Posts Tagged ‘cigarette card’

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Leona Lewis, ‘The Little Gem,’ New York, circa 1895

January 16, 2015

Leona Lewis (active 1884-1898), American soprano and vaudeville serio-comic singer, billed as ‘The Little Gem’
(photo: Schloss, New York, circa 1896; cigarette card issued with Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarettes, England, circa 1900)

London Theatre, New York, week beginning Monday, 18 April 1892
‘Manager John A. Flynn contemplated the two packed houses on Monday, April 18, drawn by his attraction, the London Gaiety Girls, with an expansive smile. The company is composed of very good burlesque and variety talent, giving a performance well calculated to please all. The opening sketch ”The Artist and the Model,” introduced Lida Gardner, May Smilox, Louise Llewellyn, Jessie May, Billy Arnold, Dan McAvoy and John Thompson. Then followed this olio: Mabel Hart, serio comic; Griff Williams, in a banjo act; Joe La Flower, in a good pyramid act; Lida Gardner, character changes; La Salle and Vedder, agile skirt and Spanish dancers; Leona Lewis, the pleasing little soubrette, with songs; McAvoy and May, in a funny sketch; the Mendoza sisters, in their trapeze act, and Walter P. Keen (late of Marion and Keen) in character songs. The burlesque, ”The Stolen Princess,” by the entire company, with fine scenery and costumes, concluded the jollification. Mr. Flynn has three weeks booked ahead, and will undoubtedly quit a winner. Next week, the Rentz-Stanley Co.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 23 April 1892, p. 102b)

‘MRS. GRIFF WILLIAMS (Leona Lewis) presented her husband with a girl baby Oct. 30 [1893]. Mr. Williams joined the Billy Plimmer show Nov. 6 for a two weeks’ engagement.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 11 November 1893, p. 576d)

‘Variety and Minstrelsy …
‘LEONA LEWIS will shortly appear at both of Mr. proctor’s houses in her repertory of new songs… .’
‘GRIFF WILLIAMS informs us that he was granted a divorce from Leona Lewis on March 25 [1896], at Boston, Mass.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 11 April 1896, p. 85e)

‘LEONA LEWIS
‘Was born in New York City in 1875, and began her stage career when nine years old, singing in German opera at the Oriental Theatre, this city. During the five following years she sang in a church choir, as leading soprano, and filled a number of engagements at concerts, singing operatic selections and high class sentimental ballads, her favorite songs at that time having been ”Farewell, Marguerite” and ”The Song that Reached My Heart.” Her first appearance upon the vaudeville stage occurred at the old National Theatre, about six years ago. She met with a very encouraging reception. She afterwards secured engagements whereby she appeared at the Windsor, the Union Square and the Fourteenth Street Theatres, in this city. At the age of sixteen she joined Flynn’s London Gaiety Girls, and played the principal soubrette roles with that organization for two years and a half. After that time she played dates for a while, one of her engagements, at the Lyceum Theatre, Boston, Mass., where she became a great favorite, continuing for eight weeks. In 1894 she joined ”The Colonel and I,” and remained with that company six months, playing the principal feminine roles. Following this engagement she was obliged to retired from the stage on account of illness, and did not sing for almost a year. With recovered health she began playing dates, and since that time she has filled highly successful engagements at Proctor’s houses, the Central Opera House, the various roof gardens, the London, Miner’s, and, in fact, many of the best vaudeville houses in and around this city. She is at present a member of the ”Zero” Co. She has had flattering offers to appear in farce comedy next season, but has decided to remain in the vaudeville field. Miss Lewis has been endowed by nature with an excellent voice and with other gifts that have been valuable aids to her success. She is petite and pretty, winsome in voice and manner, and, to crown all, is dainty and magnetic.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 24 October 1896, p. 533e, with engraved portrait)

