Top of page

Mystery Photos #1: Who’s That Lady?

Share this post:

While it’s natural that people would associate the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division with, well, film, video, and sound recordings, we have a tremendous amount of associated documentation like scripts, lobby cards, pressbooks, and copyright descriptive material. We also have well more than a million publicity stills, a fraction of which we’ve used to illustrate the weekly “Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater” posts.

But just as we have unidentified films in the collection, we have plenty of unidentified stills as well. MBRS staff have a pretty good eye for this sort of challenge, so we typically keep a stack of mystery photos on a table and usually the pile gets drawn down fairly quickly. However, there are also a number we can’t nail down so that’s why we’re sharing a lot of them over the coming weeks in hopes that crowdsourcing can do the trick.

Any suggestion, thoughts, or even speculation you have is gratefully appreciated and can be shared in the Comments.

  1. Some staff suggest this might be from a non-US film, perhaps something from the Mexican cinema.

SOLVED!:  This is Carol Booth from a 1969 episode of “Death Valley Days”!–Thank you Diane!

2. On the original of this photo, someone had scribbled the name “Virginia” on the back. But Virginia who? And is it “Virginia” at all?

SOLVED!:  Virginia H. Hopkins, one time Powers Model.

3. The name of this woman has frustrated us for months because she looks so familiar. But who is she?

SOLVED!:  This is actress Marta Brennan.


4. Obviously an actress (?) from the silent era.

SOLVED:  Florence McFadden (later the wife of “Oz’s” Tin Man, Jack Haley).

5. This woman might be involved in classical music in some fashion. The name of the photographer in the lower right hand corner is Peter Perri, who often shot album covers as well as portraits of classical musicians.

 SOLVED!:  This is actress Fran Carlon.

6) Another familiar face we need help identifying.

SOLVED!:  This is actress Paulle Clark.

Thanks for looking!  And thanks for your help!

Tune in next week for a few more mystery photos.

Comments (83)

  1. Dear all,

    Number 4: Could it be Zazu Pitts?

    Anyway – this crowdsourcing is a wonderful idea!


    Daniela Sauer

  2. Could number 4 be Marion Davies?

  3. #2 mystery photo woman looks like an older Virginia Grey

  4. I believe the Virginia ia Virginia Grey. She was very active in the 30’s.

  5. No, #2 is definitely not Marion Davies, and I don’t believe it’s Virginia Grey either – you can see older pictures of her online, and it just doesn’t look like her.

  6. #4 could be Thelma Todd.

  7. #6 – Suzanne Pleshette?

  8. For #6, I went to Agnes Moorehead, but some of that would depend on when the picture was taken.

  9. #3 a young Loni Anderson; #4 Clara Bow?; #5 & 6 have the same nose and jawline

  10. #2 Virginia Mayo?

  11. Number 4 looks like Silent screen actress whose sister was Vivian Vance

  12. #2 Yvonne De Carlo

  13. this is grat, thanks do it again.. # 1 might be from a tv western cast

  14. Virginia Mayo

  15. #1 looks like an early candid of Claudia Cardinale

  16. Number 4 is definitely not ZaSu Pitts, Clara Bow, Marion Davies, or Thelma Todd … unfortunately I don’t know her identity!

  17. #4 – Looks like Mae Murray

    #5 – Is that Eloise Rawitzer?

  18. I think # 6 is Nancy Marchand.

  19. #5 might be Ruth Leuwerik (German actress)

  20. #4 possibly Lilian Gish?

  21. #6 looks like Clarice Blackburn from Dark Shadows (1966).

  22. #1 maybe Natalie Wood

  23. #5 could be Ruth Leuwerik. There is a connection to classical music: she was married to opera singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the 1960s.

  24. #4 Could be Enid or Alma Bennett

  25. #5: If this lady is, indeed, involved in classical music, it seems likely that she is a singer. It could possibly be Erika Köth, a German soprano who started performing in the late 1940s, mostly in Germany and other European countries. It would help to know where/when Peter Perri worked.

  26. #3 could British actress Celia Bannerman.

  27. #2 could be Pam Britton.

  28. #5 for sure isn’t Ruth Leuwerik

  29. #1 looks like Janice Rule photographed at a weird angle with a weird smile.

  30. #2 is NOT Virginia Grey. I am sure of that much.

