It appears Frank Wendt was originally brought in by Chas. Eisenmann as an assistant and business manager. Eventually Wendt not only took over the studio, changing times forced him to relocate to Boonton, New Jersey. He continued to photograph and produce hundreds of cabinet cards, but he was also known to reprint Eisenmann originals, on request, as customers replenished their stock. One such sitter was the beautiful young mystery actress shown here. The large portrait, by Wendt, also appears on an earlier Eisenmann card, as does the same girl in the garden pose. The third photo here, an Eisenmann photo, has not yet been found on a Wendt card, at least not by me.
A beautiful young actress...in fact possibly one of the most beautiful child actors of all, and it seems both photographers were able to capture her. But who is she?
I recently found out. Not that is helps much. On the reverse of the Eisenmann photo, a yellowed slip of paper reveals this is Edna Adams as "Little Meenie" in Rip Van Winkle. One would think a performer with the moxie to have sold at least three images of herself to admirers would be documented in the press.
What have I found? ONE lurid tale from a 1913 issue of the Pittsburgh Press. "Pretty Young Woman Says He Accused Her of Stealing Watch" which reveals the plaintiff in a lawsuit is one "highly indignant young woman, Rose Meyers, known to stageland as Edna Adams." While walking near her home, the young woman was accosted by one of three men who were standing on the corner, one of whom asked "Don't you want to go out with me" and when she paid no attention asked "Is money any object?" Miss Adams/Meyers continued walking and met her friend Walter Welfitt, also an actor, who protected her from the group. Not deterred, the crude man said "Come on, I'm on to you" and demanded the actress hand over her watch, chain and $20. Noble Mr. Welfitt "invited the stranger to remove his glasses" which resulted in an accusation that the actress had stolen his watch earlier. Apparently all charges were dropped. No row occurred...would YOU fight a man named Welfitt?
Is this the young beautiful Edna, some 15 years after these photos were taken? I believe it is. It would not be the first time a young child star falls upon hard times after growing up. I don't need to provide more contemporary examples, we've all seen them rise and fall on reality TV. More information is loaded on the web every day. We may one day know who this young woman was.
This Post also appears on the site "Wondrous World of Wendt"
Three Cabinet Cards by Frank Wendt and Charles Eisenmann, circa 1890 Collection Jim Linderman
NOTE: Our beautiful actress may have been running a scam in other places as well...a kind reader has taken the time to provide additional information: