Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Taking Liberties With Photographs

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

Did they actually think she'd fall for this one? No woman would, particularly after seeing the advertisement.

Anna Belmont and her sister
Kathryn Osterman

Mrs. M. A. Kraus, wife of a business man in Philadelphia was astonished when, looking through a magazine the other day, she came across two half-tone portraits of herself. One was covered with spots and freckles and the other was clear. Under the pictures was printed the query, "Are you ashamed of your face?"

The whole exhibit was part of the advertisement of a firm which sells "bedtime powders," "wash tablets" and "blood pills." Mrs. Kraus was an actress before her marriage, and her stage name was Miss Anna Belmont. Like most actresses, she had many photographs of herself, to be used for advertising purposes, and some of these had fallen into the hands of the enterprising firm.

When Mrs. Kraus' lawyer communicated with the advertisers they gallantly replied that they had selected Miss Belmont's photograph from among 200 portraits of beautiful women and decided that hers was the most attractive.

But Mrs. Kraus is proof against this handsome compliment, and she has ordered the firm to stop using her picture, on pain of being sued for heavy damages. So there goes another work of art lost to lovers of the beautiful.

McClure's Magazine


Pearson's Magazine


Are these the advertisements complained of in this article? I can't be certain. They fit the time frame, the picture resembles Anna Belmont, the advertisement used the exact term "Are you ashamed of your face?"
BUT, the company is not named in the article and there is only one photograph not two. It does, however, give us an idea of why she was ticked off.

Biographical Note:

Mrs. Maurice A. Kraus was known on the stage as Anna Belmont. She retired in 1906 and shortly thereafter married. Four of her five sisters were also on the stage. She died Sunday 12 January 1947 in her home in the Santander Apartments in Asbury Park, New Jersey.



Unknown. "Taking Liberties With Photographs." St. Louis and Canadian Photographer. 1900. pg. 107.


McClure's Magazine. 1900. pg. 41
"Pearson's Advertiser." Pearson's Magazine. 1900.



Blogger Lidian said...

Brilliant! You know how much I love this sort of thing and this was a huge treat to read, fM. I love the story behind it, too.

December 3, 2008 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I loved this article as well.

When I was in law school and we studied using someone's likeness commercially we focused on the modern (basketball players, etc.) and the monetary.

We should have looked at the historical and the embarrassing.

Any woman would get this one.


December 3, 2008 at 11:28 AM  

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