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

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alice crawford

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. 

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alice crawford 1

 

 

STAGE ACTOR: JOHN HARE LACKS “THE LEADING MAN LOOK” IN A PORTRAIT BY THE PACH BROTHERS

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This unusual looking gentleman is an English actor and theatre manager named John Hare. John Hare (1844-1921) was born in a town called “Giggleswick”. This is an appropriate name for the birthplace for a man who began his acting career in comic roles. Giggleswick was located in Yorkshire, England. Hare began his acting career in Liverpool in 1864. He is often associated with the plays of T. W. Robertson. Hare managed the Court Theatre (1875-1879), the St. James Theatre (1879-1888), and the Garrick Theatre (1889-1895). His greatest success as an actor was in the play A Pair of Spectacles (1890). This portrait of John Hare likely captures the actor in wardrobe and makeup for one of his productions. However, it is possible that he aged poorly which can be hypothesized because photographs taken of the actor in earlier years show a man with a significantly more pleasing appearance.                              

LINDA DEITZ: STAGE ACTRESS INSULTED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES (1879)

Linda Deitz poses for this cabinet card portrait by famed celebrity photographer, Sarony of New York City.  Deitz was a well known American actress in the 1870’s and 1880’s. She was photographed a great deal but her theatrical career was of only about ten years duration. She made her stage debut replacing actress Fanny Davenport in a production at Daly’s 5th Avenue Theatre. View Ms Davenport’s cabinet card image under the category of Actresses located on this site. In 1879 a theatre column in the New York Times announced that Deitz was being cast as a leading lady. The critic reported that the decision “does not strike us as very happy”. The article goes on to describe her as a respectful actress within a limited range of parts but  “she can scarcely hope to fulfill worth the severe duties of a leading lady”. Later that year, Linda Deitz left New York to join the Hare and Kendal theatre company at St. James Theatre in London. Deitz died in 1920.