PORTRAIT OF A “FLORODORA GIRL”….HEY, WHAT’S A FLORODORA GIRL? (VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH)

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This vintage photograph features a portrait of a “Florodora Girl”.  You may be wondering “what the heck is a Florodora Girl”? I was asking myself the same question when the previous owner of this image described the pretty woman in this photograph as a “Florodora Girl”. Being curious, I did a little research and found that “Florodora” was an Edwardian musical comedy that became one of the first successful Broadway musicals of the twentieth century. The show opened in London in 1899. Actresses Evie Greene and Ada Reeve were among the show’s performers. The Broadway production was performed at the Casino Theater in 1900 and ran for 552 performances. The show achieved some of its success from it’s chorus line of “Florodora Girls”. A wikipedia entry describes the six female performers comprising the line as being”tall, gorgeous damsels, clad in pink walking costumes, black picture hats and carrying frilly parasols (who) swished onto the stage and captivated New York for no other reason than they were utterly stunning”. Please pardon my brief excursion to the land of theater history. Now, lets get back to this image. The reverse of this photograph has an inscription that states “Maid and the Mummy”. It is probably a safe bet to conclude that the subject of this photograph was an actress that appeared in the production of “Maid and the Mummy”. “The Maid and the Mummy (1904)” was a musical comedy that played at the New York Theater in New York City. The show played 42 performances. Actresses in the play included May Boley, Adele Rowland, Janet Priest, and Annie Yeamans. The Cornell Daily Sun (1905) reviewed the play and reported that the production was “one of the most elaborate the stage has seen in recent years”. Interestingly, the article also states that ” “The Maid and the Mummy’ is the biggest success since “Florodora”. After some investigating, I strongly believe that the actress seen in this image is Adele Rowland. Take a look at the photograph below which is a photograph of Miss Rowland taken by photographer Joseph Hall, the same photographer of the photograph seen above. Do the women in these two images resemble each other enough to be the same person? I think so. Who is Adele Rowland? Adele Rowland was born in 1883 in Washington D.C.. Her sister, Mabel Rowland (1882-1943) was also an actress. Adele was a soprano with an “effervescent personality” who excelled in musical comedies. The New York Times (1904) reviewed “The Maid and the Mummy” and wrote that Rowland and May Boley “had something to say and sing, but their chief duty was to be looked at”. In 1915, she introduced the song “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag”. That song has stuck around over time. She also had a film career; appearing in six films between 1941 and 1950. She died in 1971. Here is some information about photographer Joseph Hall. He had studios in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York. He pursued his career between 1865 and 1915. Hall mass produced carte de visite portraits and albumin prints for the public. He also was a pioneer in producing photo-illustrated books in the 1860’s. He also was well known for being a premier photographer of professional baseball teams and players in the 1880’s. In addition, Hall did a lot of work in the area of photographing theatrical stars and productions. He died in 1915. To view more of Joseph Hall’s photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Hall”.

floradora 1

                                                                                                                                                Close-Up of Floradora Girl

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                                                                                                                                     Confirmed Photo of Adele Rowland

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                                                                                                                                       Reverse of Floradora Photograph

CHRISTINE HUDSON IN BABES IN TOYLAND

This Cabinet Card features stage actress Christine Hudson in costume for her role in “Babes in Toy Land”. The New York Times (9/10/1905) reports that the show was appearing at the West End Theatre and the cast included May De Sousa. An earlier edition of the New York Times (1902) announces her appearance in “Princess Chic”. The reverse of the cabinet card has an affixed label stating that the photograph is number H-16 of the “Oral M. Heffner Theatrical Collection” and the property of the Franklin County Historical Society. Research sheds some light on the Heffner collection. The Ohio State Archeological and Historical Quarterly (1953) writes that the first showing of the Oral M. Heffner Theare Collection was in 1953 and that the collection included over 700 rare photographs of early actors and actresses “who visited Columbus years ago”. The label on the front of this photograph blocks the name of the photographer. The name of the photographer etched on this image appears to be “Hall”. There was a Hall Studio located in New York City at a different Broadway address and it is possible that the studio was once at the Broadway address listed on this cabinet card. However, confirmation is needed and any verification help from a visitor to this site would be appreciated. To see other images by Hall, click on the category “Photographer: Hall”. To see other cabinet cards from the Heffner Collection, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Oral M. Heffner Theatrical Collection”.