Monday, August 26, 2019

Lettering: Bluebird Photo-Plays Advertisements, Part 1

Bluebird Photo-Plays began advertising in Moving Picture World, January 8, 1916.


In the following January and February issues, Bluebird Photo-Plays ran three-page advertisements.


Two-page advertisements began March 11, 1916.


Burton Rice’s two-page advertisements debuted in Moving Picture World, April 15, 1916. His last advertisement appeared September 29, 1917.



Burton Rice was born on April 15, 1894, in Chicago, Illinois according to the Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index at However, a passport application and Social Security application had his birthplace as Riverside, Illinois. Rice’s parents were Myron B. Rice and Margaret Sherman. On the same day, Lewis Cunningham Rice was born in Riverside, Illinois to Myron Burton Rice and Margaret Sherman Rice.

Rice’s parents were cousins and named in A Genealogy of the Lineal Descendants of William Wood Who Settled in Concord, Mass., in 1638 (1901). Chicago-born Margaret was the daughter and second child of John Asaph Rice. Myron was born in East Saginaw, Michigan and the third child of Myron Grenville Rice. An issue of The Epistle, Volumes 8-9, 1981, published an article about John Asaph Rice, a rare book collector in Chicago. It named his three children and said “… Margaret Sherman Rice, born April 27, 1865 in Chicago. She married in 1889 her first cousin, Myron  Burton Rice, and they had sons Culver and Burton Rice. Burton was unmarried and living in Paris, France in 1960.”

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Rice’s mother was the head of the household which included a servant and two boarders. The whereabouts of Rice’s father is not known. They all resided in Riverside, Illinois. Rice has not yet been found in the 1910 census.
The Chicago Tribune, June 26, 1914, said:

The work of just one student at the Academy of Fine Arts is on exhibition—Burton Rice, a nephew of Wallace Rice. A number of his pieces—and they include pastels, water colors, oils, pen and ink, and charcoals—are pretty to look at and show a nice sense of color. Mr. Rice missed his mark a little in a fantasia, representing the dreams of childhood, and it is understood that he is himself not at all satisfied with it. It must not be forgotten that he is still a student and still young.
Rice had a painting in the 1915 Nineteenth Exhibition of Works by Chicago Artists at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Motography, February 19, 1916, reported Rice’s new job in New York City.
Burton Rice Now Universal Artist
Chicago lost one of its cleverest younger artists when the advertising department of the Universal home office induced Burton Rice to take up his residence in New York and be one of its staff. Mr. Rice’s work in modern art has been among the notable achievements of Chicago’s commercial art circles. His poster designs especially have been the cause of much favorable comment. Although always a creative department and the home of much unique ad copy, the Universal advertising department is now turning out its best work—and it is of the kind which compels attention. In Mr. Rice, Nat G. Rothstein and Ray Cavanaugh find a most capable co-worker.
Rice created the advertisements for Bluebird Photo-Plays that appeared in Moving Picture World beginning April 15, 1916. He also drew several sheet music covers including Miss Springtime (1916), Poor Butterfly (1916), Gypsy Song (1917), Melody Land (1917) and The Riviera Girl (1917).

The Chicago Tribune, February 25, 1916, reported the death of Rice’s mother. Her passing was mentioned in Billboard, June 17, 1916.

Burton Rice Gets Legacy
New York, June 8.—Burton Rice, who draws the inserts for Bluebird photoplays, a week or so ago was made the beneficiary of his mother’s will, recently demised, to the extent of $45,000. After taking enough out for a speedy automobile, with a low racing body, Rice put the balance in a trust fund, where he cannot even touch the interest for some years, and went right back to his desk. To glance at him you wouldn’t even suspect he bad inherited 45 cents. But then Rice is real democratic, and his many friends wish him every possible success always.
Rice received a passport on November 21, 1916. The passport application said his address was 231 West 96 Street in Manhattan. He planned to visit France and England. Rice’s departure was reported in the New York Evening Post, December 2, 1916.
Join American Ambulance.
Nine Physicians and Hospital Workers Sail on the Rochambeau.
Nine physicians and hospital workers will sail on the French liner Rochambeau this afternoon to join the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps. The will join the Harjes-Norton Sections of corps under command of Richard Norton. The volunteers are Rev. Henry Russell Talbot, Prof. Harrison W. Smith, Burton Rice. Henry Donald Edwards, George S. Jackson, Harry H. Hollinshed, Walter B. York, E. B. L’Hommedieu, and Paul Micelli.
 Moving Picture World, December 23, 1916, reported Rice’s plans for Europe.


