ETHEL BARRYMORE: STAGE BEAUTY

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Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959) was an outstanding American actress and a member of the famous theatrical Barrymore family. She was born Ethel Mae Blythe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were actors and she was the sister of John and Lionel Barrymore.  She was the great aunt of modern day actress Drew Barrymore.

Ethel Barrymore was considered by many to be the greatest actress of her generation. She was a major Broadway performer and first appeared there in 1895. She had roles in A Dolls House by Ibsen (1905).  She was a strong supporter of the Actors’ Equity Association and played a major role in the 1919 strike. She played in Somerset Maugham’s comedy, The Constant Wife (1926). She also starred in motion pictures beginning her film career in 1914.  Notable films included None but the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Spiral Staircase (1946). Around 1900, Winston Churchill proposed marriage to Barrymore but she refused. She later married Russell Griswold Colt in 1909 and had three children. She died of cardiovascular disease in 1959 at her home in California. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City is named in her honor.

The top cabinet card portrait of Ethel Barrymore was photographed by Phillips Photographers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To view other photographs by Phillips, click on the category “Photographer: Phillips”. The second cabinet card image of the actress was produced by Sarony, the famous celebrity photographer who’s studio was located in New York City. To see other Sarony photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

The third portrait of Miss Barrymore appears on a postcard published by the Rotograph Company who operated in  New York City and Germany. This postcard portrait was taken by famed Chicago photographer William Morrison. He is well known for his excellent portraits of theatrical stars. He produced both real photo postcards and cabinet cards. This postcard is number HB/1422 of the “Rotograph Series”. The image on this postcard is color tinted. This postcard has been mailed and postmarked (1907). The reverse of this postcard can be seen below.To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”.

The fourth portrait of Ethel Barrymore is an uncommon one. The image provides a lovely profile view of this legendary actress. If you search for this exact postcard online, you likely won’t find it. This postcard was published by E. Frey & Company who operated in  New York City . Research reveals that postcards displaying the printed name of  “E. Frey” were actually published by the Souvenir Post Card Company which existed between 1905 and 1914. It was located at 268 Canal Street in New York City. The company was purchased by Valentine & Sons and the combined company became Valentine – Souvenir. This postcard was printed in Germany and is in good condition (see scan).

The fifth photograph of Miss Barrymore was published by the Rotograph Company. This postcard portrait was taken by famed Chicago celebrity photographer William Morrison.This postcard is number B 662 of the “Rotograph Series”. The image has excellent clarity.

The sixth image is a vintage real photo postcard portrait of Ethel Barrymore. The postcard was published by Albert Hahn who was based in New York City (200 Broadway) and Hamburg. Hahn operated his company between 1901 and 1919. The postcard was produced in Germany sometime in the decade of 1900-1910. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5271),

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                                            REVERSE OF THIRD IMAGE (ROTOGRAPH POSTCARD)

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                                             REVERSE OF FIFTH IMAGE (ROTOGRAPH POSTCARD)

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                              REVERSE OF THE SIXTH IMAGE (POSTCARD BY ALBERT HAHN)

A NERVOUS YOUNG MAN AND HIS BICYCLE

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This vintage real photo postcard features a young man standing beside his bicycle. The look on his face can be described as similar to a “deer in the headlights”. One could also describe his expression as nervous. It is as if he just got caught doing something wrong. Maybe it has something to do with the cigarette that he is holding in his right hand, though I doubt it. He is wearing a great outfit and cap but I would surmise that his boots don’t make pedaling a bicycle particularly easy. Note that the backdrop in this studio photo is quite pretty and detailed despite that it is obviously fake. This postcard was produced in the very early 1900’s.

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Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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A YOUNG BOY WEARING A STRAW HAT

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This CDV (Carte de Visite) features a well dressed young boy wearing a straw hat. The photographer is unknown as only his initials appear on the reverse of the photograph. Also on the reverse of the photograph is an inscription. I believe that the inscription is written in German.

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Published in: on December 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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WONDERFUL PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN AND HER DOG IN MERIDEN, CONNECTICUT

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As a collector of vintage photographs, once in a while I encounter a very special photograph. This image falls into the category of “special”. The photographer did an excellent job of capturing this well dressed elegant woman and her pet dog (border collie?). The woman and dog are well posed and their expressions are fabulous. The talented photographer who produced this image is H. G. Borgfeldt and his studio was located in Meriden, Connecticut. A light inscription on the reverse of this photograph indicates that the woman in the photo is Lina B. Letacher Bartlett and the dog’s name is Zemke. Preliminary research reveals that Lina Bartlett (age 24) appears in the 1900 US census. She lived in Meriden with her husband George A. Bartlett (age 36) and her father-in-law. The pair had married in 1892. Her husband was a farmer. Lina also appeared in the 1910 US census but her demographics had changed significantly. She still lived in Meriden but she had become head of her household after getting divorced. Her occupation was listed as “farmer”. She lived with two young men. At least one of them was her cousin. It was also found that Lina was born in Germany in 1876 and arrived in the United States in 1878. The talented photographer of this image is Henry G. Borgfeldt. Meriden business directories indicated that he ran a photography studio there at least between the years of 1902 and 1909.

