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.
This photograph presents a bit of a mystery. What organization does this couple represent? Their uniforms appear to be salvation army garb. However, many salvation army workers wore the letter “S” on their collar while this couple has the letter “F” on their collars. Many salvation army members wore a collar badge with “Salvation Army” written on it. The gentleman in this image doesn’t appear to be wearing such a badge, but the woman may have one, but it is unreadable. The individuals each have a bar on their shoulders which may indicate a higher than basic rank. Note the wire rim glasses that the gentleman is wearing and the magazine that he is holding. The reverse of the photograph has the name Swanson written on it. The photographer who produced this image is James E. Purdy.The reverse of the photograph indicates that Purdy was the successor to Hastings, the former operator of the studio. Purdy’s studio was located at 146 Tremont Street, in Boston, Massachusetts. He operated his studio in Boston between 1896 and 1930. He was a popular photographer in Boston. He was considered to be in the same caliber as the celebrated photographer, Chickering (to view photographs by Chickering, click on cabinet card gallery’s category “Photographer: Chickering”). One of the many famous people he photographed was Winston Churchill, who was in Boston (1900) lecturing about the Boer War. This is not the same Winston Churchill who so ably led Great Britain.