PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN AND HER VIOLIN IN MASSACHUSETTS

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This cabinet card photograph features a woman and her violin and bow. At least, I think its a violin. Hopefully, an informed visitor to the cabinet card gallery will confirm whether her instrument is a violin and if it isn’t, will correctly identify the stringed instrument. The portrait is a product of a photographer named W. C. Thompson. Mr Thompson operated the Opera House Studio in Amesbury, Massachusetts, as well as the Globe Studio which was located in Newsburyport, Massachusetts. One has to wonder whether the woman in this image was a performer at the Opera House in Amesbury. The Amesbury Opera House has an interesting history. P. Stevens, author of the History of Amesbury (1999) writes that the Opera House was “the most ostentatious building ever to grace the streets of Amesbury”. The citizens of Amesbury experienced a change of scenery when the building burned down in what is considered the worst fire in Amesbury’s history. A contributing factor to the lack of success that the fire department had in putting out the fire was the fact that the man in charge of keeping water pressure high to fight fires was away for the weekend and failed to designate anyone to relieve him during his time away. It seems safe to say that this portrait was photographed before the 1899 fire since the photographic studio likely also was destroyed in the the blaze. According to one source, the photographer of this image, William Cushing Thompson (1839-1917) operated his Amesbury studio between 1869 and 1893. It was located for at least some of this time at Market and Main Street. The Bulletin of Photography (1917) reported that Thompson was in the photography business when the civil war started and he temporarily quit his career to join the Union army. According to the article, he stayed in the war until it ended. Thompson entered the war as a private and mustered out as a sergeant. He served in Company A of the 48th Massachusetts Infantry. Some of Thompson’s photographs are in the collections of the New York Public Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Thompson was born and died in Newsburyport. He is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Newsburyport.

AN ADORABLE CHILD IN BURLINGTON, IOWA

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The child in this cabinet card portrait is a real cutie pie. Whether the darling child is a boy or a girl is anyone’s guess but I vote girl. She is wearing a lace collar and button up boots. Her hairstyle includes bangs and her head is covered by a straw hat. The photographer is J. H. Reynolds of Burlington, Iowa. Reynolds established his gallery in Burlington in 1872 and it was at some time (including 1888) located at 211 1/2 Jefferson Street. Reynolds was born in Warren County, New York in 1842. In 1863 he moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where he studied photography. In the fall of 1863 he enlisted as a private in the 8th Wisconsin Infantry (Company H). He participated in the Red River campaign and then returned to Vicksburg. In the fall of 1864 he was discharged for physical disability after contacting disease while soldiering in the swamps of Louisiana. He then went to New York City where he worked as a photographer for six years until he returned to Burlington to open his gallery. In 1873 he married Miss May Wheeler from Mount Vernon, Iowa. Reynolds was a Mason and a member of the Knight of Pythias.

PORTRAIT OF A SOMBER OLD COUPLE

whisker coupleThis photograph features an interesting looking older couple. The husband stands in the background with a sullen expression while the wife, appearing quite intense, stands in the forefront. One wonders if the positioning in this image reflects their respective roles in their relationship. Written notations on the reverse of this photograph reveals that the subjects in the image are “Barclay and Sarah George”. The photo is dated “1900”. No photographer or location is indicated but research quickly discovered that this couple resided in Tonganoxie, Kansas at the time this photograph was produced. The 1900 Federal census revealed that Barclay  was born in Indiana in 1839, making him 60 years old at the time of this photograph. He had one parent that was born in Virginia while the other hailed from North Carolina. Sarah George was born in 1846 in Indiana, making her 53 years old when this picture was taken. Her parents were native to North Carolina. The couple was married in 1863. The 1895 and Kansas census reported that the pair still lived in Tonganoxie on their farm and had two teenage children. The 1905 Kansas census also found them residing in Tonganoxie. Further research revealed that Barclay was a participant in the War Between the States. He served in the 13th Iowa Infantry (Company B). Sarah filed for Barclay’s civil war pension in 1898 stating that he had become an “invalid”. In 1923 she filed for his pension upon his death. She made the death claim while living in Texas. Barclay George (1839-1923) is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Pampa, Texas. An interesting side note concerns the origin of the name of “Tonganoxie”. “Tonganoxie” was the name of the chief of the Delaware tribe that occupied the area. The town was established in 1866.

