Sunday, June 9, 2013

A rare early image of Louise Brooks

This magazine clipping depicts Louise Brooks. It is a rare image of the yet-to-be actress which I would guess was taken sometime in 1924. Brooks was either 17 or 18 years old at the time. The clipping sold for a modest price on eBay. The seller, based in Germany, said it came from a 1925 German newspaper or magazine. 


Little else is known about the clipping. The number 55 in the upper right hand corner suggests it came from a magazine, and not a newspaper. (Or it could have come from the photo supplement that newspapers at the time often ran on weekends.) The caption below the portrait tells us this image was a publicity photo tied to Brooks' December, 1924 appearance at the Cafe de Paris in London, where she famously became the first person to dance the Charleston in the British capital. The image could have been taken in London, or it could be a left-over publicity photo from Brooks' brief tenure with the George White Scandals in New York City earlier in the year. Whatever the case, it is a rare bit of publicity from Brooks' time in London.

Speaking of little seen material related to Brooks' time in London, I recently came across this passenger list which shows Brooks left England to return the United States on January 14th, 1925. Brooks is the last person listed on the form. She traveled aboard the Homeric, and gave her age as 19 - though she only 18. Her occupation is listed as dancer. And interestingly, she listed her London residence as 49 Pall Mall


Here is a look at 49 Pall Mall, London S.W., as it appears today. This apartment building is not far from Piccadilly. Perhaps these are the very same doors that a young Louise Brooks went in and out of in 1924 and 1925.


Update: Of course, I will try and track down the source of this clip. To me, it's especially interesting that this brief appearance in London by the then little known Louise Brooks received coverage on the Continent.... If you want to see what the Cafe de Paris looked like on the inside, be sure and track down Anna May Wong's wonderful film, Piccadilly (1929). It was filmed partly inside the famous nightclub.[And be sure and check out the June 10th blog for Another related rare early image of Louise Brooks.]

2 comments:

  1. fantastic post, great work sir.

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  2. Is this in the Louise Brooks Society museum? Love the picture AND the history. I may have walked past that very house during my time in England. I definitely will the next time I'm there.

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