This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young woman who likely performed in a balancing act for an unidentified circus. She has one foot on a ball that was used for balancing feats. The photograph is a bit risque for it’s era. The young lady is displaying a bit of a devilish grin. Note the upside down ghost image at the top of this image. The logo of the McDannell studio in Wattsburg, Pennsylvania is visible and the cause of this phenomenon is that this cabinet card was likely stored face-to-face with the McDannell cabinet card and The McDannell logo was pressed printed onto this circus performer photograph. It is worth mentioning that one of Mcdannell’s photographs is a resident of the Cabinet Card Gallery collection. The above cabinet card image was produced by the Rykert studio in Buffalo, New York. Chauncy W. Rykert and William Rykert were both photographers in Buffalo. Both men shared a studio on Buffalo’s Jefferson Street in the late 1870’s. Chauncy is the most likely one who produced this image as he remained a photographer in Buffalo for many more years than William.
The top cabinet card features Pauline Hall (1860-1919), one of the most popular turn of the century prima donnas. She began her career as a dancer in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 15. She joined the Alice Oats Opera Company but left to tour in plays with famed actress Mary Anderson. By 1880, she worked for well known producer Edward Everett Rice in musical productions. Early in their association, he gave her a role in “Evangeline”. Her shapely figure allowed her to take male roles as she did in “Ixion” (1885). Her greatest success came in the title role of the first American production of “Erminie” (1886). She played in more than two dozen Broadway operettas. Her final role was in the “Gold Diggers” (1919). This photograph was taken by famed celebrity photographer, Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachusetts. Other photographs by Chickering can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Chickering”. The second cabinet card, photographed by B. J. Falk, of New York City, captures Pauline Hall in stage costume. The photograph is #305 in a series from Newsboy. The tobacco company (Newsboy) gave away cabinet cards as a premium with the purchase of their products. This cabinet card shows a copyright date in the 1890’s. The exact date has become illegible over time. To view other Newsboy or Falk cabinet cards, click on the categories “Photographer: Falk” or “Photographer: Newsboy”. The third cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Falk. Ms. Hall looks quite beautiful in this image. She is wearing earrings and an interesting hat. The photograph is a bit risque. Much of her neck and shoulders are exposed. In addition, her dress accentuates and reveals significant cleavage. Is the material at the base of her scoop neckline part of her dress; or was it added in order to make the photograph less provocative? Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to provide an explanation. The fourth cabinet card image, once again photographed by B J Falk, features Miss Hall wearing a dark dress, long gloves, a lovely hat, and a purse. Pauline Hall certainly was a stage beauty as attested by this photograph.
This carefully posed vintage real photo postcard begs the viewer to hypothesize about what’s happening in this photograph. A pretty young woman displaying a far-away look holds an open fan in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Her dress and appearance could be described as risque. The top part of her dress is sheer and beaded in places. She has a beautiful hat and wearing a fancy hair ornament. The woman is well dressed and stylish. What is this lovely lady thinking about? Any guesses? The preprinted message on the bottom of the postcard, “prosit neujahr” is German for “Happy New Year”. This postcard was published by Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (NPG) in Berlin, Germany. The postcard was part of a series and was mass produced for sale. It was likely published in the 1910’s.
This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young woman who was quite a daredevil. She was the first female canonball. Her stage name was Rose Zazel. In this photograph she is wearing her namesake rose as well as a necklace, bracelet, and earrings. She is also wearing a risque costume. Miss Zazel’s act involved being shot from a spring loaded cannon invented by “The Great Farini”. Zazel’s given name was Rossa Matilda Richter and she was just 14 years of age when she was engaging in this exciting but reckless behavior. At one point, she toured with the PT Barnum Circus. Eventually she suffered a career ending injury when she missed a safety net and suffered a broken back. The information I cited about Rose Zazel comes from an interesting article on Scribol.com. The article is entitled “Seven Most Mind Blowing She-Daredevils in History” and it was written by Karl Fabricus. The article included the image below which is a poster advertising an appearance of “Zazel the Human Projectile”. This cabinet card image was photographed by Marc Gambier, a well known photographer of celebrities. You can view more of his images and learn more about him in the category “Photographer: Gambier”.
