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Mixed Message: 1917

Mixed Message: 1917

New York, 1917. "Actors' Fund Fair." Break a leg, if it doesn't get shot off first. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


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How big?

Looks like a final decision on the size and location of the 'cross' was still pending. Great photo.

Well girls

if these guns don't make them dance, nothing will.

Pro Patria Poster

Here's that "For The Fatherland" poster, which, in Latin, probably did not look too Germanic to World War One American eyes.

Missing the star of the show

Aft of the weapons and abeam a couple of the dancing nurses (or nursing dancers), that folksy ship model is center stage, appearing to be surrounded at the waterline by a tiny ocean made out of whatever they used to fill Easter baskets before plastic grass was invented.

7000 Attend Actors' Fair Opening

The Actors' Fair was a charity fundraiser that netted about $80,000 during its twelve-day run in May, 1917, at the Grand Central Palace on Lexington between 46th and 47th. Built in 1911, the Grand Central Palace was a 13-story office building with three floors of public exhibition and entertainment halls and meeting rooms. It also housed the main New York induction center for American military recruits during World War I. The formidably guarded Army-Navy Tea Room was located in a partitioned section of the main exhibition hall's balcony. According to the NY Times, 7,000 attended the first night's festivities, which were opened by Woodrow Wilson pressing a telegraph key from the White House. Louise Homer sang the National Anthem from the balcony, accompanied by the 22nd Regiment Band from Governor's Island and the Marine Corps Band from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Fair included booths of goods donated by more than 500 merchants, and hawked to the crowds by popular New York stage celebrities. A full account of the fair's opening night is online at the NY Times Archive.

Can I have the first dance?

You there, dear. Sitting down, third from the left. That twinkle in the eye has absolutely taken my breath away.

Or else?

Dance Mister!


PJ, that is one of the coolest sublime comments I've seen on Shorpy


I think I see Kilroy in the background

Turrets Syndrome

Rarely do we see such warm, open inviting smiles on Shorpy; surely these nurses were chosen for the kind, supportive ends of this event. Why, I'll bet you'd have to trigger a search far and wide to sight others of this caliber.

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