Cigar/cigarette cards and cabinet photographs portraying actors (male and female) from the late 19th century. The photographs are predominantly American actors but some English and French performers are also included. Some of the more prominent persons represented are Lulu Glaser, Francis Wilson, and Georgia Cayvan, plus others listed below.
Divided into 3 series: Series 1: Cigar/Cigarette Cards, undated; Series 2: Cabinet Photographs, 1878-1897,and Miscellaneous, 1868-1892.
Biographical / Historical:
The cult of celebrity is not a 20th century phenomenon. In the latter part of the 19th century innovations in the use of photography as advertising spurned a new avenue of celebrity likeness-based souvenirs. Portraits of personalities from the stage who were previously portrayed in engravings and traditional portraiture were now available to an interested public in a more realistic and affordable form – the cigar/cigarette card included as an incentive in the purchase of a smoking product and cabinet photographs sold as souvenirs by theatrical promoters. These photographs depicted celebrities as well as scenes from plays in which they performed. They were avidly collected by a public interested in the personalities of minstrelsy, vaudeville and the legitimate theatre.
This collection was created, or acquired, by Daisy Templin (1874?-1956) of Alton, Illinois. Templin was an avid collector of Victoriana and filled the home (1605 Washington Avenue) of she and her brother, Roger P. Templin (1872?-?), with furniture, ceramics, bric-a-brac and all types of predominately Victorian ephemera. She wrote that ". . . whatever interested me I bought." Her brother was a former wholesale grocery salesman in St. Louis, MO. By the time of her death, Templin had contemplated donating much of her collection to the Smithsonian Institution. Her collection was willed to her brother who donated a sizable portion of the collection (over 1,000 items) to the museum in 1958. The home she and her brother shared was demolished to make way for a shopping center in 1961.
The collection was donated by Roger P. Templin in memory of his sister Daisy Templin in October 1958.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements required to view negatives due to cold storage. Using negatives requires a three hour waiting period. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
When the Museum purchased the collection from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, it obtained all rights, including copyright. The earliest photographs in the collection are in the public domain because their term of copyright has expired. The Archives Center will control copyright and the use of the collection for reproduction purposes, which will be handled in accordance with its standard reproduction policy guidelines. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution
The collection was acquired with assistance from the Eugene Meyer Foundation. Elihu and Susan Rose and the Save America's Treasures program, provided funds to stabilize, organize, store, and create digital surrogates of some of the negatives. Processing and encoding funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.