This cabinet card portrait features an unknown actress in a provocative pose sitting on a swing. An exposed leg and lacy undergarments propel this photograph into risque territory. The curly haired young woman flashes a terrific smile at the camera. The photographer of this image is the Sazerac studio which was located at the “Hotel Prive” in Paris, France. No information could be located about Mr. Sazerac but one can easily find real photo postcard portraits of French show girls that were produced by his studio. Sazerac cabinet cards are less common.
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.
This cabinet card portrait of actress Lottie Gilson was produced by celebrated New York City photographer, Aime Dupont. Gilson is perched on a pedestal and this image is a bit risque for its era. Note Miss Gilson’s coy smile, her exposed neck, relativesly low cut dress, the straps on her arms, and the leggy view. Gilson’s nickname, “the little magnet” is written on the reverse of the photograph. Also on the back of the cabinet card is a stamp from “Culver Pictures” which was a company that supplied photographs to the media for a price. Lottie Gilson (1871-1912) was a popular comedienne and vaudeville singer born in Basil, Switzerland. She was called “the little magnet” because of her popularity with audiences and her ability to propel the sales of sheet music. Her musical hits included “The Sunshine of Paradise Alley” and “The Little Lost Child”. The date of her theatrical debut is unknown but it is certain that she performed at the Bowery’s Old National Theatre in 1884. She later performed in many of New York’s theaters and was the top soubrette of her day. She is noted as the originator of the stunt of having a boy come out of the balcony singing along with one of her songs. This became a common vaudeville routine. The San Francisco Call (1900) reported Gilson’s third wedding (she was only twenty nine at the time). The article also mentioned that her first husband was sent to the penitentiary for setting her hat on fire. The New York Times (1912) printed an obituary for Gilson. They reported that she had been out of the public eye for five years prior to her sudden death. Another source states that she died after years of self destructive behavior, illness, and depression. To view other photographs by Dupont, click on the category “Photographer: Dupont”.
Estelle Clayton (1867-1917) is seen in the first and second Cabinet cards. She was a prominent actress as well as a librettist in the late 1800’s. In one of her roles, she starred in “Fayette” with E H Sothern. Clayton was the sister of actress Isabelle Evesson. In 1908, the two sister actresses filed suit against New York City for allegedly diverting land away from earlier generations of their family. In 1917 she died in New York City of heart failure. The photographer of both of these Cabinet cards is Sarony of New York City. The third cabinet card portrait of Clayton was produced by Newsboy as a premium for tobacco products. It is number 47 of a series. The barefoot Miss Clayton is in quite the risque pose in this image.
Theater actress Miss Alma Stanley is the subject of this cabinet card portrait by talented photographer Marc Gambier. To view other photographs by Gambier, click on the category “Photographer: Gambier. In this photograph, Miss Stanley is in costume and wearing a military style uniform with sash and sword. She appears to be saluting or staring into the distance and shielding her eyes from a fictional sun. This full body photograph highlights her thin waist. The photograph is a bit risque for its time. The backdrop and the scenery are expertly done. She truly appears to be standing outdoors. Alma Stanley (1853-1931) was a multi-talented English entertainer. She was an actress, dancer, comedienne, and singer. She appeared in such roles as Little Don Caesar de Bazan. A theater magazine reported that Miss Stanley was the daughter of an English army officer who named her Alma in honor of the battle in the Crimea War. The battle of Alma occurred in 1854 and Alma Stanley was born in 1853 so the story of how she received her name likely falls under the realm of “public relations”. She made her first stage appearance in Milan in 1872 and her first English appearance in the following year. Her New York debut occurred in 1880. She performed with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company as well as with Tony Pastor’s Broadway Theater. Alma Stanley died in a London jail cell. She was being held on a charge of drunkenness when she died of “natural causes”. At the time of her incarceration, her jailers did not know her identity.
Agnes Evans poses for this cabinet card (top) photographed by Newsboy of New York. Agnes Evans was a theatre actress who performed in the Broadway production of the Pit (1904). The actress is wearing a very revealing risque dress. Further research by myself or assistance from visitors to this site will hopefully further illuminate her life and career. Newsboy was a brand of plug tobacco and Newsboy photographs were given away as a premium by tobacconists and drug stores who sold the tobacco. The images were produced by the National Tobacco Works of New York. They were likely produced and issued in the early 1890’s. The bottom image features Miss Evans in another Newsboy cabinet card (number 8 in a series). She is wearing a risque costume that includes fingerless gloves.