‘LEONA LEWIS has proved a valuable addition to Joe Oppenheimer’s forces in ”Zero.” Her speciality is favorably commented on, and she has had several good offers from well known managers for next season. Miss Lewis has written the music to her new song, ”The Dainty Little Maiden,” which she is singing.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 28 November 1896, p. 616d)

‘Vaudeville and Minstrel.
‘LEONA LEWIS is advancing rapidly to the front in her singing specialty. She filled a successful return date at Hammerstein’s Olympia week of March 8 [1897]; is a feature at the Howard Athenæum, Boston, this week, and a ”head liner” at Gibbs’ Music Hall, Buffalo, this week. Her repertory of songs includes ”Little Willie Knows His Little Book,” ”Isn’t it Nice to be in Love,” ”Take Back Your Gold” and ”Mamie Reilly,” all of which she renders with admirable effect. A novel telegram sent by Manager Hill, of the Grand Opera House, Boston, to Monroe H. Rosenfeld, incidental to Miss Lewis’ engagement, reads as follows: ”She captured the ladies, also the men; a pronounced ‘hit’ was ‘The Little Gem.””
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 27 March 1897, p. 55c)

‘KOSTER & BIAL’S [New York]. – The roof garden at this resort was crowded Aug. 22 [1898] … Leona Lewis, a magnetic little comedienne, made her appearance and found herself among hosts of friends. She met with her usual big success.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 27 August 1898, p. 424c)

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Flo Bilton, English music hall singer and dancer and sister of Belle Bilton (Countess of Clancarty), London, 1890

December 28, 2014

Flo Bilton (1868-1910), younger sister of Belle Bilton (1867-1906, later Lady Dunlo and Countess of Clancarty), music hall singers and dancers, who appeared together in the late 1880s as the Sisters Bilton.
(lithograph cigarette card, issued with Ogden’s Cigarettes, England, early 1890s)

Flo Bilton, whose real name was Florence Beatrice Bilton, was born in the Kennington area of London in 1868, the youngest daughter of John George Bilton (1842-1905), a recruiting sergeant in the Royal Engineers, and his wife, Kate Maude (née Penrice, 1843/45-1930). Her first marriage was on 30 September 1887 at St. James’s, Piccadilly, to William Arthur Seymour (1864-1894). Her second marriage took place in Fulham during the summer of 1894 to Evan McFarlane (1868/69-1943). Both her husbands served in the British Army.

