PORTRAIT OF LILY ELSIE: BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED STAGE ACTRESS (VINTAGE RPPC)

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This vintage real photo postcard features celebrated stage actress Miss Lily Elsie (1886-1962). At the time of her portrait sitting for this image, Miss Elsie was also known as “Mrs. Ian Bullugh”. More about that later. Lily Elsie was a very popular English actress and singer. She was most known for her starring role in the London production of “The Merry Widow (1907)”. The show ran for 778 performances. A critic for The Pelican (1907) wrote that “the youthfulness, the dainty charm and grace, the prettiness and the exquisite dancing with which Miss Elsie invests the part…. I share the opinion of most of the first-nighters, who considered it could not have been in better hands, and could not have been better handled…. The night was a genuine triumph for Miss Elsie, and she well deserved all the calls she received”. She began as a child actress and before her big break had appeared in a number of Edwardian musical comedies. She was charming and beautiful and became one of the most photographed actresses of her time. Lily Elsie’s dad was a theater worker and her aunt was well known actress Ada Reeve. Shortly after the turn of the century she joined George Edwardes’ company at the Daly Theater. Some of her early appearances included “A Chinese Honeymoon”, “Lady Madcap”, “The Little Michus (1905)”. In the years between 1900 and 1906 she appeared in 14 shows. After the “Merry Widow” she appeared in  26 more shows including “The Dollar Princess” (1909) and “A Waltz Dream” (1911). She clearly was an actress who was in demand. Men paid her much attention but apparently she did not enjoy the attention. Lucile, her costume designer for “The Merry Widow” stated that Elsie was “absolutely indifferent to men and had once said that she disliked “the male character”. She added that men would only behave well if a woman “treated them coldly”. Now, some words about her marriage. In 1911 she he left the cast of a play in which she was performing to marry Major John Ian Bullough (1885–1936). Major Bullough was the son of a wealthy textile manufacturer. He was formerly married to actress Maude Darrell who only survived one year after their 1909 marriage. The marriage between Elsie and Bullough was reported to be very unhappy. Elsie’s health began to deteriorate and her husband pressured her to quit the stage and she was ready to do so. She returned to the stage during the war years (World War I) and was active in fund raising for the war effort. She next took a ten year break from the stage only to return once again. Her final performance took place in the Daly Theater in the play “The Truth Game” (1929). In addition to her theater career, Elsie made recordings, and appeared in two films, including D. W. Griffith’s “The Great Love” (1918). Also appearing in that film was Lillian Gish. In 1930 Elsie’s marriage ended in divorce. Her health began to deteriorate more and she developed hypochondriasis causing her to spend much time in nursing homes and sanitariums. Due to her psychological problems she had brain surgery. Her final years were spent at St. Andrews hospital in London. This postcard is part of a series (Arcadian no. A 26). The photographer of this image of this beautiful actress is the well known celebrity photographer, Rita Martin. She was considered one of the best British photographers of her time. She opened her studio in 1906. Martin’s sister, Lallie Charles was an esteemed society photographer. Many of Rita’s photographs can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. To view more photographs by Rita Martin in the cabinet card gallery, click on the category “Photographer: Martin”.

The second postcard of Miss Elsie provides a terrific close-up photograph of the beautiful Miss Elsie. She is wearing a dark jacket, a frilly high collared blouse and a ribbon bow tie. Her accessories include a long necklace, a pin low on her blouse, and a corsage. The postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4159 J) published by Rotary Photo. The photograph was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield Studio. Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s.

The third postcard features Lily Elsie clutching a bouquet of flowers and glancing sideways at the photographer. She looks absolutely beautiful. She is wearing a fancy beaded dress and a bracelet. She stands in front of a window. This photograph, like the second postcard’s photo, was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield studio. The portrait postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is part of a series (11840 F). The postcard was printed in Britain.

                                              

                                                       Wedding Photo (1911)

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TWO PORTRAITS OF BEAUTIFUL BRITISH ACTRESS/SINGER: WINIFRED BARNES (PHOTOS BY RITA MARTIN)

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These vintage real photo postcards feature British actress Winifred Barnes. She is absolutely beautiful and photographer, Rita Martin did a fine job of capturing both her beauty and personality in these photographs. It is not surprising that Rita Martin produced such fine photo postcards. Miss Martin was well known for her expertise in taking portraits of theater stars and other celebrities. Other images by Rita Martin can be seen by clicking on the Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer: Rita Martin”. Barnes made her theatrical debut in a minor role in “Our Miss Gibbs” at the Gaiety Theater in 1909. Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has ten portraits of Winifred Barnes including one by Rita Martin. Her obituary appears in the New York Times (1935). The article describes her as a former chorus girl who became a star. She was one of George Edwardes’s leading actresses. Edwardes (1855-1915) was an English theatre manager and producer who received much credit for his contribution to British musical theatre. Many of Barnes’s major roles occurred during the first World War. She scored a huge success in the production of “Betty” (1915) at Daly’s Theatre. After her 1924 marriage to barrister, Roy Faulkner, she became a successful poultry farmer. She also became widely known for her cooking expertise. Both of these photo postcards were produced by Rotary Photo of London. The two postcards are part of a series (A. 1123-1) and (11867 A).

