Edwardian photography Social history

Gladys Cooper the first postcard superstar

According to Sheridan Morley, one of Gladys’ grandchildren, in his biography of her over 400 different postcards of her were produced between 1905 and 1920. Each postcard would have had many thousands of reprints. You can get an idea of her popularity and longevity as a celebrity by looking on ebay. When I checked today there were 1700 listings for postcards of Gladys and I would expect to see similar numbers on any day of the week.

You can find postcards of Gladys in black and white, colour, hand tinted. partially tinted, on greetings cards and so on. Often her distinctive signature is shown on the cards.

This pair of postcards are indicative of the many variations of postcards that were produced. She’s wearing exactly the same clothes in both but the colouring and orientation have been changed.

Gladys was often photographed with her children. Here she is with daughter Joan. Note Joan’s signature on the right hand photo though I doubt her handwriting was so similar to her mother’s.

Postcards were only a sideline for Gladys. She was an actress appearing in many stage plays from the 1920s and later had a career as a film actress. You can see her in Hitchcock’s Rebecca for instance.

If you want to see more Gladys Cooper postcards you’ll find them with a simple online search. My own modest collection can be seen here.