Posts Tagged ‘Sarony (photographers)’


Sophie Eyre, Irish born actress, photographed by Sarony, New York, circa 1885

January 18, 2015

Sophie Eyre (1853?-1892), Irish born dramatic Actress
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1885)

‘The death is announced at Naples, Italy, Nov. 5 [1892], of Sophie Eyre, the well known leading lady. She had been sojourning in that city, and succumbed to an attack of heart disease. Six years ago, Sophie Eyre told THE CLIPPER the story of her life. She was born Sophia Lillian Ryan, at Tipperary, Ire., about 1857, and was the daughter of Maj. Ryan. At the age of seventeen she married Maj. Lonsdale, of the Seventh English Hussars, and went with her husband to India, where, at nineteen, she became a widow. Returning to England, she followed an inclination, which, in an amateur way, had manifested itself while she was quite young, and adopted the stage. Her first professional appearance was made at the Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, Eng., in a small part, and she remained at that house six months. Then she went on a provincial tour in ”Diplomacy,” playing Zicka. The following season she made another tour of the English provinces, doing the lead and playing at all the principal theatres of Great Britain outside of London. The Summer of that year she filled in with the stock at the Torquay Theatre. About May, 1882, she went to London and made her debut June 17 at a special matinee at the Adelphi Theatre as Queen Anne in the historical play, ”The Double Rose,” after which Aug. Harris, of the Drury Lane Theatre, engaged her to support Ristori at his house. Then she signed with the management of the Adelphi, and appeared Nov. 18, 1882, in ”Love and Money.” Later she acted in ”Rachel the Reaper,” after which she returned to the Drury Lane. On March 5, 1884, she created the title role in Sydney Hodges’ ”Gabrielle” at the Gaiety Theatre, London. A few weeks later Lester Wallack engaged her for this country, and she made her American debut June 23, 1884, at Utica, N.Y., with the Wallack Co. in the title role of ”Lady Clare.” She traveled through the West, and in California, about January of 1885, she married Chauncey R. Winslow [1860-1909], a resident of Cincinnati, O. Her New York debut was accomplished Oct. 26, 1885, in ”In His Power,” at Wallack’s. The play was a failure, and was immediately withdrawn. Then Miss Eyre went on the road by arrangement with Mr. Wallack, at the head of Charles Frohman’s Co., playing ”La Belle Russe.” Later Miss Eyre had trouble with Mr. Wallack, and withdrew from the theatre. She was in 1888 divorced from Mr. Winslow, and had since married again.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 12 November 1892, p. 573b/c, with engraved portrait)

* * * * *

‘Kyrle Bellew, Mr. Wallack’s latest imported leading man, is also an ex-Australian… . He has put Mr. Wallack in an unpleasant predicament. Miss Sophie Eyre was engaged for leading parts this season and Mr. Bellew absolutely refuses to play with her on the ground that she is too large and would spoil his appearance on the stage. So much for having a petted actor in a company… .’
(Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, Ohio, 11 December 1885, p. 3c)


Johann Strauss the younger’s operetta, A Night in Venice, Daly’s Theatre, New York, 1884

December 4, 2014

six chorines from the first American production of Johann Strauss the younger‘s operetta, A Night in Venice (Eine Nacht in Venedig), which was staged by J.C. Duff’s Comic Opera Company at Daly’s Theatre, New York, on 26 April 1884 for the summer season before embarking on a tour. A ‘Grand Pigeon Ballet’ was introduced into the third act, lead by the premier ballerina, Eugenia Cappalini. A Night in Venice was revived at the American Theatre, New York, in 1888 by the Castle Square Opera Company.
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, probably 1884)

‘Johann Stausss’ new operetta, ”Night in Venice,” was produced and warmly applauded in Vienna last Tuesday night [9 October 1883], the Viennese adopting this method of making some reparation to the composer for the abuse with which the composition was received on the occasion of its original presentation in Berlin [Neues Friedrich Wilhelmstadisches Theater, 3 October 1883]. The Germans hissed the operetta all through its performance, and the critics severely condemned it as unequal to any of Strauss’ previous efforts, describing the libretto as utter nonsense, and the music poor, thin and utterly unworthy of the composer.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 14 October 1883, p. 1b)