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‘THE SISTERS BILTON.
‘Flo Sings, ”He Lost It” – Lady Dunlo on Her Case.
‘Last night, at the Trocadero Music Hall, a Sportsman reporter interviewed the respondent in the now notorious divorce case of Dunlo v. Dunlo and Wertheimer. He writes: After the verdict had been delivered it is needless to say that Lady Dunlo receive very warm congratulations from her friends, and from many unacquainted with her ladyship, but who on reading the proceedings had ranged themselves upon her side. Time quickly ran by, and in order to catch, ”turn” No. 14 in the ”Troc.” programme, it was necessary for Lady Dunlo’s sister Flo (Mrs. Seymour) to reach the hall, so ably managed by Mr. Sam Adams. I view of the fact that ”Flo” was a big line on the bill at the hall, and an immense attraction on the stage, the audience last night was exceptionally large, so large indeed, that the crowding in the stalls caused not a little inconvenience, even to the early comers. About ten o’clock, through a dense throng assembled in the street outside the entrance, a well-appointed trap drove up and there alighted therefrom Lady Dunlo, Miss ”Flo” Bilton, her sister, and Mr. Seymour, the husband of the last-named lady. A faint cheer was raised by the assembled crowd as her ladyship passed into the hall by the main entrance. She was received by Mr. Adams, jun., and at once on reaching the handsome salle attached to the hall was most warmly welcomed by many friends, and tendered the heartiest congratulations. One of the first to shake her ladyship very warmly by the hand was Mr. Wertheimer, who had arrived about twenty minutes previously. Whilst the ”O.P.” box was placed at the disposal of the now famous respondent, Sister Flo hastened off to her dressing-room, there to prepare for ”Mr. Call Boy” when No. 14 came round. At once, on her ladyship being recognised on entering the box, she was most enthusiastically greeted, and again and again bowed her acknowledgements to the crowded house.
‘The advent of Miss Flo Bilton was the occasion for a perfectly extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm, almost the entire company standing up and waving hats and handkerchiefs, while the more ardent occupants of the stalls shouted ”Bravo!” and ”Gold old sister Flo!” Miss Bilton, on silence being partly restored by the personal requests – and they were not one, two, or three – of Mr. Adams, sen., sang her first son, the refrain of which, oddly enough, was ”He lost it.” This was electrically taken up by the entire house with the result that with the chorus the lady had really very little to say. Another song was equally well received, and in her ”skirt” dance Miss Bilton was greeted with the most flattering plaudits, a large number of the audience sill continuing the opening words of the refrain, ”He lost it.” The ”farewell” turn created even more enthusiasm than either of the others, and perhaps in the history of the Trocadero Hall never was such a reception accorded an artist or under circumstances so unique.
‘Lady Dunlo was now slow to answer such ”interrogatories” as were put to her by the Sportsman reporter, and thought time did not admit of a lengthened interview, it was certainly to the point.
‘Asked by the reporter, ”What verdict did you anticipate?” Lady Dunlo almost indignantly replied:
”’The verdict that was given, simply because I knew I was innocent of the horrible charge that had been trumped up against me.”
‘Reporter: Do you intend to continue your professional engagements/
‘Lady Dunlo: Of that at present – and of course I have had really no time to consider the matter – I am not quite sure.
‘Reporter: What is your opinion of the charge of the presiding judge, Sir James Hannen?
‘Lady Dunlo (enthusiastically): Well, all I can now say of his lordship is that he is a dear old chap. I really feel and mean that.
‘Reporter: Are you quite satisfied with the advocacy of your learned counsel?
‘Lady Dunlo: I am truly delighted with Lockwood – and who could not be? and then as to Gill I can only describe him as a brick.
‘Reporter: And now Lady Dunlo, what is your opinion of the counsel on the other side? ‘Lady Dunlo: I think Sir Charles Russell, did the very best – his dead level beat – against overwhelming odds and for a very, very bad case. I felt really sorry for him when he walked out of the Court and did not return to hear the verdict.
‘Acknowledgements of the courtesy extended having been duly made, Lady Dunlo resumed her evident enjoyment of the Trocadeo’s well varied bill of fare.
‘AT THE ROYAL, HOLBORN.
‘A most enthusiastic reception was given to Miss Flo Bilton (Mrs. Seymour) on her appearing at the Royal, Holborn, last night. The audience stood up and cheered for at least ten minutes, and Miss Bilton and Lady Dunlo (who was present in a private box) were visibly affected by this spontaneous outburst of sympathy.
‘At the conclusion of Miss Bilton’s performance the demonstration was repeated for some minutes. Before leaving the hall Lady Dunlo was offered an engagement for a few nights, and will therefore probably appear at the Royal this evening.’
(The Evening News and Post, London, Thursday, 31 July 1890, p. 4c)

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Jeanne Giralduc, French soprano

December 5, 2014

Jeanne Giralduc (active late 1880s-early1900s), French soprano, who formed a successful partnership with her husband, the baritone A. Ducreux as duettists. M. and Mme. Ducreux, who made several recordings in Paris in 1906 for the Odeon label, also appeared several times at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London.
(photo: unknown, probably Paris, circa 1895; Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes cigarette card, issued in England, circa 1900)

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Alexandrine Martens, ‘die preisgekrönte Schönheit,’ international singer

November 17, 2014

Alexandrine Martens (active 1886-1896), ‘die preisgekrönte Schönheit’ (‘the award-winning beauty’) and singer, who was at the Amy P, Paris, in 1888 and again in 1893
(photo: unknown; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card, England, late 1890s)

