Biography research is often serious and intense work. Sometimes it is nice to let loose, as I did here using my favorite photo of J as a starting point.
Here is a blurb from a newspaper review of The Student Prince. The date was 11-17-25. The place: Pennsylvania. "J, as Kathie, was a winsom (sic) miss with her charming manner and her fine soprano voice. Concert stars have often failed to measure up to the standard that she set last night." Without any extant … Continue reading A Winsome Miss
This eloquently expressed idea is always in the back of my mind as I sift through the ashes of J's career. Her contributions to the cultural fabric of her era deserve to be resurrected, reexamined, and reevaluated. May she be one of many women whose lives are thrust into the light of visible history.
When J was born in 1900, film was still in its infancy. She grew up with the "new" medium. By the time she graduated high school (1918), it was a true cultural phenomenon. Since starting this project, I've often wondered about her attitude toward the movies. Her love affair with stage theatricals, especially operettas, was … Continue reading J’s Celluloid Dreams: Publicity or Reality?
9 JULY 1922: Ninety-nine years ago today, J was in Louisville, Kentucky, preparing to open in a production of The Bohemian Girl. The opera, by M.W. Balfe and Alfred Bunn, premiered in 1843. J had the starring role of Arline, which gave her the opportunity to sing several arias, including the pivotal and well-known "I … Continue reading J on This Day: 9 July 1922
When not working my part-time day job or helping out at the family business, my head has been buried in book research. I've unearthed an absurd amount of information about J and her husband, R, especially as it relates to what I had previously thought of as a lost decade: the 1930s. Her scrapbook covers … Continue reading Never a Dull Day in Biographyville
I can hardly believe that is has been a month since my last post! Totally unintentional. I've been incredibly busy, with both J and non-J pursuits. During my absence, I accomplished almost a ridiculous amount of research. I made working on "lists" my priority. Let's back up for a moment. I spent almost three months … Continue reading Catching Up
This is another image of J from my archives. I don't know what production this photo is from, but I hope to figure it out in time. I'm not sure about the circumstances of this performance, but my instincts tell me that this was likely from a local Memphis amateur production in the years leading … Continue reading J Having a Ball
And so I did... Let's back up. I've been cataloging the contents of J's main scrapbook for nearly a month. It's slow going and hard on the eyes, so it's not an everyday thing. Far from it, actually. There are plenty of other related tasks to do, meaning I'm almost always busy. New things crop … Continue reading Begin Anywhere
Recently on my main site, A Small Press Life, my blogger friend Ruth (of Silver Screenings) asked a few excellent questions regarding my feelings about J. The helpful exchange got me thinking about the relationship between biographers and their subjects, especially when those subjects are long-dead. (For context, I was born four years after J's … Continue reading Three Questions: January 2021