‘… The piece is put upon the stage with the usual liberality of this house in scenery and costumes. A special feature was made in the bill of a pigeon ballet executed by twenty dancers. The result gave an insufficiently-rehearsed dance and occasioned some ridicule for the pigeon dresses, which would have been pretty and effective but for a feather-brush tail adorning each of the ballet exciting the sarcastic mirth of the audience at each peculiar movement of the dancers… .’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 3 May 1884, p. 106b)

‘One of Strauss’ recent operas, ”A Night in Venice,” was produced at Daly’s Theater the other night by Manager Duff. Mr. Duff is distinguished from other managers by his profound contempt for the libretto of any opera with which he may be concerned. The result of this contempt is a rather severe pecuniary loss for the past two years. His method of bringing out comic opera is to buy the music for any reasonable sum and turn it over to the leader of his orchestra. Then he hires a man for any sum, from $10 upward, to translate the score from German or French into English. ”A Night in Venice” contains some charming melodies and several concerted pieces that are extremely pretty. It is as melodious as ”The Merry War’‘ and ”Prince Methusalem.” which were by the same composer, and with a good libretto it might become as successful as either of these very successful operas. Now it is a failure. As time advances, Mr. Duff’s contempt for good librettos is apt to prove expensive.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 4 May 1884, p. 3c)


Lulu, the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World,’ unmasked as a boy

June 1, 2014

a carte de visite photograph of Lulu, the ‘female’ trapeze artist formerly known as the boy acrobat El Niño Farini, who was actually Sam Wasgate (1855-1939), the adopted son of William Leonard Hunt (1838-1929), known to the world as the tightrope walker and acrobat, The Great Farini.
(carte de visite photo: Sarony, 680 Broadway, New York, probably 1873)

‘NIBLO’S GARDEN [New York, 28 April-9 June 1873]
‘Entirely new and brilliant ballet spectacle pantomime,
‘Produced with entirely new scenery, gorgeous and elegant costumes, marvelous appointments, and a brilliantly beautiful transformation unequaled in any previous scenic display.
‘First appearance in America of the great sensation gymnast, LULU, LULU, LULU,
The marvel of the age. The eighth wonder of the world. In the most marvelous and thrilling exploits ever performed on any stage. The pantomime is presented with an exceptionally strong cast in the opening, and THE HARLEQUINADE will be rendred by the unrivaled quartette, Jas. S. Maffitt, W.H. Bartholomew, E. Valade, Mlle. Clara Leontine. The three grand ballets under direction of Madame Kathi Lanner [sic], with Mlle. Pitteri, the celebrated premier danseuse. First matinee of the new pantomime and Lulu, Wednesday afternoon, April 30 at 1 ½ o’clock.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, 3 May 1873, p. 39g, advertisement)

”’LULU.” – It is stated that the pretty ”Lulu,” who does the flying leap at Niblo’s, New York, over whom half the city is crazy, and who is advertised as a girl, is a boy. The gentle youth is said to have remarked the other day: ”The old man hain’t got more than a year or two more of the ‘Lulu’ business. I’m getting a moustache and ain’t near as pretty as I was, either.’
(The Daily State Journal, Richmond, Virginia, Saturday,14 June 1873, p. 1f)

