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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Little Italy: 1902

Little Italy: 1902

        "Permeated by the passionate, vengeful Neapolitan spirit, despite a pleasing lack of half-intelligible broken English."

-- New York Times

New York, 1902. "Scene from Little Italy showing Minnie Maddern Fiske on bed, Frederic De Belleville kneeling, Claus Bogel seated with head bowed, and group of people in doorway." Little Italy, a "one-act tragedy of the East Side" by Horace Fry first performed in 1898, was revived on Broadway in 1902 for a 24-performance run at the Manhattan Theatre. Joseph Byron photo. View full size.

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A brief reprise

"Little Italy" last appeared on Broadway on May 9, 1928, at the Frolic Theatre (later known as the New Amsterdam Roof). It was presented by a community troupe from Mount Vernon, and closed after the first night.


Looks something like the Italian drama portrayed in the first part of the first "Godfather" movie.

Mrs. Fiske

Stage actress Fiske also appeared in two silent films, "Tess of the D'Urburvilles" (1913) and "Vanity Fair" (1915). The acting style of a bygone era is referenced in "All About Eve" when Eve Harrington flings open the door and demands that Addison DeWitt get out, to which he blithely replies, "You're too short for that gesture. Besides, it went out with Mrs. Fiske."

Garlic on the wall

What an interesting set! That quilt on the bed is incredible. I wish we could see it in color. I'll bet every stitch was put in by hand!

The garlic hanging on the wall is a nice touch, too. Were they planning to make sauce for their cast party at the close of the play, or were they keeping vampires away?

Passion Indeed!

The knife on the floor explains the whole scene.

Revelant if not relevant

High Mediterranean melodrama, and not an Italian name among the featured players. Except for such classical artists as Caruso and Adelina Patti, performers of Italian ancestry had yet to make much penetration into the lively arts in this country.

Here, Italian immigrants are apparently the objects of patronizing sympathy ... poor, benighted souls! Primitive, true, but they seem to feel pain almost like a real person.

Within two decades, however, the age of Valentino and Ted Fio Rito and Toscanini and thousands of others will dawn.

Lost Episode of The Honeymooners

Alice has overslept. Ralph and Norton and the neighbors are distraught.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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