FOUR PORTRAITS OF BEAUTIFUL STAGE ACTRESS ALICE CRAWFORD (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS)

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These vintage real photo postcards feature a beautiful actress named Alice Crawford (1882-1931). Miss Crawford was born in Bendigo, Australia. Her sister, Ruby Crawford was also an actress. Miss Crawford came to England with actor Wilson Barret in 1902 after appearing with him in Australia. Her London debut was in 1902 in in the play “The Christian”.  She was in the revival of the play in 1907. Other stage credits include “Antony and Cleopatra (1906), Matt of Merrymount (1908), and “The Passing of the Third Floor, Back” (1908). The New York Times (1909) announced her arrival in New York to perform in “These Are My People”. She is credited with film roles in “False Ambition” (1918) and Glorious Adventure (1922). There are fifteen portraits of Alice Crawford in the National Portrait Gallery, eight of which are by the photographer of the top photo postcard (Alexander Bassano}. Bassano  (1829 –1913) was a leading royal and high society photographer in Victorian London. Crawford was married to George Valentine Williams. He was wounded twice in WW I and was awarded the Military Cross. He later worked as a journalist, mostly in trouble spots. During WW2 he conducted “confidential work” for the British Government. He is best known as an author of Detective Fiction. He died in 1946. This postcard captures Miss Crawford in costume for her role as “Diantha Frothingham” in “Matt of Merrymount” (1908). Alice Crawford certainly qualifies as a “stage beauty” and she has an amazingly engaging smile. Bassano photographed the actress for Rotary Photo’s, Rotary Photographic Series (no.1852 R).                                      

The second photo postcard features Miss Crawford looking quite beautiful. Her hair is long and flowing and she has a flower hair band. Her eyes are beautiful and she appears to be holding back a smile. Like the first postcard, this card is also published by Rotary Photo and was part of a series (no. 1852 K). In fact both postcards seen here are part of the same series.  The postcard’s photograph was taken by the Dover Street Studio.  The studio was active between circa 1906 and circa 1912. The gallery specialized in taking theatrical portraits and was located in London, England. They were the successors to the Biograph Studios as well Adart (a studio that took advertising photos). Examination of the reverse of this postcard (see second postcard below) reveals that it was postmarked in 1907. The message on the back of the postcard is quite interesting because it contains comments about the photo on the postcard. The writer reports that she was charmed by a postcard from the addressee and she asks her how she likes “this one”. The writer also states that she was planning to go see “The Thief” at the St. James Theater. Billboard (1907) contains a review of the musical and describes it as an English version of Henry Bernstein’s “Le Voleur”.  The play was produced by Mr George Alexander and it’s cast included Mr. Alexander, Irene Vanbrugh, and Lillian Braithwaite. 

The third photo postcard portrait of Miss Crawford was produced by Rotary Photo and photographed by Dover Studios. The postcard was part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no.1852 P) and was printed in England. This photograph captures Alice Crawford appearing quite dismayed.

The fourth real photo postcard in this collection features a close-up portrait of Miss Crawford. This image confirms that Alice Crawford was certainly a stage beauty. The photograph is very similar to the second postcard in this group and the two images were likely taken during the same photo session at the Dover Street Studio. This postcard was published by Raphael Tuck and Sons and is part of the “Celebrities of the Stage” series (no. T 1148). Raphael Tuck and his wife started their photography business in 1866 in London. Their store sold pictures, greeting cards, and in time, postcards. Their success came from the sale of postcards during the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. In the early 1900’s the firm conducted postcard competitions for collectors of Tuck postcards. These competitions offered cash prizes and they were very popular. The winner of one of these competitions had a collection consisting of over twenty-five thousand cards. Three of Tuck’s four sons participated in the business. The company was devastated by German bombing during World War II. In 1959 the company merged with two other printing companies. This postcard was written and postmarked in 1908. It was postmarked at Bradninch, England. The message on the card is a “Happy Birthday” wish.

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ANNABELLE MOORE: STAGE AND EARLY FILM DANCER

Annabelle Moore (1878-1961) was born Annabella Whitford in Chicago, Illinois. In 1910 she married Edward James Buchan and they remained married until his death in 1958. She appeared in at least nine films beween 1894 and 1897.  Film companies included Edison and Biograph. The films were dance films and included “A Mermaid Dance”, “Butterfly Dance” and “Serpentine Dance”. These films can be seen on “You Tube”. Annabelle starred as the Gibson Bathing Girl in the first of  the Ziegfeld Follies (1907). She remained as part of the Ziegfeld Follies company until her marriage and retirement in 1912. The cabinet card is stamped on the reverse with the following words; “This No. 46 is the property of the American Lithographic Company” of New York.