Miss Rehan as Helena in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” Unknown

The Irish American actress Ada Rehan was photographed dozens of times in the posh New York gallery of Napoleon Sarony. During the last decades of the 19th century, Canadian-born Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896) was the premier portrait photographer of the United States. From his two studios at 680 Broadway (later 256 Fifth Avenue) and 37 Union Square, a staff of over 30 technicians and artists were well-situated for their primary focus: the actors and actresses of New York City.

Sarony was the photographer, nine are credited to him, but many may not be by him. The photogravures are by the Photogravure Co., New York. This elaborate souvenir book is in a decorative cloth binding that has slits to allow a ribbon through printed in gold with the title ‘A Daughter of Comedy.’ It can be tied in a bow. It is important to note that Ms. Rehan was an actress of enormous fame from 1870 through to 1900. Augustin Daly was the impresario, writer and director that ran the most important theater in New York City at this time. The 1898 edition is in halftone. [1]


[1] Hanson, David A. The David A. Hanson Collection of the History of Photomechanical Printing. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Catalog 2000