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PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL WHITE CAT

catThis vintage real photo postcard features a beautiful white cat. This regal looking feline deserves “best of show” honors. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo which was located in London, England. It was produced in the 1900’s decade and was part of a series (A.710). The Rotary Photographic Company was founded in London in 1901. It was a major publisher of real photo postcards.

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Published in: on February 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF ACTRESS MISS ETHEL ERSKINE APPEARING IN “GIPSY LOVE” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

 

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This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Miss Ethel Erskine as she appeared in the role of Ilona in the production of “Gipsy Love”. Miss Erskine was a beautiful woman with dazzling and engaging eyes. Preliminary research discovered little about her biographical history. However, some information was found about the production of “Gipsy Love”. The show was a romantic operetta in three acts. The production played at the Carltheater in Vienna (1910), the Globe Theatre on Broadway (1911), and Daly’s Theatre in London (1912). This postcard was printed in Britain and produced by Rotary Photo as part of a series (11476 D).

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BEAUTIFUL STAGE ACTRESS DENISE ORME (THREE VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS)

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The top vintage real photo postcard features stage actress Miss Denise Orme. She is very attractive and beautifully dressed. She is wearing a fur stole and and fur muffs. She has a lovely hat and wonderful smile. Miss Orme’s given name was Jessie Smither, and was later known as Duchess of Leinster. Denise Orme (1885-1960) was an English music hall singer, actress and musician who was a regular performeer at the Alhambra and Gaiety Theatres in London during the early years of the twentieth century. Her mother was a professor of music. She trained for her theatrical career at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. Her stage debut was in 1906 in the chorus at Daly’s Theatre in London. Later that same year she appeared in the title role of “See See” at the Prince of Wales Theatre. In 1906 she participated in gramophone recordings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”. Her marital history reveals that she had a predilection to choosing husbands that were “rich and famous”. She was married to an English Baron, A Danish millionaire, and an Irish duke. She was the maternal grandmother of Aga Khan IV.who is the current Imam of Nizari Ismailism which is a denomination of of Ismailism within Shia Islam with 15 million adherents. He is also a British business magnate. Miss Orme’s photographic portrait was taken by the Foulsham and Banfield Studio. Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. The postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (#4098 Q). The postcard has a postmark from London, England, and dated 1907. The postmark date reveals that this portrait of Miss Orme was taken at the beginning of her stage career. In the message section of the postcard, the sender asks the receiver, “What do you think of Denise?”. In addition, the sender asserts on the front of the postcard “Nice hat, isn’t it?”. I have to agree; not only is Miss Orme lovely, so is her hat…….  The second postcard shows the beautiful and well dressed Miss Orme peeking out from behind a curtain. The photographer is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913) who was a leading royal and high society photographer located in London. This postcard, like the first was published by Rotary Photo and is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1933 I)……. The third photo postcard portrait of Miss Orme presents a close-up profile view of this stunningly pretty young actress. Like the first two photo postcards, this one is also published by the Rotary Photo company and is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4098 M). The photograph was taken by “Play Pictorial” which was an English theatre magazine published in London between 1902 and 1939. The publication provided a pictorial presentation of West End theatrical productions with each issue focusing on just one play.

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REVERSE OF FIRST POSTCARD

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REVERSE OF SECOND POSTCARD

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PRETTY STAGE ACTRESS: MISS DOROTHY CHARD (1909 REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features Edwardian theater actress Miss Dorothy Chard. Preliminary research yielded little information about her life and her career. More intensive research is required to uncover biographical information. The Internet Broadway Data Base (IBDB) notes that Miss Chard appeared in eleven Broadway shows from 1926 through 1930. She played in musicals but she primarily appeared in comedies. Among her credits are “Merry-Go-Round” (1927) and “Cinderelative” (1930). The dearth of information about Miss Chard reveals that she certainly was not a leading actress of her time but she certainly was beautiful and well known enough to merit the publishing of a photo postcard by the Rotary Postcard company. This postcard was part of the Rotary Photographic series (no. 4353 A). The photograph of Dorothy Chard appearing on this postcard was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield Studio.The pair were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio from the 1900’s through the 1920’s. The postcard is postmarked 1909 from Edinburg, Scotland. Edinburg is Scotland’s capital city. The content of the message on this postcard mentions “fresh cards” referring to newly released photo postcards. Collecting such cards was a popular hobby during this era. I guess this hobby was a precursor to collecting pokemon. I prefer collecting photo portraits. Call me “old school”.

