PORTRAIT OF PRETTY THEATER ACTRESS AND PLAYWRIGHT GRACE HEYER (PHOTOGRAPHER: JACOB SCHLOSS)

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This cabinet card portrait features stage performer and playwright Grace Heyer. The Internet Broadway Data Base lists Miss Heyer as performing in eleven Broadway shows. Her “Great White Way” career began with “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1900) and ended with “Great Gatsby” (1926). Her photo appears in Munsey’s Magazine (1899) and she is credited with appearing in “The Wife”. Her portrait also appears in Theatre Magazine (1904) where she is described as a “young emotional actress” who has headed her own theater company. The Greenback Magazine (1914) describes Heyer as a “formerly well known actress” whose new play “The Philosopher” was to be introduced by the “Liebler Company”. Miss Heyer looks quite beautiful in this cabinet card image. The photograph is subtly provocative. The profile portrait reveals her partially bare back and her bare neck and in the image her expression can be described as being sultry. This photograph was taken by celebrity photographer Jacob Schloss (1856-1938) in his Manhattan studio. Schloss received his education at the Cooper Union in New York City. He graduated in 1872 as an etcher. He joined Benjamin J. Falk’s photography studio and worked there in the mid 1870’s. He left Falk’s employ to open his own studio (54 West 23rd Street) where like Falk, he specialized in theatrical photography. He tended to favor photographing actresses in costume in front of generic studio furnishings. He produced many cabinet card photographs but also was active in the production of magazine images. By the 1890’s he was particularly known for his photographs of beautiful women, much like photographer Jose Maria Mora. Schloss also was an activist for photographers rights. He was very involved in the movement to copyright images. He sued those who used his photographs without crediting or paying him. He was very involved in national photographer associations and was an active photographer until the 1910’s. To view other photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Schloss”.

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Published in: on May 21, 2016 at 12:12 pm  Comments (2)  
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A SOUBRETTE OF MAJOR PROMISE: STAGE ACTRESS EDITH MURILLO

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This cabinet card portrait by New York City celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk, features stage actress Edith Murillo. Judging by the sparsity of easily accessible information pertaining to Miss Murillo, it appears that she was not a major theatrical player. However, The New York Times  (1884) “Notes of the Stage” section announces her appearance in a musical comedy. In addition, the Topeka State Journal (1889) describes Miss Murillo as “a soubrette of uncommon promise”. Wikipedia defines a soubrette as “a comedy character who is vain and girlish, mischievous, lighthearted, coquettish and gossipy”. The description adds that soubrettes “often display a flirtatious or even sexually aggressive nature”. This image of Edith Murillo certainly captures the pretty actress in a flirtatious pose.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm  Comments (3)  
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PRETTY ACTRESS NETTIE LYFORD GOES PRODUCE SHOPPING IN NEW YORK CITY (PORTRAIT BY BENJAMIN FALK)

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This cabinet card portrait features pretty theater actress Nettie Lyford doing her produce shopping at the Whole Foods grocery store in New York City. She was such a fan of the store that she appeared in their advertising for free. Actually, this photograph is a celebrity portrait that was probably taken by famed celebrity photographer Benjamin Falk. The image was likely produced at Falk’s studio in New York City. Miss Lyford is wearing a costume that she probably wore in a stage production. In fact, this very same image appears in Epoch (1892) as part of an article by Morris Bacheller entitled “Favorite Figures of the Stage”. The article reports that the young Miss Lyford “has established herself as one of the comic opera favorites of the Metropolis”. She had made her debut in Charles Hoyt’s farce comedy company in “Rag Baby”. While she was appearing in another Hoyt production, “Lunch Counter Girl” she was seen by Francis Wilson (1854-1935)  who hired her to appear in “Oolah” which was a comic opera appearing in New York City in 1887. This cabinet card image was taken during her tenure with Wilson’s opera company. To learn more about Francis Wilson and the play “Oolah”, search for the image of Marie Jansen which appears in the Cabinet Card Gallery. To view more celebrity photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

 

VIOLET LLOYD: ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS AND A PIQUANT SOUBRETTE

 

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The top photograph features stage actress Violet Lloyd posing for celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk at his New York City studio. Ms. Lloyd is adorned with flowers in her hair and looks quite beautiful as she poses with her rather large fan. Violet Lloyd was an English actress and singing comedienne. The New York Times (1896) published a favorable review of  “The Geisha”, a play appearing at Daly’s Theater. The critic wrote that  “The greatest individual hit last night was made by Violet Lloyd, an English Soubrette (female stock character in opera and theater)……….She is a piquant (engagingly provocative)  little person, with a droll (amusing in an odd way) but pretty face, sufficient voice, a sense of humor, and plenty of agility”.  It is clear that turn of the century newspaper writers were either better writers than today’s journalists, or else, their editors were more likely to  encourage and expect higher quality writing.  As a result, newspaper articles had a more literary style and used advanced vocabulary. Please forgive me for providing the definitions of some of the words in the quotation; I couldn’t stop myself. A stamp on the reverse of this cabinet card indicates that it was once part of the collection of Charles L. Ritzmann. Other photographs from Ritzmann can be viewed by clicking on the category “Charles Ritzmann Collection”. The second photograph was also done by a well known New York City celebrity photographer. Aime Dupont was of Belgian origin and he captured Miss. Lloyd wearing clothing that was likely costume from a play. Note the fan she holds above her head. Her pose, with her hand on her hip, likely reflects feigned shock or dismay. This cabinet card is also part of the Ritzmann collection. To view more photographs by Dupont and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”.

