The portrait (or personality) cards showed one or more actors with their names printed underneath the photo.   Cards with two actors were advertised as "Doppelbildnisse."

One actor card

Two actors card

Cards could be either in a vertical or horizontal format.   The vertical format was the most common.

Standard vertical card

Standard horizontal card

Although most cards had a white border around the photos, some of the pictures had no border, or a much narrower one.

Fern Andra full photo

Yellow card stock full photo
La Jana

There were a few variations to the standard sized photo usually on the cards.

Lilian Harvey smaller sized photo

Eva Immermann smaller sized photo

Clara Bow
Rectangular shape

The arch design was less common.

Arch style photo Lillian Gish

Another arch style photo
Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

There were also oval photos, although this format didn't last too long.

Large oval
Vilma Banky

Color tinted oval
Lee Parry

Some smaller "framed" oval photos contained an autographed message from the actor, usually related to art, or some witticism.

Small framed oval
Fern Andra

Small framed oval
Conrad Veidt

Some of the oval photos showed two actors.   There were also some circle shaped photos.

Oval with two actors
Charles Rogers and Nancy Carroll

Circle shape with Marcella Albani

There were a few heart shaped photos too.

Heart shaped with
Jack Oakie, Clara Bow and Maurice Chevalier

Heart shaped with
Betty Bronson and Milton Sills

There was some variations in the placing of the name "Ross Verlag" also.

Some cards were printed without the Ross name.


A few cards did not have "Ross Verlag" on the front, but on the back.   Photo credit Karl Schenker.   W.J. Mörlins, Berlin W 15 shows up on a few Ross card, and it generally signifies that they were the card's publisher, and Ross Verlag was the distributor, although in this instance they are both considered the publisher.   (See example on FilmScene2 page with "Fridericus Rex" card).   Rotophot symbol on back.

The typeface had a few different styles in the earlier cards.

Early typeface

Larger typeface

Some odds and ends.

Script style typeface     Olaf Fönss

Different type card stock.   453/1 Gr.
  Not sure what Gr. means after card number,
but it does show up on a few cards.

The card numbers weren't always printed in the same place.

Same Constance Talmadge card, but with the numbers on different sides of the card.

Some postcards were taken from studio stills in which the background (and foreground) were blacked out.   Here is an example of a still from the Rudolph Valentino film "The Conquering Power."   The postcard took the image right from the still (even blacking out the lease he is holding the dog with!)   Thanks to Donna Hill at  www.rudolph-valentino.com  for spotting this.   It probably occured with other postcard images too.


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