ROSE ZAZEL: PRETTY AND EXPLOSIVE YOUNG WOMAN (FIRST FEMALE HUMAN CANNONBALL)

HUMAN CANON BALL_0005This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young woman who was quite a daredevil. She was the first female canonball. Her stage name was Rose Zazel. In this photograph she is wearing her namesake rose as well as a necklace, bracelet, and earrings. She is also wearing a risque costume. Miss Zazel’s act involved being shot from a spring loaded cannon invented by “The Great Farini”. Zazel’s given name was Rossa Matilda Richter and she was just 14 years of age when she was engaging in this exciting but reckless behavior. At one point, she toured with the PT Barnum Circus. Eventually she suffered a career ending injury when she missed a safety net and suffered a broken back. The information I cited about Rose Zazel comes from an interesting article on Scribol.com. The article is entitled “Seven Most Mind Blowing She-Daredevils in History” and it was written by Karl Fabricus. The article included the image below which is a poster advertising an appearance of “Zazel the Human Projectile”.  This cabinet card image was photographed by Marc Gambier, a well known photographer of celebrities. You can view more of his images and learn more about him in the category “Photographer: Gambier”.

Zazel_The_Human_Projectile_vintage_poster_on_display_at_the_Circus_World_Museum_in_Baraboo,_Wisconsin.

JENNIE WINSTON: INTERCONTINENTAL COMIC OPERA ACTRESS

gambier

The top cabinet card features early theatre actress, Jennie Winston. Unfortunately, biographical information concerning Ms. Winston appears to be sparse, and further research is necessary. An 1881 publication reveals that Jennie Winston was a native of Scotland and moved to Australia to join W. S. Lyster’s Italian Opera company. Her tenure with this company was seven years. She next went ot America under engagement to “Mr Maguire”, for whom she worked for one season’s duration. She then formed her own traveling opera company which journeyed to the western United States and British Columbia. The “Dramatic News” described Winston as “unsurpassed as a comic-opera artist by anyone in this country”. The photographer of this portrait was the studio belonging to Gilbert & Bacon. This studio was well known for their quality work as well as their work with local and visiting celebrities. To view other photographs by this studio, click on the category of “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

The second photograph, also by Gilbert & Bacon, captures a costumed Jennie Winston playing the mandolin. Note the backdrop  used in this photograph. The backdrop was an excellent choice for the photograph as it is compatible with Ms. Winston’s costume. It was also a good choice technically; the actress does realistically appear to be standing on a winding stone road.

The third photographic portrait features a sultry looking Jennie Winston, and is by celebrated photographer, Marc Gambier (1838-1900). The fourth cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Gambier. Miss Winston is in costume for an unnamed theatrical performance. She is acting in the portrait. Note her provocative and coy appearance. Gambier was born and educated in Paris, France. At the age of 19, he came to America for a very short stint of time. He returned to France and became a student of the great painter, Le Creton. Subsequently, he became a student of another great painter, Camino. He then returned to America and for five years, studied and worked under esteemed photographer, Sarony (view Sarony’s photographs by clicking on the category “Photographer: Sarony”). He then launched his own photography business in New York City. He divided his time between his first love, painting, and his business of taking and selling photographs. Gambier was known as a great historical painter. He was a veteran of the French Army and while in the service, he sketched and painted several important battles. Research reveals that Gambier was listed in the 1880 US census. He was forty-one years old and living in New York City with his family. He is listed as living with his wife Emilie (age 28), daughters Louise (age 10) and Emilie (age 7), and son M. L. (age 2). Also in the residence was a young woman (age 25) who worked as a servant. Gambier was known for the many theatrical photographs he produced as well as for selling postage stamp sized portrait photographs, that people attached to their letters and postcards.

PORTRAIT OF AN ACTRESS NAMED JENNIE (PHOTOGRAPH BY MARC GAMBIER)

JENNIE ELHORN_0003This cabinet card was produced by New York City photographer Marc Gambier and features stage actress Miss Jennie Elhorn? (Elkorn?, Elborn?). Initial research revealed no information about actresses with any of these three names. It is only an assumption that the subject of this photograph is an actress. The notion that she is a theatrical performer was derived from the “look” of the image and the fact that Gambier was known for his stage actress photographs.  To view other photographs by Gambier, and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Gambier”.

Published in: on June 22, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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THEATER ACTRESS MISS ALMA STANLEY (PORTRAIT BY MARC GAMBIER)

ACTRESS BY GAMBIER_0002Theater actress Miss Alma Stanley is the subject of this cabinet card portrait by talented photographer Marc Gambier. To view other photographs by Gambier, click on the category “Photographer: Gambier.  In this photograph, Miss Stanley is in costume and wearing a military style uniform with sash and sword. She appears to be saluting or staring into the distance and shielding her eyes from a fictional sun. This full body photograph highlights her thin waist. The photograph is a bit risque for its time. The backdrop and the scenery are expertly done. She truly appears to be standing outdoors. Alma Stanley (1853-1931) was a multi-talented English entertainer. She was an actress, dancer, comedienne, and singer. She appeared in such roles as Little Don Caesar de Bazan. A theater magazine reported that Miss Stanley was the daughter of an English army officer who named her Alma in honor of  the battle in the Crimea War. The battle of Alma occurred in 1854 and Alma Stanley was born in 1853 so the story of how she received her name likely falls under the realm of  “public relations”. She made her first stage appearance in Milan in 1872 and her first English appearance in the following year. Her New York debut occurred in 1880. She performed with D’Oyly Carte  Opera Company as well as with Tony Pastor’s Broadway Theater. Alma Stanley died in a London jail cell. She was being held on a charge of drunkenness when she died of  “natural causes”. At the time of her incarceration, her jailers did not know her identity.