Fred Hartsook Photo

ca 1915 CVA 19-73 - [Signed portrait of fellow actor Broderick O'Farrell %22To Daisy%22] Hartsaak Photo

CVA 19-73 – [Signed portrait of fellow actor Broderick O’Farrell “To Daisy”] ca 1915. Hartsaak Photo.

The portrait shown above is of vaudeville (and later motion picture) actor, Broderick O’Farrell. Not very much appears to be known today of Mr. O’Farrell except the little that may be found here. (Could he have been anything but an actor, with that very self-conscious and saucy cocked eyebrow?) There is an inscription over O’Farrell’s signature “To Daisy: With memories of a very pleasant engagement. Glad I met you.” Under his signature, O’Farrell elaborates on which engagement it was at which he met Daisy (just in case Daisy couldn’t remember him!) – a 1915 one with “Avenue Players”. I take this to be a reference to the acting company which played at the Avenue Theatre, about which I wrote on an earlier occasion here. Neither Avenue Theatre nor O’Farrell are central to this post, however.

I’m more intrigued by the photo studio that made O’Farrell’s portrait. According to the photo’s source, the City of Vancouver Archives, the portrait was made by “Hartsaak”. I did an internet search for early photographers of that name and found an exact match for that spelling only with the link to the CVA page for the O’Farrell portrait.

There is a wiki page, however, for a photographer by the name of “Fred Hartsook”.  The details on wikipedia persuaded me that Fred Hartsook (rather than “Hartsaak”) was the person responsible for Mr. O’Farrell’s portrait. According to the site’s summary of Harstook’s early career, following a brief stint in Utah, Hartsook packed up his family and moved to California: “Initially, Hartsook operated as an ‘itinerant shutterbug, [wandering] all over the state, his team of mules pulling a homemade darkroom.’ Later he opened two studios, in Santa Ana and Santa Barbara, but eventually closed them in order to open a studio on 636 South Broadway in Los Angeles.”

Probably the factor which tipped the scales in persuading me of the identity of the creator of the O’Farrell image as Fred Hartsook was the reproduction on the Wiki site of the Hartsook copyright symbol (shown below). It bears a striking resemblance to the one that appears on the O’Farrell photo (albeit, in what is most likely an earlier, less sophisticated form).c-right

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