This second image is of the American actress Jennie Lee (1848–1925), and dates from around 1882. Again, it is numbered, and shows that it was part of a series of cards featuring ‘Celebrities’. The photographer studio is given as Houseworth’s, San Francisco; the Broadway Photographs website ( www. broadway.cas.sc.edu) states that Thomas Houseworth (1828–1916) was ‘the first important photographer of celebrities in San Francisco’, but that by the 1880s, his regular use of ‘Western’ style backdrops in his photographer was becoming rather old-fashioned. It’s interesting, then, that he has abandoned the backdrop here, letting the focus be purely on the figure of the actress instead.
Those actresses with long, successful careers might of course be photographed several times for the benefit of the public. This picture is also of Jennie Lee, but is from ten years earlier than the one above. She is clearly younger in this image, and her hair is also a different colour! But perhaps the key difference is that here, she appears to be in costume for a part she was playing. The ornate headdress and large drop earrings are in stark contrast to her demure dress, bare head, and plainer hoop earrings in the later picture. The earlier picture shows her looking away from the camera, quite demurely, whereas by 1882, she is looking straight at the camera – and her audience – displaying the confidence that comes from an established career.