Monday, September 26, 2011

The Epworth League Album 7, Old Folks (And Young) At Home

The picture of the little girl and her cats seems somewhat out of place on this page. A grand daughter, perhaps, of one of the older seated men, she looks like a model for silent movie star Mary Pickford from Rebbecca of Sunnybrook Farm or Mary Miles Mitner from Anne of Green Gables. Looking at those old silent films, I've always assumed that the look of those actresses was an idealized notion of a rural America that the film makers thought would sell tickets to an urban audience living in tenements. It's surprising to find an actual child who has that care free and innocent image.

Most people have at least heard of Mary Pickford, but Mary Miles Mitner's name may not be familiar to non silent movie fans. During the silent era, Mitner was a very successful child actress who rivaled Pickford in box office appeal. Her career ended in 1923 when she was implicated in the murder of director William Desmond Taylor. Born in 1902, the 21 year old Mitner was involved with the much older and married Taylor. Though never charged, Mitner never made another film. Mitner's mother and Mabel Normand were also said to be involved with Taylor.

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