Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Actors and Actresses photograph albums, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is made up of three albums with cabinet card photographs of prominent actors and actresses from the late 19th century, often in costume. Volume 1 (28cm x 19cm), bound in black cloth with the title "Photographs" on the front, has 48 photographs in windows and one loose item laid in. Volume 2 (23cm x 30cm), bound in thick padded boards covered in dark leather, has 72 photographs in windows and four loose items laid in. This album has a brass clasp with a wheel that increases or decreases the tension of the clasp. Volume 3 (40cm x 30cm), bound in thick padded boards covered in brown leather with two brass clasps, has 99 photographs in windows. At least one card is a lithograph and two cards are hand-colored.
Each of the albums contains portraits of well-known actors and actresses, including both studio portraits and pictures taken in costume in front of painted scenery, sometimes with props. Pictures of men, women, and children are present, with portraits taken both facing the camera and in profile, and some subjects are represented by more than one image. Many types of costume are depicted, such as contemporary and historic formal dress, military dress, Middle Eastern dress, and Elizabethan dress. Some of the photographs show gender cross dressing. Props are most often swords or canes, though some subjects posed with musical instruments such as violins, a piano, and a lute. The majority of the actors and actresses across all three volumes are identified either on the backs of cards, on the albums' pages, or in inventories (housed with the first two volumes).