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PORTRAIT OF “LITTLE OLLIE”: A GIRL AND HER MANDOLIN

LITTLE OLLIE_0002This cabinet card portrait features “Little Ollie” and her mandolin. At least I think her instrument is a mandolin. Confirmation from a cabinet card gallery visitor would be appreciated. This little girl performer is adorable. She is wearing a cute hat and her jewelry includes a necklace and bracelet. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription stating “From Little Ollie Herself”. Benjamin J. Falk (1853-1925), a noted celebrity photographer, produced this photograph. His studio was located on Broadway in New York City. The image is numbered on the bottom right hand corner.To view more photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”. Research revealed not further information about “Little Ollie”. However, a different photograph of her, also by Falk, is in the collection of the Library of Congress.

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Published in: on April 17, 2014 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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MARIA VANONI: STAGE ACTRESS AND SOMEBODY’S “TRUE FRIEND”

VANONI_0021New York City celebrity photographer, Benjamin Falk, produced this photographic portrait of stage actress Maria Vanoni. The reverse of the cabinet card is inscribed by the actress who wrote “Your true friend, Maria Vanoni”. Miss Vanoni received mention in Folio (1884) when she appeared in “Orpheus and Eurydice” as a member of the Miles & Bartons Opera Bouffe Company. She was described as “a graceful sprightly actress of the French school”. “Opera Bouffe”was a genre of late 19th century French operetta. This genre was known for its components of comedy, satire, parody, and farse.

FRANCES EVERETT: THEATER ACTRESS PORTRAIT (NEWSBOY SERIES: 1891)

everett_0003This Newsboy cabinet card features a portrait of actress, Frances Everett. The photograph is number 329 of a series of images published by Newsboy to distribute as a premium with their tobacco products. The photograph was taken by B. J. Falk and has a copyright of 1891. The cabinet card has a stamp from the Theatral (Theatrical?) Photo. Company of New York City. Miss Everett holds a string instrument (mandolin?) and is dressed in a rather risque costume for her era. She is also wearing a great smile. Preliminary research found no biographical information about Miss Everett or the Theatral Photo Company.

NOTED STAGE ACTOR: J. FORBES ROBERTSON

ROBERTSONJohnston Forbes-Robertson (1853-1937) was a celebrated English actor and theater manager. He was considered to be one of the finest actors of his time. He was particularly noted for his portrayal of Hamlet. He did not profess a passion for his acting profession. He was born in London. His father was a journalist and theater critic. He had ten siblings and four of them pursued acting. His original interest was to become an artist, but to support himself financially he entered acting. He worked with Sir Henry Irving for some time as a second lead actor. He then became a lead actor. His starring roles included Dan’l Druce, Blacksmith and The Parvenu (1882). George Bernard Shaw wrote the part of Caesar for him in Caesar and Cleopatra. Forbes Robertson acted in a number of Shakespeare plays and also appeared a number of times with actress Mary Anderson in the 1880’s. In 1900 he married the American actress, Gertrude Elliott (1874-1950). In 1930, Forbes Robertson was knighted. This cabinet card portrait was produced by photographer Benjamin Falk who’s studio was located in New York City. Forbes Robertson is captured in costume in this image. The reverse of the photo is stamped “J. M. Russell 126 Tremont Street, Boston”.

CARLOTTA BRIANZA: CELEBRATED ITALIAN BALLERINA (PORTRAIT BY FALK)

This cabinet card portrait features pretty celebrated Italian ballerina, Carlotta Brianza (1867-c.1933). Note that the jewelry that is hanging from her necklace is shaped like a horse. It is also worth mention that this photograph is somewhat risque for the era. Brianza was born in Milan, Italy and was the prima ballerina at La Scala before going to Russia. She created a sensation in Luigi Manzotti’s ballet “Excelsior” as the Spirit of Light. She went to Russia in 1887 after completing a US tour. She was acclaimed for her work in “Sleeping Beauty” and “Esmerelda”. She returned to the west in 1891 when she became the prima ballerina for the Vienna Opera. She died in Paris under suspicious circumstances that suggest she committed suicide. This portrait was produced by celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk of New York City. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

FFOLLIOTT PAGET

Benjamin J. Falk, New York City theatrical photographer, produced this cabinet card portrait of English actress FFolliott Paget. She is dressed to look her best; wearing pearls and a fur coat. Ms Paget appeared in fourteen Broadway plays including “What Every Woman Knows” ((1908-1909) and “The Rivals” (1912).

Published in: on May 23, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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