Beautiful vintage 8×10 matte finish black and white chest-up studio portrait, boldly signed and inscribed in green fountain pen, “To Mr. Mank,with best wishes,/Esther Ralston.”  Fine condition, with silvering to the darker areas of the image, almost completely invisible when the photograph is viewed head on.  Silent screen beauty Esther Ralston garnered the nickname “The American Venus” after starring in a 1926 film of the same name, now lost. She appeared in scores of films during the 1920s, in both leading and supporting roles, frequently in Westerns opposite Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson. Despite a smooth transition to sound, her career soon stalled after she reputedly rejected the advances of Louis B. Mayer, who retaliated by loaning her out to Poverty Row studios for small roles in now-forgotten films.