‘Aux Folies-Bergère. – Nous constatons avec plaisir que le théâtre des Folies-Bergère jouit d’une vogue indiscutable sous la nouvelle direction de M. Allemand, lequel fait du reste tout ce qui est nécessaire pour attirer et retenir son public.
‘Trois attractions en ce moment sont inscrites au programme: les taureaux espanols, les frères Hulines, les soeurs Martens.
‘Les soeurs martens sont quatre gracieuses et superbes tziganes, qui chantent avec un charme indéfinissable des mélopées de leur pays. Ces chants où les cris de joie se mêlent à des accents d’une tristesse sauvage, produisent une profonde impression sur les spectateurs. Puis ce sont des tyroliennes, des romances, des chansonnettes d’une gaieté folle.
‘L’une de ces jeunes filles, Mlle Alexandrine Martens, dont nous donnons le portrait, a obtenu l’année dernière le prix de beauté au concours de Vienne.
‘Il est difficile de rencontrer une jeune fille plus séduisante. Son visage, du plus pur ovale, encadré de cheveux noirs, a quelque chose qui attire et fascine. Aussi n’est-il pas étonnant que chaque soir les soeurs Martens soient l’objet de véritables ovations.’
(La Presse, Paris, Thursday, 5 April 1888, p. 9a)

‘The Alexandrine Martens Quartet will commence on Monday next an engagement with Mr Dan Lowrey, of Dublin and Belfast, afterwards going to the Winter Garten, Berlin.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 December 1895, p. 17a)

‘AN UNLUCKY QUARTET.
‘At the Lambeth County Court, on the 27th ult. [February 1896], an action was tried by his Honour Judge Emden, which was brought by Miss Ada Dannett against Miss Alexandrine Marten, to recover damaged for breach of contract. The plaintiff claimed to be entitled to £125 balance of salary due under a contract dated Nov. 20th, 1895, whereby the defendant agreed to engage her for twelve months at £2 10s. per week to sing in a quartet, but to bring the matter within the jurisdiction of the county court she claimed £50 damages for the breach. Mr C.W. Kent was counsel for the plaintiff, and Mr W.H. Armstrong solicitor for the defendant.
‘The plaintiff stated in her evidence that, having been engaged by the defendant, the quartet opened at the Star Music Hall, Dublin, for twelve nights, commencing Dec. 23d, 1895, and, after fulfilling the engagement, they returned to town [i.e. London], after which the defendant decided not to proceed further.
‘For the defence Mr Armstrong stated that, in consequence of the want of stage experience of the plaintiff and the other two ladies engaged by the defendant, she decided to abandon the affair.
‘Miss Amy Pennington, one of the quartet, stated that she had cancelled her contract with the defendant by mutual consent, on account of her want of stage experience, and that the other lady had done the same.
‘His Honour said that, according to the terms of the contract, there must be judgement for the plaintiff, but not for the amount claimed. It was a most unfortunate affair for the defendant, and he should award the plaintiff £20. On the application of Mr Armstrong that amount was allowed to be paid at £2 per month.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 March 1896, p. 18c)

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Nellie Braggins, American actress and singer in comic opera

April 16, 2014

Nellie Braggins (1872-1924), American actress and singer in comic opera
(photo: unknown, United States, circa 1898; Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes cigarette card issued in England, circa 1900)

‘Washington has a genuine musical treat in store for it. On April 18, The Highwayman will be presented at the Lafayette Square Opera House by the Broadway Theater Opera House by the Broadway Theater Opera Company. It is rarely that a piece comes so well recommended. The company to present The Highwayman is extraordinary in its number of clever and famous principals. Among them are Joseph O’Mara, Camille D’Arville, Jerome Sykes, Nellie Braggins, Harry Macdonough, Maud Williams, Van Rensselaer Wheeler, and Reginald Roberts.’
(The Times, Washington, DC, Sunday, 10 April 1898, part 2, p. 15c)