Lulu’s appearance with Sanger’s Circus at Bath, Somerset, 1875
‘This week I paid Messrs. Sangers’ Circus another visit. Of course you guess why I did so. Lulu, whose name is in everybody’s mouth, drew me there. Where all the world goes, I must go. Now all the world – I mean the local world – has this week been tearing towards the Circus in Walcot-street each evening, impelled by the desire to see the ”eighth wonder of the world.” I had never seen the real and original Lulu before this week, and I was eager to behold the little lady who caused such a sensation in London not long ago by her wonderful athletic performances, the interest in which was increased in no small degree by her reputed graces and charms. I make use of the words ‘her’ and ‘feminine’ with a firm conviction that they are quite correctly applied, notwithstanding the report which one has heard so often repeated in Bath this week, that Lulu is not at all feminine, but masculine in sooth. If she is not ‘she,’ then I don’t know what a woman is at all. I must have grown up with very erroneous ideas respecting the natural distinctions of the sexes. If Lulu be not a woman, she bears a very striking resemblance to all the representations by best authorities of our mother Eve as distinguished from the representations of our father Adam. When one gets puzzled over questions such as this, it is well to go back to ”first principles.” I found the Circus filled in almost every part. The popular parts of the house were crammed. At an early stage of the entertainment Lulu made her entrance. There is much that is attractive in her personal appearance. She was effectively costumed in a rich crimson tunic and pink silk fleshings, her arms and neck being bare. She also wore pretty little shoes of white satin. Small in statue, but of comely proportions, agile as an antelope, with eyes like a gazelle’s, young, and well-featured, Lulu, as she lightly tripped into the arena and made her bow to the audience, created a most favourable impression at once. Everybody clapped her. Immediately afterwards she mounted aloft, and went through a number of feats on the trapeze, a minute description of which would sound odd enough, performed as they were by one of the fair sex. The spectators, however, were filled with wonder and delight at the grace, agility, and courage of Lulu. Her great feat, however, the one that was so much talked about at the time of her debut, is her vertical leap from the stage to a small platform, swung on ropes, about thirty feet above. Just as the leap takes place smell screams proceed from various parts of the house, but Lu-Lu [sic] invariably alights on the platform above. How this leap is effected is a question which always causes a good deal of speculation. I have my own opinion on the subject, but I would rather that my readers who have not yet see Miss Lulu should do so, and form a perfectly independent opinion.’
(quoted in an advertisement, The Era, London, Sunday, 21 February 1875, p. 13d)

”’LULU!” ”LULU!” –
This Celebrated Gymnast, who created such a furore at the Amphitheatre, Holborn, is now on a final Tour of England, Scotland, and Ireland, previous to starting for India and the Colonies, and retirement from public life. Managers are therefore invited to make Engagements with this World-renowned Artiste, especially in those Cities and Town[s] not yet visited by Lulu.
for dates, terms, &c., apply to C. Hodson Stanley, Business Manager, en route.
BATH, October 18th, 1875.
PLYMOUTH, November 8th, 1875.
NOTTINGHAM, November 25th, 1875.
GLASGOW, January 3d, 1876.
LULU, the Marvel of the Age!
LULU, the Wonder of the Universe!!
LULU, the Embodiment of Grace!!! LULU, the Eighth Wonder of the World!!!!’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 17 October 1875, p. 13d, advertisement)

‘Lulu, the well-known acrobat, met with a shocking accident at Hengler’s Circus, Dublin, on Monday night. In the leap to the roof of the circus, the spring of the machinery by which she is impelled upwards failed to send her the requisite height, and she missed the cross bar. The netting which should shoot out under her failed to work, and she fell on the edge of the platform with great violence. She was carried from the place insensible. Several persons almost fainted, and there was a general cry from the audience to lynch the manager who had introduced her. A great panic prevailed in the theatre for several minutes after the occurrence. It is stated that Lulu is almost completely recovered from the effect of the severe fall. A shaking and an ugly bruise between the shoulders have been the only injuries sustained, and a few days’ rest is the only requisite for perfect recovery.’
(The Sunday Times, London, Sunday, 13 August 1876, p. 5a)

‘Lulu, ”the champion female trapezist of the world,” lately fell and dislocated her hip in London, The attending physician discovered that Lulu is a man!”’
(The Evening Star, Washington, DC, Monday, 11 September 1876, p. 3g)

MONDAY NEXT, November 6th [1876]
Eighth wonder of the World.
Free List (press excepted) entirely suspended.’
(The Sunday Times, London, Sunday, 5 November 1876, p. 4b, advertisement)

