An Unusual Photograph Signed the Year of his Scandalous Marriage

Signed by Enrico Caruso

$575
Item: 21190
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CARUSO, ENRICO. (1873-1921). Italian tenor and perhaps the most famous singer in history. SP. (“Enrico Caruso”). 1p. 4to. (7 ¼” x 9 ¼” inches). New York, 1918. A sepia image of Caruso, in bowtie and hat, holding a cigarette and casually standing outdoors. Inscribed in the lower left corner to New York film critic HARRIETTE UNDERHILL (?-1928) quite likely when they met in New York City: “In late 1918, after the peak of the influenza epidemic, she let Enrico Caruso talk about his career by describing the photos, books, and scrapbooks in his hotel suite and then open his mail and comment on one or more letters from fans,” (“Newspaperwomen and the Movies 1914-1925,” from Columbia University’s “Women Film Pioneers Project.”)

Dating from his sensational first performance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1903, Caruso became the stage’s favorite attraction. Of the more than 50 roles he played, the majority were at the Metropolitan. In 1918, Caruso starred in the company’s production of Mascagni’s Lodoletta, based on Ouida’s Two Little Wooden Shoes, and on August 20, 1918, Caruso made headlines and shocked the world by marrying an American, Dorothy Park Benjamin, despite her family’s objections. Dorothy was the aunt of one of America’s great autograph dealers, Mary A. Benjamin.

Underhill began her career as an actress and chorus girl, performing with a company called “Floradora.” In 1908, she joined the New York Herald Tribune as a theater critic, a position she held until her death twenty years later.

Very lightly silvered; otherwise near fine.

An Unusual Photograph Signed the Year of his Scandalous Marriage

Signed by Enrico Caruso

$575 • item #21190


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