Nance O'Neil was called the "American Bernhardt," playing significant roles such as Lady Macbeth and Camille. She moved from theatre to silent film in 1915 after signing with William Fox. She was overshadowed by Fox's other star, Theda Bara, and returned to the theatre in 1918. Nance came back to talking films around 1929 and appeared in several early sound pictures. She has been quoted saying that "tradition has made women cowardly". Here she looks away from the camera forlornly, although the shadow created on the side of her face obscures the direction of her gaze.
Nora Bayes was a vaudevillian comedic performer. At the age of 18, Bayes entered Vaudeville. She was an effortless singer and could put over any song. By 1898, vaudeville was becoming accepted as a form of family entertainment. Bayes was a beauty with a husky voice and sold the songs with a vivacious manner. Her effortless delivery won over every audience. Bayes comedic and acting abilities made her perfect for the times. She was a successful songwriter with credits for such big hits as "Shine On Harvest Moon".
Kathleen O’Hanlon and her spouse, Theadore Zambuni, were both originally from Samos, Greece. This famed dance duo were popular among the vaudevillian circuit. O’Hanlon was noted for her performance in Schubert’s 1921 production of “The Passing Show” in the famous Winter Garden Theater. Additional work with Schubert included his 1921 musical revue “The Century Revue”. Prior to this, O’Hanlon made appearances in the following musicals, the 1919 “Oh, What a Girl!” and the 1920 production of “The Midnight Rounders”.
Kathleen O’Hanlon and her spouse, Theadore Zambuni, were both originally from Samos, Greece. The famed dance duo were popular among the vaudevillian circuit. O’Hanlon was noted for her performance in Schubert’s 1921 production of “The Passing Show” in the famous Winter Garden Theater. For the dancing duo, work with Schubert included his 1921 musical revue “The Century Revue”. Prior to this O’Hanlon made appearances in the following musicals, the 1919 “Oh, What a Girl!” and the 1920 production of “The Midnight Rounders”.
This is a portrait of Ole Olsen, one half of the vaudevillian comedy duo Olsen and Johnson. John Sigvand “Ole” Olsen and Harold Ogden “Chic” Johnson performed on radio, stage, in motion pictures, and on television. Olsen and Johnson partnered in 1914, perfecting their comedic style during the vaudeville era. Olsen and Johnson were also Broadway sensations, most noted for their comedy “Hellzapoppin”, that opened in 1938 and would later become a major motion picture. The duo had occasional television appearances later in their career.
Born Muriel Harding in England, Olga Petrova adopted her more exotic stage name as she became a successful actress in musicals and the London and New York Vaudeville scenes. Her American film career, which began with "The Tigress" in 1914, spanned more than two dozen silent pictures from 1914-1918.
John Sigvand “Ole” Olsen and Harold Ogden “Chic” Johnson were American comedians of vaudeville, radio, stage, motion pictures, and television. Olsen and Johnson partnered in 1914 perfecting their comedy during the vaudeville era. Olsen and Johnson were also Broadway sensations most noted for their comedy “Hellzapoppin” that opened in 1938 and would later become a major motion picture. Olsen and Johnson had occasional television appearances later in their career.
John Sigvand “Ole” Olsen and Harold Ogden “Chic” Johnson were American comedians of vaudeville, radio, stage, motion pictures and television. Olsen and Johnson partnered in 1914 perfecting their comedy during the vaudeville era. Olsen and Johnson were also Broadway sensations most noted for their comedy “Hellzapoppin” that opened in 1938 and would later become a major motion picture. Olsen and Johnson had occasional television appearances later in their career. This three-quarter length pose portrait depicts both men formally dressed.
This self-portrait of the young Orval Hixon shows him looking down and away from the camera, revealing a grave profile that appears deep in contemplation. He wears a white collared shirt that is bound with a scarf in place of a tie. The light that falls on the left side of Hizon's face outlines his features against the darker background. In not addressing the camera, Hixon resists the role of subject, questioning the relationship between the photographer and the photographed.
As a portrait photographer, it was Hixon’s responsibility to develop his subjects’ public image and give them a product they could share with theater producers, newspapers, or friends. Hixon also had an image to maintain and portraits of him reveal his desire to be seen as sophisticated, fashionable man of his time as well as a great artist. Most portraits of Hixon were taken while he was working at Studebaker Studio in Kansas City prior to opening his own studio. They are likely self-portraits, although Studebaker himself may have also photographed Hixon.