UNITED STATES VOLUNTEER UNIFORMED SOLDIER AND HIS WIFE IN CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

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This photograph features a military man with a young woman who is likely his wife. The soldier is wearing collar pins that identify him as a member of the United States Volunteers. Members of the USV were enlisted in the army but were separate from units of the regular US Army. Although volunteer regiments existed during the civil war, the USV was not officially named until the Spanish American War in 1898. The volunteer army was a quick way to supplement the regular army during times of war and was unnecessary during times of peace. This portrait was likely taken during or just after the Spanish American War. The photograph is smaller than a cabinet card. It measures 3.5″ x 5.25″. Note that the woman is standing behind the man making him appear much more prominent. It almsost seems like that she was not even in the original pose and that she was superimposed onto his photographic portrait. The photographer is A. W. Judd of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Judd was born in 1846. The book “Chattanooga” (1996) reports that Amos Wilson Judd was a civil war veteran who began his photography business in 1877. His  name and studio appears in Chattanooga’s business directories from 1890 through 1920. He died in 1929. He had two brothers who were photographers. His son succeeded him in running his studio.  Judd had two portraits appear in Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1900). The Photo Beacon (1906) states that Judd was the President of the Kentucky/Tennessee Photographers Association. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1908) indicates that he held a patent for a photography invention. A confederate soldier named Amos Judd was a member of the 2nd Battalion Georgia Infantry (State Guard), Company B. He mustered in as a private and left the service with the same rank.

PORTRAIT OF A PLEASENT YOUNG WOMAN IN CHAMBERSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

A young woman poses for her portrait at the Bishop studio in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The woman appears pleasant and quite relaxed. Unlike most cabinet card subjects, she is actually displaying a bit of a smile. The photographer, Henry Bishop, is mentioned in some accounts of the Confederate incursion into Pennsylvania during the civil war. According to Historical Reminiscences of the War  (1884), published by the Kittochtinny Historical Society, it seems that Bishop met southern General A. P. Hill in the street near his studio. They had a conversation in which General Hill asked Bishop about some of the people he had known in the area while Hill was stationed at nearby Carlisle Barracks before the war. Hill told Bishop that General Lee was on his way to town to meet with him. While he was telling Bishop that Lee was coming, Lee’s approach was seen in the distance. Bishop hurried back to his studio to prepare to  capture a picture of General Lee. He opened the studio’s windows and pointed the camera lens out the window. Unfortunately for Bishop, Lee and Hill’s meeting on the street was a brief one, and he was unable to capture the historic scene.

PORTRAIT OF A COUPLE IN CHATSWORTH, ILLINOIS (JOSEPH AND ELLA FRANCIS)

This cabinet card features a couple posing for their portrait at the studio of A. H. Hall in Chatsworth, Illinois. The gentleman has an interesting long and narrow beard, The woman has a dress with many buttons and is wearing a pin on her collar. Note the mans hat is on the floor directly in front of where the couple is sitting. It is not uncommon to see cabinet card portraits that include hats prominently displayed on the floor. Perhaps the hats were viewed as important enough to belong in the picture but it was considered inappropriate to wear hats indoors. The couple in this photograph are identified on the reverse as Joseph and Ella Francis.  Investigation reveals that Joseph Francis served in the civil war. In 1864 he enlisted as a private in Company D of the Illinois 45th Infantry Regiment.He mustered out as a private in 1865.  The 1880 US census identifies Joseph S. Francis (1846-1930) as a farmer of Irish descent living in Illinois. The 1910 census finds the Ohio born, Francis living in Forrest, Illinois and working as a railroad car inspector. He was 64 years old at the time and living with his wife Ella Svedaker Williamson Francis (1862-1938) and four of their children. The 1930 census that Joseph Francis, at age 84, was still employed. He was working as an assessor for his township. Research found death certificates for both Joseph (1930) and Ella (1938).  The photographer of this image was Albert H. Hall. The History of Livingston County (1878) provides a brief biography of Hall. He was born in 1849 and at age 22 went to Chicago to learn the trade of photography. In 1872 he moved to Chartsworth and opened a photography and gem gallery. He married a woman named Dora Knapp.

ANGELIC LITTLE GIRL IN ARTISTIC POSE IN DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE

An angelic looking young girl dressed in white, poses in an artistic portrait at the Drew Studio in Dover, New Hampshire. The little girl does not appear very happy about the process of being photographed. She has corkscrew curls and is wearing hair ribbons. She is sitting cross legged in a white wicker chair. The photographer of this large format image is A. P. Drew. The Dover Enquirer (1896) has an article which mentions Alfred Palmer Drew. In 1896 a “deluge” and subsequent fire destroyed a business block and three bridges in Dover. The flooding sent the stores on the block down the Cocheco River. The photography studio Drew and Boomer was among the stores washed away. The Bulletin of Photography (1917) contains the obituary of A. P. Drew. He died at the age of 81. He had been born in Dover and had worked as a photographer there for more than 50 years. He retired in about 1914. During the civil war he had been a member of the Strafford Guards. The regiment was originally established in 1822 and a year later became part of the New Hampshire State Militia. In 1864 the Strafford Guards were mustered into service of the Union Army for a period of sixty days. They relieved a New Hampshire artillery unit that had been sent to the front. A. P. Drew served as a corporal.

