Central Library

Portrait of Marjorie Gateson

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Marjorie Gateson was an actress of stage, film and television. At the age of 21, Gateson made her Broadway debut in the 1912 musical “The Dove of Peace”. Other Broadway productions were soon to follow including the 1913 play “The Little Café”, the 1917 musical “Have a Heart”, the 1927 musical comedy “Oh Ernest!”, and the 1930 comedy “As Good as New”. Gateson relocated to Hollywood where her film career would begin. Gateson was cast in secondary roles where she often portrayed aloof socialite characters.

Portrait of Maurice Barrett

Maurice Barrett staged, produced, and performed in a number of Broadway productions in the early 20th century. Notable productions included: Smooth As Silk (1921), The Hindu (1922), Straight Thru the Door (1928), and The Traitor (1930). Barrett was best known for his roles portraying a Hindu character in "The Master of Ballantrae" and "The Eyes of the Youth", recognized as such in a Washington newspaper, The Spokesman-Review in 1922. He assumes that role in this portrait, characterizing a Hindu figure in wearing a velvet turban and Nehru-collared shirt.

Portrait of Mike Helm

Mike Helm, along with his brothers Ferdinand Jr. and Joseph Helm, founded two of the world's first full-time amusement parks named Electric Park in Kansas City, Missouri in 1899. The first Electric Park was built in land adjacent to the Helm Brothers Brewery (at the time the largest brewery in the world) in the East Bottoms in 1899. The second was built in 1907 and remained in operation until the end of the 1925 season. Animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney cited the second Kansas City Electric Park as his primary inspiration for the design of the first modern theme park, Disneyland.

Portrait of Miss Egan Dressed in Black

Miss Egan, born with the name Mary Florence Cecilia Egan, was a violinist and bandleader during the 1920s through the 1930s. Her career started from the pit orchestras of Hollywood productions until she formed her own all-female orchestra in 1924 called Babe Egan's Hollywood Redheads. The group played in vaudeville along the West Coast and eventually went on tour in the Orpheum vaudeville circuit for many years. In 1933, they toured Europe with a 16 piece band, which included pianist Dorothy Sauter and saxophonist Geraldine Stanley. Egan retired in the 1940s.

Portrait of Miss Egan Dressed in White

Miss Egan, born with the name Mary Florence Cecilia Egan, was a violinist and bandleader during the 1920s through the 1930s. Her career started from the pit orchestras of Hollywood productions until she formed her own all-female orchestra in 1924 called Babe Egan's Hollywood Redheads. The group played in vaudeville along the West Coast and eventually went on tour in the Orpheum vaudeville circuit for many years. In 1933, they toured Europe with a 16 piece band, which included pianist Dorothy Sauter and saxophonist Geraldine Stanley. Egan retired in the 1940s.

Portrait of Ms. Nichols

This portrait depicts the matriarchal figure of Ms. Nichols. The dignified character is captured from the waist up, wearing dark Victorian style clothing. The attire is concealing and covers the figure up to her chin. Around the collar, white lace lapels encircle her neck and run down to the bodice of her outfit, the mid-section appears to be wrapped with dark satin. Ms. Nichols has perfectly set hair that is held in place on top of her head. She looks intently through wired rim glasses at some type of periodical.

Portrait of Nan Halperin

Nan Halperin appeared on the vaudeville stage at the age of fifteen performing impersonations and comedic musical numbers. Over the course of her career, she became known as America’s “Famous Satirist” for her impersonations of the life stages of ordinary American women as well as the "Wonder Girl" because of how fast she was able to change costumes while doing these impersonations. This full-length photograph pictures Halperin dipping a toe into a fictitious water stream that fades into an atmospheric, windswept background created by Hixon's photo manipulations.

Portrait of Nan Halperin in White Trimmed Coat

Nan Halperin appeared on the vaudeville stage at the age of fifteen performing impersonations and comedic musical numbers. Over the course of her career, she became known as America’s “Famous Satirist” for her impersonations of the life stages of ordinary American women as well as the "Wonder Girl" because of how fast she was able to change costumes while doing these impersonations. In this photograph, Halperin sports a plush, white fur-trimmed coat, silk blouse, and soutache hat with a folded brim.

Portrait of Nan Halperin Seated

Nan Halperin appeared on the vaudeville stage at the age of fifteen performing impersonations and comedic musical numbers. Over the course of her career, she became known as America’s “Famous Satirist” for her impersonations of the life stages of ordinary American women as well as the "Wonder Girl" because of how fast she was able to change costumes while doing these impersonations. In this full-length photograph from 1920, she is depicted in a seated position just to the right of center with her knees pulled up close to her chest and hands clasped in front of her shins.

Portrait of Nance O'Neil dressed in black

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 theater 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". In this portrait O'Neil is posed standing with a frontal view.

Portrait of Nance O'Neil with Fan

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. O'Neil returned to talking films around 1929 and appeared in several early sound pictures. She has been quoted as saying that "tradition has made women cowardly". In this portrait, she looks down and to the right. Her eyes shifted away from the camera with a heavy gaze.

Portrait of Nance O'Neil with Head Scarf

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.

Portrait of Nora Bayes

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".

Portrait of O'Hanlan And Zambuni

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”.

Portrait of O'Hanlon and Zambuni Looking at One Another

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”.

Portrait of Ole Olsen

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.

Portrait of Olga Petrova

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.

Portrait of Olsen and Johnson in Three-Quarter Pose

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.

Portrait of Orval Hixon in Contemplation

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.

Portrait of Orval Hixon in his Younger Years

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.

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