including one produced by Dukes Cigarettes (“Leading Actors and Actresses”) which can be seen below. Her name appears in the New York Times (1887) review of the play “The Pyramid” which appeared at the Star Theater. The reviewer states that Miss Standish and another actress in the play “were not equal to the demands of their roles”. Ouch! The reverse of the cabinet card has a stamp from “Culver Service” which was a New York City company that charged the media for the use of photographs coming from their vast image archives. The reverse of the photograph also has the stamp of photographer J. M. Russell, 126 Tremont Street, in Boston, Massachusetts. Russell was a well known music publisher in Boston and it is possible that he also was involved in the sale of celebrity cabinet  cards.

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This photograph features a pretty young woman in a beautiful dress. She has a nice figure enhanced by a corset. She is wearing a ring and earrings. This image could be placed under the categories of “fashion” as well as “beautiful women”. The photographer is Albert Naegeli (1844-1901) who operated a photographic studio in New York City’s Union Square. Naegeli was a native of Germany who came to the United States at the age of sixteen in 1860. He settled in New York City. He began his photography business in New York City in 1864 during the CDV era. He moved the business to the 46 East Fourteenth Street location in 1876. He partnered there with Edward M. Estabrooke who was a tintype expert. Their partnership ended in 1880 and Estabrooke relocated to Elizabeth, New Jersey. Naegeli trained his sons Albert (photographer) and Henry (Technician) in the photography business. Naegeli specialized in portraits of theater stars. The subject of this photograph could very well be an actress of this era. Naegeli was a smart businessman and invested wisely in Real Estate and became a very wealthy man. The cause of his death remains a mystery. He died from a gun shot wound to his head. His son, Albert, claimed that the death was accidental but others thought that he committed suicide because he was depressed about the recent death of his daughter from a spinal disease. Whatever the reason for his death, New York City lost a talented photographer at the time of his demise. The photograph above is an example of his acumen.  The format of the photograph and advertising beneath the image is identical to photographs that Naegeli  took in 1899, indicating  that this photograph dates back to around that year. The photograph measures 5″ X 7″.The image is sharp.


Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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MURRAY SISTERSThe “Murray Sisters” assume an adorable pose at the Shadle & Busser studio in York, Pennsylvania. The girls appear to be entertainers, likely singers, dancers, or a combination of both. The sisters were probably teenagers at the time of this portrait. Research yielded no identifying information about these photogenic girls. A casual review of theater periodicals (1908-1913) uncovered  an act called the “Murray Sisters” but it is not certain that they are one and the same as the girls in this image. This act toured the country and the sisters were described as operatic singers. The oldest sister was named Marion and the youngest was named Vic or Victoria. To learn about the Shadle & Busser studio and to view other photographs from their studio, click on the category “Photographer: Shadle & Busser”.


Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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