Friday, April 23, 2010
These photos of a theatrical production have "The Rebel Maid" written on the backs, in pencil. Stamped, "J.W. DEBENHAM Photographer 182, ROUNDWOOD RD., WILLESDEN, N.W. 10 PHONE; WILLESDEN 5718." Without a date, and with everyone in period costume, it's difficult to know when these were actually taken. The Rebel Maid was a light, romantic opera written by Montague Phillips with lyrics by Gerald Dodson. It made it's premier at The Empire Theater in London on March 12, 1921. I've found several references to J. W. Debenham on the web, the earliest is a credit for a photo taken of school children celebrating the silver jubilee of Queen Mary and King George V at the Chamberlayne Road School, May 1935. I looked up The Empire Theater in London, and it's still there, though now it's a movie theater. I looked up a site that gives movie listings and found a theater on Chamerlayne Road, listed as being 4.6 miles from the Empire. These photos could have been from a revival of the play, though the close locations of Willesden, Chamberlayne Rd. and The Empire increase the likelihood that these are from the 1921 production run. If these photos are from the original production, then The Rebel Maid is played by Clara Butterworth. I've gone to http://www.npg.uk.org/ and ttakena quick look at a photo, from 1923, of Butterworth. The third image has a couple, standing in the rear, right in front of the painted backdrop. The lady looks like the British National Portrait Gallery photo of Butterworth, the same jaw line, at least, but I can't write, with certainty, that they are one and the same.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
These images stretch the term found photograph a bit. As I've noted in the other posts in this series, I think that they are rotogravures and are from a World War 1 press release, though if there is anyone out there who can correct me, please leave a comment. I purchased all of these images with the intention of having copy negs made and then black & white prints. Never got around to it with these pictures of American involvement in Siberia, in support of the anti-Bolshevik forces. The picture of troops marching down a dirt road is labeled, "Thirty-first Infantry on a practice march near Vladivostok, December 3, 1918. This regiment, commanded by Colonel F.H. Sargent, is a regular regiment organization from Manila when it was decided to send United States troops to Siberia to aid in guarding military stores belonging to Russia and to render such aid as might be acceptable to the Russians in the organization of their own self-defense. Prior to this movement the Russian people were assured by the United States that the troops would not interfere in the internal affairs of the Russian people and that there would be no interference with the political sovereignty of Russia." The picture of the man with his hand in his jacket, "Twenty-four hours after this picture was taken these Bolshevist leaders were executed by the Czechs at Ekaterinburg. The girl was an official "Red" stenographer." The uniformed man, "Admiral Kolchak, head of the Russian provisional government opposing the Bolshevki in Siberia during 1918 and 1919." The wagon train on the dirt road, "American troops on march near Vladivostok, Dec. 3, 1918." And, the military parade, "Allied peace parade in Vladivostok, Nov. 15, 1918, to celebrate the Armistice of Nov.14. The leading troops are Americans of the 31st Inf." Note, that World War 1 ended before many of these photos were taken.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've noticed a strange conceit in many people from the sixties generation and younger that we are the first generations of Americans who have travelled. Forget the wars that have been fought in the twentieth century, travel has always been something we've done. All prints from the same estate. The two women on the bicycles is labeled, "Bermuda 1925" The water front picture with the single sail boat, "Dock Nassau, Bahamas July 1936" Note the building signed Kelly's Lumber Yard. I doubt that water front property in the Bahamas is cheap enough now to allow for a lumber yard. I'd be very surprised that this site isn't now occupied by a luxury hotel. The guys in the row boats, "Nassau, Bahamas. July 1936" Note the one man swimming. The photo of the couple, shipboard, "Aug. 1927" Not the life preservers, identifying the ship as the John A. Topping, registered in Fairport. The ship's superstructure, "Aft in our headquarters S.S. Managua July 1936" The squarish building with the steamer in the background, "The oldest town in Bermuda, St. George July 1936" The government building is labeled, "Capitol of Havana, Cuba July 1936" It seems to modeled after the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The row boats all clustered together on a lake, "Liberty N.Y. 1926" No Caribbean getaway in 26. A;ll of the farm pictures are labeled, "Lookout, Pa. 1926" It looks like a probable family reunion to me. My guess is that the couple who took these trips were a generation or two away from the farm.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
I've noticed that a lot of dealers seem to be confused about cabinet cards. The cabinet card is standardized format. A cabinet card is 4.25x6.5 inch cardboard with a print mounted on the front. While the image may vary somewhat, the image is usually around 4x5.25 inches. The borders on the front and the back of the card often have photographers marks, identifying the photographer and the location of his studio. Both of these images are somewhat different in that they do not have any advertising on the reverse of the card, and the image of the woman has no identifying marks on the front borders, either.
These hand colored prints, made by adding inks to black & white originals were popular offerings from commercial studios well into the 1960's. Stamped on the back, "Wright Studio, KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE."
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Another of the many night club souvenir photo folders from the collection. (Click on night club in the label section at the end of the post to pull up the others.) Sometimes it almost impossible to come up with information on these old venues, sometimes far easier. The earliest references to McVan's that I was able to find are from the 1940's. An article in Billboard Magazine from 1946 lists Lillian McVan as the owner manager of the club, seeking dance bands and floor shows. I've found reference to an ownership change on April 17, 1963 when the club was purchased by former Buffalo mayor, Steven Pankow who converted McVan's from a night club to a supper club. No info on whether Lillian McVan was still the owner or not. In McVan's latter years, it was a rock venue and eventually a hard core punk showcase. Among acts that I've been able to verify played McVan's, Art Tatum, The Ink Spots, Gypsy Rose Lee, Jimi Hendrix, and Alex Chilton. Printed on the back of the folder, "Dine Dance and Fun. TOPS IN ENTERTAINMENT 3-FLOOR SHOWS NIGHTLY-3 9-12-2:30 McVAN'S NITE CLUB Date January 28, 1950 SOUVENIR PHOTO $1.00"
The process was first described in 1853 by French photographer and inventor, Adolphe-Alexander Martin, the tintype, more properly called the melainotype or ferrotype, was a photographic process where a direct positive print was made on a sheet of iron. Technically, the image is a negative, but exposed on a background that has been painted, lacquered, or enamelled in black, it appears to be positive. The ferrotype uses the same method as the ambrotype, except that the ambrotype was made on glass and then placed in a black, backed frame. The ferrotype also reverses the image, unless taken with a special camera with a built in prism, the image will be flopped. Because the materials were cheap, and almost indestructible, unlike the ambrotype, the tintype became the first affordable photographic process, making it possible for the lower middle and poor working classes to have portraits made. I've got lots, and lots of tintypes, this first five will, in time, be followed by other tintype galleries. I've already posted a couple of tintypes, unique in themselves. Click on tintypes in the label section.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
No mystery on this one. I used to work at a photo lab, I owned a 16mm copy of the 1928 silent, experimental film, The fall of the House of Usher, directed by James Sibley Watson, and Melville Webber. I made a inter-neg from one of the frames, and this print. The lady is Hildegarde Watson, as Madeline Usher.