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March 7, 2024

Fabulous Photos of Martha Mansfield in the 1910s and ’20s

Born 1899 in New York City, American silent film actress Martha Mansfield became determined to become an actress at the age of 14. She lobbied for, and won, a role in the Broadway production of Little Women in 1912. She also began working as an artists’ model and dancer. As a model, she posed for illustrator Harrison Fisher and was the subject of more than 300 photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnston.

In early 1919, Mansfield announced that she had decided to pursue a film career full-time. Her first Hollywood movie was Civilian Clothes (1920) directed by Hugh Ford. She gained prominence as Millicent Carew in the film adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which starred John Barrymore.

In 1923, Mansfield completed her contract for Selznick and signed with Fox Film Corporation. Her first film for Fox was The Silent Command.  The final completed features in her short film career were Potash and Perlmutter and The Leavenworth Case, both from 1923.

On November 29, 1923, while working on location in San Antonio, Texas on the film The Warrens of Virginia, Mansfield was severely burned when a tossed match ignited her Civil War costume of hoop skirts and flimsy ruffles. She was rushed to a hospital where she died the following day of “burns of all extremities, general toxemia and suppression of urine”.  Mansfield was 24 years old.

Take a look at these fabulous photos to see the beauty of a young Martha Mansfield in the 1910s and 1920s.


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