This cabinet card portrait by New York City celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk, features stage actress Edith Murillo. Judging by the sparsity of easily accessible information pertaining to Miss Murillo, it appears that she was not a major theatrical player. However, The New York Times  (1884) “Notes of the Stage” section announces her appearance in a musical comedy. In addition, the Topeka State Journal (1889) describes Miss Murillo as “a soubrette of uncommon promise”. Wikipedia defines a soubrette as “a comedy character who is vain and girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish and gossipy”. The description adds that soubrettes “often display a flirtatious or even sexually aggressive nature”. This image of Edith Murillo certainly captures the pretty actress in a flirtatious pose.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm  Comments (3)  
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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”. 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 cabinet card portrait features pretty theater actress Nettie Lyford doing her produce shopping at the Whole Foods grocery store in New York City. She was such a fan of the store that she appeared in their advertising for free. Actually, this photograph is a celebrity portrait that was probably taken by famed celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk. The image was likely produced at Falk’s studio in New York City. Miss Lyford is wearing a costume that she probably wore in a stage production. In fact, this very same image appears in Epoch (1892) as part of an article by Morris Bacheller entitled “Favorite Figures of the Stage”. The article reports that the young Miss Lyford “has established herself as one of the comic opera favorites of the Metropolis”. She had made her debut in Charles Hoyt’s farce comedy company in “Rag Baby”. While she was appearing in another Hoyt production, “Lunch Counter Girl” she was seen by Francis Wilson (1854-1935)  who hired her to appear in “Oolah” which was a comic opera appearing in New York City in 1887. This cabinet card image was taken during her tenure with Wilson’s opera company. To learn more about Francis Wilson and the play “Oolah”, search for the image of Marie Jansen which appears in the Cabinet Card Gallery. To view more celebrity photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.


Isabel Irving: American Stage Actress




isabel irving two

Isabel Irving (1871-1944) was an American actress born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her stage career began in 1886. She performed in many performances of Shakespeare. She was also in more than 30 Broadway plays between 1894 and 1936.  These plays included “Merry Wives of Windsor” (1917) and “Uncle Vanya” (1930). The first cabinet photo was done at the studio of Napoleon Sarony in New York.  Sarony was a very famous photographer of his time and known for his photos of theatrical performers and other celebrities. The second photograph comes from the studio of William McKenzie Morrison who was located in the Haymarket Theatre building in Chicago, Illinois. The third cabinet card portrait features Miss Irving photographed by celebrated New York photographer Benjamin Falk. The fourth cabinet card was produced by Pach Brothers studio in New York City. To view a photograph of Isabel Irving’s sister, write “Evangeline Irving” in the search box and press search. To view other photographs by any of the four cited photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Falk, Photographer: Sarony, Photographer: Morrison, or Photographer: Pach Brothers.


gladys wallis_0003Gladys Wallis, theater star, is the subject of this portrait by celebrity photographer B. J. Falk. Miss Wallis appears to be very young when she posed for this cabinet card photograph. The image is numbered 16 in a series and has a copyright date of 1893. In fact, she was just eighteen years old when she sat for this portrait. Glady Wallis (1875-1953) lived an interesting life. The Florence Times (1932) tells some of her story in an article that is predominately about her husband Samuel Insull (1858-1938). The article was quite disparaging of  Insull and in the lead of the story the reporter writes “The keen brain of Samuel Insull built a 4,000,000,000 public utilities empire but he failed when he attempted to bring about his wife’s come-back as an actress after her 26 year absence from the stage”. The attempt cost him 200,00 dollars. Gladys Wallis’s was originally named Mary Bird. She was of Irish descent and upon becoming an actress was determined to be viewed as a respectable woman. She was anti alcohol and reportedly, anti sex. Insull had originally seen her as a “starry eyed and raven-haired young ingenue in an 1898 theater production in Chicago. She was just a teenager and he was 36 years-old starstruck admirer. They later met at a dinner party and two years later, they married. Gladys quickly retired from the stage and became a society lady. She had a number of estates and servants, was active in fund raising for charities, went to high society affairs and functions, and wore expensive clothing and jewelry. It is reported that she wasn’t an easy person to get along with and was not very well liked among the ladies of society. She and Insull reportedly had a tempestuous relationship and among their issues was her disinterest in sex. Insull supported her temperance beliefs. The couple had a son who eventually attended Yale University. In 1925,Wallis revealed her desire to return to the stage because of her desire for “self expression”. Her husband funded the theatrical endeavor and its proceeds were to be directed toward charity. Society turned out in mass for the opening night of what was to be a two week engagement where Mrs. Insull played the “coquettish role”of Lady Teazle. Attendees included Marshall Fields, the Armours, the Drakes, and the Pullmans. The success of this limited engagement spurred Wallis to return to Broadway. Wallis may have felt ready for Broadway but apparently Brodway wasn’t ready for Wallis and she returned to Chicago in 1927. She was not yet done with acting so she took a five year lease on a Chicago theater and established a performing company. This project failed and before long he company was operating at a loss of more than a thousand dollars a day. Things also did not go well for Mr. Insull. The depression severely impacted his business and eventually there were even charges filed against him. He fled to Europe with his wife where they entered “voluntary exile”. He was eventually deported from Europe but was well defended in a Chicago trial and found innocent of all charges. However, the Insulls had lost their fortune and at the time of his death, his estate was quite meager. There are a number of books available about Mr. Insull and they probably make quite interesting reading. This photograph was taken by B. J. Falk, New York City celebrity photographer. To learn more about this photographer and to see more of his images, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.







