Anna Held by Aimé Dupont (1900)

Helene Anna Held (1872 – 1918), known professionally as Anna Held, was a Broadway stage performer and singer, born in Warsaw, Poland she started her career with stints in theatres in Paris and London, she is most often associated with theatre producer and impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, her common-law husband.

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Anna Held, full-length photo, facing right, with right hand on hat and left hand on hip by Aimé Dupont, 1900 via

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Anna Held, full-length photo, facing right, with right hand on hat and left hand on hip by Aimé Dupont, 1900 via

Ziegfeld Girl Anna Held

Helene Held  (1872 – 1918) was a Polish-born French stage performer and singer, most often associated with impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, her common-law husband.

Touring through Europe, Held was appearing in London in 1896 when she met Florenz Ziegfeld. Ziegfeld asked her to return to New York City with him and she agreed. He set about creating a wave of public interest in her, by feeding stories about her to the American press, such as her having had ribs surgically removed.

From 1905, Held enjoyed several successes on Broadway which, apart from bolstering Ziegfeld’s fortune, made her a millionaire in her own right. Ziegfeld’s talent for creating publicity stunts ensured that Held’s name remained well known. Held suggested the format for what would eventually become the famous Ziegfeld Follies in 1907, and helped Ziegfeld establish the most lucrative phase of his career.

In 1909, Ziegfeld began an affair with the actress Lillian Lorraine; Held remained hopeful that his fascination would pass and he would return to her, but instead he turned his attentions to another actress Billie Burke, whom he would marry in 1914.

The film The Great Ziegfeld (1936) tells a sanitized version of the story of the Ziegfeld-Held relationship. Luise Rainer won an Academy Award for her performance as Held.

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Anna Held via

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Anna Held

A Collection of Vintage Photos Featuring American Beauty Bille Dove

Billie Dove (1903-1997) was in her heyday known for her voluptuous femininity on the silent screen, rivaled that of Mary Pickford, Marion Davies and Clara Bow in popularity. She retired after only a few years into the talking picture era, however, and is not as well-remembered in today’s film circles as the aforementioned.

She was born Bertha Bohny to Swiss immigrant parents. As a teen, she worked as a model to help support her family and was hired as a teenager by Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld to appear in his Ziegfeld Follies Revue.

However, a burgeoning affair between Dove and Ziegfeld prompted Ziegfeld’s wife Billie Burke to arrange work out West for the young starlet in Hollywood films. She soon became one of the most popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks’ smash hit Technicolor film The Black Pirate (1926), as Rodeo West in The Painted Angel (1929), and was dubbed The American Beauty (1927), the title of one of her films.

She married the director of her seventh film, Irvin Willat, in 1923. The two divorced in 1929. Dove had a huge legion of male fans, one of her most persistent being Howard Hughes. She shared a three-year romance with Hughes and was engaged to marry him, but she ended the relationship without ever giving cause. Hughes cast her as a comedian in his film Cock of the Air (1932). She also appeared in his movie The Age for Love (1931).

Following her last film, Blondie of the Follies (1932), Dove retired from the screen to be with her family, although she was at the time still popular. She married oil executive Robert Kenaston in 1933.

Ziegfeld Model - Non-Risque - by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Billie Dove as a Ziegfield Follies Girl, by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Ziegfeld Model - Risque - 1920s - by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Billie Dove as a Ziegfield Follies Girl by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

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Billie Dove via

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Billie Dove as a Bride via

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Billie Dove via

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Billie Dove via

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Billæie Dove in Blondie of the Follies, her last film (1932) via

Billie Dove (Reprise)

Vintage Photos of Ziegfeld Follies Girls

The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of elaborate theatrical productions on Broadway in New York City from 1907 through 1931. It was founded by Florenz Ziegfeld and his wife Anna Held in 1907  – the inspiration was the Parisian Folies Bergère.

The Ziegfeld Follies were also famous for many beautiful chorus girls commonly known as Ziegfeld girls, usually wearing elaborate costumes by designers such as Erté, Lady Duff Gordon or Ben Ali Haggin.

Ziegfeld girl, Marion Benda c. 1920’s via

Lilyan Tashman performing in Ziegfeld follies via

Ziegfeld Follies by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Ziegfeld Girl Mary Eaton by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Mary Pickford by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

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Ziegfeld Follies via

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Ziegfeld Follies via

Ziegfield Follies, photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Ziegfield Follies, photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

A Collection of Vintage Portraits by Edward Thayer Monroe

Edward Thayer Monroe was born in Jamestown, New York, in 1890, into a family of photographers. His grandfather, Myron C. Monroe, pioneered wet-plate photography, recording Civil War scenes and shooting the first American images of Jenny Lind for P.T. Barnum. E.T. Monroe turned down the opportunity to attend Yale University, choosing a technical education instead. He received extensive practical training at a photographic processing plant in Syracuse and opened a home studio. In October 1914, the Dinturff Company of Syracuse hired him as “artistic portrait photographer” and his prints began circulating among magazine editors in the Northeast.

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Louise Brooks by Edward Thayer Monroe via

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Dorothy Stone by Edward Thayer Monroe via

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Helen Lee Worthing by Edward Thayer Monroe, 1922 via

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Anastasia Reilly (Ziegfeld Follies) by Edward Thayer Monroe via

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Nita Naldi by Edward Thayer Monroe, 1925 via

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Mary Nolan by Edward Thayer Monroe via

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Ann Pennington by Edward Thayer Monroe via

Early Film Dancer Annabelle Moore (1878-1961)

Annabelle Moore (1878 – 1961) was an American dancer and actress who was quite popular in her youth. She appeared in at least nine films beween 1894 and 1897. The films were dance films and included “A Mermaid Dance”, “Butterfly Dance” and “Serpentine Dance”.

The sale of her films was further boosted in December 1896 when it was revealed that she had been approached to appear naked at a private dinner party at Sherry’s Restaurant – It is even said she introduced eroticism in film.

In 1907 Annabelle starred as the Gibson Bathing Girl in the first of  the Ziegfeld Follies.

In 1910 she married Edward James Buchan. He died in 1958 and Annabelle died penniless in Chicago in 1961. In her obituary in the New York Times it was said Annabelle:

“was the symbol of beauty in her day. She was billed as ‘the original Gibson Girl’ because of her striking resemblance to the Charles Dana Gibson portrait.”

Annabelle had a similar appearance to the Gibson Girl.  But as far as Gibson modeling his idealization of the perfect woman on Annabelle, there is little evidence that he did (source).

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Annabelle Moore, 1900s via

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Annabelle Moore, 1908 via

Annabelle Butterfly Dance (1894)