PORTRAIT OF BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS HELEN STANDISH (PHOTOGRAPHED BY B J FALK)

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This cabinet card portrait features pretty actress Helen Standish. Famed celebrity photographer B J Falk produced this image and Miss Standish’s choice to wear a dress showing some cleavage, makes this photograph somewhat risque for it’s era. In addition, her expression can be interpreted as being enticing. Research revealed very little about Helen Standish or her career. She appears in number of cigarette card series including one produced by Dukes Cigarettes (“Leading Actors and Actresses”) which can be seen below. Her name appears in the New York Times (1887) review of the play “The Pyramid” which appeared at the Star Theater. The reviewer states that Miss Standish and another actress in the play “were not equal to the demands of their roles”. Ouch! The reverse of the cabinet card has a stamp from “Culver Service” which was a New York City company that charged the media for the use of photographs coming from their vast image archives. The reverse of the photograph also has the stamp of photographer J. M. Russell, 126 Tremont Street, in Boston, Massachusetts. Russell was a well known music publisher in Boston and it is possible that he also was involved in the sale of celebrity cabinet  cards.

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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.

RADIANT ACTRESS: CISSY FITZ GERALD (ONE OF THE GAIETY GIRLS)

B. J. Falk, the celebrity photographer from New York City, produced this cabinet card portrait of Cissy Fitz Gerald (1873-1941). Fitz Gerald was an English American vaudeville and film actress, dancer, and singer. She appeared in both silent and sound films. Her first movie was made in 1896 by Thomas Edison. In 1914 she signed with the Vitagraph company. The IMDb lists a filmography of seventy films spanning from 1914-1932. Her movies included a film series entitled “Cissy”. Her nickname was “girl with the wink”. She is described by the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England) as one of the original “Gaiety Girls” of the 1890’s. These actresses tended to appear in the choruses of productions. The web based museum exhibit describes the “Gaiety Girls”  as “fashionable elegant young ladies and not at all like the corseted actresses from the burlesques”. The exhibit also declares that the “Gaiety Girls” were polite, beautifully dressed and well behaved young women, who were much sought after by the ‘stage door Johnnies’ of the 1890’s”. As apparent in the photograph; Ms Fitz Gerald was quite a beautiful woman and had a beautiful smile. She was, simply put, a radiant woman. This photograph was formerly owned by Culver Service, a company that commercially provided celebrity photos  to different modes of media. The photographs reverse has a stamp indicating ownership by the Culver company. To view other photographs by B. J. Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.