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Published in: on November 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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BEAUTIFUL STAGE ACTRESS DENISE ORME (THREE VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS)

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The top vintage real photo postcard features stage actress Miss Denise Orme. She is very attractive and beautifully dressed. She is wearing a fur stole and and fur muffs. She has a lovely hat and wonderful smile. Miss Orme’s given name was Jessie Smither, and was later known as Duchess of Leinster. Denise Orme (1885-1960) was an English music hall singer, actress and musician who was a regular performeer at the Alhambra and Gaiety Theatres in London during the early years of the twentieth century. Her mother was a professor of music. She trained for her theatrical career at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. Her stage debut was in 1906 in the chorus at Daly’s Theatre in London. Later that same year she appeared in the title role of “See See” at the Prince of Wales Theatre. In 1906 she participated in gramophone recordings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”. Her marital history reveals that she had a predilection to choosing husbands that were “rich and famous”. She was married to an English Baron, A Danish millionaire, and an Irish duke. She was the maternal grandmother of Aga Khan IV.who is the current Imam of Nizari Ismailism which is a denomination of of Ismailism within Shia Islam with 15 million adherents. He is also a British business magnate. Miss Orme’s photographic portrait was taken by the Foulsham and 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 postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (#4098 Q). The postcard has a postmark from London, England, and dated 1907. The postmark date reveals that this portrait of Miss Orme was taken at the beginning of her stage career. In the message section of the postcard, the sender asks the receiver, “What do you think of Denise?”. In addition, the sender asserts on the front of the postcard “Nice hat, isn’t it?”. I have to agree; not only is Miss Orme lovely, so is her hat…….  The second postcard shows the beautiful and well dressed Miss Orme peeking out from behind a curtain. The photographer is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913) who was a leading royal and high society photographer located in London. This postcard, like the first was published by Rotary Photo and is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1933 I)……. The third photo postcard portrait of Miss Orme presents a close-up profile view of this stunningly pretty young actress. Like the first two photo postcards, this one is also published by the Rotary Photo company and is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4098 M). The photograph was taken by “Play Pictorial” which was an English theatre magazine published in London between 1902 and 1939. The publication provided a pictorial presentation of West End theatrical productions with each issue focusing on just one play.

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REVERSE OF FIRST POSTCARD

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REVERSE OF SECOND POSTCARD

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REVERSE OF THIRD POSTCARD

TWO YOUNG DANDIES WITH TERRIFIC HATS (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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Two dandies pose for their photographic portrait at an unidentified studio. They are wearing wonderful hats and both of the men are flashing half smiles. The postcard has a CYKO stamp box revealing that it was published between 1906 and 1915. 
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Published in: on October 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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THE “WILD MEN” OF PRAIRIE CITY, ILLINOIS

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Who are these guys? I suppose we will never know. This cabinet card photograph features two older men posing for their portrait at the Crane studio in Prairie City, Illinois. The men are pretty well dressed. Both are wearing long coats and hats. One imagines that this photograph was taken during the winter, judging by the men’s clothing. The gentleman on the right side of the image has an appearance of someone who likely did not live a traditional lifestyle. His appearance might have earned him a part in a movie about a wild man living a bit away from civilization. That is, if there were movies during the cabinet card era. Of course I realize that my hypothesis could be very wrong. As much as I love to conjecture about the people in these vintage photographs, I am clear that our interpretations may reveal more about ourselves than about the subjects in the images. These old photos can be similar to the projective tests (ie the Rorshach)  employed by Psychologists. Gathering information about the photographer of this image was problematic. More thorough research could reap some very interesting results. The only photographer named Crane that I could find in the Prairie City area was Maria Ann Crane who operated a studio right in Prairie City. According to the Yale University library collection of “Women in Photography”, Miss Crane operated a studio in Prairie City in 1893. The library collection includes two of her portraits. Crane may have been an independent photographer, or like many other pioneer women in photography, she may have joined or succeeded her husband in the photography business.

 

 

Published in: on August 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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BEAUTIFUL BRITISH STAGE ACTRESS: OLIVE MORRELL (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a very beautiful British stage actress named Olive Morrell. She was a successful enough actress to merit having six portraits of her included in the United Kingdom’s National Portrait Gallery. She performed in England and toured in Australia. She was  born as Olive Miller; Morrell was her stage name. In 1908, she married Willie Kelly (1877-1960), an Australian politician. The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (1905) highlights her career including her role in “The Spring Chicken” at the Gaiety Theatre. In researching the play, I was struck by the number of well known actresses appearing alongside her. The cast included Kitty Mason, Kate Cutler, Gaynor Rowlands, Ethel Oliver, and Gertie Millar. This was certainly an all star lineup and any collector of theatrical postcards will be familiar with these actresses. Collectors will also note that these women were  quite pretty and their postcard images were, and still are, very collectible. Miss Morrell is also the subject of an article in The Play Pictorial (1905) which mentions her appearance in a theatre production called “The Talk of the Town”. This postcard was produced by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1547 C). It is truly a special portrait of Miss Morrell. After viewing many postcard images of this actress; I believe this portrait is one of the finest portraits of Olive Morrell that a postcard collector can find. This photograph captures her beauty as well as provides a close look at fashion during the turn of the century.

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PRETTY WOMAN AND HER UNUSUAL HAT (POST CABINET CARD ERA PHOTOGRAPH)

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This post cabinet card era photograph features a portrait of a beautiful well dressed woman. She is wearing a large and unusual hat. In my opinion, calling the hat unusual is an act of kindness. There are certainly more befitting descriptions. The identity and location of the photographer responsible for this very fine photograph is unknown. There is an inscription on the reverse of the image reveals that this lovely lady’s name is “E. Snider Smith”. This photograph measures about 5 3/4″ x 4″.

 

Published in: on July 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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THREE FASHIIONABLE MEN AND THEIR HATS

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This vintage real photo postcard features three fashionable men and their hats. These guys appear to be dressed for a special occasion. The men are smiling for the photographer, not a common sight in many portraits of this era. What era, you may ask? The answer lies in noting that the AZO stamp box indicates that the postcard was published sometime between 1904 and 1918. The names of these men and the identity of the photographer are lost to history.

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Published in: on July 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)