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BEAUTIFUL BUT NOT SO TALENTED THEATER ACTRESS: NORA KERIN

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The top vintage real photo postcard features actress Miss Nora Kerin (1883-1970) as she appeared in the theatrical production of “The Prince and the Beggar Maid”. The actress is absolutely beautiful as is her costume. The play opened at the Lyceum in June of  1908 and ran for 82 performances. Miss Kerin played Princess Monica. The actress was born in London and her family was chock full of actresses including sister, Eileen Kerin and cousing Julia Neilson, Lily Hanbury, and Hilda Hanbury. Photographs of Miss Neilson and Mis Lily Hanbury can be found elsewhere in the Cabinet Card Gallery. Nora Kerin made her stage debut in 1899. In conducting my preliminary research about Nora Kerin, I was struck by the number of negative reviews of her acting that I encountered. One review concerned her performance as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”. The production was at the Lyceum Theater in 1908 and the review appeared in London’s “Daily Mail”.  The reviewer wrote “‘Oh, Juliet. Juliet, wherefore art thou Juliet?’ This is, of course, an inversion and a parody; but, seriously, the Juliet of Miss Nora Kerin cannot be taken so. She declaims in the conventional old-fashioned style. She somehow destroys – on the stage – her own personality, and instead of looking the pink of charm and youth (as she is when “taking a call”) she manages to conceal both. Many of her lines were badly spoken, falsely intonated and punctuated. She had moments … melodramatic outbursts … but she is not the personality … she has not the witching simplicity of the real Juliet”. Clearly, Miss Kerin was not a luminary actress of her time. However, she was quite pretty and fifteen portraits of her can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery. The photographer of this postcard image was Rita Martin, a celebrated female photographer. She is considered one of the best British photographers of her time.Her studio was in an exclusive neighborhood at  at 74 Baker Street, Marylebone. She was born Margareta Weir Martin in Ireland.  Margareta “Rita” Martin started her career in photography in 1897 by assisting her elder sister Lallie Charles in running her studio. In 1906 Rita opened her own studio. She had a style of photographing subjects in pale colors against a pure white background and she tended to avoid photographing men and older boys.  Rita had a specialty in photographing actresses including Lily Elsie and Lily Brayton. She was also well known for her child studies which often involved children of well known actresses. Lily’s sister, Lallie Charles was more known as an excellent society photographer. Many of Rita Martin’s photographs can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. A photograph of Rita Martin, by Rita Martin can be seen below. This vintage real photo postcard was produced by the Rotary Photo Company and was part of a series (no. 1796 Z).                                                                                                                 The second postcard portrait of Miss Kerin is also a good representation of her beauty. In addition she is wearing a beautiful lace dress and an extraordinary hat. The photographers of this terrific image, Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. This postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1796 H) and is of English origin and is postmarked 1907.                                                                                                        The third postcard features Nora Kerin in her role as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”. Unlike the first two portraits, in this image she is wering her hair down and is projecting an air of innocence through the placement of her hands and her vulnerable expression. Just like the top postcard, this image was photographed by Rita Martin and the postcard was part of the Rotary Photographic Series (1796 S) by the Rotary Photo Company. 

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REVERSE OF TOP POSTCARD

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 PORTRAIT OF RITA MARTIN BY RITA MARTIN 

 

 

 

 

