ADELINA PATTI SINGS THE PRAISES OF THE CHICAGO CORSET COMPANY (TRADE CARD)

corset

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.

corset 2

 

 Adelina Patti

004                              Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The                                                 Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

pauline hall

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, E.”. 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.

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.

HANDSOME VICTORIAN COUPLE IN GENEVA, NEW YORK

GENEVA COUPLE_0003 A handsome young Victorian couple pose for their portrait at the Wood studio in Geneva, New York. The gentleman in the photograph has a long mustache, a handkerchief rises from his jacket pockent, and he is displaying the chain to his pocket watch. He sits in a interesting chair that seems to be braided and designed with just one arm. The young woman is wearing a lot of jewelry including a ring, pin, and earrings. Her figure appears to be enhanced by a corset. The reverse of the cabinet card reveals some information about the photographer. Theo. H. Wood’s studio was located at 4 & 6 Seneca Street in Geneva.   Theodore Wood was born in England in 1844 and immigrated to the United States in 1850. He is listed as a  photographer in Geneva City directories from 1901 until 1905. The 1907 directory reports his occupation as “retired”. Wood also makes appearances in the 1900 and 1910 US census. In both surveys he is listed as single and as living as a lodger in a boarding house.

store

Published in: on April 14, 2014 at 9:41 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

PRETTY FASHIONISTA IN NEW YORK CITY (1899)

unionsquarelady

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.

store

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

LILLIAN RUSSELL: CELEBRATED AMERICAN ACTRESS AND SINGER

russell_0002

LIL RUSSSELL_0002

MISSLILLIAN_0002

Lillian Russell (1860-1922) is pictured in the top Cabinet Card photograph by famed New York celebrity photographer, Falk. Lillian Russell is captured in costume as she appeared in “Pepita” (1886). Russell was a very famous American actress and singer who was known for her beauty, style, voice and stage presence. Her theater career began with roles in comic operas including the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. She married composer Edward Solomon in 1884 and two years later, he was arrested for bigamy.  She performed in New York and elsewhere in starring roles in comic opera and musical theatre. In 1904 she switched to dramatic roles due to voice problems. She later also appeared in vaudeville. She retired from the stage in 1919. She later wrote newspaper columns, advocated for women suffrage, and was a popular lecturer.  She married four times and her longest marriage was to Diamond Jim Brady who supported her extravagant lifestyle for four decades. It is interesting to note that the New York Times (4/2/1886) reported that during the performance of “Pepita”, an opera by her husband, Edward Solomon; there were obvious signs of marital discord observed on stage. The newspaper blamed issues revolving around Russell’s interfering mother, as well as, issues pertaining to Russell’s sudden prosperity. The newspaper article correctly predicted that there would soon be a divorce. The second cabinet card, is also photographed by Falk. This photograph provides a close-up image of Lillian Russell and is a testimonial to her beauty. The third cabinet card was published by Newsboy and used by the tobacco company as a premium (#340). The photographer was Falk and the image was copyrighted in 1893. To view a collection cabinet cards by Falk; click on the category “Photographer: Falk”. The fourth cabinet card is another image produced by B. J. Falk. Miss Russell is in costume and is posed provocatively partially behind sheer lace. The fifth cabinet card, also by Falk, provides a terrific profile portrait of the beautiful Miss Russell.


ESTELLE CLAYTON: STAGE ACTRESS

estelle-claxton1

CLAYTON3

Estelle Clayton (1867-1917) is seen in the first and second Cabinet cards. She was a prominent actress as well as a librettist in the late 1800’s. In one of her roles, she starred in “Fayette” with E H Sothern. Clayton was the sister of actress Isabelle Evesson. In 1908, the two sister actresses filed suit against New York City for allegedly diverting land away from earlier generations of their family. In 1917 she died in New York City of heart failure. The photographer of both of these Cabinet cards is Sarony of New York City. The third cabinet card portrait of Clayton was produced by Newsboy as a premium for tobacco products. It is number 47 of a series. The barefoot Miss Clayton is in quite the risque pose in this image.

