ROMANTIC SCENE FROM THE PLAY “HAVANA” (1908): VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD

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This vintage real photo postcard captures a scene from the the stage production of “Havana” which appeared in 1908 at the Gaiety Theatre in London. The play ran for 221 performances before going on the road around England. The show later played in Berlin, Philadelphia and New York City (The Casino Theatre). Interestingly, future star, Gladys Cooper appeared in the chorus. The play’s plot was that Evie Greene was the daughter of a cigar store owner who also happened to be the mayor of Havana. She was promised to her cousin in marriage but was in love with an English yachtsman (McKay). To complicate matters, the McKay was suspected of being a revolutionary. The actors in this image are Evie Greene and Leonard McKay. Edith Elizabeth (“Evie”) Greene (1875-1917) was an English actress and singer who played in Edwardian Musical Comedies in London and on Broadway. She was quite beautiful and was often photographed. She was most known for starring in the international hit musical “Florodora” (1899). She sang in the cast album of the show which was historic because it was the world’s first original cast album. This postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of a series (no. 7431 F). It was printed in England. The photograph itself is by “Play Pictorial”. “Play Pictorial” 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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TWO GANGSTERS AND THEIR MOLLS ENJOY DINNER ON THE BEACH IN HAVANA, CUBA

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This photograph features a couple of gangsters and their molls enjoying their dinner on the beach in Havana, Cuba. In reality, these gangsters are probably just law abiding tourists, but I like the gangster story better. This is a souvenir photograph from “La Playa de Marianao” (The Beach of Marianao).  Marianao is one of 15 municipalities in the city of Havana. It is the home of the famous Tropicana Club which opened in 1939 and still operates today. However, it can be safely said that this photograph was not taken at the Tropicana. An inscription on the reverse of the photo asserts that the picture was taken in 1937 and one of the subjects is named Dagmar. Dagmar is generally a feminine name and originates from Scandanavia or Germany. This photograph has a number of interesting features. The image captures two couples eating a restaurant meal on the beach. If you magnify the photograph you can see their meal quite clearly. In fact, seeing the bread on the table made me hungry. Other diners and servers can be seen in the background. The appearance of the four individuals at the table spark speculation. The very pretty blonde woman is wearing shades and sitting in a manner in which she can show off her shapely legs (did I just say “shapely legs”?…..sort of creepy!). Her companion is informally dressed with an open shirt and jacket compared to the other man who is wearing a suit. The woman with the sun glasses and the informally dressed man are a cool looking couple. Maybe she’s Dagmar. The second woman is seated at the table with her handbag secured behind her on the chair she is sitting on. On the ground, under the table, is a large straw bag which likely contained beach supplies or the days haul from a day of shopping. To view other Cuban photographs, click on the category “Cuba”.

 

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Published in: on May 24, 2014 at 11:40 am  Comments (3)  
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VEILED WOMAN IN HAVANA, CUBA

CUBAN WOMAN_0002A woman wearing an ornate veil poses for her portrait at the studio of Ramon Carreras in Havana, Cuba. Hopefully a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can leave a comment about the subject’s attire. What does the woman’s clothing tell us about her? Research yielded little information about the photographer of this cabinet card. The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography (2007) states that the war between Cuba and Spain (1895-1898) was documented by a number of photographers including Carreras.

 

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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PAULINE MARKHAM: TURN OF THE CENTURY BURLESQUE ACTRESS

This risque (lots of cleavage shown for this era) cabinet card is a portrait of Pauline Markham (1847-1919), a singer and burlesque dancer during the civil war period in the United States. She was born in England where she made her stage debut as a child. She came to New York and appeared in “Black Crook” and “Pinafore”. She was a member of the Lydia Thompson troupe (British Blondes). After the civil war, she had relations with Northern Generals and Reconstructionists In the 1870’s she formed her own stage company and in 1879 she took her company on a tour of the West during which they performed Gilbert and Sullivan. A member of that troupe was Josephine Marcus, who later married lawman, Wyatt Earp. She retired from the stage in 1889 after breaking her leg. She must have taken the old show business saying of “break a leg” literally. This cabinet card was photographed by Fredricks, of Brooklyn, New York. It is possible that the photographer is Charles DeForest Fredricks (1823-1894) who was an innovative American photographer. Fredricks learned the art of daguerreotypes from the great photographer , Jeremiah Gurney (see category “Photographer: Gurney”). Fredricks worked in South America through the early 1850’s and then he operated out of Charleston, South Carolina; and Paris, France. He was the first photographer to make life-size portraits, which he then hired artists to color them using pastel. He then returned to New York City and rejoined Gurney. In 1854 he developed a new enlarging process and in 1855 he ended his association with Gurney. In the late 1850’s Fredricks ran his studio in Havana, Cuba, and in the 1860’s he opened a studio on Broadway, in New York City. He retired in 1889. Research has not confirmed that Fredricks ever had a studio in Brooklyn, so it is quite uncertain whether the Fredricks who photographed Markham is actually Charles D. Fredricks.