Orval Hixon was a Kansas City photographer whose artistic abilities out rivaled those of his contemporaries. Hixon was a master of his craft, summoning all his skill set to produce works capturing his subjects in profound poses. Hixon from an early onset pursued an interest in the arts. After learning he was color blind as a child, Orval followed a path into photography with his first camera purchased in 1898. Hixon discovered a love of photography, in 1905 he paid a local photographer five dollars to work as an assistant for one month.
Otto Kruger, grand-nephew of former South African President Paul Kruger, first took the Broadway stage at age fifteen and by the 1920s was a Broadway star. The Ohio native turned to the big screen becoming a prolific and popular character actor who often portrayed the villain or a charming, but corrupt businessman. He appeared in 80 feature films, including the Alfred Hitchcock-directed "Saboteur" in 1942, "High Noon" in 1952, and "Magnificent Obsession" in 1954. He also guest starred on CBS' "Perry Mason" and other television series.
The photograph depicted here is of Pauline Frederick. Pauline Beatrice Libby took “Frederick” as her stage name and later as her legal surname after being disinherited by her father who disapproved of her pursuit of acting. Frederick was an accomplished stage actress, but began acting in silent films when she was 32 and successfully made the transition to talking pictures.
Pearl Harper was a chorus girl and vaudeville actress. She was known for her telephone performance skit under the production of Starr Piano Company. The clever use of a telephone recording along with audio from a record player introduced multi-media sound to the stage. In this three-quarter length portrait, Harper strikes a bold pose with hands on hips and shoulders thrown back with a no-nonsense expression. She wears a jeweled top, a long string of pearls, and a black satin hat whose slack brim umbrellas her figure.
Pearl Magley, and her husband Guy Magley were a popular vaudevillian dance duo that toured both nationally and internationally. One of their better known dance routines, titled “Dance Stories”, was popular during 1921. This publicized act featured other dance troupes such as the La Rouge Sisters and Seven Eleven. This print captures Magley in an erect pose with her feet positioned to the right, her torso is turned toward the front with arms held aloft. Her hands are pointed downward in a gesture that appears to be the beginning of a dance.
Phyllis Neilson-Terry was an English actress. She made her first stage appearance in "Henry of Navarre" (1909) and played leading roles in other Shakspearean plays. She took the title role in "Trilby" (1915) in New York for which she was very successful. Much of this photograph is obscured, emphasizing her face which turns toward the camera, yet her gaze extends past the frame. A light dramatically illuminates her face and casts a long shadow into the center of the frame.
Rita Gould was a Hollywood actress born in the Kherson Governorate of Russia. She was known for her roles in "Girls' Dormitory" (1936), "He Couldn't Say No" (1938) and "Kiss and Make-Up" (1934). In this portrait, Hixon captures Gould in an elegant pose, turning her cheek to the camera with one index finger resting on her chin that suggests the motion. Her hair is slicked back and out of view, her eyebrows are sharp, and she is well-adorned in multiple strings of pearls, a jewel ring, and numerous studded bangles.
Born in New Orleans and the son of a producer and stage manager, Robert Edeson spent nearly 30 years on Broadway and became one of the first stage performers to embrace film and move to Hollywood. The beloved character actor first appeared in a series of silent shorts in 1912 and 1913 and went on to forge an association with the famed director Cecil B. DeMille. Among their films were 1923's "The Ten Commandments", 1925's "Volga Boatman", and 1927's "King of Kings". In this portrait, Edeson appears unaware of the camera as he looks pointedly to his right with a grave expression.
Rose Herbert was a vaudeville actress known for her roles in "Lucky in Love" (1928) and "Hollywood Bound" (1928). Rose's maiden name was Epstein before she married Hugh Herbert, a fellow vaudeville performer. Rose Herbert had another industry alias, Anita Pam. Pam was featured in "Lucky in Love" alongside Rose Epstein, creating the illusion that there were two actresses when in fact they were both Rose Herbert playing two different roles. In this photograph, one hand holds a burlesque feather fan in front of her body while another reaches up to caress a wooden parrot.
For the daughter of a doctor and an inventor, born on a modest New Jersey farm to grow up to reach for and attain literal and figurative heights of the glamorous life of a reknowned dancer. As a dancer, Ruth St. Denis would grow up to co-found the American Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts as well as instruct several promising students who themselves would develop into notable performers. In this portrait, St. Denis poses in a contrapposto stance with her arms crossed above her head. Her chin is slightly raised and her eyes are closed.