THE “SPRING LAKE GYPSIES” IN WAVERLY, IOWA

This cabinet card features two pretty young woman dressed in multiple layers of clothing and holding baskets of flowers. The pair are wearing large straw hats. The subject’s names, Mattie and Lottie, are written below the photograph. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription which states “These are Spring Lake Gypsies”. Although these women could be gypsies it seems more likely that the writer of the inscription was commenting about these women’s propensity to travel around a lot. A printed advertisement on the back of the cabinet card names the photographer as the A. Garner Art Gallery, located in Waverly, Iowa (“Four Doors East of  Breemer House”). No information could be found about “Breemer House”. Interestingly, the town of Waverly is located in “Bremer” county. Is there a connection between Breemer and Bremer? As a side note, Bremer County received it’s name from Governor Hempstead who admired Swedish feminist writer Fredrika Bremer. The phrase “Spring Lake Gypsies” was researched and no information was uncovered. In addition, investigation yielded no last names for Miss Mattie or Miss Lottie. Little could be learned about photographer A. Garner other than the discovery of an article in the Report of the Iowa State Horticultural Society (1890) which includes the text of his speech to the group. The topic of his lecture was “Photography and Horticulture”.

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