  31. #2 – I don’t believe that is Virginia Grey.

  32. Actually, Number 5 resembles the mature Elizabeth Allan…

  33. I believe #5 is Cathy Lewis. SHe was a singer with Kay Kayser and later had a recurring role on the TV Show “Hazel”.

  34. It looks like a brunette Virginia Field.

  35. #4 is definitely not Constance Talmadge. She does look irritatingly familiar though.

  36. #2 looks like an older Greta Gynt

  37. #4 is not Helen Twelvetrees. I compared 92 images of Helen and only one has Helen smiling with teeth showing. Also, Helen’s nose is more pronounced. If the theory that Vivian Vance had a sister who was a silent film star is valid, and I intend to pursue this theory, I think we may be onto something.

  38. #6 is not Clarice Blackburn, who has a mole on her chin. This woman doesn’t.

  39. #2 is not Virginia Grey. I knew Virginia Grey and this woman isn’t even close.

  40. #2. I remember an old war movie, probably 1940’s … A German actress, looked like this woman.

  41. #5 looks like British Actress Barbara Shelley in hr heyday of the 1950’s 60’s.

  42. #5 looks like Ausrian actress Maria Andergast. No idea, though, why or when she would have had her photo taken by a New York photographer.

  43. Another suggestion for #5 comes from my sister: Eileen Joyce, Australian pianist. She played concerts in New York around 1950.

  44. *Austrian

  45. #4. Theory about Vivian Vance having a sister in silent movies has no legs. Vivian Vance had a brother and 4 sisters, but I can’t find any photos of them, or any reference to them being in silent pictures. I think one of the earlier comments suggested it’s Mae Murray. I think it might be Mae Murray although it appears she liked to be photographed with her left side being her “good side.”

  46. Number one: how about Millie Perkins in the Shooting (1967)? The hat is about right for the film and most of the costume except her blouse was white that I could see.

  47. Could #4 be Dorothy Mackaill?

  48. #4. From the hairstyle, I’d say Clara Bow (~1927).

  49. Could number 2 be Virginia Dale? 😉

  50. #1 is not Millie Perkins. #4 is not Clara Bow. #6 is not Agnes Moorehead.

  51. Could no. 4 be Mildred Harris? It sure isn’t Helen Twelvetrees or Marion Davies.

  52. Is #3 Kathy Garver who played Cissy on Family Affair? Looks a little like her to me.

  53. #4 Belle Bennett?

  54. 3 isn’t Prunella scales. Prunella is in Fawlty towers with john cleese

  55. #5 – The actor is definitely William Farnum. This still is from “The Rainbow Trail” (1918). The woman in the center is Genevieve Blinn.

  56. I am pretty certain #4 is Belle Bennett. I have a group photo of a Triangle Film Co. film unit (late 1917) that includes her, along with director Charles Avery and my grandfather who was an assistant director.

  57. No3 is NOT Prunella Scales.

  58. I’m virtually positive #4 is an unflattering photo of the beautiful Betty Compson. (She rarely smiled showing her teeth.) She wasn’t a great actress, but she didn’t need to be – she had a vulnerability and charm that radiated from the screen. See for example The Lady Refuses.

  59. # 3 looks like Dawn French.

  60. # 3 looks like Dawn French.

  61. #4 I woudln’t be so sure about Betty Compson, she definetly looks very similar, but what bothers me is her jawline and her chin, when compared to other photos of Betty it does not match (at least when I look at it). And the top of Betty’s nose was not going down, like this lady’s (sorry for the weird choice of words, I’m not a native speaker)

  62. #3 is a British actress from the 1960s. I just don`t remember the movie I saw her in.

  63. I think #2 is the English actress Virginia Field. It’s not Virginia Mayo.

  64. The 4th one looks just like Ruth Clifford

  65. # 3 looks like Dawn French.

    Harold Casados | Marketing

  66. I think it No #5 is William Farnum

    Daily Need Hubs:

  67. #5 – William Farnum. Bcoz, “The Rainbow Trail” (1918). The woman in the center is Genevieve Blinn.

  68. My best guess on No. 1 is Tuesday Weld in dark hair.

  69. #3 – I envision she is Jody Fair from Hot Rod Gang (1958). She definitely looks pretty and simple.
    best pressure washer surface cleaner

  70. #5- I have no doubt, the actor is definitely William Farnum.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.