Julia Marlowe (1865-1950) was born in England and as a young child moved to the United States with her family. In her early teens she began her theatrical career with a juvenile opera company. She began playing Shakespeare in her home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. She made her Broadway debut in 1895 and by the end of her career, had appeared in more than 70 Broadway productions. Her first husband was actor, Robert Tabor. Their marriage lasted six years. In 1904 she appeared in “When Knighthood was in Flower”. Great success in this play brought her financial independence. Earlier, in 1903, she appeared in ‘The Cavalier” and “Ingomar”. The New York Sun wrote about her performance in “Ingomar”; “There is not a woman player in America or in England that is – attractively considered- fit to unlace her shoe”. In 1904 she began a partnership with actor E. H. Sothern. They toured the United States performing various plays of Shakespeare. They were managed by Charles Frohman and later, the Shubert brothers. They were considered to be among the major Shakespearian actors of the day. In 1906, Marlowe played in “Jeanne d’Arc” and also as Salome in “John the Baptist”. Later, Sothern and Marlowe played in London but were not terrific box office successes there. In 1911 Marlowe and Sothern married each other. In 1920 and 1921, they made eleven phonograph recordings for the Victor Company. The top Cabinet Card was produced by Newsboy as a premium for their tobacco products. The photographer was Falk and the image is from 1892.

The second portrait of Julia Marlowe has a notation on the reverse of the card stating “Julia Marlowe Tabor”. Therefore, this photograph was likely taken during the time of her marriage to Tabor (1894-1900). The photographic studio that produced this portrait is  Klein & Guttenstein of 164 Wisconsin Street, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.  Klein and Guttenstein were leading photographers of their time. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1902) reveals that the two men  were very active in the Photographers Association of Wisconsin and other photography organizations. The photographers were considered part of a network of photographers skilled at producing publicity images of theatrical and vaudeville stars to be used in national magazines and other publications. The New York Public Library has a collection of portraits of actress Blanche Bates; produced by Klein & Guttenstein. The University of Pennsylvania Library has one of Klein & Guttenstein’s portraits of Julia Marlowe.

The third portrait of Julia Marlowe in the cabinet card gallery collection is photographed by Sarony, the famed celebrity photographer located in New York City.  This cabinet card is signed by the actress and dated 1890. Additonal photographs by Sarony can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographers: Sarony”.

The fourth portrait of Miss Marlow features her in role in the production of “Countess Veleska”. The play was adapted for a German work, “The Tall Prussian”, by Rudolph Stratz. The play opened in New York in 1898 at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The review in the New York Times (1898) stated that the “drama was made wholly interesting by the personal charm and sincerity of Miss Marlowe”. In a sarcastic tone, the reviewer comments about Marlowe’s co star, Bassett Roe. The reviewer states that Roe has only two qualities of the man he was playing, “height and good looks”. The reviewer continues his scathing description of Roe; “The only time he actually warmed up was when he accidentally set his hair on fire. Even then he would have let it burn if Miss Marlowe had not gone to his rescue.” The photographic studio that produced the “Countess Veleska” cabinet card was Pach Brothers of New York City. Pach Brothers were photographers known for their photographs of celebrities of their era. To see additional photographs by the Pach Brothers, click on this site’s category of “Photographers: Pach Brothers”.

The fifth portrait of Julia Marlowe appears to be a photograph of the actress in costume for an unknown stage production. The image was photographed by Ye Rose Studio of Providence, Rhode Island. The reverse of the card indicated that the studio was opened in 1886. The studio was located in the Conrad building in downtown Providence. The building still exists. Other photographs by the Ye Rose Studio can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographer: Ye Rose”.