The Royal Cambridge Hall of Varieties, Shoreditch, London, November 1876
‘The ”star” of the company is the marvellously clever Lulu, whom some few years ago we christened the eighth wonder of the world, a title well earned and honourably kept. What Lulu’s performance is like everybody knows, or out to know. It has lots none of its charm, none of its daring, none of its accuracy; and the pleasure to be derived from witnessing it is enhanced by the presence of the magnificent nets fitted up under the watchful direction of M. Farini, and by the knowledge that all danger is thereby precluded. The upward flight through space is as startling as ever, and its accomplishment is nightly provocative of applause which we imagine may be heard at the Bank or at Kingsland-gate.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 19 November 1876, p. 4d)

‘THE LITTLE WHITE WHALE exhibited for one or two days at the Westminster Aquarium last week was an ”amusing little cuss,” as Mr. Henry Lee might say… . Whilst my friend, the artist, was sketching her, the whale blew from her blow-hole not only a good whiff of breath but also a diminutive eel which had, apparently, ”gone the wrong way.” Some other curious things were observed by the same keen-eyed Artist. Zazel was there off duty studying her rival, and chatting with Mr. Morris … ”Lulu” was there, too, looking at the whale; and the mystery of Lulu’s sex was solved. ”Lulu,” scented up to the eyebrows, looked very much like a German student – a pocket swell with long hairy and pale features, in which one could trace a resemblance to the daring young gymnast who, years ago, used to perform on the trapeze at the Alhambra, and sing out in a boyish treble, ”Wait till I’m a man!” …’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper, London, Saturday, 6 October 1877, 222a; on p. 217 is the sketch of Zazel chatting with Mr. Morris; the whale, ‘THE FIRST WHALE SEEN ALIVE IN LONDON’; and ”’LULU” IN MUFTI,’ showing the celebrated acrobat in pale trousers, frock coat and top hat)

* * * * *

After his retirement as an acrobat Lulu became a photographer and eventually settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he opened a studio.

‘… You have in Bridgeport [Connecticut], Farini (the photographer), who so many years was ”Lulu” and electrified audiences in Europe and America as a beautiful and shapely young girl. At Niblo’s Garden [New York] ”Lulu” broke the hearts and woman many favors from rich men. ”Lulu” was hurled from the catapult. He was shot out of a cannon. From concealed springs on the stage at Niblo’s he was fired to dizzy hights [sic], and his graceful figure deceived the poor deluded men into offers of marriage. ”Lulu” made a living by his disguise… .’
(‘A Woman as a Locomotive Engineer,’ Pacific Rural Press, San Francisco, Saturday, 16 July 1887, p. 46d)


Bertie Wright and other members of the English cast of the New York production of The Shop Girl, Palmer’s Theatre, Manhattan, 1895

March 25, 2014

Bertie Wright (1871-after 1958), English actor and singer, as he appeared as Mr Miggles, together with other members of the English cast in the New York production of The Shop Girl, which opened at Palmer’s Theatre, New York, on 28 October 1895.
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, 1895)