Billboard, May 26, 1917, said “Walter Hill, the Bluebird man, says that Burton Rice, who used to draw those remarkable Bluebird inserts, is expected back from the French front shortly.”

On July 20, 1917, Rice arrived in New York City from Bordeaux, France. The passenger list recorded his address as 231 West 96 Street in Manhattan.

Rice’s trademark for Rialto De Luxe Productions was told in the New York Dramatic Mirror, September 7, 1917.

Rialto De Luxe Productions is proudly featuring its attractive new trade mark, which appears in this issue. The design is by Burton Rice, whose striking posters for the first Rialto release, Grace Valentine in “The Unchastened Woman,” created much comment in fifth industry circles. It is the intention of the company, as explained by a Rialto Productions official, to express in this mark the high-class and artistic excellence of releases put out under the Rialto brand. At the studio experiments are now being made for the preparation of a trailer, an animated Venetian scene, which will dissolve into the Rialto bridge scene shown as a silhouette in the conventionalized trade mark.
Editor & Publisher, March 23, 1918, said “Rice-Cavanagh is the name of a new New York advertising company which has just incorporated for $50,000. The incorporators are Burton Rice, Raymond Cavanagh, and Abraham L. Feinstein, all of New York.”

Rice signed his World War I draft card on August 24, 1918. His address was the same. The self-employed artist worked at 145 West 45 Street in Manhattan. The card said he was a sergeant in the French ambulance service and served seven months. Rice was described as tall, medium build with light brown eyes and hair. 

Rice’s posters See Him Through and Woman appeared in 1918. The Ogdensburg Republican-Journal (New York), March 8, 1918, noted Rice’s work on the film, “The Mystery Ship”. Rice has not been found in the 1920 census. Rice’s poster for Alla Nazimova’s “Madame Peacock” was printed in 1920.

Rice obtained another passport on April 29, 1921. He intended to visit the British Isles, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Gibraltar. A letter from the United States Shipping Board, attached to the application and addressed to the passport bureau, said, in part:

Mr. Burton Rice and Mr. Charles E. Ryan, of this city, associated with Chas. Raymond Thomas, Inc., official producers and distributors of the United States Shipping Board’s motion picture “America’s Merchant Marine” in connection with the Board’s general advertising survey, desire passports which will enable them to sail for Paris on May 3.

Their work abroad being somewhat hurried, we hope you will be able to facilitate the issuance of the passports. …
A passenger list recorded Rice’s return from France on October 3, 1924.

Rice was listed as an artist in New York City directories, from 1922 to 1929, at 43 West 8th Street.

The New York Times, November 17, 1923, reported the fire affecting Rice’s studio.

Three spectacular rescues were made at a fire which destroyed the studio apartment house at 41 West Eighth Street yesterday and ruined valuable manuscripts owned by Luigi Pirandello, the Italian author, and marionettes owned by Jean Gros, the French manufacturer.

Mrs. Emma von Zeitler, living in a rear apartment on the second floor of the five-story building, detected the odor of burning rubber. She opened the door leading to the hall and was nearly over come by a cloud of smoke. She slammed the door and ran through the apartment to the front, shouting “Fire!”

