Central Library

Portrait of Guy Bates

Guy Bates' acting career spanned over more than fifty years with a multitude of Broadway stage and Hollywood film productions. Some of his most memorable roles include Omar Khayyám in the 1914 stage and 1922 film productions of "Omar the Tentmaker" and Louis Napoleon in "Maytime" ( 1937) and again in "The Mad Empress" (1939). His fourth and final marriage was to British character actress Lillian Kemble-Cooper.

Portrait of Harry T. Abernathy

Harry T. Abernathy was born in Leavenworth, Kansas on 23 May 1865 to Col. James L. Abernathy. Harry's father James, was the pioneer furniture manufacturer of the West. Harry came to Kansas City and became cashier of his father's company. Harry held the position for eight years. In 1895, he became the assistant cashier of the First National Bank. Later, he was the treasurer of Park College for four years.

Portrait of Hazel Flint

Born in New York in 1893, Hazel Flint later became a silent film actress of the 1920s, starring in films like Modern Daughters (1927) and The Bootleggers (1922). Not much is known about her role in these films or the films themselves, likely because they are considered "lost films" meaning they are believed to no longer exist in any archives or private collections. This was common for American silent films of the early 20th century as copyright deposits were not yet required by the Library of Congress.

Portrait of Herbert Clifton

Herbert Clifton, born in London, England, was and actor noted for his female impersonations. Clifton was publicized as “The Male Soprano” and advertised as having a voice worth one thousand pounds. Clifton traveled to America appearing at the Alhambra Theater in New York in 1910. He portrayed a street urchin and sang "Love Me and the World is Mine", "The Holy City", and "Stop Your Tickling, Jock". Clifton became a sensation with American audiences and after a brief sojourn back to England, he returned to the United States for his second Vaudeville tour.

Portrait of Herbert Kinney

This solitary moment captured by Orval Hixon commemorates the Herbert Kinney and Corrine Kalich pantomime and dance act. Kinney sits on a low bench with one leg up and one leg on the floor. He is wearing a short dark tunic belted at the waist and accentuated by a tuille ruff. His brocade knee-length britches are offset by tights and dark slippers. His hair slicked-back hair accentuates makeup typically worn by pantomimes. He sits close to the wall and facing a poster of an illustration of a woman with an art-deco hairstyle. Under the depiction, is the name Kalich.

Portrait of Hixon Family (ii)

Like thousands of other families in the 19th century, the Hixons took advantage of photography as an affordable way to capture images of loved ones. During his own career Hixon contributed to the development of a new, less formal type of studio portrait that emphasized individuality and personality rather than relying on standard props or formal poses. In this photograph, focus is placed on a matriarchal figure surrounded by six children, three girls to the left and three boys to the right. Each figure is poised in a dignified stance, in formal attire and solemn expressions.

Portrait of Hixon's Sister with Friends, Little Blue River

This photograph captures a moment where Hixon's sister and a few of her friends are seated on a small boat on the Little Blue River in Indiana. Some of the women smile for the photograph, others appear serious, relaxed, and earnest. They are all clothed in skirts and dresses in a fashion popular for women at the time. Their sun hats and tousled hair indicate it might have been warm and perhaps humid on the river that day.

Portrait of Ina Alcova Leaping

Ina Alcova was a Vaudeville ballet dancer known as "The Flying Alcova." Rather than the usual vertical portrait, Hixon has created a horizontal portrait of Ina flying through a whimsical landscape. She leaps into the light from the dark through the center of the composition. A bright ray of light shines downward upon her head. The pattern of her skirt echoes the "brushstrokes" of the background.

Portrait of Ina Hayward

As a child actor, Ina Hayward had theatrical debut’s performing in roles such as "Peck Bad Boys" and "Sidewalks of New York." Hayward soon gravitated to variety acts, using her talents as an equestrian, singer and dancer. Hayward performed at the Gayety Theater as it was burgeoning into a house of burlesque. Hayward had resurgence in her theatrical career, appearing in the "Passing Show," "Billie" and "Manhattan Mary." When not on the musical theater circuit, Hayward toured Vaudeville as a singer backed by the Misha Boys, a string and percussion band.

Portrait of Irene Rich

The portrait depicted here is of Irene Rich. Rich was a successful San Francisco real estate agent who received her first movie job as an extra in Mary Pickford’s "Stella Maris" in 1918. She graduated to starring roles in silent melodramas. Rich eventually made the transition to talkies, joining Will Rogers in a series of pictures. She appeared in 21 Warner Bros. movies including "The Champ" in 1931 and John Ford’s "Fort Apache" in 1948. Her career totaled more than 100 screen credits.