‘At PALMER’S THEATRE, on Oct. 28, there was produced, for the first time in this country, The Shop Girl, a musical farce, in two acts, by H.J.W. Dam, music by Ivan Caryll, with additional numbers by Lionel Monckton and Adrian Ross. The work was originally produced Nov. 24, 1894, at the Gaiety Theatre, London, Eng., where it met with great success. The company presenting it here is under the local management of Charles Frohman, but was sent from England by George Edwardes, proprietor and manager of the Gaiety Theatre. Of its principal members only two appeared in the original London production. The story concerns a search for an heiress. John Brown, an American millionaire, has advertised through his solicitor, Sir George Appleby, for a female foundling, the child of his late partner, who inherits a large fortune. Colonel Singlton, a retired officer; the Count St. Vaurien, secretary to Mr. Brown, and Mr. Hooley, proprietor of the ”Royal Stores,” are in possession of the secret that a fortune of four millions sterling awaits the missing heiress, whose identity they hope to establish by means of a birth mark known to exist. Many founding girls present themselves, being congenital marks, but all are doomed to disappointment. Mr. Hooley believes he has discovered the missing girl in Ada Smith, a good natured but illiterate and somewhat vulgar apprentice in his employ. He proposes to this girl, and she accepts and marries him, although she is engaged to Mr. Miggles, a floor walker of the establishment. It is eventually discovered that the real heiress is Bessie Brent, the prettiest girl in the stores, who is engaged to marry Charles Appleby, son of the solicitor who is seeking her. The farce has gained success here at a bound. In fact the nature of its reception was almost a foregone conclusion, for the coming of the company was eagerly awaited, and the advance sale of seats showed that nothing less than an absolutely bad performance would rob it of its anticipated triumph. The event proved that the performance was very far from bad, although the book was equally far from good, and the music was not above mediocrity. In spite of all shortcomings, however, there is sufficient exhilaration supplied by the performers to warrant the favorable verdict rendered. The state forces were admirably handled, and from the principals down to the most obscure member of the company every one was in constant motion. The principal comedians, including Seymour Hicks, George Grossmith Jr., W.H. Rawlins, Bertie Wright and George Honey, are undoubtedly clever. They labored assiduously and effectively to promote merriment, and displayed powers that suggested their ability to accomplish even better results had they a work which would afford them greater opportunities.

The Shop Girl (Musical), by H.... Digital ID: th-50908. New York Public Library
Connie Ediss as Ada Smith and W.H. Rawlins as Mr. Hooley in The Shop Girl, Palmer’s Theatre, New York, 1895)
(photo: Sarony, New York, 1895; Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Billy Rose Theatre Division )

The female contingent, however, showed less capability than the male, but Ethel Sydney, as Bessie Brent, and Connie Ediss, as Ada Smith, fairly won an excellent report, Miss Ediss being especially deserving of mention for good comedy work. Some very pretty dancing was shown, but the terpsichorean features were less praiseworthy than have been seen in previous Gaiety productions. The staging was quite effective. They first act showed the interior of the ”Royal Stores,” and the action in the second act occurred in a fancy bazaar at Kensington. Some of the costumes were very pretty. There was much color shown, but by reason of strong contrasts there was little harmony I this respect and much gaudiness. The average of beauty among the women was not high, and in figure there was shown more bulk than daintiness. Still the show throughout its length was rather pleasing to the eye, and in spite of its friskiness was restful in so far as it made no demands whatever upon the intellect. It was plainly in evidence that it afforded the greatest delight to that portion of the audience which, for a very obvious reason, brought no brains to bear upon it. The assignment of roles was as follows: Mr. Hooley, W.H. Rawlins; Charles Appleby, Seymour Hicks; Bertie Boyd, George Grossmith Jr.; John Brown, [Michael] Dwyer; Sir George Appleby, Walter McEwen; Singleton, George Honey; Count St. Vaurten, A. Nilson-Fisher; Mr. Tweets, Alfred Asher; Mr. Miggles, Bertie Wright; Bessie Brent, Ethel Sydney; Lady Dodo Singlton, Annie Albu; Miss Robinson, Marie Paucett; Lady Appleby, Leslie Greenwood; Ada Smith, Connie Ediss; Faith, May Beaugarde; Hope, Minnie Sadler; Charity, Minnie Rose; Maud Plantagenet, Adelaide Astor; Eva Tudor, Violet Dene; Lillie Stuart, Ida Wallace; Ada Harrison, Hylda Galton; Mabel Beresford, Nellie Huxley; Florence White, Zara De L’Orme; Birdie Waudesfaude, Nellie Langton; Maggie Jocelyn, Violet Durkin; Violet Deveney, Annie Vivian. A solo dance in Act II was contributed by Dorothy Douglass, who was not included in the assignment. Of the above Seymour Hicks had already been seen here in Cinderella [sic], and Adelaide Astor, now the wife of George Grossmith Jr., had previously appeared here [in September 1893] upon the vaudeville stage under the name of Cissy Lind . With these exceptions all of the members of the company were, upon this occasion, seen her for the first time.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, New York, Saturday, 9 November 1895, p. 567d)