MISS RENEE MAYER: CHILD ACTRESS AS PUCK IN “THE SLEEPING BEAUTY RE-AWAKENED” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features child actress, Miss Renee Mayer, posing in character for photographers Foulsham and Banfield. She is photographically captured in her role as Puck in the theatrical production of “The Sleeping Beauty Re-Awakened”. Note the cute little puppy that she is holding. Mayer was a child actress and dancer who made her stage debut in 1910 as the Pearl Fairy in “The Goldfish”. She is most noted for her performance as Puck in three revivals of “Sleeping Beauty” (1912, 1913, 1914). She acted in pantomimes throughout her teenage years and appeared in films in the early 1920’s including “A Bachelor Husband” (1920). Miss Mayer was born in 1900 which informs us that she was somewhere around thirteen years old when she posed for this photograph. The New York Times (1915) mentions Renee Mayer in an article about a play called “Masque of War and Peace”. Looking at the roster of cast members in this production, it becomes clear that the show had an all-star cast. Performers included Mme Rejane, Lily Elsie, Edna May, Viola Tree, Elsie Janie, Lily Langtry and of course Miss Mayer. The show was performed at the Drury Lane Theatre to raise money for “The American Women’s War Relief Fund”. Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has twenty real photo postcard portraits of Miss Mayer. Three of the images are photographs by Foulsham and Banfield and published by Rotary Photo (just like the image above). This postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 6924 B) and was printed in Britain.

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BEAUTIFUL BRITISH STAGE ACTRESS: OLIVE MORRELL (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a very beautiful British stage actress named Olive Morrell. She was a successful enough actress to merit having six portraits of her included in the United Kingdom’s National Portrait Gallery. She performed in England and toured in Australia. She was  born as Olive Miller; Morrell was her stage name. In 1908, she married Willie Kelly (1877-1960), an Australian politician. The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (1905) highlights her career including her role in “The Spring Chicken” at the Gaiety Theatre. In researching the play, I was struck by the number of well known actresses appearing alongside her. The cast included Kitty Mason, Kate Cutler, Gaynor Rowlands, Ethel Oliver, and Gertie Millar. This was certainly an all star lineup and any collector of theatrical postcards will be familiar with these actresses. Collectors will also note that these women were  quite pretty and their postcard images were, and still are, very collectible. Miss Morrell is also the subject of an article in The Play Pictorial (1905) which mentions her appearance in a theatre production called “The Talk of the Town”. This postcard was produced by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1547 C). It is truly a special portrait of Miss Morrell. After viewing many postcard images of this actress; I believe this portrait is one of the finest portraits of Olive Morrell that a postcard collector can find. This photograph captures her beauty as well as provides a close look at fashion during the turn of the century.

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PORTRAIT OF STAGE ACTRESS AND JOURNALIST JULIE OPP (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features stage actress Julie Opp (1871-1921).  Miss Opp was an American stage actress who was for many years popular in America as well as in Europe. She was the wife of actor William Faversham. She married him after the pair co-starred in the Broadway production of “The Royal Rival” (1902). The internet Broadway data base indicates that Miss Opp appeared in six Broadway shows from 1901 through 1911. Julie Opp was born in New York City in 1871. Her Bavarian father ran a saloon on lower Manhattan”s Bowery Street and was active in local politics.  Her mother was Irish-American. Julie began her education in public schools but her mother decided to transfer her to a local convent to receive her education. The young girl shocked  the sisters and bishop when she told them that she wanted to become a ballet dancer when she grew up. By the time she graduated, she had replaced her ambition to dance, with becoming a writer. Her first job was being a a journalist with the New York Recorder. She was a fashion writer. As part of her work as a journalist, she became involved with many people in the theatre world including Sarah Bernhardt and Emma Calve. The show business performers tried to convince her to become an actress. As a result she dabbled in acting but in 1896 she chose the stage over writing and performed in Shakespeare’s “As You Like it” at London’s St. James Theatre. A review of her performance seen in “To-Day” (1896) stated she was “charming” and “equipped for the performance of brilliant work, either on the press or stage”. In 1906 she published “The Squaw Man: A Novel”. She fell seriously ill in 1914 while traveling abroad with her husband and two sons. She appeared to recover and performed again, but soon suffered a relapse causing her to retire from acting. She then spent her remaining years at her residence in New York City and her country house on Long Island. She died after a failed operation in 1921. This postcard was published by the Rotary Photo Company as part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1572 B). Miss Opp was photographed by L. Caswall Smith. Lizzie Caswall Smith (1870-1958) was a British photographer who operated in the early 1900’s. She specialized in photographing members of society and celebrities. Many of her photographs were used for postcards. She was involved in the Women’s Suffrage movement and photographed many of the leading suffragettes. She also photographed many actors including Billie Burke and Maude Fealy. She operated the Gainsborough Studio from 1907 through 1920 (309 Oxford Street) and moved to a new location (90 Great Russell Street) where she remained until she retired in 1930 at the age of 60 years-old. Her most famous photograph is a portrait of Florence Nightingale taken in 1910. It was auctioned in 1908 and sold for 5500 pounds which is an equivalent today of nearly 8,000 dollars. The National Portrait Gallery has 84 portraits associated with Lizzie Caswall Smith.

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