Portrait number six is an excellent example of the beauty of Julia Marlowe. This image, from 1888, captures Ms. Marlowe at the young age of twenty-three. The photographer of this portrait was B. J. Falk, a celebrity photographer located in New York City, New York. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

The seventh portrait is another example of a B. J. Falk image. The photograph features a costumed Julia Marlowe in the production of “Cymbeline“. Cymbeline is a play by William Shakespeare that was based on legends about the early Celtic British King,  Cunobelinus. The play deals with themes that include innocence and jealousy. Ms. Marlowe plays Imogen, the King’s daughter. Her expression in the photograph shows fear and concern as she looks at someone or something in the distance. Her left hand shades her eyes while her right hand clutches her belted dagger. A stamp on the reverse of  this cabinet card reveals that it was formerly owned by Culver Pictures of New York City, New York. Culver Pictures has been collecting photographs and illustrations from the 19th and first half of the 20th century, since 1926. These pictures are used in books, films, and other forms of media. At the time that this cabinet card was stamped by the company, Culver Pictures was located in New York City.

Portrait number eight is a close-up photograph of Miss Marlowe. The photographer of this cabinet card is the studio of Rose & Sands whose gallery was located in Providence, Rhode Island. Note that photograph number five also came from the Rose studio, but at that time, the gallery was called, the Ye Rose studio. The Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1899) reports that Rose and Sands were the proprietors of Ye Rose. A humorous headline in a photography magazine stated “Providence Provides for All, And Rose Provides for Providence”.  Print on the reverse of this cabinet card reveals that the Rose & Sands studio was opened in 1886 and that it specialized in “High Class Portraits from Cabinet to Life Size”. Also of interest, like photograph number seven, there is a stamp on the reverse of the photograph with the name “Culver Pictures Inc”.

Photograph number nine features the beautiful Miss Marlowe displaying a mischievous smile. Note her engaging large eyes. She is wearing a somewhat revealing dress (for the cabinet card era) and has a wonderful hat atop her head. This cabinet card photograph was published in 1888 by Benjamin Falk of New York City.  The image is marked with the number sixty-nine.

Portrait number ten is a closeup of Julia Marlowe with her head covered, but with her pretty face very visible. She is likely in costume for this photograph. The photograph is taken by B. J. Falk of New York City and has a copyright date of 1888. The cabinet card is marked number “86”.

The eleventh photograph captures Miss Marlowe staring hypnotically at a flower. Someone, has written below her name that the image features her in the role of Parthenia in the production of “Ingomar”.  The New York Times (1904) reviews the play and Miss Marlowe’s performance on opening night at the Empire Theater in New York City. The newspaper reports that Frederick Halm’s play was “impossibly romantic and deliciously sentimental piece of old-fashioned theatrics. Tyrone Power played Ingomar and he was described as “vigourous and picturesque” but the article added that his voice was “not at its best”. The review pointed out that Marlowe’s appearance in this play was to be her last appearance as an independent star before joining E. H. Sothern’s Shakespearean repertory. In regard to Marlowe’s acting in this play, it was written that she played a “dear little prig – adorably dear” (prig can be defined as smug or arrogant) and she presented “a masterpiece of harmonious, modulated, and sustained acting”. The 1904 performance of Julia Marlowe in “Ingomar” marked a return performance for this accomplished actress. The New York Times (1888) wrote a very positive review of the opening night performance in Washington D.C.. The appreciative audience included three Supreme Court Justices and a number of members of the Chinese Embassy. This cabinet card was produced by the previously mentioned Ye Rose Studio of Providence, Rhode Island and it likely dates back to her 1888 performance in the role.

The twelfth cabinet card was produced by Benjamin Falk of New York City. He posed Miss Marlowe next to a spinning wheel. Her low cut dress makes this image a bit risque for the cabinet card era. If Falk or Miss Marlowe thought that looking up at the camera would create a “fetching appearance”, I would contend that their efforts failed. Rather than “fetching”, she appears dazed. The actress was a beautiful woman and provocativeness was not necessary to enhance her image. This photograph was produced in 1888 and was part of a series (#23).

Cabinet Card number thirteen is part of a series that includes Cabinet Card number ten. Both cards were photographed by B. J. Falk and have a copyright date of 1888. Both portraits are close-ups but this one is captures Marlowe looking at the camera while number ten offers a profile view. Falk really captured the actresses eyes. Her eyes are beautiful and they are haunting at the same time. This photograph is marked number number 83 of the series.




