PRETTY PRIMA DONNA: MINNIE ASHLEY

This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Minnie Ashley (1878-1946). She was one of the great “stage beauties” of the end of the 19th century. She was a talented singer and dancer and she was featured in the madcap musical “1492” (1892). In Boston she performed with the Museum Company and in New York she was a member of the Augustin Daly Company. She had many successes including her performance in “A Country Girl”, “Wang”, and “San Troy”. Her acting resulted in a medical problem. The prolonged exposure to theatrical arc lights caused vision problems. In 1902 she left her acting career and married politician William Astor Chanler who was an affluent grandson of John Jacob Astor. Medical treatment did not help her vision problems and Miss Ashley than put her efforts into sculpting. Chanler and Ashley separated in 1909. She made an attempt at returning to the stage in 1911 but soon opted to pursue her sculpting. During her artistic career she worked under the name of Beatrice Ashley Chanler. In addition to the sculpting, she was active in philanthropy. The book “Famous Prima Donnas” (1900) by Lewis Clinton Strang, devotes a chapter to Minnie Ashley. He describes her as having “artless girlishness, remarkable personal charm, and skill as an imaginative dancer scarcely equalled on the American stage”. He adds that these talents explain her “sudden success” in musical comedy. He describes her dancing as “artistic in every sense” but asserts she was not exceptionally talented in the realm of acting and singing. However, Strang is very complimentary of Ashley’s appearance. He states “nature was indeed good to her when it endowed her with a most fascinating personality, a pretty piquant face, and a slim graceful figure. This postcard was published by the Rotograph Company (New York) and was part of a series (no. B 174).

STUDIO PHOTOGRAPH OF A VERY HAPPY BABY (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

This image is special because it features a baby with a wonderful smile and happy demeanor. It is a rare occurrence to find a portrait of a baby with such a great smile. The photograph was taken at a studio and was used to produce this vintage real photo postcard. The baby is dressed in white and looks so adorable wearing a white sweater and little booties. The baby is sitting on a chair that is covered by a lace light blanket. I am unsure how the baby is safely held in the chair. There is no evidence of a hidden mother’s hands or a device to hold the baby safely in place. A studio backdrop can be seen in the background. The AZO stamp box on the reverse of the image indicates that the postcard was produced sometime between 1924 and 1949

Published in: on April 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A YOUNG COUPLE AND THEIR HORSE AND BUGGY IN A RURAL SETTING

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The message on this vintage real photo postcard is as follows: “Edd & Susan, Here is a picture. looks like us but not good work at all. How are you? We are all well. My Dishes haven’t come yet… Bird”. I added the punctuation since “Bird” didn’t seem to have the time or interest. This photograph features a young man and woman sitting in their horse drawn buggy in front of a rural house and landscape. The previous owner of this image believed that that the couple are dressed in their wedding clothes. I certainly can not confirm that, but the pair are certainly dressed in their nicest clothing. “Bird”, perhaps short for “Birdie”, is not very pleased with this photograph. Personally, I believe the photographer did an excellent job in capturing this couple, their horse and buggy, and their homestead. The stamp box on the reverse of this RPPC indicates that it was produced on Cyko paper sometime between 1904 and the 1920’s.

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Published in: on February 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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LOVELY MEXICAN AMERICAN FAMILY IN THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY

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This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a lovely ethnic family. A father and mother and their son and daughter are all wearing dressy clothing for their day at the photographer. The photographer’s studio provided a lovely homey background in which to take this photograph. This postcard image was found in an antique shop in the Texas hill country. It is likely that this family is of Mexican American origin but that hypothesis can not be confirmed. The AZO stamp box indicates that this photo postcard was created sometime between 1910 and 1930.

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PORTRAIT OF A STRIKING YOUNG WOMAN BY B. J. FALK (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a very beautiful young woman. She has long hair and is wearing a spanish style scarf. The photograph was taken by the great American celebrity photographer B. J. Falk. His name is in very small print slightly to the left and above the bottom right corner of the postcard.  The publisher was A. G. Steglitz  (NPG) in Berlin, Germany.  The postcard is used and is postmarked 1905.