Maud Branscombe, English actress and singer in the United States, about 1880

March 18, 2014

Maud Branscombe (1854-), English actress and singer
(lithograph advertisement for Rathbone, Sard & Co’s Acorn Stoves and Ranges, Chicago and Detroit, after a photograph by Sarony, New York, circa 1880)

Maude Branscombe Digital ID: 111726. New York Public Library
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1880, collection of New York Public Library)

‘The photograph of no American woman has been sold as widely as that of Mary Anderson. Literally hundreds of photographs of her have been taken in different roles and poses, but of all of these incomparably the most popular is that which shows her as Ophelia. Although it is about 15 years since she played the part, her photograph is sold all over the English-speaking world to-day. As a rule, the photographs of actresses which sell the best for a few months are entirely forgotten in a year or less, but Mary Anderson is an exception. A striking example of the other class is Miss Maud Branscombe. For a time her photograph had by far the best sale of any actress in America or England. The secret of the success of her photographs lay entirely in a pair of large, sympathetic, tender, upturned eyes. Only the photograph which showed her full face was popular. She was not remarkably handsome, and could not stand a profile picture. An intelligent photographer made a handsome fortune out of her ”full face.”’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Monday, 23 February 1903, p. 6h)


March 18, 2014

Maud Branscombe (1854?-), English actress and singer
(lithograph advertisement for Rathbone, Sard & Co’s Acorn Stoves and Ranges, Chicago and Detroit, after a photograph by Sarony, New York, circa 1880)

Maude Branscombe Digital ID: 111726. New York Public Library
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1880, collection of New York Public Library)

‘The photograph of no American woman has been sold as widely as that of Mary Anderson. Literally hundreds of photographs of her have been taken in different roles and poses, but of all of these incomparably the most popular is that which shows her as Ophelia. Although it is about 15 years since she played the part, her photograph is sold all over the English-speaking world to-day. As a rule, the photographs of actresses which sell the best for a few months are entirely forgotten in a year or less, but Mary Anderson is an exception. A striking example of the other class is Miss Maud Branscombe. For a time her photograph had by far the best sale of any actress in America or England. The secret of the success of her photographs lay entirely in a pair of large, sympathetic, tender, upturned eyes. Only the photograph which showed her full face was popular. She was not remarkably handsome, and could not stand a profile picture. An intelligent photographer made a handsome fortune out of her ”full face.”’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Monday, 23 February 1903, p. 6h)


Camille Dubois, with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873

September 7, 2013

Camille Dubois (1851-1933), French-born English burlesque actress and singer, as she appeared with Lydia Thompson’s Troupe in the United States, 1871-1873
(cabinet photo: Sarony, New York, 1871-1873)

Camille Wilhelmina Henriette Reyloff, whose stage name was Camille Dubois, was born in France in 1851. She was one of the children of Edmond (sometimes Edward) Reyloff (1821-1889), who was born in Belgium, a successful pianist, composer and musical conductor, for some years at the Aquarium, Brighton, and his wife, Caroline (1825-1910), who was born in Saxe Coburg, a concert singer.

Camille Dubois is said to have begun her career in 1869 or 1870 and the earliest mention of her is in connection with her engagement in 1871 with Lydia Thompson in the United States. Her career flourished until the mid 1880s. By then she had married on 30 October 1877 the Hon. Wyndham Edward Campbell Stanhope (1851-1883), fourth son of the 7th Earl of Harrington. The marriage ended in divorce in May 1883 and she married again on 8 January 1884 Colonel Walter Adye (1858-1915), by whom she had two children. Camille Dubois died in London on 15 May 1933.

