Bernard Ries Theater Scrapbook, 1902-1933
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Brief Description:

One 1902-1929 personal scrapbook containing editorial cartoons, playbills, and clippings from publications including The Theatre/Theatre Magazine, Harper’s Weekly, New York Star, New York Tribune, Liberty Magazine, and The Virginian-Pilot. Subject matter includes American and European theatrical performers such as Joseph Jefferson, Henry Irving, David Belasco, Richard Mansfield, Maude Adams, and Sarah Bernhardt, as well as notable performances like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and artwork by Charles Dana Gibson. The scrapbook contains dozens of articles on theater culture, including proper etiquette for attendees, theater superstitions, theatrical costumes, makeup, and stagecraft.

The Bernard Ries Theater Scrapbook also includes hundreds of personal inscriptions, drawings, caricatures, photographs, and signatures by Ries or theatrical performers from 1904 to 1929, most of whom performed in Norfolk, Virginia at either the Granby Theater or the Colonial Theater from 1904 to 1911. Some of the more notable pages feature performers Frank Byron, Irene Franklin, W. C. Fields, and Virginia Shaw, and the performance of Pocahontas at the premier opening of the Colonial Theater on June 6, 1907 in downtown Norfolk. Also included are editorial cartoons of performances held at the Colonial Theater in 1909.

The scrapbook also contains a clipping on the 1908 E. M. Robinson court case which described a suggestion by State’s Attorney John G. Tilton that the Ten Commandments had been “revised” in Norfolk, along with Ries’s own inscribed revision of the commandments.

Finally, the scrapbook contains an unsigned lithograph print featuring “Doc Ries” and his scrapbook, an undated photograph of the exterior of Ries’s pharmacy on 168 Granby Street, and two undated copies of a photograph of the pharmacy’s interior with Ries’s scrapbook on display.

Held at:
Sargeant Memorial Collection
Slover Library
235 East Plume Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: 7574317429
Email: localhistory [at]
Record Series Number: 001/01/MSS 0000-230
Created by: Ries, Bernard (1879-1933)
Volume: 1.0 Boxes
Acquired: 12/04/2012.
Arrangement: Arranged in chronological order.
Biographical Note for Ries, Bernard (1879-1933) : Born in Norfolk, Virginia on March 1, 1879, Bernard Ries was the only son of Abraham Ries, a German immigrant and language teacher, and Pauline Pfiefer, a milliner from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. From at least 1870 to 1911, the Ries family operated a millinery business on Church Street where Bernard worked as a clerk for several years in his youth. Affectionately known as “Doc,” Bernard worked for almost a decade as a druggist in downtown Norfolk after successfully passing his Virginia Board pharmacist examinations in 1902. Two years after becoming its manager, Bernard appeared to be operating College Place Pharmacy as his own by 1906. By late 1910, he had moved the business from its original location on 168 Granby Street to 150 Granby Street. It appears that eventually Ries switched professions and by 1918, had found employment with the advertising department of the Virginian Pilot Publishing Co., where he worked until his death on November 29, 1933. Ries married Sadie Levenstein on November 10, 1927, and it appears that the couple had no children before Barnard’s untimely death a few years later. Sadie passed away on October 5, 1981. Ries and his wife, along with both his parents and one of his older sisters, Eva, are buried in a family plot at Hebrew Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.
Access Restrictions: This collection is open to all researchers.
Subject Index
Manhattan (New York, N.Y.)
Norfolk (Va.)
Norfolk (Va.)--History
Opera--19th century
Theater--19th century
Theater--20th century
Genres/Forms of Material
Autographs (manuscripts)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Magazines (periodicals)
Prints (visual works)
Sheet music
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: The status of copyright for these materials is governed by Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. C.). Copyright restrictions may apply.
Acquisition Notes: Ellen Van Os by donation
PreferredCitation: Bernard Ries Theater Scrapbook, MSS 0000-230, Sargeant Memorial Collection, Norfolk Public Library, Norfolk, Virginia.