PRETTY LADY AND HER PARASOL IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (IDENTIFIED AS AIDA BUSHNELL)

parasol10A pretty woman is a stylish dress poses for her portrait at the  J. B. Wilson studio in Chicago, Illinois. She is wearing a pretty hat and is holding an open parasol over her shoulder. Her left arm is hidden but magnification shows that she has placed her left hand on her hip. She is thin waisted, probably courtesy of a corset. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription that identifies the young woman pictured in the image. However, the identification is somewhat tentative. The inscription states “Aida Bushnell, I think”. To view other photographs by J. B. Wilson, click on the category “Photographer: Wilson (JB)”. The 1900 US census lists the subject as “Addie” and reports that she was born in 1866 and was married to Henry Bushnell since 1888. She and her husband had three children; Howard (age 11), David (age 8), and Miriam (age 4). Henry worked as a laborer while Addie was a dressmaker.The family was living in Lisbon, Illinois. The 1910 census finds the family living in St. Charles, Illinois. The only child remaining home was Miriam (listed as Marion). Henry still worked as a laborer. The 1920 census identifies Aida as “Ada”. She and her husband were still living in St. Charles. Henry was disabled and not working while Ada was also unemployed. The 1930 census indicates that the 74 year-old Henry and 64 year-old “Addie” remained in St. Charles. The 1940 census reveals that Addie had become a widowed boarder in a St. Charles residence.

PRETTY, YOUNG, AND WASP WAISTED IN OTTAWA CANADA: PORTRAIT OF MARY DEVLIN (1890)

OTTAWA WOMAN_0007A pretty young wasp waisted woman, holding a muff and wearing gloves, poses for what is likely a winter portrait at the Jarvis studio in Ottawa, Canada. According to an inscription on the reverse of the photograph, the corseted woman is named Mary Devlin and the photograph was taken in 1890. The photographer, Samuel J. Jarvis was a famed Ottawa photographer who opened a studio with partner Alfred Pittaway in 1882 while both were still teenagers. In 1890 they split up and became competitors. They joined forces again in 1907 and worked together until Pittaway’s retirement in 1928. Their studio did photo portraits, photojournalism, and operated a photographic supply shop and developing studio. The pair hired an artist who created elaborate sets and backdrops. The Ottawa Citizen (1948) published a feature story about Jarvis and his pioneering days in photography. Samuel J. Jarvis should not be confused with his photographer uncle, Samuel Jarvis.

Published in: on February 3, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

TWO YOUNG WOMAN WITH PAINED EXPRESSIONS IN HOOPESTON, ILLINOIS

Two pretty young woman pose for their portrait in this scalloped cabinet card produced by the Hall studio in Hoopeston, Illinois. The women do not seem very enthusiastic about having their photograph taken. Each of the subjects have baskets of flowers on their laps and are wearing fingerless gloves. The woman seated on the right in the image is holding what appears to be an umbrella. Both of these ladies have very thin waists. They are probably wearing corsets. Perhaps those corsets are a little too tight and that would explain the pained expressions they display in the photograph.  The photographer, Ervin S. Hall, appears in the 1880 US census. Hall was 25 years old and married (1877) to Violetta Hall (age 27). Hall’s parents were born in Maine but he and his wife were Illinois natives. The couple lived in Hoopeston and Hall worked as a photographer. The 1900 US census found Hall and his wife living in Grant, Illinois with their two children, Ellis (age 17) and Ethel (age 15). Ervin was still working as a photographer. The 1910 US census lists Hall and his wife living in Urbana, Illinois and Ervin still employed as a photographer. The 1920 US census reveals that the couple was living in Kissimmee, Florida and Ervin was working as a hardware salesman. The 1930 US census indicates that Ervin was retired and he and his wife remained in Kissimmee. Research uncovers the story of Hoopeston, Illinois. The town was created in 1871 and named for Thomas Hoopes who had offered his land to be the site of the crossing of two railroads. The business and manufacturing that developed in Hoopeston centered around agriculture. The Illinois Canning Company (1875) and the Hoppeston Canning Company (1878) were established there. Greer College (1890) was also established in Hoopeston.

Published in: on December 4, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,