THREE LITTLE LAMBS TO-NIGHT.
Three Little Lambs, by the author of 1492 and Jack and the Beanstalk, which comes direct from an engagement of fifty nights at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, will be presented for the first time here at the Academy of Music to-night.
‘The story of Three Little Lambs is full of characteristic humor. The banking house, with its head a confidence man and its minor officers flirtatious young woman, is eminently an original idea. The introduction to this remarkable financial institution of the banker’s former pal in a humble station and his frisky bride is the source of no end of amusing complications, and the transfer of the whole party to Porto Rico is a bold expedient that might daunt an audacious dramatist.
‘With all its extravagances and absurdities, its jollity and audacity, there is nothing to offend the most delicate sensibilities. Three Little Lambs is as clean as it is bright. The skill shown by members of the Fifth Avenue Theatre Musical Company, the brilliancy of the stage setting and costuming make the production noteworthy of its kind, and the large audiences that have witnessed it have given every evidence of enjoying all its many features. In the company are found the names of Miss Marie Cahill, Miss Nellie Braggins, Miss Clara Palmer, Raymond Hitchcock and Edmund Lawrence, and the fine appearance, good training and vocal strength of the big chorus makes it a musical success.’
(Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, VA, Wednesday, 25 April 1900, p. 5d)

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St. Louis, 25 June 1900
‘The wedding of Nellie Braggins and John W. Gantz last Thursday was strictly private owing to the serious illness of Emory Braggins, an uncle of the bride. Miss Braggins’ last appearance on the stage was in The Beggar Student at Uhrig’s Cave two weeks ago. She is under a provisional contract with the Uhrig’s Cave company for the remainder of the season, but will not sing again except in case of emergency. At the close of the season she says she will retire from the stage for good.’
(The New York Dramatic News, New York, Saturday, 30 June 1900, p. 10c)

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Eunice Hill, singer and dancer in vaudeville, New York, 1896-1898

February 23, 2014

Eunice Hill (active late 19th Century), American singer and dancer
(photo: Schloss, NewYork, circa 1896/98; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card, issued in the United Kingdom, late 19th Century)

Little is known about Eunice Hill although she is recorded as having appeared in ‘songs and dances’ at Proctor’s Theatre, 23rd Street West, New York, during the week beginning Monday, 23 March 1896. Two years later she was at Tony Pastor’s Theatre, also in New York.

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Dido Drake, English actress and singer

February 2, 2014

Dido Drake (1879-1970; theatrical career 1898-1909), English actress and singer
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1898; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card issued about 1900)

‘One of Mr C. Trevelyan’s dramatic pupils – Miss Dido Drake – has obtained a West-end engagement, Mr Thomas Thorne having selected her as understudy for the part of Margery, in Meadow Sweet, and Belinda, in Our Boys.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 August 1898, p. 12c)

Miss Drake appeared as Sparkle in the pantomime Cinderella at the Coronet Theatre, Notting Hill Gate, London, produced on 24 December 1898 – Frances Earle appeared as Prince Paragon, Julie Bing as Cinderella and Horace Lingard as Baron Stoney.

‘Miss Dido Drake, who is at present touring with Mr. Edward Terry and playing the part of Lavender, lately appeared at the Avenue Theatre with Mr. Weedon Grossmith in The Night of the Party. Previous to this she played in The Little Minister on tour.’
(The Tatler, London, Wednesday, 19 March 1902, p. 505c)

Dido Drake was born in Wavertree, Liverpool, on 11 November 1879 and baptised Harriette Jane Mercedes Drake at the chapel of St. Nicholas, Liverpool, on 3 December 1879; her parents were James Adolphus Drake (1846-1890), a broker and commission agent, and his wife, Alison (née Lycett), who was born in Edinburgh in 1855. In 1909 Miss Drake was married to the former actor, Arthur Steffens Hardy (1873-1939), a prolific writer of short stories for boys, whose real name was Arthur Joseph Steffens. Following his death she married in 1939 Leslie Binmore Burlace (1891-1962) and died on 12 October 1970.