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July 23, 2021

Beautiful Photos of Anna Held in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Born 1872 in Warsaw, Polish stage performer and singer on Broadway Anna Held had been spotted by impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who brought her to America as his common-law wife while appearing in London 1896. Her fame seems to have owed more to Ziegfeld’s promotional flair than to any intrinsic talent, and she did not gain critical acclaim. But her uninhibited style inspired the long-running series of popular revues, the Ziegfeld Follies.


Held influenced the format for what would eventually become the famous Ziegfeld Follies in 1907, and she helped Ziegfeld establish the most lucrative phase of his career. Held could not perform in the first Follies when she become pregnant by Ziegfeld in late 1908.

In 1909, Ziegfeld began an affair with the actress Lillian Lorraine; Held remained hopeful that his fascination would pass, and he would return to her, but instead he turned his attentions to another actress, Billie Burke, whom he would marry in 1914.

Held spent the years of World War I working in vaudeville and touring France, performing for French soldiers and raising money for the war effort. She was considered a war heroine for her contributions, and was highly regarded for the courage she displayed in traveling to the front lines, to be where she could do the most good.

In 1917, Held had been battling multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, for a year. News coverage began reporting that it had been caused by her practice of excessive lacing of her corsets to give her a tiny waist. She died in 1918 at the age of 46.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see the beauty of young Anna Held in the 1890s and 1900s.










































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