* * * * *

Camille Dubois on tour in the United States with Lydia Thompson’s company, January 1872
‘MEMPHIS THEATER. – Lydia Thompson’s Troupe drew an immense house last night. The amusing extravaganza, Blue Beard, with ”Sister Anne” on the tower looking for some one to save poor ”Fatima,” was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The song, ”His Heart was True to Poll,” by Miss Thompson, was finely and dramatically rendered. Her make-up, as the ”Shepherd Boy,” was pastoral in the extreme, and displayed to advantage that artistic taste for which the burlesque queen is justly celebrated. Miss Thompson’s characteristics are well known. She has a captivating face, a grace which cannot be excelled, a sympathetic voice which she uses cleverly, unfailing spirit, and an amount of self-reliance which a popularity seemingly on the increase almost justifies. Miss Camille Dubois produced a favourable impression by good looks, ease of manner, and real talent as a songstress. Miss Kate Egerton and Miss Carlotta Zerbini are equally au fait of their duties. These young ladies, with several of less note, fill the stage in as gratifying a manner as can be imagined. The influence of Miss Thompson’s company over a laughter-seeking assemblage lies, however, in the actors. Mr. Harry Beckett, who was the object of a tumultuous welcome, is as potent to elicit merriment as ever. Last night’s affair placed almost on a level with him, in the exercise of this power, Mr. Willie Edouin, a droll low comedian and a capital acrobat. To-night the charming spectacular drama entitled Lurline will be presented. This is said to be the most attractive play in the repertoire of the troupe.’
(Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday, 10 January 1872, p. 2d)

* * * * *

‘Miss Marie de Grey has taken the place of Mdlle. Camille Dubois in Champagne [i.e. Champagne, A Question of Phiz] at the Strand. The last-named lady has recently been married to the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 November 1877, p. 6a)

‘One of Lydia Thompson’s burlesque actresses, Camille Dubois, who journeyed all over America, dancing clog dances and singing nursery rhymes, has had the good fortune to win the affection of the Hon. Wyndham Stanhope, who has wedded her.’
(Dodge City Times, Dodge City, Kansas, Saturday, 29 December 1877, p. 2c)


Laura Joyce Bell

April 22, 2013

a carte de viste photograph of Laura Joyce Bell (1858-1904), American actress and singer in comic opera before her marriage in 1883 to Digby Bell
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1878)

‘Notwithstanding the decree of the New York Court, which granted a decree of divorce to Mrs. Digby Bell and prohibited the husband from marrying again, that gentleman made his appearance at a Chicago hotel on Sunday with a new wife, known to the stage as Miss Laura Joyce, who was herself divorced a short time ago from James V. Taylor, a wealthy New Yorker. Bell and Miss Joyce were married in Pennsylvania.’
(Decatur Daily Republican, Decatur, Illinois, Saturday, 17 March 1883, p. 2d)

‘Haverly’s Theatre, Chester, Pennsylvania, January 1885.
‘Monday evening the McCaull Opera Company will present Gilbert & Sullivan’s esthetic [sic] opera Patience in a brilliant manner, with new scenery, a large and thoroughly drilled chorus, and the following cast: J.H. Ryley will be Bunthorne; Digby Bell, Grosvenor; C.W. Dongan, Colonel Calverley; George Roseman, Major Murgatroyd; George R. Appleby, the Duke; Mary Beebe, Patience; Irene Perry, Lady Angela; Emma Ellsner, Lady Saphir; and that pronounced favorite, Laura Joyce Bell, the massive Lady Jane.
‘In this series of revival Manager McCaull has determined to produce the operas in the very best possible manner, selecting from his various companies those artists who are best adapted for the different roles. The present company could not be surpassed, all being especially fitted from their respective parts.’
(Chester Times, Chester, Pennsylvania, Monday, 12 January 1885, p. 3b)

Grand Opera House, San Antonio, Texas, 31 December 1896
‘Tonight and Tomorrow Matinee and Night.
‘Hoyt’s greatest comedy, A Midnight Bell, which portrays more accurately than any other of its rivals, the charms, sweetness and fragrance of New England life, will be presented in this city shortly with an ideal cast of metropolitan favorites, headed by America’s foremost comedian, Dibgy Bell, and the famous comedienne, Laura Joyce Bell. An entire carload of scenery has been painted by the celebrated artist, Arthur Voegtlin. New music has been specially arranged by Victor Herbert, author of Prince Ananias and The Wizard of the Nile and leader of Gilmore’s famous band.’
(San Antonio Daily Light, San Antonio, Texas, Thursday, 31 December 1896, p. 5a)