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PRETTY WOMAN WEARING A BIRD NEST HAT

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This vintage real photo postcard features a pretty woman wearing a bird nest hat. At least it looks like a bird nest. This young woman has the beauty to wear this unusual hat and look terrific rather than silly. The postcard is of French origin and was published in Paris. The Publisher’s logo “LL” can be seen on the front of the postcard. The postcard is part of a series (#123). “LL” postcards were produced for France, England, United States, and other nations. For many years postcard collecting experts believed the logo stood for Louis Levy but there was no real supporting evidence and that belief died around 1991. Later research arrived at the conclusion that the initials “LL” stand for (Moyse) Leon and his son-in-law (Isaac) Levy. Leon and Levy began their career as assistants with the Parisian photographic studio Ferrier-Souilier. The pair began their own photographic studio in 1862. Leon and Levy’s studio won a gold medal at the 1867 Universal Exhibition. Leon left the partnership in 1872 and Levy kept the business going and continued to use the “LL” logo. The company was renamed Levy Fils et Cie. Levy died in 1913 and the company was later bought by the printer Emile Crete.

 

PORTRAIT OF A FOOTBALL TEAM (1916 REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of a football team. The player in the center of the front row is holding a ball which announces that the team is CHS and the year of the photo is 1916. It is likely that the HS part of CHS stands for “high school”. The previous owner of this image reported that it was found with a group of many other photographs and that many of it’s companions were from either Michigan or North Dakota. The three coaches and their players look very much like the way a high school football team looks today. A fashion update may be necessary but the players intensity and pride is evident in photos from the past and the present. This image is notable for it’s excellent clarity. The postcard was printed on AZO paper issued sometime between 1904 and 1918.

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Published in: on December 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PRETTY WOMAN AND A BUCKET: IT MUST BE LAUNDRY DAY (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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A pretty young woman squats down and leans over a bucket as she does her wash. Is she washing her laundry or is she performing some other household task? What do you think? She appears very focused on her work and is wearing an apron to protect her clothing from soiling. The woman and the location that this photograph was taken are unidentified. This vintage real photo postcard is an interesting and unusual image.

 

Published in: on November 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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THE MERCHANT OF THE MASKS (REAL PHOTO FRENCH POSTCARD BY ALBERT BERGERET)

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This spectacular vintage real photo postcard features a pretty young woman posed as a seller of theatrical masks.  Note the detail of the facial features of each mask. The masks are absolutely beautiful, as is their purveyor. This RPPC was produced by celebrated French artist Albert Bergeret (1859-1932) and published in Nancy, France. Included in Bergeret’s body of work is his series “Women of the Future”. In 1902 he designed a series of postcards depicting women at work in traditionally male professions. Seen below are some examples of these cards. We see a journalist and a soldier. Other cards included a physician, lawyer, and a military general. Bergeret was no feminist. In fact, many of his depictions in the series involved women in skimpy clothing. The pictures were more like pin-ups than a call for equal employment rights for women. Bergeret was a successful businessman. His studio became the leading postcard producer in France. In 1900 he produced 25 million cards and by 1903 he published 75 million postcards. He knew how to grow a business.

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REVERSE OF THE MERCHANT OF THE MASKS POSTCARD

PRETTY WOMAN WITH A TERRIFIC SMILE (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a very pretty woman with a wonderful smile and luminous eyes. She is beautifully dressed and adorned by a necklace and flowers. Note her attracive and very detailed headpiece. The image is colored (hand tinted) and numbered (23) so is obviously part of a series. The name “Watteau” is scripted on the bottom right hand corner of the postcard. My preliminary research could not ascertain whether “Watteau” is the name of the beautiful model seen in this image or if it’s the name of the photographer. My hunch is that it is the name of the model. The reverse of this RPPC is blank, save lines for an address. Therefore, the publisher of this postcard is unknown.

 

Published in: on November 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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