… On the third floor, in the studio of Burton Rice, an artist, were H. L. Graf, Gertrude Euphrate and Edith de Tackas, students of Mr. Rice. Graf opened the window, climbed out on the ledge and swung over to a fire-escape. With the help of a man who came up the fire-escape from the street, Graf, with the man holding him around the waist, leaned over and assisted the girls to the fire-escape and then led them to the street. …
In the second half of the 1920s, Rice began using the pen name, Dynevor Rhys. From 1930 to 1935 Rice, as Rhys, was credited with almost three dozen covers for The Delineator. He contributed drawings to Harper’s Bazaar. Rhys was mentioned in trade publications such as Printers’ Ink and Advertising & Selling. On February 16, 1934, O.O. McIntyre said “What grand magazine covers that Dynevor Rhys is painting.” in his nationally syndicated column, “New York Day by Day.”

As the second World War engulfed Europe, Rice departed Lisbon, Portugal and arrived in New York City on November 12, 1940. He signed his draft card on April 27, 1942. The Shakespeare Fellowship Quarterly, Autumn 1947, described what Rice did during and after the war.

One of the real cosmopolitan members of The Fellowship is Mr. Burton Rice, better known to the world of magazine and fashion illustrative and photographic art as Dynevor Rhys. Mr. Rice is a Chicagoan by birth, a New Yorker by adoption, knows Great Britain at first hand, and before the Nazis conquered France had maintained headquarters in Paris for over twenty years. Escaping from the latter city late in 1940 with a handbag of personal effects, he made his way back to the United States, and during most of the war years that followed, did special investigations for the Department of Commerce. When the American Branch of The Shakespeare Fellowship was incorporated as a separate educational society in March, 1945, Mr. Rice was one of its incorporators and has since served as a Trustee. He is now at his former working headquarters in Paris, reassembling the large photographic studios he originally developed there. He writes that he has already interested a number of his Paris friends in the Oxford-Shakespeare movement. Further developments can be expected with confidence. Meanwhile, any of Mr. Rice’s friends in America can reach him at 15 rue du Cherche-Midi, Paris, 6 éme.
Some Manhattan city directories, available at, listed Dynevor Rhys at 105 West 55 Street (1942 and 1945) or 6 East 39th Street (1944).

During the 1940s and 1950s Rice was photographer who contributed to numerous magazines including Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Home Companion, and Life.

The Sunday News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington), January 9, 1955, published the article “British Girls Best French at Modeling” and said:

… The experts—folk like top-dance director Miss Blubell and cover maestro Dynevor Rhys—say the explanation is simple. The British girls arrive fit and fresh for work on the dot of 9 while the French and American girls like to hit the high spots at night. “And,” says Rhys, “the loveliest American girl in the world is no good in front of my lens if I’ve got to wait till noon before she can pry her innocent eyelids more than half-open.”
Six months later the San Diego Union, July 3, 1955, published the following.
Paris—An American cameraman, Dynevor Rhys, set off recently to drive overland from Paris to Singapore, via Afghanistan and Tibet.

He worked for weeks, getting visas, inoculations, climatic reports, desert maps and ordnance surveys of the lesser-known routes through mountains and jungles.

Then one fine morning he set off for the south. Fifteen minutes later he pulled up alongside a traffic cop in the Champ Elysees and asked: “Say, for Pete’s sake, how do I get from here to the Marseilles road?”
Rice continued his travels to France. Aboard the Queen Mary he returned to New York on December 8, 1948. Rice flew to Paris on February 5, 1949. The passenger list said his address was 165 West 60 Street. On October 10, 1959, Rice landed in Chicago on a TWA airline flight. The passenger card listed his U.S. address as 7836 South Shore Drive, Chicago, and permanent address as 15 Rue du Cherche-midi, Paris, France.

In 1943 Rice filed a Social Security application under the name Dynevor Rhys but, according to a note, he signed it as Burton Rice. An obituary has not been found. Presumably Rice passed away in Paris.

Related Post
Burton Rice Illustrations, 1917–1920

(Next post on Monday: Bluebird Photo-Plays Advertisements, Part 2)