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[Photo Album of Irene Mikus, the "One Girl Symphony"]

MIKUS, IRENE

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Price: $950.00


[Springfield, MA; Hatford, CT]: [ca. 1910-1943]. Folio. String-tied commercial album containing 83 original B&W photographs. Various sizes, but many at least 5" x 8". One leaf separated in the center. Else generally fine. Some images loose, some laid in. Apparently complete. (Item ID: 13639)

Album assembled - possibly for promotional purposes - by one Irene Mikus, who internal evidence suggests worked the local New England circuit as novelty musician and performer. The album opens with the classic "bare infant on a rug" photograph and subsequently proceeds chronologically with photos of Irene as a girl, with her sister (Alice), in various dancing classes (including a great series of her as a gypsy dancer), etc. But the heart of the albums contains various pictures of Irene with her xylophone, violin, accordion, hand bells, and classical harp (phew). These range from snapshots to real photo postcards to staged studio portraits. Irene and her sister, both child prodigies, were well known in the Pioneer Valley. Alice served as the principal harpist for the Springfield and Hartford Symphonies, and Irene was later director of the bell-ringing group. Given the thematic unity of the album, we suspect it was utilized by Irene when marketing herself for local weddings, women's club luncheons and the like. A charming and unique production from an American eccentric.


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