Portrait of Jack Laughlin

Jack Laughlin was an actor, director, producer, and stage manager during the vaudeville era. He played in an ensemble in the Broadway musical "Sinbad" (1918) which featured the famed vaudevillian actor Al Jolson. This head and shoulders portrait captures Laughlin's profile as he looks off and into a light which illuminates him against an opaque background. He wears a relaxed white linen shirt and his haircut is precise. He appears pensive in expression and pose as he leans slightly forward, resting his elbows on a surface before him.

Portrait of James L. Abernathy

Col. James L. Abernathy was born in Warren County, Ohio, March 20, 1833. Abernathy was famed for his business acumen, most notably Leavenworth, KS where he moved in 1856. Abernathy helped stimulate the economic growth of Leavenworth, turning it into a veritable Midwest-Boomtown in the nineteenth century. Abernathy and his brother William began in the retail furniture business. Their operation was the rudiment to what later became a furniture manufacture, and one of the largest of Leavenworth’s industries. Abernathy also had a successful military career.

Portrait of Jan Rubini

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Jan Rubini was an actor, concert violinist, and composer. He was known for Clancy Street Boys (1943), Bal Tabarin (1952) and Jan Rubini and Orchestra (1937). He stands erect in this photograph in concert attire while holding his violin in ready position. His facial expression appears focused. Although the light that illuminates his face obscures his violin in shadow, one still gets the sense that the expressive potential of this portrait is channeled through his instrument.

Portrait of Jan Rubini in Profile

Originally born in Stockholm, Sweden, Jan Rubini was an actor, concert violinist, and composer. He was known for Clancy Street Boys (1943), Bal Tabarin (1952) and Jan Rubini and Orchestra (1937). Hixon manipulated the background of this portrait with sweeping brushstrokes that fade into solid white along the left-hand side. The white narrows in on Rubini's profile to create a cameo shape emphasized by dark sketched lines echoing from the breast flap of his suit jacket.

Portrait of Janette Hacket in a Peacock Costume

This portrait depicts Janette Hackett, acclaimed dancer of the early twentieth century. Hackett’s first career performance came as a teenager when she appeared in the Shubert’s Passing Show. During this time, under the tutelage of Kitty Doner, Hackett learned to dance. After studying Hawaiian and “Oriental” dance, she went on a five-week tour performance with Nora Bayes and later replaced Billie Shaw in the established act of “Seabury and Shaw”.

Portrait of Janette Hackett

This portrait depicts Janette Hackett, acclaimed dancer of the early twentieth century. Hackett came from a famed family. Her mother, Florence Hackett, was a noted silent film star. Her brother married Blanche Sweet, also of silent film stardom. Hackett’s first career performance came as a teenager, when she appeared in the Shubert’s "Passing Show". During this time, under the tutelage of Kitty Doner, Hackett learned to dance.

Portrait of Janette Hackett with Genie Bottle

This portrait depicts Janette Hackett, an acclaimed dancer of the early twentieth century. Hackett’s first career performance came as a teenager when she appeared in the Shubert’s "Passing Show". During this time, under the tutelage of Kitty Doner, Hackett learned to dance. After studying Hawaiian and Oriental' dance, she went on a five-week tour performance with Nora Bayes and later replaced Billie Shaw in the established act of “Seabury and Shaw”.

Portrait of Joan Archer

The photograph depicts the young woman Joan Archer. She stands in profile showing her from the waist up. She gazes upward toward the left corner of the pictorial space. She is dressed in a lace top with floral motif and wears a glass beaded necklace. A striped scarf with flowers and faux grapes adorn her short hair. Her features are thin and delicate. She holds a small stringed instrument, perhaps a eukalalee. The shadow in the background echoes the petite shape of her knows, lips, and neck of the instrument. A few flowers decorate the upper right hand corner of the photograph.

Portrait of Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford's journey to screen stardom began with a poor childhood moving from Texas to Oklahoma and finally Kansas City where she worked to help support her family while attending school. She won a Charleston contest at a local café in her early teens. Later, Crawford moved to Detroit where she danced under the stage name Billie Cassin. Coincidently, Billie Casssin is the name she was using at the time this photo was taken. It is in Detroit, that she caught the eye of a Hollywood talent scout.

Portrait of Julia Arthur

Julia Arthur, born with the name Ida Lewis, began acting at a young age. She began her professional acting career with the Bandmann Company in 1880 and began going by her industry alias Julia Arthur. After her majorly successful role as the Queen in "The Black Masque" (1892), Arthur was cast in many more leading roles such as Ophelia, Juliet, and Lady MacBeth. Her clout in the industry translates in her dress in this photograph, as she wears a suit coat and narrow suspenders with ornate embellishments.

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