Laura Joyce Bell Once Popular Comic Opera Star.
‘Chicago, May 30 [1904]. – Announcement from new York city yesterday of the death of Mrs. Laura Joyce Bell, the comic opera singer, saddened scores of theatrical people who had known her when she was in the height of her popularity and success.
‘Mrs. Bell was the wife of Digby Bell, the vaudeville star.
‘Mrs. Bell had been ill for nearly a year. She suffered from fatty degeneration of the heart.
‘Laura Joyce Maskell was born in England. She received her musical education at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Her first appearance in America was in Niblo’s Garden in New York in 1872. In 1882 she was married to Digby Bell. Mrs. Bell was 46 years old.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Monday, 30 May 1904, p. 3d)

‘Because the Girl Ran Off and Got Married.
‘New York, Oct. 21. – ”I give and bequeath to my daughter, Laura Seymour Bell, for her sole support and separate use, $1.” In these words Laura Joyce Bell, the actress, wife of Digby Bell, by her will, cut off her daughter from participation in her estate except as stated. The will was drawn may 3, 1904. Only a short time before that Miss Bell eloped from the normal college on the eve of her graduation and was married, her name now being Wilson.’
(The Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Friday, 21 October 1904, p. 1c)

For further photographs of Laura Joyce Bell, see NYPLDigitalGallery and University of Louisville, Digital Collections.



April 4, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Lulu, the ‘female’ trapeze artist formerly known as the boy acrobat El Niño Farini, who was actually Sam Wasgate (1855-1939), the adopted son of William Leonard Hunt (1838-1929),
known to the world as the tightrope walker and acrobat, The Great Farini.
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1875)

‘At a recent performance in a Dublin circus [Hengler’s] Lulu, the well-known gymnast, met with a terrible accident. She is propelled from a spring platform about sixty feet into the air, and then catches a trapeze. On this occasion she missed the catch, and did not fall perpendicularly on the net intended to receive her, but sideways against the gallery railings, and thence rebounded into the arena. Her injuries are most fearful, and the doctors entertain no hope of her recovery.’
(Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, Tuesday, 5 September 1876, p.3f)

‘The London Athenaeum thinks it may be worth stating that ”Lulu,” the female gymnast, whose recent fall from a trapeze in Dublin has excited public attention, is a man.’
(Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, Sunday, 17 September 1876, p.8g)


April 1, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Marie Majilton (née Berrington, fl. late 1860s-1890s) of the English acrobatic dancers The Majiltons, who achieved considerable success in the United States in the 1870s
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1872)

‘Of the Majilton troupe, billed for the Opera House Nov. 10 [1874], the Philadelphia Bulletin speaks in this complimentary fashion:
‘The celebrated Majilton family now performing at Col. Woods’ Museum, consists of three members – Marie Majilton, Charles Majilton and Frank Majilton. They all occupy advanced positions in the school of art adopted by the troupe, and are natural comedians as well as agile dancers and expressive pantomimists. In the grotesque branch of their profession they are also proficient. The new piece now running at the Museum was written for the Majiltons by Frank Green, of London, and under the title of “Farrago,” which means a medley, shows the adventures and mishaps of a part of French country people, men and women in Paris, surrounded by the sights, acts, plots and scenes of that fascinating metropolis. The Majiltons are admirable, and infuse such a degree of life, animation and spirit into their parts as to draw from the audience continued laughter and applause. Their acting and dancing are alike received with universal praise and commendation. One of the enjoyable features of the evening’s entertainment is an original and sparkling medley overture, entitled Farrago, introducing solos for violin, flute, cornet and trombone, arranged expressly for the Majiltons by Mr. Fred Perkins.’
(Nashville Union and American, Nashville, Tennessee, Friday, 6 November 1874, p. 4b)