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12 March 2014

The Mystery of Miss Pielson

Who was Miss Pielson? We have this beautiful postcard of her, but there is no information on the net about this beautiful silent film star. So we asked this question about her identity in a 2011 post. French film star postcard specialist Marlène Pilaete solved the puzzle.

Miss Pielson
French postcard by A.N., Paris in the Les Vedettes de Cinéma series, no. 157. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères.

7 March 2011


EFSP: "Who was Miss Pielson? Nothing is known about her on the internet. She must have been a vedette, a star of the silent cinema of the 1920s as this beautiful vintage postcard witnesses.

The Les vedettes de Cinéma series is a French, sepia tinted series of film star postcards, published in the 1920s by Paris-based A.N.

The picture was taken by Studio G.L. Manuel Frères, who were also based in Paris and often worked for A.N.
The Manuel brothers were commercial photographers who took photographs of French polticians, literary figures and performing artists between 1911 and ca. 1935.

Their work is conserved in the Harvard University Department of French collection of portrait photographs and in several other important international collections.

Perhaps the name Pielson was misspelled and this postcard refers to Suzy Pierson, a French actress active in the 1920's and the 1930's. Maybe - or maybe not.

So, we'd be grateful if anyone gives us more information which can help us solve this little mystery. Anyone?"

12 March 2014


Marlène Pilaete of the French blog La Collectionneuse mails me:
"I saw your older post on your 'Miss Pielson' postcard. I’ve compared it to my Suzy Pierson postcards and they look very different. So I don’t think she is Suzy Pierson.

On the other hand, I think that Miss Pielson really looks a lot like British actress Mabel Poulton. I’ve compared it with my Mabel Poulton postcards and with the photos I’ve found on Internet. The features of Miss Pielson and Mabel Poulton are very similar.

Mabel Poulton was featured in the 1924 French movie Ame d’artiste, so it is plausible that she was photographed by the Manuel Frères studio. I think that we have a clue in the way her name is mentioned on the card.

The 'Les vedettes de cinéma' A.N. series never referred to actresses as 'Miss', they always wrote the name in full (first name and surname). Anyway, if Pielson was French and if her first name was unknown to the publishers, she would have been called 'Mademoiselle Pielson', and not 'Miss Pielson'.

So, if they used the word 'Miss', she must be an Anglo-Saxon actress. On Internet, I’ve found a French old magazine called Cinemagazine which has an advertisement for Ame d’artiste and Mabel Poulton is referred to as 'Miss Poulton'. Her first name is not mentioned. See here (page 4/25 above left).

So, we can imagine that the A.N. publishers have misspelled the name and transformed 'Miss Poulton' into 'Miss Pielson'. Those two names, 'Poulton' and 'Pielson' have several letters in common."

I think Marlène has solved this puzzle with her excellent research. Thanks, Marlène!

For more info about Mabel Poulton and a postcard of her, check out Wikipedia.

Mabel Poulton
British postcard.

Sources: Vintage Movie Star Postcard Publishers, Harvard University Library, and IMDb

2 comments:

Linda said...

Beautiful, and a mystery. Good to know about the Harvard collection, too.

Bob of Holland said...

Hi Linda, Thanks for stopping by again. I was in sunny Italy, so I did not react earlier. Greetings from rainy Amsterdam, Bob.