JENNIE WINSTON: INTERCONTINENTAL COMIC OPERA ACTRESS

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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.

JENNIE CALEF: PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL THEATER ACTRESS

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This cabinet card portrait features stage actress Jennie Calef. Variety (1917) offers a brief obituary for the actress. She was described as a noted soubrette who became a melodrama star in her later years. There are many articles about Jennie Calef in the newspaper archives. Most are brief and are concerned with announcing her appearances and providing reviews. Many of the articles mention Calef’s beauty. The Cornell Daily Sun (1883) hawks her appearance in M’liss at the Wilgus Opera House in Ithaca, New York. The newspaper quotes a review from the Richmond Sentinel, “Jennie Calef secures the enthusiasm of her audience from her first appearance, and retains it to the end. She is a charming actress”.  A negative review can be found in The Daily Gazette– Fort Wayne Indiana (1885). The newspaper reports that “Jennie Calef, the actress who afflicted the people here in a bad play called Little Muffets is (now) devastating the Ohio towns.” It further reports that finances were becoming a problem for the theater company and that one of the “ham fat” actors of the company had taken legal action, attaching the shows baggage for his salary due. Another story concerning the actress is reported by Ohio’s Newark Daily Advocate (1886). The newspaper states that Jennie hurt one of her “beautiful limbs” while rushing onto a Sandusky, Ohio stage. The injury appears to have been to her knee. The article also asserts that she was confined to a Dayton, Ohio hotel room for two months in order to recover. She and a lawyer spoke to a judge about filing suit but the judge advised her not to pursue a law suit against the theater. An unconfirmed story was that the accident occurred when she slipped on some flowers that were given to her by her manager. Further articles indicate that she eventually did file a ten thousand dollar suit against the theater. The Sporting Life (1890) reports Calef’s marriage to Andrew Waldron who was her manager and an actor. Preliminary research failed to uncover details about the latter years of  Jennie Calef’s life. This cabinet card portrait was produced by the studio of Gilbert & Bacon. To read more about the Philadelphia studio and it’s history, click on the category “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

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HANDSOME MAN WITH WIRY BEARD IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

This cabinet card portrait features a handsome man with a wiry beard. His beard qualifies him to enter the cabinet card gallery’s category  “Beards (Only the Best)”.   Click on the category to see an interesting photographic collection of men with notable beards. This photograph was produced by the Gilbert & Bacon studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To view other photographs by this studio and to learn more about the photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

MARY COLEY, A PICTURE OF FASHION, IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

This cabinet card features a very fashionable lady, posing for her portrait at the studio of Gilbert & Bacon, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The woman is identified as Mary Coley (her name is written on the reverse of the photograph). She looks great in her beautiful gown. Note the fur trim at her collar and near the bottom of her dress. She appears to be wearing pearls and she strategically placed her hat at just the right angle, in order  to make some sort of fashion statement. This pretty woman may be an actress; Gilbert & Bacon were prominent theatre photographers in Philadelphia. However, research found no record of any actresses named Mary Coley. To learn more about the photographers of this cabinet card, click on the category “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

MAUD GRANGER: BROADWAY STAGE ACTRESS

Maud Granger (c 1851-1928) was a popular nineteenth century actress who belonged to a number of east coast theatre touring companies. She played in 17 Broadway productions between 1879 and 1924. She also became an early cinema screen personality. This cabinet card was photographed by the studio of Gilbert & Bacon of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This studio was one of the best known photographic studios in Philadelphia and produced portraits of many celebrities. To view other photographs by this studio, click on the category “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

ETHEL JACKSON (1877-1957): AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS

ethel-jacksonEthel Jackson (1877-1957) was an American stage actress and comic prima donna. She was the great granddaughter of the first Governor of Rhode Island. She was educated in Europe and began acting acting in London, England. She was brought to America by Charles Frohman to play the leading role in “Little Miss Nobody” in New York City. In 1914 she debuted in Vaudeville at the Orpheum in Brooklyn, New York. The photographer of this Cabinet Card is Gilbert & Bacon of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To view other photographs by this studio, click on the category “Photographer: Gilbert & Bacon”.

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 10:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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