Mary Pickford in the Press

  Canadian-born Gladys Louise Smith was just 5 years old when her father died, plunging her family into poverty. Gladys’ mother, Charlotte, a classic stage mother of the day, pushed her young children– Lottie, Jack, and “Baby Gladys” — into the theatre in hopes of making money.  Gladys soon caught the eye of Broadway impresario, David […]

Elsie de Wolfe: America’s First Interior Designer

Elsie de Wolfe was an interior decorator before there was such a thing.  And if she wasn’t making headlines for covering 18th century footstools in leopard print, she was in the newspapers for her eccentric blue hair, her affinity for small dogs (see here, here, and here), and unique preferences for physical fitness. Born in New […]

Mabel Stark: World Famous Trainer of Big Jungle Cats

What are you afraid of? “Subways!” Mabel Stark, renowned Bengal tiger trainer, told the New-York Tribune in 1922. “Trains roaring through the tunnel terrify me more than any beast I’ve ever met,” she said. Following a nervous breakdown, the former nurse sought a “simpler & easier” profession: training wild jungle cats for the big top.  […]

Those Fluttering Flappers!

The flapper bursts onto the American scene in the early 1920s and becomes America’s post-Great War aesthetic ideal.  She’s daring, with a sassy and independent spirit and exists at a time when the entire world’s a stage—and she’s the “It” girl. This new modern girl might drive cars, smoke cigarettes, vote, drink hooch, and kick […]