ROSALBA BEECHER: PRETTY OPERA SINGER

The celebrated Sarony studio of New York City, famed theatrical photographer, published this cabinet card portrait of Rosalba Beecher. Ms Beecher is wearing a very  ornate and dramatic dress. Note the design of an owl sitting on a crescent moon. She is wearing a great deal of jewelry. Her clothing is likely a costume from an opera that she was appearing in. Beecher’s magnificent ig eyes are evident in this portrait. During her stage career, Beecher appeared in one Broadway play, “Prince Methusalem” (1884). Miss Beecher is mentioned in a New York Times (1900) article concerning her divorce from Clarence Lyman Collins of the dry goods commission firm of  Whitin Collins. Mr. Collins had filed for divorce because he alleged that his wife, whom he married in 1886 (She was 23 and he was 38 years-old), was causing him financial ruin with her excessive extravagant spending. It was alleged that her spending was creating a grave economic problem for Collins and she agreed to return to her pre marital profession of being an opera singer. She moved to Paris to get experience before executing her plan to return to singing on the American stage. She stayed in Europe for several years. While there, she continued her incessant spending and Collins found himself forty thousand dollars in debt. An interesting side note is that Collins’s first wife was a Vanderbilt. This particular cabinet card has been well travelled. The reverse of the cabinet card has “Property Of” stamps from Culver Service (New York), Frederic Hilton (New York), and Charles Ritzman (New York). Culver Pictures was a service that collected photographs that for a fee could be used by the media to accompany the stories appearing in their publications. Culver Service was established in 1926. Research yielded no information concerning the identity of Frederic Hilton. Charles L. Ritzmann was a well known purveyor of photographs of stage actors and actresses. To view other cards formerly owned by Culver or by Ritzmann, type Culver of Ritzmann in the search box.

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LETTICE FAIRFAX: THEATRE ACTRESS (PRETTY THE WAY AN ENGLISH GARDNER’S DAUGHTER IS PRETTY)

Lettice Fairfax, an English actress, is the subject of this cabinet card. Her first stage appearance in America was at Daly’s Theater in New York City. She had a role in “Number Nine” in December of 1897. The reviewer in the New York Times wrote that she was “a pretty, fragile and very nervous” actress. He also labelled her the “new ingenue” and reported that she was pretty the way an English Gardner’s daughter is pretty. I guess that means that she was pretty in “the girl next door”  kind of way.  The photographer of this cabinet card was famed theatre photographer, B. J. Falk and the photograph  is copyrighted in 1898. The reverse of the cabinet card is stamped “Charles L Ritzmann” of Broadway, New York.

ZOE TUTTLE: PRETTY STAGE ACTRESS

zoe tuttle_0001The Boston Globe of 1880 in a play review of Uncle Toms Cabin, writes that Little Miss Zoe Tuttle played Eva in a “perfect” performance. Ms Tuttle appears to have begun as a child actress but little more information has been discovered. Additional research will be done and any facts concerning Ms Tuttle or additional comments from blog visitors would be appreciated. The photographer of this cabinet card is Myers of New York City.  This photograph is back stamped with the name of Charles Ritzmann, a well known purveyor of photographs of stage actors and actresses.

EFFIE ELLSLER: STAGE ACTRESS

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This is a Cabinet card portrait of stage actress Effie Ellsler (1855?-1942). She was born in Cleveland, Ohio where her parents were actors and ran a leading playhouse. She made her debut as a child and as an adult had opportunities to act with Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett and other celebrities during their Cleveland tours. Ellsler came to New York in 1880 and was a sensation in her first part in the title role of Hazel Kirke. She played that role for three years but than made a series of poor starring role choices in a number of melodramas. For most of the 1890’s she toured in road companies. She later played with Maxine Elliott in the Merchant of Venice.  Ellsler’s last hit was in the Bat (1920). This Cabinet card portrait is from the esteemed studio of Charles Ritzmann of  New York City.