WOMAN MODELS REPTILIAN WEAR IN PENACOOK, NEW HAMPSHIRE

Most people don’t think of Penacook, New Hampshire as the center of turn of the century fashion. However, in 1890, a new fashion trend was born in tiny Penacook. Traditional fashion centers like Paris and New York City were blindsided by the innovative dress designs coming out of Penacook. Reptilian Wear was introduced in 1890 and was overwhelmingly the most well received of all these designs. Penacook area photographers quickly were called upon to sharpen their skills in fashion photography because their services were in high demand by the rapidly growing local clothing industry. This cabinet card was produced by the studio of M. S. Lamprey who began operating in Penacook in 1858. The woman in this image is wearing an excellent example of a Reptilian Wear dress. This particular dress was sold under the Iguana label. The model in this photograph was not identified. She is wearing a necklace from which hangs a cross. If you doubt the veracity of this story; you would be correct to do so. Here is some non fiction commentary about this cabinet card. The photographer is Maurice S. Lamprey (1835-1912). The 1860 census finds Lamprey living with his parents and siblings and working as a varnisher. He enlisted in the 10th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in 1862 as a private and was transferred to the Signal Corp which is where he remained throughout the war. The earliest city directory found that lists him as a photographer was from 1872. The 1900 US census reports that Lamprey was 64 years old, living alone, and working as a photographer in  Concord. The town of Penacook was named after the Penacook Native American tribe which lived in the area. The town was a village located within the city of  Concord. Penacook was involved in the textile industry. The town was located along the Contoocook River. This location attracted the hydro power industry and Penacook became a mill town.

ATTRACTIVE WOMAN WITH A TALL FANCY HAT AND A SCARF IN PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

An attractive woman with a tall fancy hat and a scarf poses for her portrait at the Clark studio in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The photographer of this image is Forester Clark. He was cited in the Photographic Times (1988) because his eight year=old daughter Eva wrote a letter to then President Grover Cleveland which included six winter and six summer views of Pittsfield street scenes. She received a reply from the President with the salutation of “My Dear Young Friend”,  and the letter went on to say, among other things, that he found the photographs very interesting. Clark is also mentioned in the Photographic Journal of America (1893) for announcing that he was leaving Pittsfield (he lived there 21 years) and moving to Montpelier, Vermont to become treasurer of the Excelsior Granite Works. The article reported that Clark had taken 31,000 negatives while in Pittsfield. Clark was a veteran of the civil war. He enlisted in 1861 and was discharged in 1862 with the rank of Private. He was a member of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry. The 1880 US census reveals that Clark was born in Vermont in 1836. He married his wife, Emma, in 1862. He had four children aged one through thirteen. The 1900 census found Clark living in the Bronx, New York with his wife and two of his children. He was employed as a granite salesman. The 1910 census indicates that Clark was living in Cheshire, Massachusetts with his wife and that at 73 years-old, he was working once again as a photographer.

PRETTY AND ELEGANT YOUNG WOMAN IN ROCKLAND, MAINE

A pretty and elegant looking young woman poses for her portrait at the Singhi studio in Rockland, Maine. She is beautifully dressed and wearing a watch chain emanating from a watch in her dress pocket. She appears very business-like. The photographer was named John F. Singhi (1834-1906). He was a native of Maine but his father was born in Italy. Mr. Singhi was a participant in the Civil War. He entered the Union Army as a Private in the 4th Infantry Regiment of Maine. He was mustered in in April, 1861 and mustered out in July,, 1864. He was promoted to Corporal in 1862. Upon entry into the army, he was listed as a leader of the company band and Fife Major. The fourth regiment was assembled in Rockland. In all, 144o men served in the regiment during the war and 170 of them died in or from battle. Forty men died in Confederate prisons and 137 soldiers died from disease. The Fourth Regiment participated in many major battles including The First Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.  After the service, he worked as a photographer. He was listed in Rockland city directories as a photographer from 1877 through 1897. In addition to soldiering, music and photography; John Singhi liked to get married. He especially liked marrying younger women. The 1870 US census revealed that John lived with a woman named Frances who was presumably his wife. In 1872 he married Hannah C. Bartlett.  John and Hannah were reported in the 1880 census. John was 46 while his wife was 31. In 1898, John married Caroline Look who was 17 years his junior. In 1901, John married Georgie Dow, a woman who was 13 years younger than him. In 1906, John Singhi died at age 72. His death certificate listed his cause of death to be “Shock (Paralysis)”. From that description, one imagines he died from a stroke. Perhaps cavorting with his numerous younger wives was deleterious to his health.

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