The top photograph features stage actress Violet Lloyd posing for celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk at his New York City studio. Ms. Lloyd is adorned with flowers in her hair and looks quite beautiful as she poses with her rather large fan. Violet Lloyd was an English actress and singing comedienne. The New York Times (1896) published a favorable review of  “The Geisha”, a play appearing at Daly’s Theater. The critic wrote that  “The greatest individual hit last night was made by Violet Lloyd, an English Soubrette (female stock character in opera and theater)……….She is a piquant (engagingly provocative)  little person, with a droll (amusing in an odd way) but pretty face, sufficient voice, a sense of humor, and plenty of agility”.  It is clear that turn of the century newspaper writers were either better writers than today’s journalists, or else, their editors were more likely to  encourage and expect higher quality writing.  As a result, newspaper articles had a more literary style and used advanced vocabulary. Please forgive me for providing the definitions of some of the words in the quotation; I couldn’t stop myself. A stamp on the reverse of this cabinet card indicates that it was once part of the collection of Charles L. Ritzmann. Other photographs from Ritzmann can be viewed by clicking on the category “Charles Ritzmann Collection”. The second photograph was also done by a well known New York City celebrity photographer. Aime Dupont was of Belgian origin and he captured Miss. Lloyd wearing clothing that was likely costume from a play. Note the fan she holds above her head. Her pose, with her hand on her hip, likely reflects feigned shock or dismay. This cabinet card is also part of the Ritzmann collection. To view more photographs by Dupont and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”.



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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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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The actress pictured in these cabinet cards is Corrine.  Corrine, like Elvis or Selena, was a performer that received national recognition and was known by just her first name. In the top portrait by celebrity photographer B. J. Falk, Corrine looks to be teenager or young adult. She is dressed in theatrical costume. Corinne was the daughter of actress Jennie Kimball. Kimball acted in the theater between 1865 and 1873. The year of her retirement, she became the mother of Corinne, who the New York Times (1896) labelled “the most famous of all the child actresses of this country”. It is not clear how Kimball and her husband came to raise Corinne, but is was speculated that she was adopted as an orphan. Kimball trained her young daughter for the stage. Corrine debuted in the theater at age two and a half.  At five years of age she played the part of  “Little Buttercup” in the Boston production of “Pinafore”. She played the role more than one hundred times. At fifteen years of age she was traveling as head of her own theater company. Jennie Kimball doubled as Corinne’s mother and manager. The New York Times (1896) reported that Corinne “was a goldmine” during her early days for Mrs. Kimball and remained a major money producer through the time the article was written. At the time the article appeared, Corinne was twenty-two years old.  Jennie Kimball’s successful management of her daughter’s career wasn’t appreciated by all observers. The New York Times (1881) asserted that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children objected to the way Corinne was being raised and successfully pursued custody of the child. During the custody hearing, eight year-old Corinne was put on the stand and interrogated by the society’s lawyer. He asked her how many times she was photographed and she didn’t know but said “she was never photographed in tights nor with her limbs and breast exposed”. The lawyer’s questioning revealed that the child had never attended school. However, Jennie Kimball did give her “lessons” each morning. The lawyer then gave Corinne an impromptu writing/spelling test during her testimony. The attorney also prompted the child to say she had never attended sunday school and didn’t know what a bible was nor had she ever been taught anything about Jesus Christ. The society lawyer was initially able to convince the judge to remove the child from the custody of Mrs Kimball because she was “unlawfully exhibited and employed” in dancing, singing and acting on the theatrical stage. Mrs. Kimball was allowed to take her daughter for a brief period to change her clothing but was assigned an escort to insure that the child would be brought to the society. Mrs Kimball was advised by George Hackett, the manager of a Providence opera house that if she took her daughter from New York to Jersey City, New Jersey; the girl would be out of the courts jurisdiction and she could keep her daughter. Mrs. Kimball followed his suggestion, and allowed a man to spirit the child out of state. As a result, Mrs. Kimball was charged with abduction and she ended up back in court. After a short time, the judge considered all the testimony that he heard and decided to return Corinne to her parents (he called them guardians). He believed that they were loving toward the child and responsible enough to continue raising her. Interestingly, he had something to say about the religious angle pursued by the society lawyer. The judge wrote that the the US constitution protected Corinne’s parents from being punished for not providing religious education to their daughter.  Corinne continued her acting career and eventually became involved in burlesque theater. The New York Times (1894) wrote “Corinne has grown up and proves a lively and entertaining performer. The article adds that “she has no large share of original talent, musical or dramatic, but she can sing and dance “well enough”. The second cabinet card picturing Miss Corinne was published by Newsboy (#20 of a series). She is wearing jewelry galore and flowers in her hair. What is that contraption that she is wearing around her waist? Is it a pouch? If so, what is it meant to carry? Hopefully some cabinet card gallery visitors with fashion expertise can explain her unusual dress.



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